We round up the best of Cork's Glamping sites

Over the past two years Glamping in Ireland has become extremely popular. In a new series, RICHARD GORDON looks at some of the popular sites in Cork and talks to the owners - first up Araglin Glamping and Animal Sanctuary
We round up the best of Cork's Glamping sites

Araglin Glamping and Sanctuary in North Cork.

“A HIDDEN gem in the heart of beautiful rural Ireland, where you come for peace and relaxation, solitude or company.”

That is how the owners of Araglin Glamping and Animal Sanctuary describe their business.

The site run by Annabel and Andrew Boyle is located in Araglin, North Cork.

It is obvious that the glamping site and sanctuary are more than just a business to the couple.

Not only are they hugely passionate about rescuing all sorts of animals - they also love meeting people from all over the world, of all creeds and cultures – many of whom have become friends.

We asked them about their glamp site and what guests can expect.

What was the initial inspiration behind the opening of the campsite?

The initial inspiration behind the opening of Araglin Glamping was to fund our animal sanctuary. We get no outside funding or grants so we were trying to utilise both the land we have and the animals on it!

Some of the residents at Araglin Glamping and Sanctuary.
Some of the residents at Araglin Glamping and Sanctuary.

We are located in a beautiful part of North Cork so inviting people to stay with us whilst gaining an income at the same time seemed like a good idea.

What was the inspiration behind opening an animal sanctuary and how is it having the sanctuary intertwined with the campsite?

The animal sanctuary was something that grew organically over the last 15 years or so, through our mutual love for animals.

My husband, Andrew, was working as a lecturer of fine art printmaking in Galway three days a week so I managed the animals whilst he was in Galway and one way or another we managed to keep things ticking over!

Whilst the glamping and the sanctuary are separate entities, if you stay with us you get to experience life on an animal sanctuary. We are not open to the public so this creates both a unique and boutique experience for our guests.

What kinds of animals do you have at your sanctuary and how do you find them?

We take in both wild and domestic animals. With wild animals, the aim is to always try and return them to the wild. The domestic animals come from different circumstances; unmanageable or unwanted pets from homes, pet farms, etc.

The aim here is for them to live the rest of their lives with us as many of them have been shifted from pillar to post.

A Sika deer peering out from the reeds at the Araglin Glamping and Animal Sanctuary in North Cork. Picture: Dan Linehan
A Sika deer peering out from the reeds at the Araglin Glamping and Animal Sanctuary in North Cork. Picture: Dan Linehan

We never know what the next animal will be or when it will arrive as we get calls all the time. At present our resident animals include; wallabies, marmosets, ring tailed lemurs, emus, a silver fox and two marble foxes, raccoons, coatimundis, a family of swans, and a number of domestic animals like ponies, donkeys, sheep, and pigs, to name but a few.

Are any of the animals especially outgoing and who is the biggest handful?

At the moment our especially outgoing animal and probably the biggest handful would be Phil, our hand reared pygmy goat. She’s a mighty character and super friendly, bouncing around the place like she’s on springs!

Tell me about the design of your campsite, especially the bistro bus, and how did this idea come into being?

Currently we have two shepherd huts which were made in West Cork by Shepherd’s Huts, Ireland. They are to a very high finish and extremely cosy.

We have a log cabin which is better suited to families, sleeping five comfortably. We also have an ablution hut which is basically a shower and toilet for our Bus Top diners! 

These live alongside our pride and joy, Annabel’s Bistro Bus, a 1966 AEG regency double decker bus!

I happened to be looking on the internet one day, for nothing in particular, and came across this beautiful bus. We initially thought of building a little café for our guests to have breakfast or dinner but this seemed like a cheaper and way more interesting way to eat, especially as you get such a great view of the sanctuary from the top deck! Our whole set up is so you feel like you’re walking through a park rather than a zoo!

 Annabel Boyle and her daughter Alice on the upper deck ot the 1966 Regent Araglin Bistro Bus. Picture: Dan Linehan
Annabel Boyle and her daughter Alice on the upper deck ot the 1966 Regent Araglin Bistro Bus. Picture: Dan Linehan

What is it about your campsite that brings you most joy?

There is very little accommodation around this area and nothing in comparison to what we have – so it’s great for tourism.

Located about six miles from the motorway, you have easy access to other parts of Cork and surrounding areas.

We get people from all over the world and down the road, all colours, creeds and cultures, and we love that everyone always gets on with each other and shares their stories.

Every year just seems to get better here. From the spring on we have the most lovely guests who get so much pleasure from staying with us and the animals. We have met friends for life and guests that keep coming back, it’s incredibly rewarding and much hard work but so much fun and so interesting meeting such an eclectic group of people.

Every year we try to make little improvements – this year we have invested in a Swedish hot tub!

If you could describe the spirit of your campsite/land in one sentence, what would it be?

A hidden gem in the heart of beautiful rural Ireland, where you come for peace and relaxation, solitude or company.

For more see https://www.araglin-glamping.com/

Next week: Chléire Haven, on Cape Clear Island, Co Cork

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