10 Best... holiday hideaways
Don't let penny pinching put a stop to your escape from the daily grind. Pól ó Conghaile has found 10 great Irish hidey-holes guaranteed to erase memories of the nine to five
Tibradden Farm Cottages, Co Dublin
Farm cottages don't exactly spring to mind when one looks to book accommodation in Dublin. This award-winning collection could change that, however. Set on a 200-acre farm just eight miles from the city centre (and 10 minutes from Dundrum Town Centre), the cottages are built to four-star luxury spec and come with two, three or four bedrooms. Families and small groups are the target market, and the Wicklow Way is among the attractions close to hand.
Details: The Tibradden Cottages are priced at €650-€950 (high season), €550-€725 (shoulder season) and €450-€590 (low season) per week. Contact Chris and Valerie Keogh (01-493 2559; dublincottages.com).
Primrose Grange House, Co Sligo
Sitting on the southern slopes of Knocknarea Mountain, Primrose Grange House dates from 1721, when it was built as the original Sligo grammar school.
Views stretch from Ballisodare Bay to the Ox Mountains, and the guest wing consists of a two-bedroom apartment on the ground floor (sleeping four to six people). Strandhill beach is nearby, as is the best of Sligo, ranging from Carrowmore's prehistoric tombs to the Voya spa and Montmartre restaurant in Sligo town itself.
Details: Primrose Grange House is priced at €700 per week, year-round. Contact Freddie Symmons and Saoirse O'Donoghue (087 264 1979; primrosegrangehouse.com).
Doyle's Lodge, Co Wicklow
Hidden Ireland says its self-catering houses differ from "the mass of modern bungalows" blighting part of Ireland's landscape, and this Regency gate lodge in Fortgranite bolsters the claim.
The tiny, listed building sleeps just two people in two bedrooms and sits squirreled a mere 500 yards from the River Slaney at the foot of the Wicklow Mountains. Trout fishing and golf are among the activities nearby, and the parkland setting completes the sense of a diminutive hidden treasure.
Details: Doyle's Lodge is priced at €450 (high season), €450 (shoulder) and €350 (low) per week. Contact Piers Dennis (059 648 1396; hiddenhr.com).
Roundwood Cottage, Co Laois
You may know Roundwood House -- the Palladian pile at the foot of the Slieve Blooms near Mountrath. But did you know there is a forge, coach house and cottage in its grounds too?
All are available for self-catering stays, with the coach house sleeping seven, the forge up to four and the tiny cottage just two people in one bedroom.
The latter is stashed away in a corner of the walled garden and is so cute that the owners joke that Hansel and Gretel could have been the original tenants.
Details: Roundwood Cottage is priced at €280 per week, year-round. The forge costs €320 and the coach house €600. Contact Frank and Rosemarie Kennan (057 873 2120; roundwoodhouse.com).
Rossbrien Cottage, Co Cavan
Cavan has been building quite a tourism presence for itself of late, with ambassadors such as Neven Maguire and attractions such as the Kingfisher Trail just two reasons for visiting this under-rated county. Rossbrien is a converted sandstone cottage in Belturbet, sleeping nine in four bedrooms and boasting views over the Quivvy Water. Guests have a private boat on the River Erne and the area is ideal for fishing, walking, golf and riding. The welcome pack includes a bottle of wine.
Details: Rossbrien Cottage is priced at €650 (high season), €550 (shoulder) and €350-450 (low) per week. Contact Caroline Connolly (049 952 2976; hiddenhr.com).
The Old School, Co Kerry
This old schoolhouse in Glenderry dates from 1874, having catered for almost 100 students. Today, things are slightly more luxurious, with up to eight people accommodated in four bedrooms.
The Old School commands great views towards the Dingle Peninsula and is in an excellent location for touring Kerry. It's not far from Limerick, and golf courses, eateries and beaches are a dime a dozen.
Details: The Old School is priced at €950 (high season), €850 (shoulder) and €750 (low) per week. Contact Brendan Bruton (01-822 2391; theoldschool.ie).
Mount Cashel Lodge & Stables, Co Clare
Alastair Sawday includes these 18th-century lakeside retreats in his Special Places to Stay in Ireland, saying the owners love them so much, "you cannot conceivably leave unconverted".
The lodges sleep up to five people; the larger, converted stables can accommodate nine. All are set on a landscaped estate, with riverside walks, coarse fishing, boating and golf to hand. Sixmilebridge is a good base for getting the best out of Limerick and Clare, from the Burren to Bunratty Castle.
Details: The Mount Cashel Lodges are priced at €800 (high season), €700 (shoulder) and €600 (low) per week. The stables cost €1,500 (high season), €1,200 (shoulder) and €900 (low) per week. Contact Pat and Annette Shanahan (061 369142; mtcashel.com).
Croc an Óir, Co Tipperary
Capable of sleeping 12 in five bedrooms, this 200-year-old Mullinahone farmhouse has been restored, slate by slate, for a new career in tourism. The farmhouse is situated at the end of a botharín beneath Slieve na mBán (on a farm that straddles the River Anner), and the wheelchair-accessible accommodation includes a huge dining area. If you enjoy woodland and river walks, look no further. Cashel, Clonmel, Fethard and Kilkenny are nearby.
Details: Croc an Óir is priced at €795 (high season), €595-€695 (shoulder) and €450 (low) per week. Contact John and Monika Bermingham (052 53117; crocanoir.com).
The Coach House, Co Wexford
Located in a pasture by the River Barrow, this three-bedroom house at Campile, near New Ross, is perfectly positioned to get the best out of Wexford and Waterford.
Hook Head, the Dunbrody Famine Ship, the JFK Arboretum and villages such as Kilmore Quay and Dunmore East are all within striking distance, and rolling countryside, ruined abbeys, dramatic coastline and surprising beaches will banish memories of the working world. A home from home in the sunny south east?
Details: The Coach House is priced at €550 (high season), €400-€500 (shoulder) and €300-€400 (low) per week. Other properties also available. Contact Susan Devane (051 388 694; fruithillholidayhomes.com).
Grace's Cottage, Co Galway
If you can't remember the last time you've been to Connemara, now's the time to return. West Galway has all of the fishing, hiking, sightseeing and seafood a holidaymaker could wish for. Grace's Cottage is a refurbished stone-build overlooking Ballinakill Bay, about 15 minutes from Clifden. With sea, mountains, lakes and rivers lining up to make your acquaintance, you have all the ingredients for a memorable stay.
Details: Grace's Cottage is priced at €1,200 (high season), €850 (shoulder) and €650 (low) per week. Contact Michelle Barry (095 21071; hiddenhr.com) .