Joe and I have been staycationing for the last few years, in-part for sustainability reasons – this included our honeymoon last year. We’ve traveled up and down the Wild Atlantic Way and have stayed in lots of places. Over the last year, we’ve opted to try out some more unusual accommodation options in Ireland. I’ll talk you through some that we’ve already tried out. There should be something unique for every type of traveler so I hope you enjoy it.
Bubble Domes In Fermanagh
We have a list of unusual accommodations that we’ll be working our way through but we wanted to go with some really special ones for the honeymoon. One of our top picks was staying in a Bubble Dome in Finn Lough in Co. Fermanagh and it was amazing!
Our Experience In The Bubble Dome
I initially thought that I might feel exposed in some way and struggle to sleep due to the clear walls on the dome. How wrong I was, I slept like a baby. Being able to see a million little stars in the clear night sky was spectacular on the first night. It reminded me of the camping scenes you see in the movies. Our second night, it was hammering rain, so we experienced the best of both worlds. The sound of the rain while curled up in bed with the electric blanket on was an absolute dream!
It’s far from your standard glamping, each bubble dome has luxuries like a Nespresso machine, speaker, and some of the thickest bathrobes I’ve ever come across. The food in the restaurant is to die for! Night one, we had an unbelievable three-course dinner and were surprised with some extra treats to congratulate us. We planned on eating out on the second night but after doing The Stairway To Heaven hike (and getting lashed on) it was nice to stay in one spot. Before dinner on the second day, we did the elements trail in the spa. The elements trail consists of floatation, saunas, hot tub and relaxation room, all while wandering through a forest – bliss! It’s the best spa experience I’ve had to date.
Finn Lough offers a range of unique accommodation options but I think the bubble domes are the most special. I’ve written a more in-depth piece, if you’d like to read my full run-through of our stay in Finn Lough.
Lighthouse Staycation On Clare Island
We had heard a lot about Clare Island Lighthouse and how amazing it is for a staycation. After having an unintentionally nautical themed wedding, we thought it would be a fitting place to visit on our honeymoon. We arrived over to the island the night before and stayed in O’Grady’s B&B. It was a gorgeous spot and allowed us to wander about and see the island before heading up to the lighthouse. The lighthouse itself is at the far side of the island to most of the other accommodation. It’s beautifully remote and so tranquil up there – and the views!
We were welcomed with a spread of tea/coffee and fresh-baked scones – this should be a thing everywhere. Our fantastic host, Roie, talked us through different things to do on the island. Once we were fed and watered we were shown to our room. If being in a lighthouse wasn’t quirky enough, we stayed in the sauna suite. (If you haven’t noticed from other posts – I love a good sauna and am a regular in Fad Saoil Sauna) Just take a look at how amazing it was…
Our Experience In The Lighthouse
After a little potter around this side of the island and an attempted swim, we had a sauna before getting ready for dinner. All guests meet in the main sitting room for a pre-dinner drink and chat. Once our drinks order was taken we were welcomed into the dining room. Dinner in the lighthouse is eaten at a communal table with the other guests. Honestly, I thought it would be weird but it was actually quite nice to have the chats. The food and company were lovely and we finished our evening with a sauna before bed – I’m aware have sauna issues.
In the morning I had another sauna (are you seeing a trend here?) and went over to the main house for breakfast. With full bellies, we set off on foot across the island to get the ferry back to the mainland. Our bags were transported over to the harbor, giving us the freedom to explore the island more. It’s a gorgeous remote landscape, we walked the whole circumference of the island and bumped into maybe 5 people. It’s a great place to go for some headspace.
Treehouse Glamping In Leitrim
Last summer, Joe’s family got him a gift of a staycation in a treehouse! Now, to say I was excited about how unique this staycation would be an understatement. Teapot Lane is a beautiful setup and the treehouse itself was like something out of Sylvanian Families. We were met with cute stained glass windows and a wood-burning stove – so cosy.
Our Experience Living In The Treehouse
For the stay, we opted to lunch out and cook for ourselves in the evening using the barbecue in the deck. We were blessed with the weather so cooking out on the deck was actually really enjoyable. Full disclosure, I sat on the deck with a glass of wine watching Joe cook 😁 After dinner, we sat on the deck with our bottle of wine and watched the sun go down. There was a DJ playing in the communal area on the first night, so we went for a bop.
We slept so well in the pitch black of the woods, away from all synthetic light. In the morning, I woke to a chorus of birds just outside our door – bliss! We did the 13km Gleniff Horseshoe walk one of the days and did a little Geocaching on the way. . It is a beautiful walk (or drive) surrounded by lush green in every direction.
For this particular staycation, I have to give a special shout out to the shower! It was beneath the treehouse itself and had a window that opened out onto the woods. I never knew I needed to feel that freedom but, Jaysus, I really want an outdoor shower in my house when I get one – the notions on me. But seriously, you need to experience it for yourself. I left Teapot Lane feeling so centred and as though we had been there for a week rather than a weekend. On the drive home, we stopped off in one of my favourite spots, Shells Cafe in Strandhill for lunch. After that we grabbed an ice cream in Mammy Johnstons, just to finish the weekend on an absolute high.
If you’d be interested in reading more on this unusual accommodation in the west of Ireland, I’ve written a full blog on our treehouse adventure in Teapot Lane.
Unique Yoga Retreat In Mayo
The BigStyle Atlantic Lodge has to have been one of my favourite getaways last year! We went for a yoga (or not just a yoga) retreat, and honestly, I left feeling like a new woman. Kris and the lads have built something really special in the lodge, we walked in the door and immediately felt like we were in an old friend’s house.
Our Experience In The BigStyle Atlantic Lodge
Each morning did yoga practice, followed by a hearty homemade breakfast and a chill-out. In the afternoon, we did a variety of activities, from surfing and hiking to massage workshops and acro yoga. There was plenty of downtime between activities, which was very welcome as we had been up to 90 in the weeks before.
The communal area was so comfortable and chilled without everyone sitting on top of one another. The rooms were more like a paired back hotel than a hostel. We had a private double room with ensuite and it was super comfy and clean. I don’t know if it was the bed or the fact that I got so chilled but I slept like a rock for the whole week.
The combo of sea air and lounging by the wood-burning stove, paired with the activities had me feeling both invigorated and relaxed. One evening we went for a sea swim followed by chats and a couple of beers in the outdoor hot tubs, looking out over the bay – complete and utter bliss! The atmosphere and the guys down there make the whole experience, they’re more like a family than colleagues which immediately makes the vibe down there super welcoming.
I have plans to visit some more unusual accommodation options in Ireland when we are safe to travel again. Of course, when we do, I’ll let you know my thoughts but until then, are there any slightly different places that you’d recommend? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.