When camping, even if it’s the glamping version, too much heat is generally not the primary concern.

However, the advice of Comeragh Mountain Pods co-owner Tracy Quinlan as she stepped into “The Wells”, our glamping pod for the night was “Oh Lord, it’s very warm in here! Open the back window and the door and you’ll get a breeze through?”

As we talked about the enterprise, we sat in the shade of the pod, the whitewashed finish on the internal timber walls giving it an almost Scandinavian feel. The colour was chosen by Tracy to give these small spaces a feeling of light and air. But little details are part of the efforts that Tracy and her husband Padraig are making, “to put the glam back into glamping”.

Who are the Quinlans?

Tracy and Padraig have lived on Padraig’s home farm in this scenic area of west Waterford near Kilmacthomas for the 24 years of their marriage with their sons, Danny and Jack. The farm itself is a small suckler farm; but Padraig admits “there’s not much out of that.”

Throughout COVID-19, Tracy and Padraig Quinlan admit they were like Mr and Mrs Pod. "All we talked about was pods, pods, pods".

Padraig and Tracy work off the farm, Padraig with Farm Relief Services and Tracy as a recruitment manager in the IT industry. However, with their two children almost reared, Tracy and Padraig felt that the time had come for them to venture into something else.

“We both had our own businesses over the years and were always thinking ‘what can we do next?’ We saw the farm as an opportunity to do something while still not quite knowing what.”

What is the offering?

Padraig believed that the setting is really important for atmosphere and ambiance.

“When we go away for a trip, we went glamping. We went to Wales and Northern Ireland. Each one is appealing to a different market. We wanted a destination stay, an experiential stay! A lot of glamping is put in places that I wouldn’t agree with. We wanted this to be in a nice scenic setting. We had another site but it would not have had the river.”

Three years have passed from deciding to develop to the first guests and there have been challenges. Tracy explained how the land had to be re-registered from agricultural to commercial, electricity had to be brought in and then some of the site was designated as a flood zone.

This meant that the original vision, with pods scattered across the site, had to be realigned. However, the couple think that this was a change for the better because the views are now unobstructed.

A large communal area houses two fully equipped kitchens, eating tables and a comfy sitting room. Outside is a long deck canopy area with a fire for toasting marshmallows and an egg basket chair to relax in. The communal area was something the Quinlans really wanted and feel it elevates their offering to the experiential offering that they were seeking.

“It’s just a nice place to be. Even when it’s raining you can just sit out there on the deck canopy as with the way the rain blows, the rain doesn’t blow into it.

Come for the Comeragh pods but stay for the walks.

“It’s really peaceful with the river in the rain.” Padraig says, but Tracy is pragmatic.

“Look, we live in Ireland, it’s going to rain, and you have to account for that and allow people to stay on site, even if it’s raining. They might not want to go to Mahon Falls or Crew Wood or surfing, so you want them to have a place to come and sit and relax.”

What to do

The location of the site is very close to the Waterford Greenway but the list of activities locally is long.

“We have Crew Wood, Crew Coffee, the Sean Kelly cycling route passes just up the road, Mahon falls, Coumshingaun and Cooney’s Yard, that’s a new family run restaurant. Willie and Bridget Drohan have the Comeragh Mountain Lamb and they do a lovely breakfast.”

The land itself is very peaceful and Padraig explained why.

The land is in a little bit of a hollow as it was a quarry. Padraig and his father filled it back in, reclaimed it, reseeded it and made farmland out of it. Because of this, it’s high at the back of the pods which gives it almost a microclimate.

“Because it’s lower than the natural low ground, we are actually below the wind. It’s a different climate at the gate, you will know you are back in the Comeraghs when you walk up there.

This is Coumshingaun lake. Walk here and let it become your favourite walk in Ireland.

Small touches

Tracy is pragmatic about the need for spaces like their communal area; “Look, we live in Ireland, it's going to rain, and you have to account for that and allow people to stay on site".

  • The next phase, before year end, will see a hot tub with each pod.
  • To avoid blocking out the view, pod-shaped curtains were required, Tracy said. “My aunt actually made those. She’s retired but came out and within 10 minutes we had a solution. I was like – thanks Auntie Alice.”
  • Gourmet breakfast and Comeragh Mountain lamb barbecue boxes with Waterford Blas can be ordered.
  • Each pod sleeps four, guests have full use of the site, picnic areas, benches and the communal space where there are also extra showers and toilets.
  • One pod is wheelchair-accessible.
  • Cost and how to book

    €280/pod for a two-night stay in early October. Book at Comeraghpods.ie

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