Star-gazing domes to fancy yurts: the best places for glamping

If you want to stay somewhere different – but with all the comforts of home – try ‘glamorous camping’

Finn Lough domes in Fermanagh

Finn Lough domes in Fermanagh

 

The recent good weather has us giddy for the outdoors. But not so giddy that we want to abandon our home comforts. Glamping – or “glamorous camping” – continues to climb in popularity, with a choice of tepees, tree houses, aircraft, buses, gypsy caravans, sheds, London taxis and more. We take a whistle-stop tour of the country to check out what’s available.

Woodlands and walled gardens

Set in the rolling east Cork countryside and surrounded by 80 acres of gardens and farmland dotted with cows and rare-breed pigs, Ballyvolane House offers fully-catered glamping, with the main house offering dinner and breakfast options. Peaceful and inviting, you can ramble through the woodlands and beautiful walled gardens. You can help to feed the pigs and collect the eggs for breakfast every morning, and try the locally distilled Bertha’s Revenge gin. Prices from €150 per tent per night (for four people). Breakfast in the hotel included. ballyvolanehouse.ie

Ancient forest

The newly opened glamping site at the Powerscourt Estate in Co Wicklow is in the middle of an ancient forest. Safari tents are well spaced, with some sleeping up to eight people. They include access to a private decked outdoor barbecue area and equipped kitchen, plus a private tented bathroom with internal cast-iron stoves. Children will love the outdoor cinema, or there’s Lego for rainy days. Minimum two-night stay in peak season when prices start at €165pp sharing. campglamp.ie

Powerscourt glamping site
Powerscourt glamping site

Sleep in an aircraft

The owners of Quirky Nights caused quite a stir last year when they floated a Boeing 767 jet by boat along the Irish coastline from Shannon Airport to the glamping site in Enniscrone, Co Mayo. The aircraft will house eight accommodation units when it opens later this summer. In the meantime, Quirky Nights also has a Hobbit Village, a London double-decker bus, London taxis and a train carriage, where four people can stay for €120 per night. quirkyglamping.ie

Wicklow Mountain views

Set on a rolling Wicklow farm in Tinakilly, the Old Forge has spectacular view of the Wicklow Mountains. You can stay in yurts or bell tents and you can even bring your horses on holidays here. Prices are €120-€200 per night for four. theoldforgeglamping.ie

Old Forge yurts in Tinakilly, Co Wicklow
Old Forge yurts in Tinakilly, Co Wicklow

Yoga and kayaking

Purecamping, which sits on the Wild Atlantic Way on the Loop Head Peninsula, offers standard camping, along with bell tents and eco wooden cabins. With a focus on unwinding from daily life, the site has yoga classes, a pizza oven and events through the summer. There’s lots for the family to do like kayaking, hiking and roaring campfires. Overnights from €120 for four, including bedding and firewood. purecamping.ie

Wooden pods

East Coast Adventure, in Co Down has wooden pods that are great value at just £20/€24 per night and sleep up to four. Plus, it’s open all year round for the hardiest glampers. Explore Game of Thrones country in the Mourne Mountains, or take a visit to Ballintoy Harbour, the scene for the TV show’s famous battle. eastcoastadventure.com

Wooden pods at East Coast Adventure in Co Down
Wooden pods at East Coast Adventure in Co Down

Luxury tents

The luxury Hideaway at Dromquinna Manor just outside Kenmare, Co Kerry is as close to sleeping indoors as you can get in a tent. On the banks of the Kenmare River, a safari tent sits in a private woodland setting with luxury bed, high antique furnishings, quality linens and en suite facilities. Breakfast is delivered to you each morning. For dinner, you can cook under the stars or visit the on site Boathouse Restaurant. Prices are €350 per night for two. Or take one of the equally luxurious tents in the main campsite from €150 for two. Dromquinnamanor. com

The Hideaway at Dromquinna Manor
The Hideaway at Dromquinna Manor

For star-gazers

If looking at the stars is your idea of heaven, then check out the bubble domes at Finn Lough, Fermanagh. These are the only domes of their kind in Ireland or the UK, and are located in the forest and well spaced out for privacy. Each dome has a en suite bathroom and four-poster bed, from £195/€240. Finnlough. com

Seaside yurts

The sounds of the sea will lull you to sleep in your comfortable yurt on Cape Clear Island. Stay between June and the first week of September and spend your days swimming, fishing, walking and just relaxing. Prices from €90 per night for four sharing. yurt-holidays-ireland.com

Fully-catered glamping at Ballyvolane in Cork
Fully-catered glamping at Ballyvolane in Cork

Zorbing and ziplining

Todds Leap, in the Clogher Valley near Lough Neagh, Co Tyrone is the ideal place for glamping groups who want to work off some extra energy. Activities include a boot-camp, zipline, off-road driving, JCB driving, blind driving, zorbing, wall climbing and lots more. Accommodation is in colourful snooze boxes or log cabins, from £38/€42pp, with activities extra as chosen. toddsleap.com

Vintage caravan

The cutely named Teapot Lane in Tawley, Co Leitrim has a vintage caravan, yurts, a traditional country cottage and a tree house for visitors to stay in. From €120 per night for two people. It also hosts events and hen parties from €229 per person for a weekend, including activities. glampingireland.ie

Romantic tents

Romantic glamping at Killarney Glamping
Romantic glamping at Killarney Glamping

Killarney Glamping, at the Grove on the outskirts of the town, is only for couples, so the emphasis is on romance. The Bell tents have luxurious beds and bedding. The A-frame tents are light and spacious, with prices from €308 for two people for two nights. killarneyglamping.com

Eco-friendly campsite

The beautiful Inch beach in Co Cork is a big favourite and the Inch Hideaway is just minutes away. The eco-friendly campsite is perfect for enjoying the great outdoors. The yurts here have their own private space and the largest can accommodate up to six people. Enjoy the walks and outdoor activities on offer or cosy up by the campfire beneath the stars, €75 per night for two.yurtecocamping.ie

Outdoor hot tubs

Whether you’re a single traveller, a group or a family, Rock Farm in Slane has lots of sleeping options in its ecovillage. One thing is for sure, you certainly won’t be bored as there are plenty of activities in the local area – from kayaking and rafting to “recreational tree climbing”. They host food festivals during the year, as well as weddings and events, so there’s always an excuse to visit! Don’t miss the outdoor hot tubs. Prices from €397 for four people for two nights. Rockfarmslane.ie.

Seaside pods

If you really want to get away from it all, then head to Inis Mór and enjoy a stay at this wonderful little glamping site directly by the sea. The specially-designed Clochán na Carraige pods are decorated in lovely shades of blue to really invoke that seaside feeling. And they’re fully heated too, so you know you’ll always have a warm place to retreat to after a day spent exploring the island. Do bring rain gear too. Prices €50-€100 per night for two people. Irelandglamping.ie

Traditional tepees

Tepee Valley campsite has a Wanderly Wagon-esque caravan called Rosie Lee and traditional native American tepees. You can also choose from yurts, a log cabin or a geodesic dome outside the small town of Markethill, in Co Armagh. The campsite has great views over the countryside to the Cusher River and across to Slieve Gullion. Here you will experience peace and quiet with the comforts of home. Nightly rates £140 -£160/€175-€200 for four. tepeevalleycampsite.co.uk

River Valley fun

At River Valley Park in Roundwood, Co Wicklow you can hire one or two tree houses. Built in beautiful surroundings, the houses can take two adults and up to four children. They cost €150 per night and you need to bring your own bedding and sleeping bags with you. There’s lots for the kids to do here, including a petting zoo, crazy golf, pool tables and remote control cars. rivervalleypark.ie

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