Wednesday 29 August 2018

48 hours in the Boyne Valley: Glamping & Sightseeing in Slane

Disclaimer: This is an independent post, I've paid for my accommodation and everything else mentioned in this post

Summer is pretty much over and I realised that I still had one staycation left to share on the blog: my glamping stay in Slane. I'd never heard of Rockfarm in Slane until I noticed it on the Instagram account of a travel blog ran by a French couple last year who totally 'influenced' me. A few months later I happened to visit Rock Farm on a day field trip with my MA course. I was convinced and just had to book a stay as a birthday present for Mr. FFID afterwards.

Rockfarm is an ecofarm and glamping site which has been run by Caryna and Alex Mount Charles since 2010 on Slane Castle estate. It's a certified organic farm so while roaming around the site you can spot some happy pigs, cows and hens as well as glasshouses full of salad leaves.

There are four types of accommodation available at Rock Farm: bedrooms in the Lime House (an eco guest lodge), bell tents, shepherd's huts and yurts. Sleeping in a yurt has always been on my bucket list so I booked us the oak yurt for two nights (which is the minimum stay / €155) back in June.

I'd imagine that Rock Farm is popular with hen and stag parties but as we stayed there on a Monday and Tuesday night and the place was actually very quiet. Our stay coincided with the start of the heatwave and we couldn't haven't planned better: Slane felt like the south of Spain!

The oak yurt was in a little corner not far from the hot tub and the communal areas. It was super spacious (can cater 4/6 people) and had a lovely little terrace with a picnic table at the back. There was also a little wood stove to keep us warm, which really added to the atmosphere at night. While it was very warm outside it actually didn't get as insanely hot in the yurt as we thought it would. The bed was very comfy and we had some amazingly restorative sleep.

We brought food from Dublin however it's possible to order breakfast or meat packages produced at the farm with advance notice. We bought eggs at reception which we happily ate for breakfast. There's a large communal kitchen area with cooking equipment on the site with indoor and outdoor seating areas too which are perfect for groups. There's also shower and toilet facilities with hot water, it's glamping after all not festival conditions! The hot tub was also a very nice touch and we were able to use it and enjoy the views over our yurt while in it.

As the weather was glorious we really felt that we had an opportunity to relax and made the most of our stay. It was warm enough to use the outdoor natural pool (bliss) and we also rented electric bikes for the day (€25 each) to cycle around Slane, to Newgrange and Slane Distillery.

We loved the electric bikes, as being carless it gave us an opportunity to sightsee a little without too much effort and no sore legs the next day. I previously did the tour of Slane Distillery with college so we just stopped in their beautiful bar area in the former stables of the castle and enjoyed some delicious cocktails (just one each as we had to cycle back).

It was my second time in Newgrange but with better weather this time and I thoroughly enjoyed the tour and refreshed my memory of this amazing prehistoric site.

As we saw flyers for Boyne Valley Blue Cheese and Cokagee Cider at reception we thought we could visit local food producers but when we called them we were told that they weren't open to the public (they sometimes partake in local food events or tours). This was disappointing considering the Boyne Valley promotes itself as a food destination; I totally understand that they have to work but where I come from in France you can rock up to small producers (goat cheese makers and wine producers) very easily for a visit, tasting or just buy their produce. Not a big deal but I was glad to have brought some Boyne Valley produce (which I had bought in Dublin) as there was nowhere in town where I could actually buy some food and drinks made locally.

Staying at Rockfarm was a good value getaway to disconnect without having to travel far from Dublin (an hour bus journey). The facilities were good and the staff were lovely and welcoming. It's probably different with bad weather and at the weekends if there's a hen party on, but the stars aligned for us to enjoy the best conditions for a lovely stay.

Rock Farm, Slane, Co. Meath
Rockfarm's website