The ancient beauty of Ireland shines gloriously throughout the pristine grounds of the Rock Farm Slane: an idyllic expanse of soft rolling hills, green pastures and wooded groves perched on the lush Boyne River. This boutique camping and ecotourism destination opened in mid-2013, but Alex Mount Charles’ family has called the estate home for more than 300 years. The property includes a working organic farm where cattle roam freely on most of the pasture. Just across the river sits the centuries-old Slane Castle, which produces its own brand of whiskey with barley grown right on the estate grounds—who says “eco-friendly” can’t apply to delicious libations?! Alex and his wife Carina took 150 acres of the property to create this ultimate eco-tourist destination dedicated to the ethos of “leave no trace.” This is carried out in nearly every aspect of the glamping experience, from the rain water collected for showers to the composting of waste to the wood stoves used for cooking food that is grown and reared right on the farm. This little slice of Irish heaven offers full-scale private events, “glamping” in luxury yurts and shepherd huts, and a nearly endless list of activities on and around the estate. Whether you’re looking for a serene, natural backdrop for your nuptials, or a unique group getaway, Rock Farm Slane has an unforgettable experience in store. How will my guests get here? From the Dublin Airport, Dublin Port, or Dublin City Center, you’ll take a scenic drive through long stretches of green pastures and Ireland’s picturesque natural beauty, arriving at Rock Farm Slane in about 45 minutes. Traveling here from Belfast takes less than an hour and a half.
Images courtesy of The Rock Farm Slane and Chris Huston Photo
The Rock Farm Slane is a rustic, wooded locale straight out of our wildest bohemian dreams. We can’t help but picture a bride and groom standing barefoot among the ancient sycamore and oak trees, surrounded by their loved ones and the crisp Irish air as they commit themselves to each other. Among your nearest and dearest witnessing your display of love, you might also have a visit from a few of the native Irish hares that make their home within the woodlands. You and your guests will make way to a reception designed specifically to your taste under a uniquely-crafted pavilion tent constructed entirely of sustainable materials. Sip delicious Blarney Stones (or Irish Car Bombs if you’ve got a rowdier crowd) made with Slane Castle’s own distilled and aged whiskey, all while you enjoy vistas of rolling hills and the stately castle just across the river. The venue works with local caterers to provide the finest organic meals for your celebration—all in keeping with the commitment to sustainability. What a beautiful way to start your life together! After the festivities conclude, steel away to your own private ‘Love Nest’ to unwind under the stars in the wood-burning hot tub. Then retire to the cozy cabin to spend your first night as husband and wife. So dreamy! In the morning, convene again with your bridal party and family to enjoy a freshly-picked brunch and the splendor of the meadows while you trade stories and laughs about the previous evening’s events.
Events are just one aspect of the offerings at the Rock Farm Slane. Alex and Carina’s vision was to create a unique camping experience for all ages and gathering purposes: from birthday parties to bachelor/bachelorette getaways (better known as “hens” or “stags” in this region). The site is perfect for corporate retreats as well, and there are a wealth of activities that can be tailored to the activity level and desire of the group. Want to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Boyne Valley? Take one of the farm’s electric bikes out for a spin! For foodies (or merely hungry folks), the Slane Food Circle Tour showcases the organic and award-winning produce of the region. The best part: you get to pick your lunch as you go! Although we wonder if participants in this tour find it hard to cycle those last few kilometers after feasting on all the delights of the area—did we mention the fresh ice cream? For history buffs: cycle back in time on the Grand Tour. You’ll discover tombs and passage graves, the Royal site at the Hill, centuries-old castles and great houses, and more. It’s a magical look into the past that would intrigue even the youngest visitors to Boyne Valley. If a girls or guys getaway is what brings you to Rock Farm Slane, the possibilities for fun are nearly endless. Start your morning saluting the sun with a yoga class in the meadow; then kick up the adrenaline with some kayaking or rafting on the Boyne River. The property’s large expanse of open land offers a blank canvas for creating your own obstacle course, clay pigeon shooting, paintball, karting and even rolling down the slightly sloping grounds in those giant inflatable balls. Who says you can’t be a kid again?
- birthday party
- bridal shower
- corporate event
- group getaway
- wedding ceremony
- wedding reception
- Don’t miss the Slane Castle Irish Whiskey Tour during your stay. You’ll see how the famous local whiskey is made ‘From Grain to Bottle’ during a guided tour and tasting.
- For serious eco-tourists, the farm offers courses in natural building techniques using strawbales, clay and lime renders. You’ll learn how to build energy-efficient structures that have minimal impact on the environment—a one-of-a-kind experience that will surely change the way you view modern architecture and the world’s efforts at conservation.
- For a more low-key activity, take advantage of the on-site spa services or a unique crafting class. And no matter how you spend the day, there is nothing better than an evening dunk in the wood-burning hot tub with your friends and a cold one. Whatever you choose to do during your time on Rock Farm Slane, the goal of its proprietors is the same: to ensure you experience nature at its most pure, to eat well, and to enjoy the matchless pleasure of togetherness.
1. Give your guests a glimpse of what’s to come. Start with eco-friendly invitations that offer a nod to the surroundings and ethos of the farm. Paper from: Sweet Invitation Co. | 2. We love the juxtaposition of fine china set atop reclaimed wood tables to add just the right amount of elegance. Photo from: Carolly Fine Art Photography | 3. What would an Irish celebration be without the land’s favorite drink? A whiskey tasting bar would be a great addition to your reception. Photo from: Jade + Matthew Take Pictures
- While you can hold your wedding ceremony among the aptly-nicknamed “fairy trees,” you’ll need to take care of the paperwork prior to the event—weddings of the humanist or shamanic variety aren’t legally recognized in Ireland. But there are plenty of lovely churches in town; or you can have a courthouse ceremony prior to your visit.
- Guests of the camp will sleep in beautifully-appointed yurts, shepherd huts or bell tents—all constructed of natural materials. The site offers a communal space for restrooms, showers and mealtime, where guests are encouraged to cook meals from the organic offerings of the farm.
- If you’re planning a glamping trip and want to bring your own food supplies, be sure to check in advance about refreshments of the alcoholic variety.
- Gold-Certified for its Eco Tourism experiences
- Organic farm offering seasonal produce and humanely-reared meats
- Glamping in luxury eco-structures
- Activities include electric bike tours, yoga, spa treatments, rafting, and more
- Two words: hot tub
- The Slane Castle Whiskey Tour is not to be missed
- Courses in eco-building
- Glamping gift vouchers available
This award-winning restaurant offers a seven-course tasting menu from land and sea, and it’s just a short drive from the farm. Though cooking your own meals is a big part of the Glamping experience, Brabazon is a great excuse to give yourself the night off.
A trip to Ireland wouldn’t be complete without a visit to one of its quintessential pubs. Boyle’s Pub on Main Street offers a hearty welcome, a fine stout, and live music every night. Bonus: everyone can partake in a pint of the good stuff, as the pub is just a 20-minute walk from Rock Farm Slane.
Ireland’s capital city has so much to offer that we highly encourage tacking on a trip before or after your farm stay. After you tour the buildings of Dublin Castle, pay a visit to Porterhouse, the city’s oldest microbrewery pub, to enjoy namesake ales, stouts and lagers and some of the tastiest bangers and mash around. And while there are plenty of museums and historical sites to see—Trinity College is a must—be sure to hit Grafton Street for a little (okay, maybe a lot of) shopping, and free entertainment from the local street performers.
Images courtesy of The Rock Farm Slane and Chris Huston Photo