7 Top Air B’n B’s in the West of Ireland available RIGHT NOW

7 Top Air B’n B’s in the West of Ireland available RIGHT NOW – BEAN AN TÍ

 

In a post originally inspired by Journalist on the Run, and again prompted by my recent post on the West of Ireland and why it’s actually kinda great, I thought I’d do some research and compare some of the most interesting and unique accommodation options listed on Air B’n’B in the area, should you be so inclined to favour the internet over the traditional B’n’B strategy of knocking on doors and hoping for the best.

Also worth mentioning is a friend’s recent establishment of an Air B’n’B feeder company – quite aptly named in this sense ‘Bean An Tí’. The company offers regular or once-off cleaning and maintenance services to Air B’n’B homeowners for a fee and a kind word of recommendation. They’re currently based in Dublin and work with Air B’n’B hosts there, but should their success extend further afield in the coming months I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

Here’s a short list of some of the most intriguing dwellings in the Galway/Clare area listed on Air B’n’B right now..if number 5 doesn’t make you want to at least experience it I don’t know what will!

1. The Camper Van

 


Quirky Burren Camper

Ballyvaughan, Clare, Ireland

If you’re a fan of camping yet would prefer a

slightly more luxurious option (‘slightly’ in this case meaning absolutely marginal) this 2-bed camper van in Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare near The Burren is available to rent a mere 20-30 minutes drive from the Cliffs of Moher, Doolin, and the Ailwee Caves. Despite the lack of a shower (?!) this seems to be a pretty alright deal, with the only catch being that you can’t actually drive the camper van. Right. It also says nothing about heating or even a mini-heater, which, as anyone familiar with camping in Ireland will know is just a bit silly really. Ireland is cold. Undecided about this one.

2.  The Stone Cottage


A stone cottage we call “The Bothy”

Gort, Galway, Ireland

This is the reason people come to the West. Typical traditional stone dwellings with no internet, TV, or external communicative outlets to be found, in the middle of nowhere. Great for a few days unplugging from the world….It may make you feel like you’ve escaped civilisation. Whether this is a good or bad thing, you decide. Cabin fever medication not included.

Car is recommended.

 3.  The Light House 

 


The Light House

Fanore, Clare, Ireland

– a misleading title if ever there was one! Don’t be fooled here, you’re not going to get to stay in an actual Light House (how cool would that be?!) but this 2-person loft conversion above a house in Fanore, County Clare is still quite an attractive option. This is how you market your extremely clean but fairly average and pretty out-of-the-way spare room, people! €59 a night and with great views it’s kind of a no-brainer.

 4. The Gate Lodge

 


The Gatelodge

Killoscully, Tipperary, Ireland

 

I’m not going to lie, this looks like something out of ‘The Secret Garden” movie. An entire charming country property available to rent complete with stone walls, surrounding coutry walks, and a stuffed pheasant in the window. Only a stone’s throw from Shannon airport and Lough Derg in Killoskully, Tipperary, this looks like a great option if you’ve forgotten your wellies – they seem to be included too!

 5. The Wagon.

 


Kittyscamping cosy accommodation

Kinvarra, Galway, Ireland

 

For anyone who grew up watching ‘Into The West’ with Gabriel Byrne (classic 90’s Irish movie involving a boy and his mythical horse) this traditonal gypsy wagon accommodation will be like taking a step back in time. Stationary wagons accomodate up to 4 people and are situated in a campsite near the Burren, which also welcomes other forms of mobile accommodation. Shared BBQ and other amenities make for a real community feel. If that wasn’t enough they’re also situated close to the Burren and other tourist attractions, in case you didn’t want to, I don’t know, just live there and pretend the rest of the world doesn’t exist. This looks so cosy I don’t think I’d ever leave.

 6. The Cottage

 


Idyllic views in Connemara, Galway.

Oughterard, Galway, Ireland

 

If it’s views and typical Irish scenery you’re after, this ‘Idyllic’ property in Oughterard, Connemara has you covered. Still only 5 minutes from the town, the attached images and reviews seem to live up to the detailed descriptions and honestly look absolutely gorgeous. Yeh. Seems like a solid choice.

7. The Self-Contained POD.


Self Contained POD

Clare, Clare, Ireland

From Wonderly Wagon to a futuristic take on the same nomadic lifestyle – this ‘Self-contained POD’ in County Clare allows for comfort and style in a kind of festival ideal that will just make your heart ache for the ‘glamping’ area of Stradbally and Electric Picnic – only 3 months to go!

6 Reasons to Visit the West of Ireland

How the West was is Fun – 6 Reasons to Visit the West of Ireland

1. Shop Street, Galway City

Shop-Street21

Romantic images of ‘The Magical Ireland’ aside, Shop Street in Galway really is the Diagon Alley of Irish muggledom (yes I did just use a fictional place as a means of comparison- what of it). This narrow, winding, and densely populated street is lined with everything from high street brand names to Eastern European market stalls (on a Saturday), buskers of every kind imaginable, and even several pubs where anything less than a 24-hour live-music céilí is classed as a ‘quiet day’. (Taaffe’s and Tigh Cóilí). The cobblestones have been known to cause several tipsy topples and are best navigated in comfortable, non-heeled shoes!

2. Cliffs of Moher

 I couldn’t have made this list without featuring probably the most recognisable chunk of land in the country down in the chinstrap of Ireland. The Cliffs of Moher are eerily parallel to sea-level and rise up out of the waves as steady and firm as a perfectly layered cake – green icing and all. On a good day, it’s windy. On a bad day, it’s downright perilous…But still very very pretty. Multiple outer layers recommended, and no filters necessary! #OneForInstagram

Cliffs-of-Moher1

3. The Aran Islands

11896040_10153041866218483_7652129811617087260_n
Ireland’s answer to the island-hopping backpacking jaunts of Thailand and SouthEast Asia, pack your kit bag and a couple of cans and catch the ferry out to Aran, for as satisfying a retreat as any pristine, sandy, ‘untouched’ beach in Indonesia could provide. You won’t find any coconuts, but rumour has it there’s a rock somewhere on Inis Meáin in the shape of Leonardo Di Caprio’s head….

           More on the Aran Islands here

4. Connemara

unnamed-4

From Spiddal, to Ros a Mhíl, to ‘lock-ins’ and incomprehensible local dialects (even some English speakers), Connemara really is an experience that most Irish people fail to appreciate completely. Stunningly barren landscapes roll into sudden clusters of habitation, the local pub the central hub of communication and shop attendants so charmingly Irish that they marvel at the foreign intrusion of ‘a mango, no less!’ onto the fruit shelves of the local grocers. Gaeilge is actively spoken here and resides as harmoniously alongside Bean an Tí (woman of the house) as the delicious home-baked goods in our tums after a windswept walk on the coral beach in Carraroe.

5. Lahinch

lahinch_surf_school

Although we’re a far cry from Bali’s Batu Balong beach or the warm, attractive swells of more tropical climates, the West Coast of Ireland has been dubbed a surfer’s paradise and boasts several ideal spots such as Lahinch for a days’ floundering in the Wild Atlantic Sea. If you’re like me and fail fantastically at being tied to a large piece of polystyrene and fiberglass, numerous schools and lessons are available, Lahinch Surf Experience being among the most noted. Further up the West Coast, Mullaghmore in Sligo has even been featured in Lonely Planet’s ‘Best Spots to Catch a Big Wave’. No fear of the waves stealing your swimsuit here, as inch-thick wetsuits are a necessity, yet still might not protect from teeth-and bone-shattering temperatures – it’s gonna be COLD.

6. Regular Direct Buses to/from Dublin

staff

This is the clincher for many tourists to Dublin who may be interested in taking a trip West. Both Citylink and GoBus operate a non-stop hourly service leaving from Dublin Airport and the city, at extremely affordable prices. Comfy, efficient, and guaranteed to get you there within the 2 1/2 hours’ promised time.If you’re lucky you might even get a plug socket!

If that’s not enough to get you itching to explore the West of Ireland, check out these top budget Air B’n’B listings available now! 

Useful Links

Lahinch Surf Experience
Tig Cóilí
Taaffe’s Bar
The Cliffs of Moher
Aran Island Ferries
Trá an Dóilín Carraroe
Wild Atlantic Way
Citylink
Gobus

Ó Chonamara go Cambodia – From Connemara to Cambodia

Ó Chonamara go Cambodia – Seachtain Amháin Le Dhul

(Leagan Béarla ar bhun- English version below)

Éadaí fós sna málaí a d’iompar mé trasna na tíre ar an turas deiridh le hiarnáil amach, iad ag stanadh orm ó chúinne an seomra, láithreacht déanta níos glórmhaire toisc go bhfuil níos lú ná coíscíse le dhul go n-imeoidh mé arís.
Ag an bpointe seo is dóigh go bhfuil an maisín níocháin faoi a thuilleadh bhrú ná mar atá mé fhéin, ag iarraidh dul i ngleic leis an lámhdeachais (turnover) seo agus cinnte a dhéanamh go bhfágfaidh mé le mála droma lán le héadaí úra le chaitheamh agus tuáillí breá glan is tirim.
Teastaíonn uaim dul tríd gach rud, rudaí le thabhairt a shocrú amach, rudaí le caitheamh. Ba cheart dom liosta dhéanamh, rudaí a sheacáil as an liosta sin, pacáil a dhéanamh uair amháin le feiceáil an dtéann gach rud isteach, agus gach rud a bhaint amach arís le stuif a bhogadh thart.

Ba cheart dom. Ach ar chúis éigin, níl mé ró-bhuartha faoi.
Mar tá a fhios agam go mbeidh sé uilig togha. Cé nár chaith mé an oiread seo ama as baile riamh le chéile ag aon am amháin – tá tréimhsí fada déanta agam i nGaillimh le seachtainí ar deireadh a chéile gan trácht ná smaoineamh a chaitheamh siar don bhaile – ach tá sé seo difriúil. 10 seachtain ag obair agus ag taistil in oirdheisceart na hÁise. Seans mhaith nach mbeidh mé ag iarraidh filleadh abhaile ariamh – ná bí buartha, a Mham, beidh mé sa bhaile don Nollaig, ach cá bhfios cén áit a dtógfaidh an taithí seo mé ina dhiaidh sin – agus táim oscailte le cíbe rud!
B’fhéidir nach bhfuil sé gearr go leor go fóill leis na sceirbe a bheith ag teacht isteach…ach ar bhealach éigin airím nach mbeidh siad ansin an uair seo. Airíonn sé uilig comh maith sin. Airíonn sé i gceart. Nílim buartha faoi na nithe beaga de; na rudaí nach gá bheith buartha faoi. An scaoll idir eitiltí leis an gceangal a dhéanamh i gceart, nó an bosca mór piollairí malaria a bheidh liom an t-am uilig, gan trácht ar na féidireachtaí a bheidh ann teacht i dteagmháil le roinnt galair eile.
Is cúis imní níos mó ar fad dom é go mbeidh mé nochtaithe ar fad – ag taistil liom féin go tír comh iasachta seo gan teagmháil láithreach ar bith nó lámh le greim a choinneál ar má tharlaíonn aon rud.

Ar bhealach eile táim níos mó ar bís ná mar a bhí mé riamh d’aon rud. Ag cur mé fhéin amach ansin mar seo – dúshlánach agus dánaíoch go leor, ach ag forbairt ar mo chuid sháiniúlachta agus neart fhéin ag an am céanna, mar ní bheidh deis ach a bheith ag súil amach dom fhéin. Mise a bheidhs ar thús cadhanaíochta do na geataí imeachta, don deasc ‘visas’, don t-ostán agus ar aghaidh don scoil gach lá ina dhiaidh sin. Mise a bheidhs freagrach as cé comh maith no holc a n-éiríonn liom ar an turas seo – agus seo an rud – ní fíor-rogha atá san ‘olc’ sin!!
Is follasach a rá go bhfuil idir meascán de mhothúcháin agam, ach ag an am céanna, creidim go láidir nach mbeidh riamh aon ‘am ceart’ le rud mar seo a dhéanamh. Beidh ‘risk factor’ de shaghas éigin i gcónaí ann, agus da mba rud é gur fhán muid uilig i gcónaí ar an ‘opportune moment’ glacadh le dúshláin nó athraithe móra, bheadh muid ag fanacht go deo!

Mar atá sé anois airím réidh, airím láidir agus go breá cumasach, ar bís le feiceáil cá dtógfaidh an turas seo mé, go fisiciúil agus go spioradálta. Laethanta caite ag breathnú in éad agus ardmheas ag post Kathryn Thomas ar ‘No Frontiers’ is mé i mo shuí le cóipleabhar mata thart, mé anois ag cothú leis an ‘wanderlust’ agus spreagadh chun taistil is mé in ann faoi dheireadh dul amach liom fhéin sa domhan. Nílim tosaithe ag pacáil go fóill, ach tá liosta intinne déanta agam de na nithe a bheidh uaim, nithe a bheadh áisiúil, nithe nach dteastaíonn uaim in aon chor, agus nithe a ndéanfaidh mé gach iarracht a thabhairt liom ar aon chaoi.
An cúis imní is mó atá agam i láthair na huaire ná ag oibriú amach cén chaoi mála droma, giotar, mata íoga agus laptop a thabhairt liom uilig ag aon am amháin tríd na haerfoirt éagsúla agus amchriosanna (time zones) le casadh le duine éigin ar an taobh eile – le fírinne, d’fhéadfainn cúraimí níos measa a bheith agam faoi láthair! Tá go maith.

_________________________________________________________

From Connemara to Cambodia – 1 Week to Go

Ironing out the creases on clothes that I have yet to unpack is a beckoning chore, the bags I’ve just lugged cross-country made all the more noticeable in the corner of the room due to the fact that there are less than two weeks to go until I leave again.

At this stage I’m fairly sure that the washing machine is more apprehensive than I am, being expected to accommodate this turnover and ensure that I leave fully equipped with a backpack full of fresh clothes to wear and clean, dry towels. I need to go through everything, to sort out what to bring, what to wear. I should make a list, tick things off, pack once to see if everything fits and unpack again to rearrange things.

I should. But for some reason I’m not that worried about it.

Because I know it’ll all be fine. Even though I’ve never been away from home for this long all in one go – I’ve done stints in Galway for weeks on end without even thinking about home – but this is different. 10 weeks of work and travel in South East Asia. Chances are I won’t ever want to come home – don’t worry, Mum, I’ll be home for Christmas, but God knows where the experience could take me after that – and I’m open to anything!

Maybe it’s not quite close enough to it yet for the anxieties to have crept in…but somehow I feel like they’re not going to be there this time. It all feels so fine. It feels right. I’m not worried about the small details of it; the unecessary things. The panic of making connection flights, or the large box of malaria tablets I’ll have to keep on my person like a passport at all times, or the possibilities of contracting some unknown foreign diseases.

I’m more concerned with the fact that I’ll be so exposed – travelling alone, to such a foreign country and with no immediate contact or hand to hold should something go wrong.

In another way I’m more excited than I ever have been for anything. Exposing oneself like this is simultaneously daring and challenging, yet also extremely character-building and exciting, because I’ll have no choice but to look out for myself. I’ll be the one leading the way to the departure gates, to the visa desk, to the hotel and subsequent school the next day. I’ll be the one responsible for how well or badly the trip goes, and here’s the rub – ‘badly’ is not even being considered a real option here!

I think it’s safe to say I’m experiencing a very mixed range of emotions, but at the same time, I’m a firm believer that there is never going to be a ‘right time’ for me to do any of this or for me to make it happen. There’s always going to be some sort of risk factor involved, and if we were to always wait around for the ‘opportune moment’ to come to undertake a big change or challenge, we’d be waiting around forever!

As it stands I feel ready, I feel strong and capable and excited to see where this trip takes me, both literally and spiritually. My days of ogling Kathryn Thomas’s job on ‘No Frontiers’ as I sat and finished maths homework that was due days beforehand are finally being given some food to grow and see what can be made of the wanderlust that frustrated me at not being allowed out into the world. I haven’t started packing yet, but I’ve made mental lists of things I’ll need to bring, things that would be handy, things I definitely don’t need to bring, and things I’m probably going to try to bring anyway.

My main concern at the moment is how I’m going to manage a backpack, guitar, yogamat and laptop all at once as I travel through the various airports and arrive in a confusion of timezones to be (hopefully) received at the other side – to be honest, there are worse worries I could be having right now! All is well.

unnamed

4 Reasons To Visit the Aran Islands

11896040_10153041866218483_7652129811617087260_n

Bikes. Boats. Wind. Currachs. More wind. Sheep and cows and woolly jumpers your Granny made you wear at Christmas time that are great for keeping out the cold and also, you guessed it – the wind.
We’ve all been there, no??

As someone whose teenage Summers were spent for months on end in the Gaeltacht, and many a summer-holiday in my youth camped in fields with only some board games for entertainment, I had generally assumed that ‘Na hOileáin’ were a fairly standard destination for most Irish families at some point in their lives.
Being bundled into the back of the car with some ham & cheese sandwiches in ziplocked bags and cartons of Ribena to ‘keep you going ‘til teatime’ and driven cross-country to unknown destinations in the rain was generally what ‘holidays’ meant for us until the advent of Falcon package-holiday deals with kids’ clubs filtered its’ way to the forefront of my parents’ fairly limited knowledge of affordable travel options.
Given all this, I was shocked to discover recently that a colleague of mine who grew up in the Gaeltacht area, a mere 20-minute drive from the port at Ros a Mhíl, had never been to the islands!
His secret was revealed as we stood on the ferry crossing over to Inis Mór last week; the largest of the three bitesize chunks of Irish land, and the most popular with visitors from all over the world. Although I still found it hard to believe he’d never even been tempted to take the trip over, the more I considered it the more I realised how unusual a destination it is for many Irish people, even though it’s hailed as one of the country’s main tourist attractions.

The Islands attract thousands of tourists a year, and yet many of us remain completely oblivious to the stunning simplicity and beauty lying right on our doorstep – attractions we would be the first to aquaint ourselves with were we travelling abroad and not a 45-minute drive outside Galway city to the ferry port. As the last stop off in the Atlantic before America heading West from Ireland, the Islands have always held a special place in many Irish people’s hearts, with their spectacular landscapes, views, fascinating history, and enviable easygoing way of life – at times it can feel like you’ve stepped back in time.

The Views.
If you’re lucky enough to get a clear day, the famous preoccupation and fascination with Irish coastland and scenery finally hits home and starts making sense in a place like Aran.

20150821_110449

Poll na bPéist

Poll na bPéist (‘Wormhole’, as Gaeilge) has played host to the Red Bull Cliffdiving competition, a highly anticpated and attended event which promoted the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland as a prime location for adventure sports and water fun and just as a really really awesome place in general.
11880476_10153038688618483_190147960_n

Bike & Walking Tours

A choice between bicycle hire for the day or walking tours – it’s possible to see the entire island of Inis Mór, (‘mór’ meaning ‘big’ as Gaeilge, for anyone who doesn’t know) and cycle all over within a day, so what better way to do so than to hire a bike from Aran Island Bicycle Hire – your steed for the day will see you safely over terrain that you wouldn’t dream of trying to cross without it!
Having undertaken both the walking and cycling tours myself now at various stages over the years, I would highly recommended cycling to anyone slightly impatient like me who likes to get places fast – the other half of our group chose to walk, and we ended up over an hour ahead of schedule due to the various terrifyingly steep downhill pathways. It was an exhilarating yet extremely bumpy experience, and one that should not be undertaken with anything less than an Aran-approved bicycle – good suspension is a necessity.
While it is also possible to get bus tours, there really is no more authentic way to see the island and fit as much into your day as possible than by hiring a bike.

IMG_20150821_103131

Entertainment

Although I have yet to experience a night out in one of the various pubs on Aran, it’s definitely something on the to-do list for my next trip, and I’ve heard wonderful things about the music and craic there is to be had there. Joe Watty’s Pub is a renowned spot, yet there were also quite a few other unassuming places along the ‘main street’, if you can call it that, which looked like they would be lively enough after dark.

The Lios Aengus Café at Dún Aenghus is a great bet to refuel after a long trek or cycle, as is The Pier House Restaurant by the pier (no way!). Both of these places also came up a step or two in my books when at various times they allowed us to nip in to use the toilet after long cycles!

20150821_101006

If that’s not enough to persuade you to visit the Aran Islands then all you have to do is take a peek at another one of those stunning views I was raving about earlier.

20150821_095829

Aran Ferries run regular services to and from the islands throughout the day, and Aer Arann also have recently increased their services running from Connemara airport. More details below.

Useful Links:

Bus Tours
Inis Mór Ferries
Aer Arann
Joe Watty’s Pub
Bike Hire