With flights now linking every corner of the UK to the Emerald Isle, it has never been easier to visit the home of Guinness. But you don’t have to follow the crowds into the city hubbub and settle for your fill of the black stuff with a dose of pre-packed culture at an Irish dancing show. The wild beauty and gourmet gems of Ireland await just a short hop beyond the tourist centres; which is why we’ve selected a handful of unique house party properties within an hour or so of Dublin and Cork. At our Irish Unique Home Stays you’ll experience a classic rural retreat infused with Irish heritage, wrapped in local culture, and serving up hearty portions of gourmet cuisine and sumptuous style. There are no formulas and no set packages, these are luxury properties where your hosts will provide a bespoke stay according to your highest expectations.
Fly to Dublin
CASTLE MEATH, Co. Meath, Southern Ireland
Indulge in the high life in one of Ireland’s finest small castles that has been owned by the same family since it was built in 1614. Quirky and luxurious, you’ll find mini bars hidden away in the turrets, rambling gardens in which to lose yourself and luxury mod cons camouflaged by enchanting period décor.
Distance from Dublin: Just an hour from Dublin.
The basics: Sleeps up to 18 guests in regal style, with a mix of four posters, lavish doubles and twin rooms.
What will I do there? Simply relax amongst the art that adorns the magnificent Georgian drawing room; sip wine and whiskey as part of an organised tasting; go boating or fishing on the lakes; walk off the gourmet cuisine on a woodland ramble; rejuvenate under the hands of a masseuse; or hire a golf pro to improve your swing on the 18 hole golf course in the grounds.
The food: Private chefs will be organised to create a culinary extravaganza served up in the grand dining room.
Costs: Please contact Unique Home Stays for a bespoke quote.
Find out more: www.castlemeath.uniquehomestays.com
SLANE MANOR ESTATE, Nr Slane, Co. Meath, Southern Ireland
This beautiful family home, set in 70 acres of lush parkland, offers the best in Irish hospitality: Unwind by the log fires, sip your favourite tipple in the intimate bar and sink into an ambience of classic luxury.
Distance from Dublin: Only 30 minutes from Dublin airport.
The basics: Sleeps up to 12 guests in the manor (bag the master suite and you’ll get his and hers en suites). An additional cluster of luxury cottages on the estate sleep a further 24 guests.
What will I do there? Grab a pair of wellies from the porch and stride out for all weather walks in the surrounding parkland and beyond, have a masseuse pummel away the city blues, or work up a sweat in the gym or on the all-weather tennis court.
The food: In-house chefs use fresh, local ingredients to conjure up exquisite feasts served in the magnificent Georgian dining room. Guests staying in the cottages can arrange to have a delicious Irish breakfast delivered to the door. And if you can bear to tear yourself away from your retreat you will discover a handful of fine restaurants in the area.
Costs: From £5,000 for a 2-night fully catered stay for up to 12 guests in the main house. Luxury self-catering cottages from £200 per night based on 4 sharing.
Find out more: www.slaneestate.uniquehomestays.com
GEORGIAN PALLADIAN MANSION, Co. Roscommon, Southern Ireland
Indulge your senses in the offerings of a historical mansion dominated by pure luxury. The ruins of a medieval castle lie in the grounds of this stunning country house that boasts handcrafted Astragal sash windows, stone flagged floors and musket chambers. With 30 exquisite rooms spread over three floors, this is the place to throw a house party to remember.
Distance from Dublin: 1.5 hours from Dublin airport.
The basics: Sleeps up to 12 guests in six beautiful bedrooms with four-poster beds and luxury bathrooms.
What will I do there? Roam the orchard of rare apple trees, explore the castle ruins, make use of the tennis courts and croquet lawn, or go trout and coarse fishing onsite on the River Suck. When it rains (which is quite often in Ireland) you won’t get bored with a choice between a Billiards room with a full-size snooker table, TV lounge with a home cinema and a country-style kitchen.
The food: Fabulous caterers can be arranged should you wish to put your feet up and relax.
Costs: €4,500-€6,000 per week / €75- €95pppn
Find out more: www.georgianpalladianmansion.uniquehomestays.com
Fly to Cork
KINSALE HOUSE, Co. Cork, Southern Ireland
Stylishly informal, this 18th Century Georgian Country Lodge has been totally refurbished and decked out with and eclectic mix antiques and treasures from overseas to highlight the wanderlust of the Georgians. Loved by the rich and famous, the house is set in a beautiful 40 acre private estate and comes fully serviced with a private chef, butler, waitresses. Some seriously high profile superstars have stayed here in the past (but I am afraid our lips are sealed!).
Distance from Cork: Only 20 minutes from Cork international airport.
The basics: Sleeps up to 53 adults and 3 children in the main house and recently converted coach house and cottage.
What will I do there? Staying amidst 40 acres of mature woodland overlooking the Bandon River you won’t be short of beautiful walks on the doorstep. And it’s just a stone’s throw from Ireland’s Riviera – the historical port of Kinsale – where you’ll find restaurants, a thriving sailing scene and live music concerts. The owners have over 20 years experience in the events industry, and using their expertise and contacts can organise you a stay to remember.
The food: A hotspot for foodies, Kinsale is often referred to as the ‘gourmet capital of Ireland’, so there are plenty of tasty gems at your fingertips. If you would prefer to dine in your country mansion a fancy three-course meal can be pre-arranged for £40 per head (min). The chef uses vegetables and herbs grown on the estate.
Costs: From €148pppn B&B
Find out more: www.kinsalehouse.uniquehomestays.com
THE GREENS, Co. Cork, Southern Ireland
Lose yourself in the atmosphere of utter frivolity in a property which reflects the fertility, richness and natural diversity of the land on which the estate lies. Come inside and you’ll find a realm of chic indulgence within the walls of a classic Georgian mansion that was modified in Italianate style in 1847. Barefoot or ball gowns – make the party as relaxed or as formal as you like – you’ll have the entire place to yourselves.
Distance from Cork: Only 45 minutes from Cork international airport.
The basics: Sleeps up to 14 in seven, individually furnished, immaculate bedrooms.
What will I do there? Beyond the formal terraced gardens, you’ll find parkland, lakes and mountains that beg to be explored. As well as stepping out in extensive historic hinterland, you can take part in a number of outdoor pursuits from clay pigeon shooting and fishing to croquet and tennis.
The food: The food is straightforward country house style, using ingredients (organic where possible) sourced from specialist local producers and grown in the walled garden. The menus vary with the season, weather and fishing conditions.
Costs: House parties from €330pp for 2 nights, including breakfast and dinner.
Find out more: www.thegreens.uniquehomestays.com
And if you want to travel a bit further afield for that special house party property, checkout:
The Floating Castle, Co. Fermanagh, Northern Ireland
Within 2 hours of Dublin & Belfast airports www.thefloatingcastle.uniquehomestays.com
Limavady Park, Nr. Lough Foyle, Northern Ireland
One hour from Belfast, or just 8 miles from City of Derry Airport by private jet. Limousine or helicopter transfers are available directly to the estate from City of Derry, Belfast International or Dublin Airports.
Colebrooke Mansion, Co. Fermanagh, Northern Ireland
One hour 20 minutes from Belfast
For more information contact Sarah Stanley or Sarah Milligan
Tel: +44(0)1637 881942
||This is a small selection of our Unique Home Stays Country/Coastal retreats. Please see our website for more ideas and accommodation to suit you. We have properties in the UK, USA, Spain, South Africa, Morocco, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, India, Greece, France and the Czech Republic.
||Please contact Unique Home Stays in the event of featuring any of our properties.
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||We can organize press trips for select journalists and we work alongside a handful of professional journalists who can provide bespoke write-ups if required.
||Launched in 2001, Unique Home Stays offers the creme de la creme of privately hosted accommodation that offers a unique alternative to run-of-the mill hotels. Having travelled the world, MD Sarah Stanley knew what she expected from top quality accommodation: Intimate and luxury hospitality, pristine homes oozing with character, excellent regional cuisine and comfortable bedrooms with all the trimmings. Today Unique Home Stays offers superior accommodation in over 100 homes scattered over 14 different countries. The properties include castles, priories, rectories, windmills, water mills, townhouses, coastal homes and even a house in the sea.