Holiday at home, in a castle or a cottage

 

A romantic cottage for two for €320 a week, or a castle that sleeps 14 for €5,000 - why not stay home for the holidays this summer?

THERE IS no place like home when the sun shines: but sun or rain, foreign holidays are proving simply too expensive for many this year. Luckily, value has never been better.

The “staycationers” are negotiating hard with people supplying self-catering accommodation, says John O’Toole of Hidden Ireland. “Customers are haggling over prices wildly and driving a hard bargain.” The result is that there is a glut of decent properties at never-before-seen value and quality in terms of what’s on offer.

“A lot of our owners have reduced their prices this year by a minimum of 10 per cent with many offering deals of up to 50 per cent off,” says Suzanne Quinn of Holidayhomesdirect.ie.

At Selfcatering.ie the average year-on-year reduction is markedly higher – between 20 and 30 per cent less than last year’s prices, says CEO Mary Power.

The best value is in parts of the country that don’t get a lot of tourism. The hotspots are, say holiday homeowners, holding their own.

Even so, places like the white collar playground of Roundstone in Connemara 4 have been adversely affected by the downturn. Previously, trying to find accommodation in this beautiful place was like trying to find a needle in a hay stack. This year there are still cottages offering luxey extras like wi-fi and satellite TV available from connemaracottages.net.

Here are eight of the best holiday hotspots that are still available.

THE HUMBLE DAISYis a new let about 200m from the shores of Lough Derg, Co Galway. Ten miles south of Portumna, this thatched three-bedroom cottage is the real deal, a 150-year-old family house decorated in a traditional yet chic country cottage style. The bedrooms all have Laura Ashley linen; there’s also a sofa bed on the mezzanine. Rental includes the use of an 18ft boat and a piano.

Sleeps: six, plus cot available.

Available: June and one week left in August starting August 22nd.

Price: special first-year let price of €500 per week for June-August.

Contact: 0909 749859, 086 8167819, www.thehumbledaisy.com.

CARLTON VILLAGEin Youghal – on what Corkonians like to call the “Irish Riviera” – offers everything that is on offer in a resort sun holiday. There is an outdoor heated 30ft swimming pool and a daily kids club. The village offers four-bedroom deluxe villas and duplex penthouses.

Balconies have panoramic views of Youghal Bay and the Atlantic.

A two-bed corner apartment with sea views is for sale at €175,000.

Sleeps: eight (in the villa), plus cot.

Available: weeks beginning June 27th, and August 8th and 15th.

Price: €1,500 per week in June and €1,755 in August, down by 10 per cent.

Contact: 087 667 0628 or www.carlton.ie.

ANNILAUN LODGE, Cashel, Co Galway, a five-bedroom manor house in Cashel, on the edge of the Connemara Gaeltacht, was for sale for €1.2 million through Matt O’Sullivan Auctioneers. Currently it’s for rent: it’s next door (in a country sense) to the four-star Zetland Country House Hotel. The drawingroom has views of Cashel Pier and the eastern reaches of Bertraghboy Bay.

Sleeps: 11.

Available: plenty, except for the weeks beginning June 27th and August 8th.

Price: €2,000 till June 26th; July 4th–17th €2,500; July 18th–August 21st €3,000; and €2,250 from August 22nd. All prices per week.

Contact: 1850 200 236 or www.selfcatering-ireland.com.

BALLYPORTRY CASTLE, a 500-year-old Gaelic tower house of the O’Brien clan overlooking the Burren, Co Clare, has been refurbished by husband and wife team Patrick and Siobhan Wallace (an archaeologist and an architect). Thoughtfully decorated, but the stone staircase makes it unsuitable for small children.

Sleeps: six to eight.

Available: June 29th to July 18th, August 1st to 15th.

Price: €2,900 per week, July, August.

Contact: 01 6609038, www.ballyportry.ie.

FRUITHILL FARMcottage is one of three short-term lets on a working farm outside New Ross, Co Wexford. This bijou property has a wood-burning stove and is surrounded by gardens, woodland – and peacocks.

Sleeps: two.

Available: July 10th to August 15th.

Price: €320 pw.

Contact: 051 388694 or www.hiddenhr.com.

KINVARA SUITESin Kinvara, Co Galway is a 200-year-old hayloft with ultra modern décor overlooking an old orchard garden. The accommodation comes with a free seaweed wrap for two.

Sleeps: two.

Available: all July and August.

Price: €500 pw to mid-July, €600 pw mid-July to August 30th.

Contact: 091 444123 or www.kinvarasuites.com.

BALLYMURRINis a recently restored two-bed Quaker milking parlour 5kms from the beach at Brittas Bay. The child-friendly house has a sunken trampoline, go-cart and swings.

Sleeps: up to six; cot available.

Available: throughout June and July.

Price: €765 pw in June, €850 pw in July, a discount of 10 per cent.

Contact: 0404 48206, www.ballymurrin.ie.