From eco-lodging to castles set in medieval cities, Kildare, Kilkenny, and Tipperary all have an assemblage of fine establishments that will surely please. You will find no seaside resorts in these land-locked gems, but country, guest, and farmhouses that bring visitors ever closer to Ireland's natural soul abound.
Stradbally Rd., Athy, Co. Kildare 059 863 1101
With limited choices in or around Athy, this 200-year-old farmhouse is a highlight. Set just a few kilometers from town on rich farmland, the surrounding gardens with rare plants are a true delight. The proprietors, Iris and Jim Fox, will ensure that your stay is nothing less than magnificent. The homemade victuals at breakfast are to die for, so don't be shy!
Straffan, Co. Kildare 01 628 8157
Located just far enough away from the constant animation of Dublin, the Barberstown Castle is a keen example of what upper-crust country living is all about. Constructed in the thirteenth century, the grounds and quietude make it an appealing escape. The castle's kitchen is also renowned in gourmet circles, so enjoy an evening meal, perhaps after a day of golfing at the nearby and top-notch K-Club.
Dean Street, Kilkenny City 056 777 1866
With its own literal corner on the Kilkenny tourist market, the Abbey Lodge B&B is a modernly decorated establishment with fine amenities. The spacious rooms have comfortable beds, small flat-screen televisions, and small yet elegant bathrooms. The breakfast will last you past midday. Prices here are lower than other B&Bs in Kilkenny and the location cannot be beat. Quiet with private, gated parking, it is a five-minute stroll from downtown. If the Abbeylodge is full, try their lovely sister guesthouse, the Bregagh House (056 772 2315,
Patrick St., Kilkenny City 056 772 2828
To truly live in the medieval aura of Kilkenny is to stay in the ever-popular Butler House. Built akin to the spirit of Kilkenny Castle, this guesthouse has marble fireplaces and much grand allure to bring satiable rest and relaxation. Nothing of luxury is spared in this immaculate establishment; from deluxe double rooms to extravagant suites, if you can spare more than one night en route, a minimum two-night stay would be highly recommended, as are the rooms overlooking the luxuriant seventeenth-century garden.
Eamonn Looby, Ronga, Clogheen, Cahir, Co. Tipperary 052 65 191
This eco-lodge will truly make you feel welcome and removed at the same time. Opened as an ecological experiment, this small cottage is gaining in popularity. Located near the Tipperary Heritage Trail, the rustic feel and superb naturalness of it all make it a wonderful getaway location.
Cashel Palace Hotel
Main St., Cashel, Co. Tipperary 062 62 707
This four-star palace hotel is nothing short of striking. Designed in the 1700s as a Queen Anne–style mansion, the hotel boasts twenty-three rooms of fine d écor, along with a prize-winning restaurant to gratify inspired bon vivants. The establishment specializes in helping to arrange luxurious weddings and professional conferences.
Here are some other accommodations you might consider. (In the listings that follow, = around 25 euros per person.)
Martinstown House. The Curragh, Co. Kildare.045 44 1269
Kilkea Lodge Farm. Castledermot, Co. Kildare.059 914 5112
Rosquil House Guesthouse. Castlecomer Rd., Kilkenny City.056 772 1419
Newlands Country House. Sevenhouses,
Danesfort, Kilkenny City.056 772 9171
Kilkenny Tourist Hostel. 35 Parliament St., Kilkenny City.056 776 3541
Dunromin B&B. Dublin Rd. Kilkenny City.056 776 1387
Kilmaneen Farmhouse. Ardfinnan, Newcastle,
Co. Tipperary.052 613 6231
Inch House. Thurles, Co. Tipperary.050 451 348,
Silver Stream B&B. Goatenbridge, Ardfinnan, Co. Tipperary.052 66 113.
Cashel Holiday Hostel. Town Center, Cashel,
Co. Tipperary.062 62 330
The Apple Farm (award-winning caravanning
and camping). Moorstown, Cahir, Co. Tipperary.052 744 1459