We spent our last family holiday camping at the Inch Hideaway, an enchanting eco campsite near Cobh, Ireland. As always, the champion of the camping idea was Philip, but the practicalities were left to me, which meant what he thought would be a bring-our-own-tent-and-sleep-in the-woods kind of holiday into a much more comfortable one: we went yurt camping in Cork!
Yurt camping in Cork: arriving at the Inch Hideaway
We got to Inch in the late afternoon, at the end of a wet Halloween week: the change to winter time meant we got caught by darkness while driving on the winding country road, but with detailed directions we quickly found the weaved willow sun marking the entrance to the campsite.
Colleen, the owner, was expecting us and, torch in hand, showed us the way to our yurt, the accommodation we had booked and the kids. In this winter night, Inch Hideaway campsite looked nothing less than a fairy village:
against the black sky, you could just about guess the white outline of the yurts and little beads of light along their perimeters made the tents visible in an unobtrusive way, giving the campsite a charming Christmas feel.
Sensor lights made our short stroll from the parking easy and, across the lawn, the communal kitchen was brightly lit. Inside, as well as the other occupants of the campsite, we could see a big wooden table, colourful chairs and a gas stove; just outside, a pizza oven and the set up for an open campfire suggested group dinners and mild summer nights.
Glamping: what is a yurt like?
The wind from the sea was picking up so we quickly settled in the Mongolian yurt Colleen had prepared for us. The yurt was beautiful and cosy: its round perimeter hosted a generous double bed and two single beds, a sofa and side tables. Covers and duvets were already on the beds a heater quickly made the whole space warm. The yurt is equipped with electric sockets but with great relief I noticed there was no strong internet signal – I knew this was a place for total relaxation! (For the over connected, there is wi-fi in the main house).
The weather outside got steadily worse but the yurt was surprisingly safe and sturdy. I would have never thought a yurt would be my shelter of choice on such a windy night but it was safe and cosy even in the relentless rain: I guess, coming from the Mongolian plains, the yurts are made for wind battered open spaces! In the morning, the campsite proved to be as enchanting.
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The four yurts are arranged around a small lawn, sheltered by trees, bushes and a small brook that also provides fresh drinking water. Each yurt has a small private area at the front, large enough to pitch tent should you have extra guests and the communal facilities are a few steps away.
The kitchen was maybe our favourite spot: it quirky architecture made me think of a hobbit house as if built by Gaudi and inside it’s a simple but well-equipped space, with a gas stove and oven, running water, a fridge and good electric lighting. All materials in the kitchen are reclaimed and reused and little touches such as the free coffee and teas available make for a homely space.
Is yurt camping fun for kids?
One of the reasons I chose Inch for our family holiday was how easy it seems to go camping with children there and we were not disappointed. There is a swing, a trampoline, two slides and a see-saw, but what really made the kids happy was the freedom they had to run around the garden and the friendly animals: the owners have a dog and a pony.
In general, I found yurts an excellent solution for families: they are very large, much roomier than they may look from the outside and they are, at least here, kitted out with large beds, electricity and a stove. They are made to resist the Mongolian wind and even in very bad weather conditions (the night we got there was wild!) they felt cosy and solid: we felt protected and safe, despite the wind howling outside. The kids loved being inside and embraced the yurt as their house for the weekend.
Based on this experience, I would highly recommend yurt accommodation to families, even with very young kids. The only thing missing, inevitably, is running water and a bathroom, but at least at the Inch Hideaway the facilities are few steps away, on the other side of the lawn.
We got to Inch probably at the worst time of the year, with strong winds and almost constant rain and despite this we had one of our best family holidays.
Yurt camping or glamping?
Yurt might make you think Inch as a typical glamping site, but I think calling this place ‘glamping’ would make it a disservice: there is no nothing glam about inch – here, you will not find immaculate lawns, high heel proof decking or artificially distressed pieces of furniture suggesting a rustic ambiance: here you will find reclaimed materials, eco-friendly facilities, love for nature and a heart warming friendliness. There is not doubt about this: we will be back.
Practical notes about yurt camping in the Hinch Hideaway Cork:
- The yurts easily host 4 people, with room for an extra tent outside
- Communal facilities and showers are on site
- Kitchen appliances and cutlery all provided
- Covers and bedding are provided
- You must bring your own food supplies, a torch for the hours of darkness and warm, waterproof clothes (especially if going in the winter!)
If you are looking for ideas to go camping inIrelandd with kids, you like another campsite we tried, in Co Wicklow, the ‘Silver strand’, less than an hour from Dublin