This past May I spent a week at a self-catering cottage on the outskirts of Shillelagh, County Wicklow, Ireland. My Aunt Shirley found the cottage on the Owners Direct website. After looking at a number of cottages in County Wicklow we selected Buddleia Cottage because it met our needs – two bedrooms, two bathrooms and the pictures looked lovely. Along with us on this trip were my Aunt Karen and Uncle Michael from England. There is no booking fee and the web site suggests that you contact the owner by telephone to discuss the booking and assure yourself it is a legitimate listing. I was able to phone the owner who happened to be on a beach in Portugal at the time.
As I live in Canada I had some difficulty sending the deposit for the cottage so my Aunt Karen took care of that from her bank in England. The cottage was €400 for 7 nights and 10% was due as a deposit on booking. The balance was due two weeks prior to the holiday and by that time I was in England and able to give my Aunt the money to transfer to the owner. If you have specific food items you want to be at the cottage upon arrival, you can email the owner and she will ensure her property manager has it in place for you. We ended up not receiving anything at all. This may have been a miscommunication because we did not have any specific requests. In any case, when we arrived around 8:00 pm we had to make a quick trip back into Walkers in town to get some groceries for breakfast the next morning.
The cottage itself however was not disappointing. The views on the website do not do justice to the vista from the conservatory which is the dining room. There is also a spacious living room with a fireplace, a kitchen equipped with dishwasher and a washer/dryer. The two bedrooms are at opposite ends of the bedroom wing and one of them has an en-suite with a bath and hand-held shower. The other bathroom has an electric shower. Both bedrooms have skylights but my companions all like to sleep in the absolute dark so after the first night, the blinds got drawn. This doesn't however stop the birds from chirping or the sheep from baaing.
It took a bit of figuring out to get the TV to work. The same for the washer/dryer which would not give the clothes back at first! The wood stove also proved a bit of a challenge to keep lit. It would have been nice to have the manuals for appliances pointed out in the instructions for the cottage. We found them a few days into our stay and many were for appliances that were not in the cottage. We did have the phone number for the cottage manager who we could have contacted but it always seemed to be late at night when we needed some guidance and we did not want to bother her.
The cottage has some guide books and maps to help you plan your stay. If you want to spread your wings, Dublin is only a couple of hours away by car or you can take the train from Carlow. Kilkenny is also an easy day trip, as is Avoca and the Meeting of the Waters. The owner also sent us an email with some suggestions, particularly for places to eat and to get groceries in Tullow and Carlow. The ones we tried were all very good and we would add the pub at the bottom of the hill. I will be posting reviews on all of our experiences.
The first day we felt immediately at home. If you like peace and quiet except for the sheep, cattle and birds; if you like stunning views that take our breath away even when it is misty and rainy; then you will enjoy your time here. One morning the mist in the valley was hanging below the tops of the mountains in the distance. One afternoon we sat on the patio in the sun munching on scones and jam. Every morning we wanted to linger over breakfast and drink in the views and watch the birds at the feeders. We were able to keep the feeders full thanks to the supply of bird feed provided. A couple of evenings we also enjoyed a meal in the conservatory.
Would we go back? Yes, in a heartbeat.