The term “glamping” may have begun as a quirky word to describe a new travel trend, but today it’s become a bonafide industry of its own. In an age of Airbnb, luxury hostels, and pod hotels, glamping is just one of many oxymoronic stay options available for travelers.
Perhaps it is self-explanatory, but the term comes from a blend of the adjective “glamourous” with the original camping. But while camping may bring to mind images of pitching tents, cooking over open flames, and sleeping on the ground, glamping is something else entirely.
Glamping brings together the wonder of sleeping under the stars with the creature comforts to which we are used in our daily lives. It takes the chore out of camping, allowing you to maybe actually relax and rejuvenate on your outdoor holiday. With the weather of a classic Irish summer making plans for outdoor trips a bit risky, the more permanent nature of glamping accommodations versus your own tent can give you security in being able to enjoy the trip.
Across Ireland, glamping sites have cropped up as alternative locations for you to stay while travelling, but also as destinations in themselves. Ireland’s natural beauty makes it a perfect glamping destination, and you can explore most parts of the country in this way.
One location where it’s ideal to be immersed in the natural environment is the Aran Islands. On the largest of the Aran Islands, Inis Mór, the glamping site has larger accomodations for up to six people and smaller ones for up to four people. These smaller huts were designed especially for the site and inspired by the beehive shaped structures built by moks. One special difference: these sites are heated making them a viable destination all year.
Other irish glamping destinations embrace the nature which surrounds them into their entire brand. In Clare you’ll find PureCamping, where they lean into the location by turning glamping into an eco-retreat. You can go for a weekend of glamping on it’s own, or take advantage of yoga classes and retreats to make the most of your eco-holiday.
Similarly, Rock Farm Slane is a fully eco-friendly tourism experience. They source water for showers from the rain (which is luckily abundant in Ireland), grow vegetables and fruits on their organic farm, and only use firewood sourced from their property. They also host weddings and events.
At Pink Apple Orchard, they offer a variety of glamping accommodations as a part of their eco-friendly accomodations on their family cider orchard. Still designed to be family friendly, here you can choose to stay in a yurt (a type of circular tent), or you could book their “Hobbit House,” inspired by Tolkien’s stories and designed for up to six people.
Ballyvolane Country House in Cork is your classic Irish house hotel, with six bedrooms available for accommodation or rentals of the entire home for parties and events. However, they decided to join in on the glamping trend and set up these outdoor accommodations from May to September. Smaller tents for pairs and larger family sized tents can be found on the grounds of the house, and has full catering available to really eliminate any worry on your part.
Perhaps the most unique of Ireland’s glamping experiences, at Finn Lough Resort in Fermanagh you can stay ing glamping globes, giving you full views of the sky (and they provide star maps to help you make sense of it if you choose).
In Donegal, you’ll find Portsalon Luxury Camping on the northern coast. They have five yurts, complete with queen sized beds and wood burning stoves, which are available for stays in April through October. Not far from the village, you can take advantage of the beaches in the area or other activities along the coast.
From March to November, Killarney Glamping rents what they call “Glamping Suites” at their sites only a twenty minute walk from Killarney town. This is the ideal glamping experience for those looking to enjoy the luxury and tranquility of this accommodation, while still being able to avail of the activity and bustle of the town.
Luxury in the woods is the essence of camping at Dromquinna Manor. Their custom made tents were designed specifically by safari tent experts in India. They are the last word in luxury. None of the centre poles, low head room, bumpy floors, lack of fresh air and condensation, these are truly luxury tents.
Many of Ireland’s other glamping destinations are stand alone structures for rent on sites like Airbnb, and they’re among the most popular properties on the site. This is, of course, a testament to the way that glamping truly takes advantage of Ireland’s natural beauty and peaceful surroundings. There sites tend to book well in advance, especially since many of them are totally unique, but if you plan in advance you could design an entire holiday around staying in one of these incredible alternative accommodations.
WRITTEN BY ELIZA SULLIVAN