The Top Ten Benefits of Renting A Vacation Home in Ireland

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

We recently spent a month traveling in Ireland and Scotland. While in Ireland, we rented an extraordinary home from Homeaway Holiday Rentals. We chose Pier Cottage (click here to read our interview with owner Susannah Adlington), right on the arm of land in Westcove Harbor that shelters the pier, near Caherdaniel, on the Ring of Kerry.

 

Pier Cottage

Pier Cottage

 

Although it was off the beaten path, it was perfect for our family. There are many benefits to a family in renting a vacation home overseas. Here are our top ten benefits to living at Pier Cottage.

 

sunrise, Ireland

sunrise over the Beara Peninsula, Co Kerry, Ireland

 

1. You can truly sense the rhythm of a place.

Whether it is in the gorgeous sunrises, each unique; the tides; or the rain patterns, you can truly get into the rhythm of a place while staying there for an extended vacation. Our two weeks at Pier Cottage truly made us aware of nature in this place, more than we'd ever expected. The tide charts were avidly read, to see when we could scout the beach out front for new treasures the waves left for us. We noted when the sheep grazed nearer the water out back, when one got his horns stuck in the fence, and when they went in for the night (later than you'd think!). We saw local fishermen go out (and come back in) on a daily basis.

 

Sheep, Ireland

Sheep, high tide

 

fisherman going out

fisherman going out

 

 

2. You can get a good glimpse of local culture.

Not just tourist things (although we did a few of those), but regular things that locals do - the local markets, the inside scoop on great restaurants and music, places that locals go that showcase the true beauty of a place. For us, the local recommendation for Derrynane Beach and Abbey Island (accessible only at low tide) was a true one - this, this is a place of beauty. The graveyard at Abbey Island was poignant - so many lives lost to the sea, and a wide range of dates - from the 1800s to this very year.

 

Abbey Island, Derrynane Beach

 

Abbey Island, Derrynane Beach

 

 

 

 

3. You can slow down.

People usually pack their vacations full of places to see. When you're in one place, you can pick and choose. If it's a rainy day (surprise, in Ireland), you can choose to stay in and play board games, or curl up and read books in front of the peat fire. You can explore cooking local foods (bought from the local weekly market - fish chowder!) and enjoy being outside (whatever the weather).

 

fish chowder

fresh fish chowder

 

food we love

food we love - including rhubarb yogurt

 

 

4. It feels like home.

You can sit by the fire, play cards, listen to the radio, do your own laundry, get your own snacks from the fridge, bake meals and desserts.  You can have friends over (as we did), and picnic outside.

 

boats, Westcove Harbor

boats, Westcove Harbor

 

fresh blackberries

fresh blackberries

 

 

5. You can have a place to be outside.

This is especially helpful with kids - when you have a yard, you're not stuck in a hotel room. Our daughter could run and play, explore the beaches, search for tidal treasures, look for the Kerry slug, and starwatch. I could dry our laundry on the line (although there was a dryer) when the weather was fine (or just soft Irish rain). We saw all kinds of wildlife - seals out on the rocks, a heron who was quite persistent in his attentions at low tide.

 

playing at high tide

playing at high tide

 

what the tide washed in

what the tide washed in

 

huge dead crab discovered in tidal pool

huge dead crab discovered in tidal pool

 

 

6. You have more room.

Instead of all being crammed into one room, we had three bedrooms at Pier Cottage, two bathrooms, a huge kitchen, a lovely living room, and more. There was enough room for us to work on the computer, have fun in the kitchen, watch tv, or take naps without bothering anyone.

 

sunrise over the Beara Peninsula

sunrise over the Beara Peninsula

 

 

 

7.  You have the privacy to enjoy vacation time with your family.

You feel a bit isolated from the rest of the tourist crowd. Because you have your own space, you can do family activities. We spent hours and hours combing the beach, rowing across to another beach (more shells!), watching the sunrises, sunsets, and stars. We poked around at low tide and high, ran in the yard, painted and drew, picked blackberries (that's the first thing we did upon arrival, actually).

 

Lillie on the rocks

Lillie on the rocks 

 

wild fuschia

wild fuschia

 

 

8.  You can pack lighter.

You not only have access to laundry facilities, but you're able to unpack your suitcase into a dresser, and not move around all the time. There may be books, cards, games, radio, kitchen gear - you don't have to bring so much. We brought four outfits each, and found out even that was too much.

 

Westcove Harbor sunrise, low tide

Westcove Harbor sunrise, low tide

 

 

9. You save money.

You can save a great deal of money on laundry, food, and more. By shopping local, you get the freshest fruits, veggies, and meats at a lower cost than at a restaurant. We still ate out, but had extremely delicious meals at home. We saved money every day by eating yogurt and fresh croissants for breakfast, leftovers for lunch (fish chowder!), and delicious seafood for dinner. We learned of local places to go that were inexpensive or free - that weren't in any guidebook. Being outside, and watching nature? FREE.

 

heron, low tide

heron, low tide

 

Moonlight on Westcove Harbor

Moonlight on Westcove Harbor

 

 

10. You can learn one spot very well.

We traveled around County Kerry, County Cork, County Limerick, and County Clare. We spent the most time, though, at Pier Cottage in Co Kerry. We explored our neighborhood in depth - went to Derrynane Beach many, many times; visited Sneem (and got to know the chemist); traveled through time at Staigue Fort several times because we were so interested. We drove the Skellig Ring, visited Portmagee, went to Killarney a few times, shopped and ate at Kenmare.

Staigue Fort

Staigue Fort

 

sunrise, Pier Cottage

sunrise, Pier Cottage

 

 

Truly, because we focused on a smaller geographic area, we became knowledgeable about it - and Pier Cottage felt familiar to us. Yes, we know the curves in the road, when the cows cross, and the way the light changes in rain and different types of weather.

It feels like home.

 

 

Want to see more of Pier Cottage? I imagine you're ready to head there yourself...

Here are some more of our photos of Life at Pier Cottage

and the main website for Pier Cottage at Homeaway.

 

 

All photos copyright Jessie Voigts

 

 

This is part of Photo Friday at Delicious Baby. Head over there to see great travel photos from around the world!

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Comments (4)

  • Nicole Durbin

    7 years 2 months ago

    Okay, I want to go! What a beautiful place. I love the idea of living like a local, even if it's only for a short while. :-)

  • Anna Moffat

    7 years 2 months ago

    I love these photos, they really show how restful it is to stay in the Irish countryside.

  • Kerry Dexter

    7 years 2 months ago

    I've stayed for extended times in several different places in Ireland, and I'm so glad you got to experience all this. it's lovely getting to know the people, the weather, and the landscape, and feeling welcome.

    thanks for sharing your experiences, and the lovely photos. looking forward to hearing of the Scotland part of your trip.

    Kerry Dexter

    Music Editor, WanderingEducators.com

    http://musicroad.blogspot.com/

  • Dominique-Midwe...

    7 years 2 months ago

    ...at your Irish "home".

    Oh, to have a month at a place like this! We try to build in as much time as we can at a place, rather than move from motel to motel throughout a stay...and we try to stay at B&Bs, condos, cabins, or someplace else with at least a little element of hominess when we do go somewhere. So, I understand what you're talking about :)

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