12 getaway cabins to retreat to this autumn – The Irish Times


Maybe it’s the Marie Antoinette effect – the more you have, the more you seek the simple. When the Queen of France found the Palace of Versailles a little too much, she would head to her Petit Trianon Palace and play at enjoying a more modest life. In all fairness, the Petit Trianon is still a little fanciful, so perhaps we should turn to WB Yeats instead when we want to explore the appeal of a rural retreat. As all Leaving Cert students learn, Yeats yearned for his little clay and wattle shack, nine rows of beans, and a splash of lake water. It’s a lasting feeling.

Huts, cabins and yurts are popping up in Ireland, and if you thought going back to basics meant having to manage basic facilities, think again. Today’s cabin retreats have endless style and range from child-friendly to grand craic and ultra-romantic, while offering everything you could ask for in the stakes of pared-down yet still charming simplicity. . They can also give you a nice, adventurous mini-break at a fraction of the cost of a full hotel experience.

More space

From locations in Co Antrim to Fourth Mountain, Co Wexford, Further Space offers glamping pods for up to four people. Add double beds with lovely linens, showers and a coffee station, plus bunk beds for extra bodies, and you’ll be spoiled for choice. Some sites are pet-friendly, and you’ll also find fire pits for fall evenings. Discover more sites at Carrickreagh Bay in County Fermanagh and Kinelarty in County Down. Prices for two nights at the weekend, for two adults and two children, start at £300, including a campfire experience. Add an extra night midweek for the same price; space.further

Blackwater Eco Tours, Villierstown, County Waterford

The perfect base from which to explore the Blackwater Valley, Villierstown is a beautiful heritage village leading down to the water’s edge. Blackwater Eco Tours is a community initiative offering guided river tours, kayaking, self-driving boats and more. They can also show you the way to many rivers and walking trails, so set up camp to fully explore in one of their four accommodation pods. Each can accommodate up to five people and contains a shower, bathroom and kitchenette. From €95 per pod, per night. blackwaterecotours.ie

Lough Mardal, County Donegal

Lough Mardal’s luxury lodge and yurts have a kind of safari vibe; you can almost imagine wildebeest outside your door. But if it’s the cabin life you crave, they offer that too, in the form of shepherd’s cabins. Dating back to the 15th century (but not this one in particular), the small wheeled cabins were used for sleeping in the fields during the lambing season. These days, they’re luxuriously furnished, with king-size beds and crisp white linens. From €110 for two per night; loughmardal.ie

Blackstairs Eco Trails, County Carlow

Spend the night in a shepherd’s hut at Blackstairs Eco Trails and enjoy a free stargazing experience. Enjoy the absence of light pollution as you’ll receive a night sky calendar, plus comfy mats, hot chocolate, and marshmallows. You can also book picking, learn about mushrooms and find out what the Celts had to say about trees; all in the grounds of the former Victorian presbytery. Guests have the use of a converted barn for washing and cooking, with breakfast served in the barn in the morning. Two nights for two cost €160 including breakfast; blackstairsecotrails.com

Rock Farm, Slane, County Meath

A working farm on the grounds of Slane Castle, Rock Farm offers houses, huts and glamping options, all on the banks of the River Boyne. Try one of the two shepherds’ huts, which sleep two, or Swallow’s Nest with a bit more space – as you can add a travel cot if needed. Do you feel a little friendlier than that? Lime House is Ireland’s largest eco-friendly straw bale lodge and can sleep up to 22 people, with rooms available individually. Also on site is an outdoor wooden hot tub, a natural pool, and a weekly farmer’s market so you can stock up on treats for your stay. Shepherds’ huts from €117 for two nights for two people; rockfarmslane.ie

Clissman Horse Cabins, County Wicklow

Get back to basics (minus the skills of harnessing a horse) and reconnect with nature in one of these colorful tiny houses on a family farm. A short distance from Glendalough, traditional caravans and handcrafted shepherds’ huts provide a comfortable glamping experience. Stay late by the fire pit with a cup of something hot and enjoy the magic of a dark, starry night in the Wicklow Mountains. The caravans accommodate a couple or a family with young children, from €95 per night. You can take the caravan on the road with a horse for a three-day trek, from €580 per caravan. clissmannhorsecaravans.com

Cabü by the Lakes, Co Cavan

Nestled deep in the woods of Killykeen Forest Park in Co Cavan, Cabü offers luxuriously furnished and designed cabins in a range of different sizes, providing the perfect escape into nature for couples or families. Log cabins are designed for all seasons; whether you’re looking to curl up by the fire in a woodsy cabin in the winter (with books, treats, and games provided) or rent the lake-view boathouse in the summer. If you can tear yourself away from the beautifully designed interiors, the site offers boating, bike rentals, outdoor hot tubs and a sauna, and unlimited forest bathing. A midweek stay starts from €486 for two nights. https://holidays.cabu.co.uk/cabu-by-the-lakes

Fernwood Farm Forest Dome, County Galway

Part cabin, part geodesic dome, this autonomous bubble of happiness is nestled in a forest canopy, five meters above the wooded ground. The entrance porch is made of cedar shingles and is filled with firewood. The dome itself rests on a wooden deck where you can sit and absorb the sounds of nature, before entering the dome to bask in the quality interior of a five-star hotel, with a bed super king, a wood stove, a rain shower with hot water and cooking facilities. There is a lakeside sauna on site, with additional accommodation in the recently opened stilt house, all located at the start of the Connemara Greenway, just minutes from Clifden. From 200€ per night. www.fernwood.eco

CroPod, County Donegal

A contemporary mountain pod on the Wild Atlantic Way, this bespoke retreat is the perfect escape for writers or nature lovers seeking the wilderness. Perplexed by the cramped conditions of other glamping options, the owners built this light-flooded, oak-lined underground shelter overlooking a coastal mountain lake. The surrounding area offers plenty of fence-free walks, including a hike to the secluded mountain cabin where Dylan Thomas stayed to write. The CroPod is built for two, with additional accommodation on the way to the Escape Cottage. From €210 for two nights via Airbnb. https://www.airbnb.ie/rooms/33763380

The Bird Box, County Donegal

A small retreat for two adults, the Birdbox is a cozy, handcrafted treehouse nestled in the boughs of beautiful oak and Scots pine trees with views over Glenveagh National Park. The 30m wooden walkway leading to your hut through mature trees alone is enough to dissolve any residual stress. Complete with rope bridge and loft bed, the Birdbox is available from €85 per night via Airbnb.

The Ladybird Cottage at the Old Rectory, Co Wicklow

If you want to bring the whole family or a group of friends on your wilderness getaway, this six-bedroom cabin with full kitchen, deck, and fireplace can sleep up to 12 people. Surrounded by mature gardens offering a variety of plants and flowers as well as a maze of willows, the Old Rectory in the mountains of West Wicklow offers other accommodation options; children and teenagers will especially love the converted attic bedrooms or the wooden caravan nearby, for the ultimate sleepover. From 200€ per night. www.theoldrectory.ie

Ark Ranch Treehouse, Macroom, County Cork

Enjoying an alfresco breakfast on the balcony of this handcrafted treehouse is like waking up in the jungle, nestled among the trees and ferns of an organic farm. The light and airy interior has sleeping space for two under the eaves of a mezzanine, with a sofa bed for additional guests downstairs. The tree house has its own hot shower, flush toilet and wood burning stove. Perfect as a base for exploring Lough Allua and the wilderness of Cork and Kerry. From 125€ per night. https://www.airbnb.ie/rooms/49719911

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