Glamping Under The Stars
Barry and Kyra Fingleton, the owners of Glamping Under The Stars in Laois, describe it as a magical place, with crackling campfires and starry skies.
Inspired by the Electric Picnic Festival in nearby Stradbally, it has a fairy-tale feel, with bell tents, wood lodges and a shepherd’s hut, all handcrafted with local wood by Barry. The site sits alongside two acres of wildflower meadow, with wiggly pathways woven through it.
This year, business is different. Instead of welcoming guests on April 1st, Glamping Under The Stars remained closed until reopening on June 29th. The first hurdle they had to climb was communicating with guests who had already booked for later in the season and in 2021. They started an innovative campaign encouraging guests to ‘Postpone Don’t Cancel,’ which attracted local and national press coverage.
To safely welcome guests back, they invested in new safety measures on site. In the past, areas like the Glamp House Kitchen, barbeque deck and campfire were communal spaces, as well as a number of shared bathroom facilities. To comply with new guidelines, Kyra and Barry made all of these private.
Work included three new bathrooms, so each accommodation has private facilities; private barbeques, picnic tables and cooking kits so each guest can still enjoy al fresco dining. Each guest now also gets their own chimnea, so they can still enjoy the quintessential camping experience – toasting marshmallows!
They’ve also taken on two new staff members to keep up with cleaning requirements.
Fun is a crucial part of their offering, and they were ambitious about maintaining that. Guests can still do all the great things they could before – just differently.
Local support is crucial for the business, with the majority of their trade coming from domestic guests.
Conscious of giving back and supporting other businesses in their area, they share a guide of their favourite things to see and do in the area with guests at check-in, which arms visitors with ideas about where to shop, explore and dine locally. They also have a recommended list of storytellers and musicians guests can book for entertainment around the campfire.
Kyra and Barry, both Champion Green supporters, are passionate about supporting other local businesses and offer their space free for local groups needing to host events. And like so many local businesses across Ireland, they often donate prizes for school and charity fundraisers. They are encouraged by local support for their business, which they say is crucial to their business.
Hospitality has been one of the hardest hit by COVID-19, with its former annual contributions of up to €6 billion to the Irish economy now seriously challenged. With the unprecedented shortfall in revenue from the industry, it’s hoped that the rise in demand for staycations in Ireland will provide much needed support.
According to Fáilte Ireland, up to 60% of Irish people planning a short trip in Ireland in the next six months. The best advice is to book early!
If glamping is something you’ve been curious to try out, check out Glamping Under The Stars here.