Types of Accommodations
Whether you will be spending your nights in the lap of luxury or counting pennies, the hospitality of the Irish is unmatched. No matter where you dine or slumber, you really cannot go wrong.
If you plan to explore Ireland during off-peak seasons you can easily find rooms each night without booking ahead. For those with a limited amount of time and/or budget, planning ahead by emailing or calling the establishments will ensure your rooms are booked each night.
From regular hotels to luxury spas, the choice is really dependent upon your budget and taste. Bigger chain hotels will have more amenities; some are near golf courses, offer babysitting, live music or nightclubs, and indoor and outdoor sporting pursuits.
With the bed-and-breakfast boom, seemingly anyone can become recognized by the Tourism Quality Services and published by the Irish Tourist Board called Fáilte Ireland. Associated and approved B&Bs display a green shamrock beside their outdoor sign verifying their membership.
Bigger chain hotels, such as Jury's Doyle (
Country houses are establishments that do not offer the same amenities as bigger or more luxurious hotels. These houses offer their clients a more intimate experience and an opportunity to feel a part of Irish culture and history. Prices for these types of accommodations can at times compare with their five-star counterparts. The value and real feel of it all is worthwhile.
Both Ireland and Northern Ireland refer to rooms with an adjoining bathroom as “en suite.” While you do not need to say it with a French accent, be sure to ask for it if you desire your own bathroom inside your room. An “en suite” room does not necessarily mean a bathtub, but usually a shower.
Lining streets of tourist areas throughout Ireland are bed-and-breakfasts. With no shortage, these places (and their hosts) each offer a unique experience. The idea behind a bed-and-breakfast is to experience Irish hospitality with the friendly locals at a price that cannot be beat. Rooms tend to be charming, but not overly luxurious. Scrumptious breakfasts are generally the highlight. Costs vary but average between 35 and 70 per person, depending on the season. Since most B&Bs are small, be sure to ask whether they accept major credit cards (usually MasterCard or Visa).
If you're searching for something between a B&B and a country house, you may consider staying in guesthouses as well. Guesthouses are homes or manors that have been refashioned for travelers passing through for one or more nights. They and their hosts are often known for excellent evening meals and breakfasts. In the Republic of Ireland, guesthouses can be rated as high as four stars, while in Northern Ireland they are graded accordingly with an A or B appraisal.
The highlight of any stay in Ireland would be spending at least one night in a fabled castle. Both historical and luxurious, castles such as Ashford Castle (
When searching for hotels, take the time to evaluate each place. Doing an online search with the keywords “Review of” plus the name of the hotel, guesthouse, B&B, or lodge will let you see what other travelers have said and think about the establishment. And, when arranging your trip to Ireland, reserve at least your first night's accommodations before you arrive. You will need this information for customs when entering the country.
A truly genuine way to experience Ireland is a stay at an Irish family farm. These establishments tend to cater well to families with small children. One of the best resources is Irish Farmhouse Holidays (061 400 700,
Self-Catering and Eco-Lodging
If you are an eco-minded traveler or simply want to have a spot to base yourself for exploration, then a self-catering apartment, house, lodge, or cottage might do the trick. Self-catering is an establishment that is rented for multiday stays, usually with a one-week minimum. Self-catering signifies access to a kitchen and appliances, which could save you money even if the rental fee is high. It also gives you privacy with a certain amount of comfort and luxury. Most self-catering cottages and eco-lodges, such as the newfound Tory Bush Cottages (+44 (0) 28 4372 4348,
Hostels, Camping, and Caravanning
Ireland offers amazing hostelling and camping opportunities. Every big city or town has a camping area where you can pitch a tent or dock your motor home (called a caravan). Some of these spots are more popular than others, so try to book ahead during the summer months. This is also true for hostels, which are listed online and in the Independent Holiday Hostels of Ireland (