Homes for the holidays: 10 getaways to rent with family and friends
Plan your post-lockdown break in one of these Irish homes
Careysville House near Fermoy, Co Cork
After months apart, families are planning holidays and renting venues large enough for proper post-lockdown get-togethers. From quiet reunions to inter-generational meet-ups, some beautiful homes away from home await.
Coolclogher House in Killarney is booked out year round, most years by visiting Americans. This year, “They’re not coming,” says owner Mary Harnett. “I’ve people on Facebook telling me ‘I wish I was there’.” Instead it’s available at €8,000 a week to the local market.
The building, which sleeps 14, dates from 1742 and is surrounded by 68 tranquil acres just outside the town. Its Victorian conservatory, complete with camellia tree, is the perfect place to relax with a book by day, while its beautiful dining room, with polished wooden floors and soft woollen carpets, is a lovely venue for lively dinner parties – with catering an optional extra.
To make up for the loss of her American clientele Harnett “is on Facebook, LinkedIn and every site known to man targeting the home market,” she says. As a result, she is enjoying a surge in multigenerational bookings right now from Irish families separated by the lockdown, making it one of the happiest homes in the country.
“I’ve a group in from Northern Ireland at the moment. It’s lovely to hear Irish accents in the house.”
For a couple looking to rent out a small but exquisitely formed space, Ethna Dorman’s carriage house home in Dublin’s Clonsilla is a genuine showstopper - it recently won RTÉ’s Home of the Year show. It will be available for rent later this year, when Dorman gets the opportunity to “Get on a plane and visit my kids in the US,” she explains.
The property sleeps just four but sits in an enclosed courtyard that makes a beautiful space in which to catch up with your own kith and kin. Dorman has already hosted weddings there. It costs from €200 a night, for minimum stays of at least a week. Keep an eye on the websites below to bag it because it will be a hot property indeed.
Sandbrook House, a 300 year old Queen Anne style country house on 25 acres of parkland in Carlow, is the home of Christopher Bielenberg, a former business consultant. In recent years it has had a makeover courtesy of interior designer Bella Huddart, his partner.
Though based in London and Barcelona, Huddart has a particular fondness for Sandbrook. “The house is ‘enfilade’, with all the downstairs rooms leading into one another and giving a sense of continuity. It means that for multigenerational groups you can have 24 people staying without ever feeling they are on top of each other,” says Huddart.
The pair recently added a rustic barn for dances. Or keep it laid back and cook beans over the newly installed campfire. “You can grill sausages under trees, sitting on oak logs that fell on the grounds and feel very zen,” she says. Priced from €3,500 to €8,500 for a week.
Red Cliff Lodge
For many years Eimear and Christopher King catered to Lanzarote’s Irish visitors at their popular restaurant, Kristian’s in Puerto del Carmen. The pair came home two years ago and took over Red Cliff Lodge at Spanish Point in Co Clare, where they run their new restaurant alongside luxury accommodation suites.
“Our Irish customers followed us home,” says Eimear, happily. Today the venue, which is laid out in lodges that sleep three, can be taken over by large groups, sleeping a total of 20 people, for €5,500 a week.
The lodges, which have beautiful sea views, all have self catering facilities. Or you can choose to eat in the restaurant for lunch and dinner for a change. If you book the property in its entirety, you can opt to reserve the restaurant all to yourselves, perfect for a big celebration.
Book historic Loughcrew House, just minutes from Oldcastle in Co Meath, and you get the entire 200 acre estate to yourselves. Behind the main house is a cobbled courtyard which makes a lovely gathering spot. There’s also a bar, drinks reception and a banquet hall, if you’re looking to push the boat out.
The main house accommodates 17 and costs from €7,000 for a week, which works out at €59 per person, per night. Additional apartments on the grounds can accommodate a further 13 people and yurts can be arranged. You rent it on a self-catering basis but owner Emily Naper can organise a caterer if you prefer. Interiors are a relaxed mixture of boho elegance. Outside there’s a tennis court, private gardens and patio terrace to enjoy.
Elegant Inch House near Thurles was built in 1720 and can accommodate 19 people in the main house, with additional accommodation on site for six more if required. Many guests opt for the freedom of self-catering but you can also opt for a private chef, which owners, the Egan family can provide. The property has a lovely country kitchen for hanging out in and a library bar which operates on a BYOB basis.
Prices start from €2,000 for a two night stay, and €5,000 for the week, self-catered, or just under €38 person, per night. At that price the kids could pay for themselves.
Careysville House near Fermoy, Co Cork sits so close to the beautiful Blackwater that you could spend your day fishing and never get out of bed. The Georgian gem is a tiddler compared with its owner, the Duke of Devonshire’s, other home, Chatsworth, but was so favoured by a former title holder, who used to visit with his pals every summer, that he bought it. A
vailable, self-catered, from €3,750 a week, it sleeps 10. Property manager Maura Bielski says it’s a perfect base for those who want a post-lockdown break to which their own pals can come and visit. “It’s perfect for that because it’s huge,” she says. Catered options can be provided and this year, for the first time in many, it’s not opening for fishing, just for private house parties.
The style is perfect country hunting lodge but, she says, the “complete opposite” of stuffy. The antlers in the pool room won’t even offend your vegan visitors’ sensibilities – “It’s 20,000 year old elk, found in a bog,” she explains.
Since 2007 The Millhouse in Slane has been a hugely popular wedding venue but you don’t have to tie the knot to book it. It also offers a terrific, fully catered venue for parties.
“We turn into a private hotel,” says owner Janey Quigley, who grew up here. The property has 15 bedrooms, “so it’s not hard to fill,” she says, pointing out that one is a family room that sleeps six. In total it can accommodate up to 40 guests, though the first person to get to the outdoor hot tub might find they’ve bagged it for the duration, given the times we’re in.
If you’re planning an even bigger event there are additional fun options too, including luxury glamping with safari tents, a railway carriage and a shepherd’s hut, all laid out on a beautiful riverside location. From €8,750 a week.
As a lad quantity surveyor Noel Corcoran used to cycle out from Cork to admire Crosshaven House, with its prominent location overlooking the marina. Having made his money in a global career, when the house came on the market buying it was an easy decision to make, he says.
Today it’s a fabulous venue in which to celebrate a special occasion, with separate hostel-style accommodation in the basement, called 51 Degrees North, where all the cousins can enjoy dorm style fun – including a proper cinema – while grown-ups can live “to the manor born” in the restored Georgian country house upstairs. Altogether it sleeps 26, with both grand and upright pianos standing at the ready for a right old knees up.
Available year round – and magical at Christmas - the main house costs from €1,125 per night, and the hostel property below from €420.
Inchequin House in Corofin, Co Clare, which accommodates 10, is managed by the Irish Landmark Trust, so decor watchers can enjoy knowing that all the period details are correct. Unusually for its properties however, this one comes with the option of catered dining, making it a terrific venue for a milestone celebration.
The property, which is both child and dog friendly, has three double bedrooms and two twins, with four bathrooms. Outside it has a lovely patio with garden furniture, perfect for al fresco dining. All Irish Landmark Trust properties allow visitors equivalent to the number of guests the property can accommodate, so in this case, you can invite 10 more people to your celebration.
From €1,120 for two nights, the minimum stay allowed.
For a full-on party venue check out Orlagh House in Dublin’s Rathfarnham. The former religious retreat centre was bought three years ago by local investors and has since been extensively renovated. Today it sleeps 25, in 14 bedrooms, and manager Roisin O’Hanlon can help you organise any kind of function you’d like.
You don’t even have to stay overnight – book it for the day and have a great big get-together with street food vendors and ice-cream vans, perhaps, and the run of its 45 acre grounds. As well as terrific reception rooms it has a large basement with table tennis, darts and a full sized snooker table.
The house can be rented overnight from €2,500 per night or daytime only from just €1,500, plus VAT.