Our lodging on the moor

A Night on the Moor: Favorite Lodging in Ireland

We watched the sunset behind the almost perfect cone of Mt. Errigal. Heather grows in strands from the bottom of the mountain, reaching towards the top in ever-increasing narrow bands, fighting against the rock and shale that descend from the top.

A rainbow graced the valley beside the mountain. Rainbows are such an occurrence here in Ireland that early on Jessica exclaimed, “Oh look, another rainbow, lah-di-dah,” as if it were a common beauty that one might forget to marvel at because it is always there. But in our time in Scotland and Ireland, they never ceased to give us joy, even though we took to calling them a sing-song, “lah-di-dah.”

The rainbow faded in the sunset, and an orange glow lit up Mt. Errigal as we drove by and headed to our next Airbnb. None of us knew what we would find, except maybe for Trin, who was driving and had made the reservations. There was still an hour’s drive to reach our destination.

Exploring Ireland with Friends

We were blessed to explore Ireland with our friends, Jessica and her wife Amber, whom we met in a Financial Independence group the last time we were in Arizona. Together, we stayed in 12 places, spanning 35 nights between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The sun setting behind Mt. Errigal is orange. Errigal is rocky with scree on the sides. Heather grows partway up the mountain.
Mt Errigal with the sun setting

#1 Favorite: Lodging on the Irish Moor

We turned off the main road and followed, the GPS to a location that seemed to rest in the middle of a vast moor. The roads became narrower with each turn until tall grasses brushed the car on both sides. For the last five kilometers, grass was growing in the center of the track, and one side of the road seemed to descend into darkness, the depth unknown.

A rabbit hopped down the path in front of us. We followed slowly until, eventually, she took a sharp right turn and disappeared. Further ahead, sheep resting on the narrow tire tracks stood as we approached. They meandered down the track much slower than the rabbit. There was no room to go around them, so we crept along behind them until they decided to step aside.

The lights the moor but has not quire reached the burn. The mountain in the distance is still in shadows.
Views from the cabin on the moor and the burn that ran through it. The cabin is pictured in the featured image of this post.

All Alone

We passed the last house quite some time ago when, in the distance, a solitary light flickered across the stream. We assumed that was our lodging. The road turned into gravel, and the darkness expanded.

Darkness possesses a certain depth. In a cave devoid of light, one can feel the solidity of the cavern walls. In the vastness of the outback at night, a sense of immense expense can be perceived. Perhaps it is the air itself that lends depth to darkness, but even within the confines of the car, I could feel the darkness expand even as we drew closer to the flickering light.

As we followed the old track, our headlights illuminated an old cement bridge. There were no rails, and it was only wide enough for the wheelbase of our small car. Slowly, we ascended over the cement hump that took us over the flowing water of the stream.

Upon reaching the flickering light, I hopped out of the car to open the gate, allowing us to park by the small farmhouse. Inside, the warmth of a cast iron stove greeted us, and we eagerly unpacked our belongings, anticipating the morning when we could explore the world surrounding the farmhouse.

Frost on the sheep gate melting as the sun rises
Frost on the sheep gate melting with the rising sun

Melting the frost

In the morning, I slipped on my boots and layered up with coats, quietly stepping outside to explore. Surrounding our cabin stretched a vast moor, its undulating hills adorning the northern edge of the landscape. The only sound in the crisp morning air was the gentle flow of water. Every blade of grass was adorned with a delicate layer of frost. Sheep sought refuge beneath a solitary stand of trees near the house, the only spot untouched by frost. The moor glistened under its thin sheet of ice. Patiently, I observed. Gradually, the grasses transformed from white to green as they thawed under the warming rays of the rising sun.

Jessica herding sheep on the grassy moor
Jessica herding the sheep

Herding sheep

Soon, Jessica, Amber, and Trin were awake and gazing out the windows. Their faces shone with joy at the beauty of the moor around us. Collectively, we decided to skip our outing for the day to stay here on the moor and explore the land on our doorstep.

“Hey, the sheep are in the yard,” Trin exclaimed. Someone had left the gate open.

Jessica and I quickly donned our boots and dashed outside to guide the sheep out of the small, fenced yard encircling the cabin. Jessica took the lead, giving instructions with ease, while I followed her guidance. She possesses a remarkable knack for understanding animals, almost like a whisperer. This ability is not new; even during her time on Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farm, she demonstrated her skill. While others struggled to move the cows to the next pasture, Jessica simply walked forward, emitted a few sounds, and then started running toward the next pasture. To her colleagues’ amazement, all the cows followed her lead, leaving even Joel impressed by her natural affinity with animals.

With Jessica leading the way, we herded them from the back to the narrow side of the house on the east. I then ran around to the west side of the house to block them from going back into the yard and direct them out the gate as Jessica continued to move behind them toward the gate. When the last one was back out on the moor, I quickly closed the gate.

Sheep standing on the little bridge we had to cross to our house on the moor.
Sheep guard the bridge to and from the house on the moor.

A Generational Cabin

Later that day, the owner of the cabin dropped by to see if all was well and how we were doing with the wood stove to heat the house. He told us that he was born in this house—not just raised here, but literally born in the house. So were his parents and grandparents.

We talked for a while and asked him questions about living here. It is experiences like this that we love most when traveling—meeting locals, listening to their experiences, and even herding sheep.

We are not Airbnb affiliates, so we get nothing if you use this link, but we loved this home so much that it would be a shame not to share it. For a relaxing stay in Ireland, we highly suggest Paddy Place in Doobin, Glenties.

We loved the cabin on the moor for its location and surrounding beauty. The cabin itself was comfortable, and we loved using the wood stove.

Our next favorite spot was a converted stone barn renovated in a traditional style.

Jessica and Amber on a trail through the woods. Moss covers the ground beneath the tall pine trees
Jessica and Amber are ahead of us on the trail, not far from our lodgings on the hill

#2 Favorite: An Old Stone Barn

We arrived late to our lodging in New Ross. It seems to be a common occurrence for us on this trip. There is so much to see and do, so little daylight.

We were immediately charmed as we walked into what used to be an old stone stable. It felt like a small Irish home from the storybooks. Stone walls, old pine floors, and tree-form shelves made the living room and kitchen on the first floor feel cozy.

The loft had two bedrooms and a shared bath. The old stone walls adorned the rooms, bringing in character and a cozy feel. The conveniences inside were modern, and the beds were comfortable.

The host’s generosity was unmistakable as we opened the refrigerator and discovered the array of stocked goodies for breakfast. We loved the little place so much that we decided to stay home the next day and read by the fire. The nearby castle that we were scheduled to explore could wait for the following day.

It might seem like we kept skipping outings, but by the end of our trip together, we were all exhausted with the pace that we kept up together.

The “Stable Cottage” would be a great romantic getaway. Or just a relaxing weekend to enjoy. In 1888, the family who owned this farm was evicted in the Irish Land War. However, they were later able to return and buy it back. The same family still owns and runs the farm, four generations later.

Stable Cottage in New Ross
Stable Cottage in New Ross from an Old Stone Barn

#3 Favorite: House on a Hill

Once again, darkness descended before we made our way to our third favorite lodging on the Emerald Isle. This one is perched on a hill near the Ring of Kerry. Arriving late happened more often than not as we continually pushed the limits. With short days and hikes that beckoned us further, we often arrived home (wherever we were staying for the night) after dark.

This time, as we turned off the main road, we knew we were in for another treat. The road, barely wider than our car, closed in around us. Not only was there grass in the middle of the road and brushing the car on both sides, but trees also loomed overhead at times, making it feel as though we were driving through a dark tunnel. The road angled steeply upward and twisted around sharp corners through the forest.

The narrow road is two-way traffic!

We kept note of wider spots on the roads and the occasional driveway to the side. This is a two-way road, so if we met anyone coming the other way, we would need to back up to the nearest spot the width of two cars.

The car climbed and wound around the corners until, finally, we were at the top of the hill, where the road ended in a small clearing.

The house is a 300-year-old stone home updated to modern standards.

Headlights from our car shining down the narrow road. The road is surrounded by evergreens and grass even the center of the road is grass. The moon shines in the far distance.
The two-way to our lodging on the hill. The moon is shining in the distance.

Early the next morning, I quietly slipped out the door to see the view of the lough below. Across the loch sat yet another castle, rising just above the morning fog. Sika deer warily looked at me and then bound across the field. The sheep followed but then lost interest in running only a few yards away.

Water cascaded down the hill, its distant sounds barely perceptible in the still morning. Only 11% of Ireland is covered in deciduous forest, making this place unique on the island.

This House overlooking Kenmare Bay is large and spacious. It would be a great place for a family to get away and spend a quiet vacation in the heart of Ireland.

View from our lodging on a hill. Sheep graze in the yard and the lough is visible below with mountains beyond it.
View from the house on a hill

Exploring Ireland

Lodging itself can be a vacation at times. In Ireland, there was so much to see that we struggled between wanting to stay and simply stroll around the land by our lodging or get out and explore places like the Megalithic Passage Tombs of Brú na Bóinne, the gardens of Glenveagh National Park, the Ring of Kerry, the Aran Islands, the Cliffs of Moher, and so much more.

While we typically embrace spontaneity during our travels, our journey through Ireland was approached more like a planned vacation. To make the most of our time with Jessica and Amber and the cars we rented on the island, it was all mapped out ahead of time. In the months leading up to their arrival, Trin devoted countless hours to planning our accommodations, ensuring they were not only unique but also budget-friendly. Additionally, he plotted out all the must-see attractions, providing the rest of us with pins to add to our Organic Maps app, ensuring we were all well-prepared with plenty of options at our fingertips.

Garden of the Glenveagh Castle
Garden of the Glenveagh Castle

1 thought on “A Night on the Moor: Favorite Lodging in Ireland”

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