We were finally able to relax at the Instagram-friendly Cabu by the Lakes in the heart of Cavan
BACK in the 1990s, there was a compound word that struck fear into the hearts of every Irish mum every summer – ‘self-catering’.
ince before luxurious Airbnbs and hotel lodges were available at the click of a mouse, ours must not have been the only family combing through the classifieds in search of a suitable vacation home to get away from it all before back to the daily grind of schoolyards and ham sandwiches every September.
Looking back, some of my fondest holiday memories involve piling in the back seat of an undersized car through my older siblings in Newport or Kilkee, before unloading bikes and shopping bags, and to ride freely in the countryside between showers for the rest of the week.
Between the vomiting trip and all the packing and unpacking, I suspect they were some of my mom’s worst.
It’s amazing the things that come up when looking for a corkscrew in the kitchen drawers of a log cabin in Cavan.
Suffice to say that despite being fully self-catering, things have come a long way at Cabu by the Lakes, a cluster of upmarket chalets and lake houses in the heart of Killykeen Forest Park, which are now better equipped than most homes. – with crockery, cleaning equipment and even a cocktail-making station.
Our two-night stay in one of the elegant two-bedroom treehouses also proves a trip down memory lane for my friend, a Cavan native who remembers coming to the old Coillte campsite as a fellow 1990s when he was known as Killykeen. Holiday park.
Although she assures me it certainly didn’t look like that at the time.
Perched on the shores of Lough Oughter, around five minutes from Cavan town, the site was reclaimed in 2017 by UK modular home specialists, who paid around £5m to fit out the 28 cabins and facilities existing before their opening last year.
The company also has a sister property called Cabu by the Sea in Kent.
If it hasn’t appeared on your Instagram feed yet, it will.
We were a day too late to catch TV cook Donal Skehan taking a dip in the Japanese hot tub hidden among the trees and – worst luck – a day too early to spot Love Island star Greg O’Shea braving the bucket of cold water after a sauna session.
Surviving three lockdowns has, ironically, it seems, given us all cabin fever of a different kind.
While by no means the only wilderness retreat to sprung up here as the nation embraced the great outdoors, Cabu is fast becoming the country’s most sought-after getaway among celebrities and celebrities alike. civilians.
Fortunately, access should get a little easier in the future, after the company recently got the go-ahead to build another 15 chalets.
If you’re looking to get back to nature, without having to dig up a sleeping bag and a billycan, the 100-acre hideaway is definitely the most stylish way to do it.
There’s wild swimming, woodland walks and bike trails, sure, but what could improve mental well-being more than snuggling up in front of a huge fire pit with a good book. Oh okay then, that was Wordle.
Hygge on vacation, the Nordic-style lodges – ranging from studio cabins perfect for couples to three-bed cabins for large groups – also feature a wood-burning stove, piles of cozy blankets, books and games, plus than a barbecue in the back.
But while you can go ‘off the grid’ in the rural retreat, which is crucial for nomophobes, you don’t have to, thanks to high-speed broadband and a smart TV with Netflix.
Likewise, while it’s significantly more economical to drop by the local Aldi or SuperValu before retiring to the woods, an on-site store stocked with everything from bamboo toothbrushes to locally prepared ready meals means that, unlike my poor mother everything years ago, you didn’t have to pack everything except the kitchen sink.
Extra beds, baby tubs, bikes, boats, and paddle boards are also available for rent.
With red wine finally breathing, soothing piano music spinning on Spotify, and fresh spaghetti bubbling, we have just about everything we need for a relaxing midweek girls getaway without leaving our cabin. .
A wonderful forest bathing experience the next day is guaranteed.
Located at the edge of the forest, amidst a natural playlist of chirping birds and rustling leaves, an outdoor hot tub and sauna session are included for every guest over the age of 16. Those staying a little longer can add additional sessions for €20 or expand their spa experience with the Japanese hot bath for €50.
The County of Breffni is known for having a lake for every day of the year, and after taking a boat we later find ourselves navigating a maze of them towards Cloughoughter Castle.
Dating back to the early 13th century, the solitary castle on a small island, accessible only by boat, served as everything from a fortress to a prison and a royal castle before being abandoned in the 17th century, with its incredible history that worth visiting. sea legs for.
There is a minimum stay of two nights in the completely cashless retreat, but that shouldn’t be a problem, especially since the four-legged members of the family are also welcome in a number of cabins that accept pets. dogs.
Ahead of the summer holiday season, back on dry land, we’re told some anxious parents have already called ahead wondering if there’s enough to keep young children entertained for a week.
Granted, there are no heated indoor pools, waterslides, or bowling alleys, like a certain other family park not so far away.
But there’s not a kid in Ireland who wouldn’t be thrilled to play giant board games or roast their own marshmallows on a grill table with their family while making new friends in the communal Sitooterie. .
Who knows, three decades from now it might even be their favorite vacation memory – but this time it will be their parents’ too.
Cabu by the Lakes has a minimum stay of two nights. Prices start from €350 for two people for two nights.
Boat hire starts from €40 for three hours; All-day bike or kayak rental costs €20 for an adult and €10 for a child or teenager.
To book in advance, email [email protected] or call 049-489 4027.
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