The Best Self-catering Rentals in Ireland

Self-catering means renting a cottage, house, townhouse, condo, apartment or even a castle. More and more people are finding that self-catering is the perfect way to see Ireland. Not only can they settle in to a comfortable place that is fully equipped to live in but it can also be very cost effective especially when shared by more than two people. For those traveling with families it can be the perfect solution, giving the room needed without feeling confined to one or two rooms. Most self-catering places have several bedrooms, a bathroom or two, a kitchen, dining area and living room. Some have fireplaces, children's outdoor play areas and barbecues. It is easy to save money by cooking simple meals yourself. Grocery shopping in Ireland can be fun especially when you make new discoveries of foods you can only find in Ireland.

Renting gives you the freedom to really get to know the locale in a way that few tourists do when they breeze through an area. You will get to know the people in the local supermarket, pub and shops. There is no rush to cross sightseeing off a checklist. Instead you can take your time exploring off-the-beaten-path places that are all the more charming because you are the only ones there.

It is important to choose the location carefully so you have plenty of day trips to make from your home base. Although, I'm sure that any place you choose will reveal a plethora of interesting side trips. Some people want to stay in remote areas while others prefer to be close to a town with its pubs, shopping and other amenities. Whatever your style you will find a place that meets your needs.

In the off-season many self-catering properties rent for a few days at a time. You can find weekend breaks, mid-week breaks and other specials. During the season you will usually find weekly rentals that rent from Saturday to Saturday. Since you will stay put in one place for several days, I recommend you choose a 4-star property if possible. It is worth paying a bit more for a nice place to stay.

There are a few things to keep in mind when considering self-catering. Unlike B&Bs where breakfast is included, you will be cooking your own breakfast and other meals. You also need to keep your cottage tidy yourself because few places have maid service. Prices depend on how large the property is, time of year, location and what is included. In the Republic of Ireland there is usually an extra charge for heating and electricity. There may be an extra cost for linens and towels. In Northern Ireland most places include the cost of heating and electricity. But read the fine print to discover exactly what is included.

You can order a free self-catering guide by calling Tourism Ireland: 1-800-223-6470 (US & Canada). I also have links to self-catering sites on my Links page. My book
Ireland Dream Trip includes listings for self-catering places that I have either stayed or inspected.

Bun Cill Atha is in a lovely rural area on a private 14-acre estate accessed by electronic gates. A couple of miles from Kenmare, the cottage is set on a big hill overlooking the bay & the mountains. Spacious, nicely decorated and with a huge kitchen, it offers meticulous living all on ground floor level. Warm, comfortable & quiet it is first class all the way.

Doire Farm Cottages have been flawlessly transformed from 18th century farm buildings into a tranquil enclave of modern cottages near Kenmare. Set on a peaceful farm, they are down a country lane. Doire Farm Cottages effortlessly blends old-world charm with contemporary comforts. The cottages provide the best in the magical Kingdom of Kerry.

Tankardstown is a sublime estate hidden in the countryside near Slane. The stately manor whisks you back to a genteel time of house parties, discreet pampering and flawless opulence. Parkland encompasses a Georgian mansion with a  stable block of sumptuous cottages.  Each is a romantic jewel box of delights especially planned to cosset guests.

Gate Lodge Cottage is a charming thatched cottage set in Adare village. Right in town, the location is convenient for walking to everything. Those who prefer old world charm will find Gate Lodge Cottage cozy, comfortable and extremely convenient. How idyllic to live in a picturesque, thatched Irish cottage surrounded by flowers.

Lurganconary Organic Farm in Kilkeel is a hideaway tucked snugly between the mountains and the sea. With the magical Mountains of Mourne on their doorstep, the luxuriously restored farm cottages invite visitors to enter a romantic environment of Old World meets new age. The storybook cottages are a world apart and a dream come true.

The Water's Edge is a breathtaking complex of exquisite Georgian-style townhouses overlooking Dingle Bay. The interiors are designed with stylish panache and contain every comfort imaginable. The private gated property is just a few minute's walk from Dingle town with its lively restaurants, pubs and shops. If you want sumptuous this is it.

Limepark near Armoy is a complex of storybook 18th century cottages with stone walls, stained glass windows, old wood floors and high ceilings held up by ancient hewn beams. Old farm outbuildings have been converted into six sympathetically restored cottages that are cozy and full of character. It is an excellent base for exploring Co. Antrim.

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