10 secret hideaways in Ireland’s Ancient East

Wicklow Head Lighthouse, County Wicklow

From castles and cottages to lighthouses and lovely glamping spots, Ireland’s Ancient East offers some truly unique places to stay

1 Blackstairs Eco Trails, County Carlow

If you are looking for a quiet and cosy retreat in the Irish mountains where you can learn more about rural life in Ireland, there is no better place than The Blackstairs Eco Trails in County Carlow. Accommodation here includes a lovingly restored barn and two gorgeous shepherd’s huts in a wild flower meadow. This is paradise for lovers of nature, art and spirituality, where days are punctuated by foraging trips and river walks observing butterflies and picking flowers. But don't worry – Wi-Fi is available if you want to post snaps of this heavenly hide-away. Feel like coming to Carlow to enjoy the simple life?

2 Knocknalosset House, County Cavan

Knocknalosset House is a picture-perfect two-storey farmhouse, in the heart of the lakelands of County Cavan. A peaceful oasis found on a quiet country lane, this property is ideal for those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life and experience a real journey back in time. The interior features many original details, and the décor, filled with carefully curated antiques, makes this the perfect getaway. Local attractions include horseriding, forest walking trails, and some good fishing spots.

3 Bellingham Castle, County Louth

A luxury destination situated on the River Glyde, Bellingham Castle is a lush rural property that features a beautiful weir, with footbridges and walkways made for romantic walks. A former aristocratic seat of architectural and historical interest, its story goes back to the 17th century, and you’ll be able to discover more of it by browsing in its cosy library over a warm drink by the log fire.

4 Rock Farm Slane, County Meath

Situated in an ancient grove overlooking Slane and the River Boyne, Rock Farm is a unique glamping spot carefully carved into one of Ireland’s most historic landscapes. A luxury eco-certified boutique resort, it offers farmhouse rooms, five yurts and two shepherd’s huts, and recreational activities include kayaking, rafting and straw bale building. Venture out further to explore the Boyne Valley's historic landmarks, including Slane Castle and its newly-opened distillery. 

5  Wicklow Head Lighthouse, County Wicklow

One of Ireland’s few lighthouses that function as self-catering accommodation, Wicklow Head Lighthouse is a place where memories are made. An Irish Landmark listed building, it features six octagonal rooms looking out on the Irish Sea. Close to other notable locations in the Wicklow countryside, like Powerscourt Estate, Wicklow Gaol, The Sally Gap and Glendalough, it’s perfect for the tourist looking for nature and culture in one place.  

6 Batty Langley Lodge, County Kildare

Elegant Batty Langley Lodge is part of the wold-famous Castletown House, one of Ireland’s largest Palladian buildings, a French Baroque-style property known for its majestic riverside gardens and parkland. From here you can enjoy the beautiful environs of County Kildare, famous for its many stud farms and passion for horseracing. We think this testimonial will make you click the ‘Book’ button right-away: "In a world gone mad, how reassuring it is to know that a place like this still exists. Top tip of your stay: take off your watch when you arrive and don’t put it back on until you leave – time means nothing here!"

7 Roundwood House, County Laois

An award-winning, family-friendly Georgian country house hotel, Roundwood House nestles in parkland below the Slieve Bloom mountains. This lovingly decorated oasis features blazing fires, communal dinners, expansive gardens and was once described as having a “marvellous doll’s house-like quality”. Explore the beautiful scenery of the Laois mountains, and retire to the unusual, purpose-built library in the evening to delve into the history of world civilisation with a glass of wine.

8 Wineport Lodge, County Westmeath

A rustic retreat on the shores of Lough Ree, Wineport Lodge is a luxury getaway that offers an exceptional experience with understated style. Close to Athlone town, with outdoor hot tubs, outstanding dining, and water activities close-by, this makes if perfect for family and group breaks. 

9 St Columb’s Presbytery, County Kilkenny

A former coach house throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, St Columb's Presbytery has found a whole new lease of life as a quirky and very charming holiday home. Tucked away in the lush County Kilkenny countryside, just outside the beautiful and historic village of Inistioge, this is a wonderful base from which to explore the pretty Nore Valley. Fully restored into luxury accommodation, it still retains its unique character including an open fireplace - perfect for snuggling up on frosty nights. 

10 Fuchsia Lane Farm, County Tipperary

Quaint cottages don’t come better than this. Recently voted as one the 100 places to stay by The Irish Times, and recipient of many international travel accolades, Fuchsia Lane Farm is a great place to holiday with friends, family … and pets. Small and colourful (thus, the name), it offers an authentic rural experience only a short drive from the bustle of the market town of Terryglass and the shores of Lough Derg, so there are plenty of ways to pass the time and make this an unforgettable getaway.

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