So, the term ‘staycation’ has been knocking around in Ireland since the big R hit back in 2008. And while plenty of us have been exploring what our own back yard has to offer – from surfing to unique festivals… I never really felt like a ‘staycation’ could truly be a cheaper but just as desirable holiday.
The trouble is the typical traveler of my generation tends to be driven by two things. The first is value and the second is unique experiences.
In relation to the whole ‘value’ thing, I personally feel like accommodation in Ireland is still overpriced at 2007 figures, particularly when you factor in things beyond just the room itself – like what constitutes a good service, or perhaps just a good breakfast (if you’ve ever had a great ‘complimentary’ breakfast in an Irish hotel that wasn’t 5 star, please do let me know where it was! I’ve yet to find one).
In regards to the second desire – for unique experiences – I fear too often we find ourselves sacrificing that truly unique place to stay, special view or local taste of life for the sake of getting something cheap but awfully ‘samey’. So often, when planning a trip we catch ourselves saying things like ‘It’s just so… touristy.’ as a negative, or maybe ‘Where do I go to find the real local stuff?’, ‘Where do the locals go?’. We want to meet ‘real’ people and have ‘real’ experiences. But all too often these experiences and places can be hard to discover, if you don’t already have friends in the know… or maybe it isn’t featured is some article. And by then sure, it’s too late, right? Everyone else is in on it too!
Enter Airbnb – the online community marketplace platform for awesome accommodation. A marketplace that, while establishing strong roots elsewhere since 2008, is only really beginning to kick off here in Ireland. And finally the good value staycation is becoming something of a reality. Whether it’s a couch, a cottage or a castle, there’s sort of something to fit for all tastes and budgets. And it’s not just about having a unique experience in terms of accommodation either, but also those experiences with connecting to new people from totally different backgrounds, perspectives, and well, breakfasts! So if you want to experience the genuine, non-cheesey Cead Mile Failte and rekindle a love for your own place, I’d definitely recommend giving Airbnb a go. Going local is also a great way to ‘test’ out the service, if you are (like some friends who are now big fans) in any way nervous about using it abroad.
To get you cracking right in, I’ve put together a list (yes, it’s another list – there’s probably some wonderful German word for this obsession with lists). To keep myself to some kind of theme, this list is an example of just some of the gems to be found, particularly along the Wild Atlantic Way – the Corkonian part of which I’ll be off ‘rediscovering’ myself this week (that’s code for heading down to my favourite country pub).
A more extensive wish list of places around can be found here.
What: Headfort House
Where: Kells, Co. Meath
Sleeps: 60+ (yes, 60… so divide that price)
Price: €1,200 per night*
Check this out for… The ball room / dining hall, swimming pool, cricket and rugby pitches and a whole host of other ways to keep a large group entertained.
What: Cuckoo Wood Hexagon
Where: Westport, Co. Mayo
Price: €75 per night*
Check this out for… wildlife – from Salmon and goats to an actual cuckoo.
What: Beara Vista
Where: Sheeps Head, West Cork
Price: €100 per night*
Check this out for… the best view from a jacuzzi in Ireland and amazing coastal walks along the Wild Atlantic Way. Beara is famously the location of film Ondine and is a regular retreat for global a-list celebrities. Michael Jackson was even rumoured to be buying a home there just before his passing….
What: Cottage Retreat
Price: €95 per night*
Check this out for… a wifi and TV-free trip back in time – so you can ‘check out’ on modern life when you ‘check in’.
What: 5 Bedroom House
Where: Kenmare, Co. Kerry
Sleeps: 10 (some kids)
Price: €110 per night*
Check this out for… stunning views of the Ring of Kerry, luxury design and outdoor garden ready for BBQs
What: Crann Og (Yurt)
Where: Gort, Co. Galway
Sleeps: 2 adults, 2 children
Price: €50 per night*
Check this out for…a hassle free family camping trip to around the Burren / Cliffs area.
What: Castlebawn – an Island Castle
Where: Loch Derg, Co. Clare
Price: €100 per night*
Check this out for…lake views, four poster beds and boating. Plus, did I mention it’s a castle?!
What: Mill Cottage
Where: Kells (the other one), Kilkenny
Price: €95 per night*
Check this out for… a traditional retreat next near the beautiful medieval town (sorry, city) of Kilkenny. Is it possible to be in love with a roof?! Kilkenny is a great place for a night out, unique shopping boutiques and bizarre but wonderful arts festivals.
Have you recently stayed somewhere worth mentioning yourself? Let us know your recommendations!