Archive for the ‘Ireland’ Category

Itinerary For The Ring Of Kerry

Sunday, November 22nd, 2015
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If you’re looking to discover Ireland then you can’t go wrong with a trip around the Ring of Kerry. This iconic section of the Wild Atlantic Way is simply breath-taking; with beautiful scenery and historic attractions, it allows visitors to experience the real Ireland first hand. If you feel like exploring the Ring of Kerry on your next Irish vacation then keep reading as we suggest a variety of attractions to include in your itinerary.

Visit the Kerry Bog Village

Visit the Kerry Bog Village and travel back in time to experience what life was like for the people who lived and worked in the area between the 18th and 19th century. This fantastic experience is the only one of its kind in Europe and currently, County Kerry’s leading tourist attraction. The village not only contains historic artefacts, furniture and machinery but it is also home to the Kerry Bog Ponies and Ireland’s most iconic large dogs, the Irish Wolf Hound.

Explore Ross Castle

Ross Castle is an excellent example of an Irish stronghold from the Middle Ages and provides visitors with a wonderful insight into Ireland’s past. The castle is thought to date back to the 15th century when it would have been built by one of the O’Donoghue Ross chieftains. Visit the castle today and you will find an exciting display of furniture from the 16th and 17th century, spectacular views of the countryside and Lough Leane, as well as plenty of picturesque locations for a family picnic.

Journey through the Gap of Dunloe

The Gap of Dunloe is a narrow mountain pass located between MacGillycuddy’s Peek and Purple Mountain. This beautiful area of Ireland has proven extremely popular with tourists and because of this, now has a number of tours dedicated to taking visitors through the gap. The Gap of Dunloe Tours is one of the best providers in the area and offer a tour that not only takes visitors on a pony trek through the gap, but also includes a trip to Kate’s Cottage and a traditional boat tour of the three lakes of Killarney in the same package!

Walk from Glencar to Glenbeigh

It’s easy to drive around the Ring of Kerry but why not take some time to explore the area by foot? The route between Glencar and Glenbeigh is just 11 miles long and one of the shortest sections of the original 137 mile route. The walk is pretty straight forward, simply start at The Climbers Inn and follow the marked route to Glenbeigh. On your way you’ll pass through amazing mixed forestry, moorland and the famous windy gap.

Eat at Tom Crean Fish and Wine

Tom Crean Fish and Wine offer a truly unique dining experience and is the only restaurant in the world where your dinner is cooked by Tom Crean’s own granddaughter. The restaurant’s delicious menu features some of the area’s best locally sourced organic produce and their succulent mussels have become something of a local legend! As well as the unbeatable food, visitors to Tom Crean Fish and Wine will also find rooms full of pictures and information about Ireland’s most famous Antarctic explorer.

Now that you’ve seen exactly what the Ring of Kerry has to offer, why not book a cottage and explore the area for yourself? We have a fantastic selection of Kerry cottages to choose from so whether you’re travelling as part of a group or just as a couple, we’re sure to have a cottage to suit your style and budget.

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By Nicole Westley

As a food lover Nicole can often be found in the kitchen, covered in flour and experimenting with new tastes! When not making a mess she loves to explore her Celtic roots by roaming the Scottish countryside or exploring the bays along the Anglesey coast with her fiancé.

Some Great Irish Dishes

Saturday, November 21st, 2015
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Today on the Sykes Cottages we’re taking a trip over the Irish Sea to have a look at some of the best dishes that the Emerald Isle has to offer. With a warming winter stew, an old favourite and the obligatory dash of Guinness, it’s the perfect menu for a proper Irish meal. Why don’t you have a look and see which you fancy making?

Irish Stew

We’re going to start off with a hearty Irish stew. Full of flavour and nice and warming, it’s the perfect dish for those chilly winter nights and serving 6 people it’s great for a family meal. Recipe via – BBC Good Food

Time to make: 1 hour (plus 2hrs 30 minutes to make the stock)


For the stew

  • 3 middle necks of lamb (you’ll want this filleted and boned)
  • 650g of floury potatoes and the same of waxy potatoes
  • 1kg of carrots
  • 2 medium onions

For the Stock

  • lamb bones
  • 1 quartered carrot
  • 1 quartered onion
  • half a stick of celery
  • 1 bay leaf, 2 sprigs of thyme, a sprig of parsley
  • 3 litres of water


  1. First off you’ll want to make the stock. Put the lamb bones, carrot, onion, celery and herbs in a large pot and simmer for a couple of hours. Then strain it through a sieve and return to the pot. Bring back to the boil and reduce until there’s just over a litre of water left.
  2. To prep for making the stew, you should cut the lamb into large chunks, peel the potatoes and cut into similar sizes as the lamb – but keep the two varieties separate. Peel the carrots and slice into smaller pieces and cut the onions into large rings.
  3. Put the lamb in a fresh saucepan, add the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the meat for 10 minutes, skimming off any impurities that might appear.
  4. Then add in the floury potatoes, carrots and onions and simmer for another 10 minutes.
  5. Finally add the waxy potatoes and season generously. Simmer for another 15 minutes, or until the meat is tender.


Then we’ve got a good old Irish favourite – Colcannon! The ultimate comfort food and a great accompaniment to any main, Colcannon is a medley of creamy mashed potato and tasty cabbage. The below recipe will give you enough for six hearty portions and you can find the original recipe here – BBC Good Food.

Time to make: 35 minutes


  • 1kg of scrubbed potatoes.
  • 100g of butter
  • 140g of back bacon
  • half of a small savoy cabbage
  • 150 ml of double cream


  1. Take your potatoes, cutting any large ones in half, and put them in a pan full of water. Bring the water to the boil and cook until the potatoes are tender, this should take around 20 minutes.
  2. Whilst the potatoes are simmering, add 25g of the butter to a saucepan along with the bacon (finely diced) and the half of the cabbage (finely shredded). and fry over a medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  3. Drain the boiled potatoes and mash. Then heat the cream with the rest of the butter and beat into the potato. Mix in the bacon and the cabbage and serve.

Chocolate Guinness Cake

And finally we’ve got a sweet treat that’s sure to round off any meal perfectly. Making enough cake for 12 slices, you should have plenty of leftovers unless anyone heads back for seconds! If you want the original recipe you can find it here on Nigella Lawson’s website.

Time to make: 1 hour and 15 minutes


  • 250ml of Guinness
  • 250g of butter (unsalted)
  • 75g of cocoa powder
  • 400g of caster sugar
  • 140ml of sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tbsp of vanilla extract
  • 275g of plain flour
  • 2 and a half tsps of bicarbonate of soda
  • 300g of cream cheese
  • 150g of icing sugar
  • 125ml of double cream


  1. Preheat your oven to around 140°c (gas mark 4). Butter and line a 9 inch tin.
  2. Heat your Guinness in a large saucepan and add in the butter. When the butter is melted, whisk in your caster sugar and cocoa powder.
  3. Separately, beat together your sour cream, eggs, and vanilla extract then add into your Guinness pan. Finally, whisk your flour and bicarbonate of soda into the mixture.
  4. Pour the batter into your tin and bake for between 45 minutes and an hour. Once cooked through, remove from the oven and leave to cool on a rack.
  5. Then you’ll want to make the icing. Whip your cream cheese until it’s nice and smooth and sieve in your icing sugar before beating them together. Then add in the cream and beat again until you’ve got a good spreadable icing that you can spread over your cake.

So there you go, three fantastic Irish dishes. We hope that you enjoy them and who knows, maybe they’ll tempt you into taking a trip over to the Emerald Isle? If they do you’ll want to make sure that you take a look at our selection of Irish cottages so that you have a home away from home in which you can rustle up the meals.

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Jamie Tomkins

By Jamie Tomkins

Jamie is a big fan of long weekend walks with the dog, especially when there is the chance to refuel with lunch in a country pub. Living in Lancaster for three years gave him the perfect opportunity to spend a lot of time in the Lake District.

Spotlight On: Luxury Cottages In Ireland

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015
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For an extra special getaway in the Emerald Isle, make sure you take a look at our stunning collection of luxury holiday cottages in Ireland. Whether you’re after a grand property with opulent décor, or a five-star romantic retreat, we will find the perfect holiday home in Ireland to suit you. For a bit of inspiration, check out the three fantastic luxury cottages below.

Whispering Willows, County Donegal

This idyllic thatched cottage is a picture-perfect luxury retreat for couples, nestled in a tranquil part of Donegal just outside Carndonagh. Whispering Willows is utterly charming with its traditional features, cosy woodburner to curl up in front of, and a roll top bath perfect for sipping champagne amongst the bubbles. The pretty town of Carndonagh with its restaurants, bars and pubs is just a mile from the cottage and if you fancy a romantic evening stroll, the stunning beach Malin Head is also within easy reach.

Lough Arrow View, County Sligo

If you’re looking for a large luxury cottage where all your family and friends can convene, Lough Arrow View is ideal. Sleeping 12, this bright and contemporary holiday home is located close to Castlebaldwin in County Sligo and boasts panoramic views across Lough Arrow from its windows. There’s a large open plan living area where the whole group can relax and chat together, as well as a modern kitchen and dining area, four bathrooms and five bedrooms- plenty of space for the whole party to enjoy.

River Mountain View, County Cork

This beautiful country cottage is set next to a working livestock farm in the heart of Cork’s countryside. There are four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a large contemporary kitchen with dining area, and a lavish living area with sumptuous, comfy sofas and an open fire. However, the real jewel in the crown of River Mountain View is its outlook; from the garden, you can enjoy sweeping views of the Boggeragh Mountains out to the Owentaraglin River.

To browse our full range of luxury cottages in Ireland, please visit our website. We’ve opulent holiday cottages to suit everyone, whether you’re looking for an indulgent romantic getaway or a lavish holiday with the family!

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Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.

Sykes’ Guide to Irish Beaches

Thursday, August 6th, 2015
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With over 3,000 kilometres of coastline, Ireland is a fantastic location for a beach holiday but with many of us opting to visit the Cornish coast or Welsh beaches instead, Ireland can often be overlooked. To help convince you to try something new this year, we have put together a guide filled with fabulous Irish beaches, so take a look and start planning your Irish adventure today!

Curracloe Bay, Co. Wexford

Best Beach for Families

Famed for its use in the iconic movie, Saving Private Ryan, Curracloe Bay is also a well-known family friendly beach with beautiful scenery, extensive sand dunes and safe waters. As well as the extensive system of walking trails through the dunes, visitors to Curracloe can also visit Wexford’s first and only surf school, where both children and adults can learn to surf on both sand and wave.

Rossbeigh Beach, Co. Kerry

Best Beach for Couples

Located along the Ring of Kerry, the beautiful sandy shores and spectacular scenery at Rossbeigh Beach make this stretch of coast perfect for a romantic weekend away. For a truly unforgettable date, we suggest treating your other half to a sunset stroll along the beach where they can marvel at Ireland’s natural beauty before visiting one of the many local restaurants for a candlelit meal for two.

Brittas Bay, Co. Wicklow

Best Beach for Dogs

It’s no secret that dogs love the beach; running along the shore, feeling the sand under their paws and the cold spray of the ocean is all the holiday your pooch requires. If you’re thinking of taking your four-legged friend to an Irish beach then we would highly suggest Brittas Bay, with 5 kilometres of white sands there is plenty of room for your dog to explore.

Bundoran, Co. Donegal

Best Beach for Water Sports

Bundoran Beach is known as the home of Irish surfing and with its beautiful golden sands, fantastic amenities and killer waves, it’s not hard to see why. If you’re new to surfing we would suggest taking a few lessons at one of the area’s many surf schools, where they’re not only surf experts but also provide classes on other sports including sand surfing, body boarding and canoeing.

Rent a Cottage in Ireland with Sykes Cottages

Now that you’ve seen just what Ireland has to offer, why not hop on a ferry and visit for yourself? Whether you’re looking for a seaside retreat with views across the ocean or a character cottage along the harbour, with over 850 Irish Cottages to choose from we’re sure to find a property to suit your personality and budget.

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By Nicole Westley

As a food lover Nicole can often be found in the kitchen, covered in flour and experimenting with new tastes! When not making a mess she loves to explore her Celtic roots by roaming the Scottish countryside or exploring the bays along the Anglesey coast with her fiancé.

Luxury Cottages In Ireland

Monday, August 3rd, 2015
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This week on the Sykes Cottages blog, we’re taking a trip over the Irish Sea and concentrating on some of the best things about breaks on the Emerald Isle. We’ll be taking a look through some of the country’s finest beaches, walks and of course cottages, starting off with some of the best luxury properties available to book. So take a look and see which one you fancy taking a trip to.

Kilclare Lodge, County Leitrim

Tucked away in the peaceful countryside, just outside of the delightful riverside town of Carrick-on-Shannon, is Kilclare Lodge, a stylish detached house with more than enough space to comfortably sleep eight people. The property comes complete with a luxury fitted kitchen featuring a breakfast bar and dining area, both of which are perfect for settling down for a home-made meal. Then there are the two separate sitting rooms, one of which has its own woodburner that’s just right for those chilly evenings on the Emerald Isle, what more could you ask for?.

Loo Bridge Railway Station, County Kerry

Next up, we’ve got Loo Bridge Railway Station. As you’ve probably already guessed, the cottage used to serve as a station on a line between the Kerry towns of Kenmare and Killarney. It still retains a number of features that hark back to its previous life, such as the original station platform and signals that still remain in the garden. Inside however, it has been renovated into a stunning holiday let. There are four bedrooms that sleep eight people between them, so there’s plenty of space to sleep the whole family, then add to this the snug living room and you can certainly see why it’s such a popular cottage.

Lismakeera Lodge, County Limerick

But what if you’re after something that’s a bit more modern in style? Then you’ll want to have a look at Lismakeera Lodge in County Limerick. Located about 20 miles from the hustle and bustle of Limerick City, it’s in the ideal location to enjoy some peace and quiet whilst still being close enough for a bit of retail therapy should you fancy it. The cottage itself is a stunning barn conversion that marries traditional features and modern design perfectly. The building dates back over 200 years but you wouldn’t know that from the interior; with its feature mezzanine and and stunning kitchen, Lismakeera Lodge is the perfect spot to while away a week in the Irish countryside.

So there you go, three luxurious cottages out on the Emerald Isle. All of them are available to book so if you fancy staying in one of them just click the link below the image and you’ll be able to find out about their availability and prices. Or alternatively you can take a look through our full range of luxury cottages where you’re bound to find one to suit you.


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Jamie Tomkins

By Jamie Tomkins

Jamie is a big fan of long weekend walks with the dog, especially when there is the chance to refuel with lunch in a country pub. Living in Lancaster for three years gave him the perfect opportunity to spend a lot of time in the Lake District.