Luxury glamping spots
Forget about the tents you’ve slept in at festivals or on childhood camping trips. The lodges at Dromquinna Manor were custom-made and designed by safari tent experts, which explains why they wouldn’t look out of place on the plains of Kenya. Each one has a covered veranda with views of Kenmare Bay, but you can also open the main doors and take in the views from the giant log bed (complete with goose down duvet). For added luxury, book the Hideaway, set on a private and secluded location overlooking the water.
Whichever of the five yurts you stay in at Portsalon Luxury Glamping, you’ll get some cracking views of the local Donegal countryside, from the slopes of Knockalla to the waters of Lough Swilly. Each yurt is set on its own private area within the grounds, and has outdoor seating and a fire pit to boot. There are also hammocks you can hang from the posts outside your yurt, so you can read your book while swaying gently.
Repurposed from former chalets in Killykeen Forest Park, the cabins at Cabü are seriously luxe, with Aztec print throws, thick rugs and roll top baths in some of the bedrooms. There are 28 cabins and lake houses spread throughout the forest, with great views of the surrounding trees and wildlife, and outdoor decks where you can soak it all in. You can go kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding, rent a boat to explore Lough Oughter or hang out at the Sitooterie, a cool outdoor space with board games and fire pits. There’s also a spa with hot tubs and a Japanese bath set among the trees.
Family glamping spots
If you want to keep the kids happy with plenty of activities, Top of the Rock is a great shout. It’s set on a working farm, so there are plenty of animals around, but the Farmhands activity lets kids gather eggs, transport sheep and feed the baby calves and lambs. It finishes with a hayride around the field, with Suzy the goat on board. The on site playground offers plenty of space for the children to run around, and the glamping pods are a hit with younger kids.
There are loads of different accommodation options at Glamping Under the Stars, with bell tents, shepherd’s huts and log cabins, as well as a range of hobbit huts. It’s super family friendly, too – the owners have three kids of their own, and while couples are welcome, the focus is definitely on families, which means a quiet camp come evening. Although there’s a big communal kitchen and campfire for all guests to enjoy, each accommodation has their own private bathroom.
Set on a peaceful, small site just outside Thomastown, Butterfly Valley Glamping has two bell tents, two pods and a vintage caravan, all surrounded by trees. As it’s a fairly small operation, it’s a popular choice for group trips, so you can come with extended family or friends and take the whole site. There’s a campfire, cooking and dining area and the Grennan Woods are just over the road, so you can explore the forest and walk along the River Nore.
You don’t need to head into the depths of the countryside to try your hand at glamping. Pod Umna is right in the middle of Portumna, so the town is right on your doorstep. There are a few different accommodation options to choose from – the fully insulated pods vary in size, sleeping up to five, and there are three different cabins and a clock house, too. They also rent bikes if you fancy exploring the area on two wheels.
If you’re a family that likes to keep active, the International Outdoor Adventure Centre has archery, raft building, kayaking and high rope climbing, as well as a Viking challenge course and axe throwing. After all that action, sleep in one of the glamping cabins on site, which can accommodate up to four people.
Glamping spots with a hot tub
There’s quite the community vibe at Rock Farm Slane, with a shared living area, a clay pizza oven and a big communal fire pit, where you can make s’mores at night with your fellow glampers. There are a few different accommodation options, from seasonal yurts and bell tents to shepherd’s huts, which are open all year round. But the real draw is the wood burning hot tub, where you can soak under the trees on the banks of the River Boyne.
If you like a pun, you’ll enjoy booking a stay at Willowbrook, where the accommodation has names like Yurty Ahern or Yurt Cobain. Wordplay aside, the yurts are cosy and weatherproof, with huge covered decks where you can chill outside, whatever the weather is doing. Two of the yurts have private wood burning hot tubs, which you can fire up whenever you fancy a soak.
The accommodation at Mayo Glamping is a whole new level of quirky. Sleep in a grass topped hobbit hut, a rustic A-frame cabin or a fairy hut, shaped like a bell tent. There’s even a railway carriage, designed to look a little like the train to Hogwarts in Harry Potter. In the evening, work up a sweat in the wood-fired sauna or take a dip in one of the hot tubs.
Dog-friendly glamping spots
As well as the regular campsite, there are 24 different pods at the Aran Islands Camping and Glamping site on Inis Mór (Inishmore), with 12 curved pods and 12 cabin-style units. All of them have small en-suite bathrooms, so you won’t have to run to the toilet blocks in the middle of the night. But the real selling point is the location, with Frenchman’s Beach just over the road. Even better? You can bring your dog along, as there are pet-friendly pods available (though not in the peak summer season).
At most glamping spots, you’re left to your own devices when it comes to food. But at Ballyvolane House, a full cooked breakfast is included in the price and served up in the main house, where you can also book in for a four-course dinner. The bell tents and glamping arks come with comfy beds and hot water bottles, and are open from May to September. Dogs are welcome in all the glamping units, and there are plenty of estate trails for walkies.
Romantic glamping spots
There are five skydome yurts at Lough Mardal Lodge, each set on their own little patch of land so it feels like you have the whole place to yourself. Inside, there are giant beds with thick duvets and Donegal tweed blankets, as well as a wood burning stove to keep things toasty. You can even see the stars from your bed, through the little skylight at the top of the yurt. There’s also a little shepherd's hut onsite, with great views over the lake.
With solid wooden frames but sections of canvas overhead, the glamping suites at Killarney Glamping at the Grove blend classic tent features with a bit of all-weather sturdiness. If you want to get cosy, you don’t need to light a fire – all the units have heating. There’s even heating on the outdoor patio, so you can sit with a glass of wine looking out over the meadow even in the chillier months. Alongside the luxury lodges and custom-built cabins, the whole site is for adults only, which adds to the romantic vibe.
When it comes to romantic settings, a bell tent overlooking the sea is tough to beat. At Wild Atlantic Glamping, each bell tent has a private terrace overlooking Lawrence Cove in Bantry Bay, and they all come with a complimentary bottle of prosecco, homemade scones and marshmallows for toasting over the fire. If you want to get a little more active, set off to explore Bere Island by kayak, with rental available right from the glampsite – you can even go at night, to catch the sunset and the night sky in one fell swoop.
There are two glamping options at the Getaway – fully furnished cabins with kitchenettes and bathrooms, or the cosy ‘belle’ tents, which sleep two. The latter are great for a romantic break, with a big bed and decking area with a BBQ. If you’re feeling social, hang out in the Nook, the old stone barn with a wood burning stove and campers’ kitchen. If not, the seafood restaurants and pubs of Dungarvan are a 10-minute drive away, and the trailhead for the Cruachan Mountain hike is just a few minutes from the site.