Just one fleeting hour on a plane from London to Ireland, and I woke up to an entirely different world; a world of jaw-dropping road trips, soda bread, and a trio of luxury self-catering cottages.

Upon landing in Cork, my first destination was architectural masterpiece Skyros in the colourful harbour town of Schull; and the journey there was a captivating one. The final stretch was particularly spectacular, passing all the little islands off the coast of West Cork as the dipping sun set fire to the water.

With glass of wine poured, and cheese and crackers prepared, I spent the evening gazing out as night blanketed Ireland's Mizen Peninsula before retiring to bed for an impossibly comfortable night’s sleep.

From Schull, active types can go island-hopping, hiking, or boat-tripping, or simply mosey around the village shops to pick up trinkets and taste local fare. For me, staying close to home was the order of the day. After endless mugs of tea sipped in bed, a few gentle strolls along the coast, and a dose of people-watching from the local café, I left Skyros feeling rested.


Up next was Irish bolthole Sienna. I opted to take the (even more) scenic route to Kenmare, taking a winding three-hour route through the Glengarrif Woods and navigating steep mountain passes. The scale of the Emerald Isle's outback took my breath away, and traversing many a steep drop made my heart rate soar. The drive alone was an experience of a lifetime.

The cottage lies within one of only three gold tier Dark Sky Reserves on Earth; as I sunk into the bubbling hot tub, gazing up at the stars, I felt a deep sense of gratitude to be staying somewhere so secluded. Donning a fluffy robe, I toted myself back inside where the log burner was lit, and a glass of wine and delicious fish and chips from the van parked up the road awaited.

With the Wild Atlantic Way and the Ring of Kerry right on the doorstep, the cottage is a springboard to all sorts of outdoorsy activities; from horse riding on leafy riverside trails to picnicking on forested mountain paths, and water-skiing to chocolate-making. That being said, guests of Sienna would be forgiven for staying put at the window-side table and watching the outdoor scenes unfold with a pot of coffee and soda bread from nearby Kenmare village.


The last leg of my Irish road trip involved a drive to Glenbeighconsidered the jewel in the crown of County Kerry, for a long-awaited stay at Limehouse Cottage. Changeable weather meant I saw this section of the Ring of Kerry in every mood, yet every edge greeted me with beauty. Zig-zagging between towering hills and sparkling lakes, rugged cliffs and colourful houses all in a row, this was a memorable drive flanked by sky-high mountains. 

On arrival at Limehouse Cottage, I was in awe of the incredible landscape that wraps around the property, and knew instantly that the glass-box living room would be where I would spend most of my time here.

With world-class walks straight from the front door, there is no need to hop back in the car again. Unless, that is, you have decided to pop down to Emilie’s in Glenbeigh for coffee and cake, and some ingredients for dinner. With fire lit, a favourite singer crooning over the speakers, and supper simmering on the hob, my last evening in Ireland was an exceedingly cosy affair.

At sunrise the next day, I took my morning coffee outside with me and tiptoed into garden's stone bath. Steaming water, fragrant bubbles, and one the most incredible views I have ever experienced brought my final Irish dawn to a very special end.


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