holidays in ireland

Holidays in Ireland

The Best Beaches In Ireland And Places to Stay Nearby

Sarah Achill (1)

From hidden coves that are only accesible by hiking, to wide open beaches that you can drive on to – I’ve got the best beaches in Ireland in this post, and some places to stay nearby.

 

I asked on my social media channels what you thought were the best beaches in Ireland, and I was overwhelmed with the response. I received over 600 comments and messages, so a big thanks to you all for your contributions! As promised, I have compiled a list of your favourites, along with some of my own into one long post.

 

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I have broken the list down by county, which will hopefully make it easier for you to search through, and I have also listed a hotel and Airbnb close by, should you wish to plan a trip there soon. If you are not planning a trip right now, why not bookmark or Pin this post for future reference.

some of the best beaches in Ireland are in Achill

 

 

 

 

Antrim

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Blue Flag Whiterocks Beach in Portrush proved the most popular beach in Antrim, and I’m looking forward to checking it out myself next weekend. Located just off the Causeway Coastal Route, with limestone cliffs, dramatic headlands and a labyrinth of caves and arches, you could easily spend the day there. 

Other favourites include The Strand at Portstewart and White Park Bay in Ballintoy.
 

 

 

Where to stay near the beach in Antrim?

This townhouse overlooking the beach in Portrush should tick all boxes. If you are looking for a hotel, the Golflinks in Portrush has a great beachfront location, while Bushmills Hotel, near the Giants Causeway, is renowned for its great hospitality and delicious food. I visited Bushmills and the Causeway Coast a few years ago, you can read what I got up to here:

Read: A magical few days on the Causeway Coast

View hotels here
 

 

 

Clare

 

 
 
 
 
 
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I was surprised that more of Clare’s beaches didn’t feature in your comments. The well known holiday hotspots of Spanish Point, Kilkee and Lahinch were all mentioned, but Fanore beach was the most popular. The long sandy beach at Fanore is attractive to walkers and swimmers, but it also happens to have sheltered areas, which are appreciated if the weather is not in your favour. Kids will love the many rock pools in Fanore Beach and the backdrop of The Burren makes it one of Clare’s most attractive beaches too.

White strand in Miltown Malbay, and Doughmore Beach near Doonbeg were also mentioned.
 

 

 

Where to stay near the beach in Clare?

This bright airy Airbnb in Fanore is located just 500 metres from the beach and is ideal for couples or a small family. There are many great hotel options too, including the Armada Hotel and Red Cliff Lodge in Spanish Point, or the Falls Hotel which is located close to Lahinch.

Search hotels here
 

 

 

Cork

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Cork is the largest county in Ireland and it certainly has its fair share of cracking beaches. My brother lives in Cork and I have been fortunate to visit Cork many times. However, I was surprised to see that Inchydoney Beach, which is often described as one of the best beaches in Ireland, was not your favourite. Inchydoney is a stunning beach. The 6.5km loop walk is a great way to appreciate the Wild Atlantic Way and there is a surf school there if you feel that way inclined.
 

 

 
However, the beautiful Barleycove near Schull was the clear winner from your comments! I remember visiting Barleycove when my children were small and loving it. Barleycove is backed by sand dunes, which are designated special areas of conservation, it also offers safe bathing for children in the stream that flows down to the sea. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Another one of my own personal favourites is Silver Strand beach on Sherkin Island, I recall wild camping there many years ago. Catch the boat from Baltimore and spend the day exploring the island – you won’t regret it. 

Other favourites include the beaches at Mizen Head, Warren Strand, Cantys Cove, Dunmore and Dunworley Beach. Garnish beach near Dursey head was also highlighted, particularly for the colour of the sea.
 

 

 

Where to stay near the beach in Cork?

This cottage overlooking Inchydoney beach is ideal if you are looking for a holiday home, but if you feel like being pampered then it is hard to beat the Inchydoney Island Lodge and Spa Hotel.

See more here
 

 

 

Derry

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Derry may not be famous for great beaches, but did you know that it is home to Benone beach, one of Ireland’s longest beaches? This is a Blue Flag beach that offers views of the Causeway Coast, Donegal and even Scotland, put it on your list if visiting Derry.
 

 

 

Where to stay near the beach in Derry?

This beachfront Airbnb is hard to beat. It is located below Mussenden Temple, and overlooks eight miles of sandy beach. Game of Thrones fans will love to hear that it was filmed on the beach in front of this house.

Search hotels here
 

 

 

Donegal

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Donegal is a county that I haven’t visited in a long time so is high on my staycations wish list! I loved reading your beach recommendations, in fact I received more recommendations to visit beaches in Donegal than in any other county. Donegal’s coastline stretches for 772 miles and is home to 12 Blue Flag beaches, so I think its safe to say that some of the best beaches in Ireland are in Donegal.
 

 

 
It seems Murder Hole beach is one of Ireland’s best kept secrets – apologies if I am going to spoil that now! I hadn’t heard about it before, but listening to your stories I now know that it is a place that I have to visit. You can not go by car, you must hike from Melmore near Downings to find this secret beach, but from what I’m told – it’s worth it! 
 

 

 
Nearby, Downings Blue Flag beach, as well as Tra na Rossan are also worth a visit, while Ballymastocker / Port Salon was named one of the best beaches in the world.  

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The horseshoe bay at Silver Strand in Malin Beg is one of Donegal’s most photographed beaches. There’s 200 steps down to it and it is nestled between two cliffs, and now this is another one of Donegal’s beaches that I feel compelled to visit!

The Inisowen Peninsula is also home to some of Ireland’s best beaches. Doagh Strand, Culdaff,  Leenan, Tullagh Bay and Kinnagoe Bay are all classed as hidden gems by my readers.
 

 

 
Narin/ Portnoo Beach was another one of your favourites. The panoramic views of the Atlantic from this Blue Flag beach are spectacular, and if you happen to visit during low tide, you can walk from Narin out to an island where you will find the remains of two churches. This white sandy beach, backed by sand dunes which are designated a Natural Heritage Area, make it known as of the best beaches on the Wild Atlantic Way.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Dunfanaghy is another popular choice. I received many recommendations to visit Killahoey Strand and Marble Hill, both are located near each other, so they could easily be visited in one day.
 

 

 
Maghergallon beach in Gweedore should not be overlooked either. Famous for having ‘Bad Eddie’ a large shipwreck in the centre of the sand, it is also a popular beach with walkers. One reader mentioned that when you walk past the rocks it is like being in the Seychelles on a good day! 

Other favourites include Maghera Beach & Caves, Fintra beach, Derrybeg, Rossnowlagh Beach and the beaches in Tory Island, located just nine miles off the coast of Donegal.
 

 

 

Where to stay near the beach in Donegal?

This 5-star cottage has its own private beach in Donegal and is listed as one of my best Airbnbs in Ireland near the beach. I’m also a fan of Portsalon’s luxury glamping yurts, but it if you fancy a nice beach front hotel, then check out thet 4-star Sandhouse Hotel that overlooks Rossnowlagh Beach.

View hotel here
 

 

 

Down

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Murlough beach is the clear winner in county Down. The 6km Blue Flag wide sandy beach is backed by sand dunes, which also happens to be a National Nature Reserve. Its location at the edge of Dundrum Bay and the Mourne Mountains makes it popular with walkers and nature lovers.

Notable mentions: Newcastle, Kilclief, Ballyhornan and Helen’s Bay.
 

 

 

Where to stay near the beach in Down ?

This log cabin by the sea might suit those looking for self-catering accommodation but if you are looking for a fabulous beachfront hotel, then it has to be the 5-star Slieve Donard in Newcastle – I stayed here myself a few times and loved it.

View hotel here
 

 

 

Dublin

 

 
 
 
 
 
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So who knew there was a secret beach in Howth? I certainly didn’t, and I hope by posting this I’m not going to ruin it for the rest of you… Many of you commented about a hidden beach that is accessed from the Howth Cliff Walk towards the lighthouse. After conducting some more research I am told that it does exist! It can be tricky to get to – with slippery narrow steps, but I’m sure that’s is all part of the experience. See more information from here.
 

 

 
If you are looking for something a little larger, Velvet Strand in Portmarnock, or Sutton’s Burrow Beach have been awarded Blue Flag status, and are popular choices for sandy beach days in Dublin.
 

 

 

Where to stay near the beach in Dublin?

The King Sitric in Howth or the Portmarnock Hotel are good options if you want to be close to the beach in Dublin, but first check out this cosy cabin that is close to Howth and has private access to Burrow Beach.

Search hotels here
 

 

 

Galway

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Connemara is home to some of the best beaches in Ireland, and it seems that Dogs Bay is the one to beat. This was by far the most recommended beach by my readers, and I can’t wait to visit! Located in Roundstone, this horseshoe shaped bay is blessed with a white sandy mile long beach.
 

 

 
Dogs Bay, together with Gurteen Bay form a tombolo, whose sand is made from fragments of seashells which give it a pure white colour. Sand dunes separate both beaches, but it is clear that the whole area is one of great beauty, with swimming possibilities available on three sides. 

Connemara has certainly some of the best beaches in Ireland, with Clifden, Glassilaun, Renvyle, Eyrephort and Moyrus also recommended by my readers. However, the islands should not be overlooked…
 

 

 
Inishbofin and Mweenish Island off the coast of Connemara have some stunning beaches, and the Aran Islands’ Inis Oirr beach along with the Blue Flag Kilmurvey Beach on Inis Mór, should not be missed if visiting Galway.
 

 

 

Where to stay near the beach in Galway?

There many great places to stay in Connemara, but this Airbnb in Roundstone is pretty special. Located just meters from a quiet sandy beach, this three-bedroom house has been rebuilt from two ruined stone cottages.
 

 

 
There are many great hotels in Connemara too, including the 4-star Connemara Sands Hotel, Ballynahinch Castle, Abbeyglen Castle Hotel or Renvyle House Hotel. The Carna Bay and Roundstone House Hotel are good value 3-star options.

Search hotels here
 

 

 

Kerry

 

 
 
 
 
 
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There are no surprises for guessing what your favourite beach in Kerry is – it’s Inch beach! The 5km long sandy beach is situated on the Dingle Peninsula. You can enjoy fabulous walks, try a host of water sports or simply sit back, relax, and enjoy the view.
 

 

 
In fact the Dingle Peninsula is home to some of the best beaches in Ireland. The Maharees, Ventry and Coumeenoole Beach are definitely worth a visit, and if possible take the boat over to the Great Blasket Island, I’m told that Trá Bán (White Beach) is spectacular.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Derrynane Beach and Rossbeigh also deserve a special mention, and if you want to try beach horse riding, Rossbeigh is the place to do it. 

Other favourites include Kells Bay near Killarney, Banna, Poulgorm and Barrow Beach near Tralee and the beaches in Ballinskelligs. Fermoyle Strand, which stretches for 14 kilometres make it the largest beach in Ireland. 
 

 

 
Another recommendation that might be worth checking out is the tiny coral beach beside Gleesk Pier outside Sneem. This is one of two Irish coral beaches, which are rare geological gems – the other beach is near Carraroe in Galway. The dried algae is different from the coral that you find in a tropical island, but a nice spot if you like sea shells. The pier is also a popular spot for children, who like to jump into the sea below.
 

 

 

Where to stay near the beach in Kerry?

This stone cottage in Dingle is one of the best Airbnbs in Ireland near the beach but there are also plenty of hotel options in Kerry too. The Seafront Inn on Inch Beach, the Butler Arms Hotel in Waterville, and the Derrynane Hotel are firm favourites, if you want to stay close to the beach in Kerry. 

Search hotels here
 

 

 

Louth

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The sheltered Templetown beach on the Cooley Peninsula is Louth’s best beach, according to my readers. It has a Blue Flag status and is ideal for families and water sports enthusiasts. Clogherhead and Seapoint are other popular choices.
 

 

 

Where to stay near the beach in Louth?

Roseanne’s Seaside Cottage is located right on the beach and just 5km from Carlingford, however if you are looking for a hotel stay, Templetown House or the Whistledown Hotel are probably your best bet.

Search hotels here  

 

 

 

Mayo

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Many of you many know that I’m just back from a fabulous few days in Mayo, and I was blown away by its stunning beaches. In fact the reason I decided to compile a list of the best beaches in Ireland was because I was so surprised that I hadn’t even heard of some of the beaches I discovered there.
 

 

 
I am delighted to say that you all agreed with my top recommendation, as Keem beach in Achill was the clear winner! I remember catching a glimpse of Keem beach while driving the Achill coastal route and having to pull in to see it properly. It really was hard to believe we were in Ireland when we gazed at it from this viewpoint. Believe it or not, it got even better when we got to the beach. The while sandy cove with turquoise coloured water really gave me Caribbean vibes. Don’t miss the hike up behind the beach for the best views.
 

 

 
I also loved Keel beach in Achill. It is a larger wide sandy beach, that is popular with families and water sports enthusiasts. I’m told Annagh and Dugort are also unmissable, but I guess I’ll have to go back to Achill to verify that. 

Read: 3 beaches in Achill you have to visit

It’s not only Achill in Mayo that is blessed with stunning beaches. Silver Strand beach near Louisburg stole a little piece of my heart – it also won a Green Coast Award in recognition of the beach’s clean environment, water quality and natural beauty. We only enjoyed a short visit as we stopped on our way home, so I’m thinking I might have to pay a return visit.

 
 
 
 
 
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Other favourites include Mulranney, Old Head, and Rinroe beach, as well as the more unspoilt beaches of Belmullet – Elly Beach and Claggan Island were amongst the favourites.
 

 

 

Where to stay near the beach in Mayo?

You only have to look at this house in Achill, with its own private beach access to know that this is a dream staycation house! However, the Achill Cliff House Hotel is a great option if you are looking for a hotel stay in Achill, while the 4-star Mulranny Park Hotel and the Talbot Hotel in Belmullet are very popular hotels that are close to the beach in Mayo.

Search hotels here 
 

 

 

Sligo

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Sligo was the only county where I received the the equal number of recommendations for three beaches, Mullaghmore, Enniscrone and Streedagh Beach.

Mullaghmore is a 3km long, wide, sandy beach, that is backed by sand dunes. There are plenty of water sports opportunities available, and on the far side of Mullaghmore Head you will find one of Ireland’s best surfing locations.
 

 

 
The Blue Flag Enniscrone beach is renowned as one of the safest beaches on Ireland’s west coast. Its golden sand stretches for 5km, making it popular with families and water sports enthusiasts – there is a surf school here if you fancy braving the sea on the Wild Atlantic Way. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Streedagh Strand is another beautiful long sandy beach in Sligo. It offers stunning views of Donegal and Ben Bulben, and there is a sandbar linking Streedagh point to Connor’s island, which makes it another ideal spot for surfing. 

Cliffoney beach was also mentioned, this relatively unspoilt beach is ideal if you want to escape the crowds, although swimming is not recommended.
 

 

 

Where to stay near the beach in Sligo?

If you are looking for a large family home, check out this three-bedroom house that is located right on the beach in Enniscrone.  However if you prefer a hotel stay, the 4-star Diamond Coast Hotel or the 3-star Ocean Sands Hotel are probably your best bet.

Search hotels here
 

 

 

Waterford

 

 
 
 
 
 
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According to my readers, there are many great beaches in Waterford to choose from. Tramore’s three-mile long sandy beach was always going to be a favourite, but Ardmore, Bunmahon Beach and Kilmurrin Cove were also popular – all of which I can whole heartedly agree with. I was lucky enough to try sea kayaking in Ardmore beach (above), while staying at the stunning Cliff House Hotel.
 

 

 
I also enjoyed exploring Bunmahon Beach and Kilmurrin Cove on the Copper Coast last year. My kids loved crab hunting in the the rock pools in Kilmurrin Cove, and its also a great place to forage for seaweed. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Read: Top things to do in the Munster Vales
 

 

 
Other favourites included Kilfarrasy, Dunmore Beach and Goat Island, and older kids love diving from the cliffs at Guillamene Swimming Cove. I’m also told that there are lots of beautiful beaches located between Ring and Ardmore – perhaps beach hopping could be a thing in Waterford?
 

 

 

Where to stay near the beach in Waterford?

The Boatstrand Beachhouse on Waterford’s Copper Coast is one of the best Airbnbs in Ireland near the beach, in fact the beach is at the end of its garden! If you prefer a hotel stay, check out the Majestic Hotel in Tramore or the Strand Inn in Dunmore East. I am also a big fan of the Cliff House Hotel, so if you can stretch the budget, it’s worth it!

Search hotels here 
 

 

 

Wexford

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Wexford has over 250 km of coastline with lots of wide sandy beaches to choose from. I have joint winners in Wexford, The seven mile long Curraloe (Ballinesker), made famous for its filming of Steven Spielberg’s movie, Saving Private Ryan, is undoubtedly one of the best beaches in Ireland, but the lesser known Dollar Bay was equally favoured by my readers.
 

 

 
I’m told Dollar Bay is somewhat of a hidden treasure. This small cove beach is located on the Hook Peninsula. Surrounded by high rocky cliffs and green fields, with turquoise coloured sea and golden sand – you may think you are in the Caribbean instead of Ireland.
 
Other favourites include Carne Beach, Cullenstown Beach past Duncormick Village, St. Helens and Baginbun.
 

 

 

Where to stay near the beach in Wexford?

If you are looking for a beach hotel in Wexford, look no further than Kellys Resort Hotel in Rosslare. I stayed here a few years ago and it reminded me of a hotel in the Mediterranean, it has a real ‘resort’ feel to it. It is quite family orientated though, so best to avoid it during school holidays if you are travelling without children.

Read: Is Kelly’s the best family hotel in Ireland?

Read: 5 things to do in Wexford with Kids
 

 

 
There are many other hotels close to the sea in Wexford to choose from. I took a shine to this thatched cottage near Curracloe beach – is an ideal choice if you are looking for an authentic Irish stay.

See more here
 

 

 

Wicklow

 

 
 
 
 
 
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I was delighted to see that Brittas Bay was your favourite beach in Wicklow, as it is mine too! I am a regular visitor and love its wide golden sandy beach, as well as the sand dunes that lay behind it – these act as a natural shelter if you want to sunbathe on a windy day.
 

 

 
Silver Strand beach is another favourite. Although much smaller in size, it is surrounded by dramatic cliffs on both sides and tends to escape the massive crowds that frequent Brittas Bay.

Where to stay near the beach in Wicklow?

Wicklow has some fabulous hotels including the 5-star Druids Glen Resort and Powerscort Hotel, however there is not a huge choice of options if you are looking for a beachfront hotel. Why not check out this Brittas Bay retreat on Airbnb instead?

See more here
 

 

 
I hope this post on the best beaches in Ireland  will help you plan a staycation soon. It is important to note that some of the facilities / activities listed may not be operating to full capacity. The hotel search boxes are linked to Booking.com where I receive a small commission if a booking is made, but at no additional cost to you.
 

 

 
The holiday homes were researched on the Airbnb website and when you make a booking, you do so via Airbnb. Note as I am an Airbnb Associate, I will receive a small commission if a booking is made, but at no additional cost to you.  Read more in my privacy policy.

 

 

Like this post? You might like:

Best hotels in Ireland for luxury and romance

Best Airbnbs in Ireland near the beach

The best beach hotels in Ireland – my top 20 picks

Top picks for glamping in Ireland

20 Hotels with lodges in Ireland

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

 

 

 

Holidays in IrelandTravel Tips

11 Staycation Tips For Holidaying in Ireland During Covid-19

Sarah Mount Juliet Garden Room (1)

Holidaying in Ireland during Covid-19? Check out my top staycation tips to help you make the most of your break away.

 

 

I’ve been fortunate to enjoy two staycations over the last month, one to Kilkenny and the other to Mayo. I was really surprised at how easily I adapted to holidaying in Ireland during Covid-19. I recall the first few hours fixating on who was wearing masks, whether there was the appropriate social distancing in place, and how long I would have to enjoy my meal… The funny thing is this uneasy feeling only lasted a few hours. In no time we were enjoying fantastic experiences, delicious food and luxurious crisp cotton sheets – I was on my holidays! 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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I had a great experience on both trips, although both hotels had different Covid policies. With most hotels and restaurants trying to follow the new government guidelines during Covid-19, there are some things that you should be aware of. I learned lots of staycation tips and tricks along the way and thought I would share them with you.

 

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1. Check the hotels Covid-19 policy

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Before you book any hotel, apartment or Airbnb, check their Covid-19 policy. You should find this on their website, but if not, call the hotel to confirm. You should be able to find out if the hotel is operating all of their usual facilities, or if there are restrictions in place. Some spa treatments, kids clubs and live music shows may not be available, but there may be substitutions put in place.
 

 

 
If you are concerned about social distancing you can find out if the hotel bar / restaurant has 1 or 2 metre social distancing in place, and if they have restrictions on meal times. The guidelines for re-opening of hotels state that if a restaurant has 2 metre social distancing in place that they do not have to adhere to the 105 minute rule for meal times. However, in many cases if hotels enforce 2 metre social distancing, tables have to be removed. This means that they will have to allot specific meal times to allow for more sittings. 
 

 

 
The guidelines with regards to face coverings is that they are only recommended in situations where it is difficult to practice physical distancing. This means that while most restaurant and bar staff will wear face coverings, other staff may not. I visited two hotels in Kilkenny, one had face coverings, the other did not. If this is an issue that concerns you, check with the hotel you are booking to find out what their policy is.
 

 

 

2. Book a room with free cancellation

Marlfield House

Luckily most hotels have relaxed their cancellation policies, and non-refundable rooms are not as prevalent as they were before Covid-19 emerged. It may transpire that some facilities that you were looking forward to, have to be withdrawn at the last minute, or perhaps you have to cancel for personal reasons, either way having a free or small cancellation fee can give piece of mind.
 

 

 

3. Don’t forget Ireland’s hidden heartlands 

The Vee Drive Munster Vales

Ireland’s coastal towns are without a doubt the top choice for staycations this summer. However, not only is availability hard to come by, but prices are much higher in popular beach towns than they are in the midlands.

When we think of summer holidays we tend to think of swimming and water sports, but remember we have plenty of great lakes where you can enjoy an Irish swim. Towns like Athlone, Boyle and Drumshanbo provide great water-based activities at a fraction of the cost of our beach towns. Another bonus – SUPing or kayaking is a lot easier on a lake than in the sea…. 
 

 

 
Tipperary and Kilkenny should not be overlooked either. The Suir Blueway in Tipperary is a 53km kayaking and canoe trail and a 21km walking and cycling trail along the River Suir. You can also visit places like Cahir Castle and Swiss Cottage (below).

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Read: Top things to do in the Munster Vales

Kilkenny is another favourite city of mine. It is packed with experiences for everyone to enjoy and has a great food scene. You can go SUPing in Graiguenamanagh, get lost in the grounds of Kilkenny Castle, try falconry in one of its luxury 5-star hotels, or feel the buzz as you go down the longest zipline in Ireland.

Read: My review of Mount Juliet, Kilkenny

Read: Top things to do in Kilkenny with kids

 

 
 
 
 
 
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4. Contact the hotel 48 hours before arrival 

Lough Erne Resort

Most hotels will contact you by email 48 hours before arrival, listing their Covid-19 policies. This may include advice on pre-booking breakfast, swimming pool slots and spa treatments, as well as some staycation tips. This correspondence should also tell you about their turndown service and housekeeping policies.
 

 

 
However, if you have booked through an intermediary, such as Booking.com or Trivago, they may not have passed on your contact details and therefore you may not receive an email. I suggest calling the hotel 48 hours before arrival if you haven’t received any correspondence, so you can be fully informed before arrival.
 

 

 

5. Prebook everything and plan for early nights!

 

 
 
 
 
 
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It is vital to pre-book evening meals and top attractions in advance. Most have restricted numbers, so if you are staying in a busy town or city you may find it difficult to get a booking. It is also important to pre-book breakfast times, swimming pool slots and spa treatments, as numbers will likely be restricted in hotels too.
 

 

 
I recommend booking a late sitting for dinner. Hopefully you wont be asked to leave after 105 minutes, assuming the hotel has the correct social distancing in place. I also recommend booking off-peak times for breakfast if you are in any way nervous about being in a busy dining room. 9am – 10am is usually the busiest time, so why not pre-book 830 or 845am instead?
 

 

 
You may find that bars will close earlier than usual, or that you will be restricted to the 105 time limit – this means you may be back in your hotel room earlier than anticipated. Bring cards, board games, a good book, or download movies from Netflix before you leave home. Check out local restaurants that offer delivery service too. Many top restaurants are offering take away or delivery service now (not just pizza or Chinese). It might be nice to enjoy a relaxing night in with a bottle of wine during your staycation.
 

 

 

6. Ask at check-in about room cleaning and fresh towels

staycation tips - ask if you want your bed made
Trident Hotel, Kinsale

Most hotels have a policy of limiting the amount of time staff will spend in your room. This means that unless you ask for fresh towels or your bed to be made, it probably won’t happen. This should be listed in the hotel email that you receive before arrival, however this is something that you should confirm at check-in too. If you would like your bed made and fresh towels every day – just ask.
 

 

 

7. Visit top attractions and beaches during off peak times

 

 
 
 
 
 
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We are living in a country where it rains most of the year, so you can assume if the weather is good the beaches will be busy – especially the best beaches! I suggest getting up early and going to the beach first thing in the morning. We did this when we visited Achill recently and it worked a treat. We got a parking spot right beside Keem beach and had no issues with traffic. Our hotel Manager told us that if we left an hour later the journey would have taken us twice as long, and we would have to park about a twenty minute walk away from the beach. 

The same applies to top attractions – go early before 10am, or late in the afternoon, after 4pm. There will be less crowds, you will have much more enjoyable experience – and get much better photos!
 

 

 

8. Be prepared for an Irish summer

staycation tips - bring your own wetsuit for outdoor activities

Unfortunately you will have to swap the Mediterranean Sea for the Irish Sea this year, but as the old saying goes, “There’s no such thing as bad weatheronly unsuitable clothing.” ― Alfred Wainwright.”  These are not just staycation tips, they are advised for any road trip in Ireland: Put towels, rain jackets and a spare change of clothes and shoes in the boot of the car – and don’t forget your umbrella!
 

 

 
Buy wetsuits and surf shoes before you travel. Most outdoor adventure companies will have wetsuits for rent, but it is more practical (and better value) to bring your own, especially if you are swimming in the sea and not partaking in any of the paid activities. Kayaks, SUP boards, bikes, bike racks and tents are also part and parcel of holidaying in Ireland now. So why not invest in some outdoorsy equipment before you take off on your staycation? 
 

 

 

9. Use Google Maps – for more than just directions

staycation tips

Did you know that within Google Maps you can find secret scenic spots recommended by local guides, or find out where to enjoy the best views over lunch? You can even find out what the most popular dish is in a restaurant! I love that you can create and share lists with friends of top places you want to visit, and how you can add your favourite attractions or restaurants individually.
 

 

 
If you are planning a staycation, it is vital you install Google Maps on your phone. You can also download maps offline before you travel so you don’t need to use your data, or worry about poor network coverage in Ireland’s country villages. Google Maps will even find out where you parked your car!

Read: 7 Google Maps tips to help you plan the perfect staycation.
 

 

 

10. Take advantage of the government ‘Stay and Spend’ tax rebate scheme

staycation tips - take advantage of the government spend and save scheme

The government have announced a new ‘Stay and Spend’ incentive whereby you can reclaim 20% of money spent on accommodation, food and non-alcoholic drinks, up to a maximum of €125. If you spend €625 on accommodation from October 2020 to April 2021, you can claim back €125. If a couple spends €1250, they can claim back €250 between them. How we claim this refund has not been confirmed yet. There is talk of being able to do it via an app on your phone, but we are awaiting confirmation from government.
 

 

 

11. Relax and enjoy it!

 

 
 
 
 
 
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There is no doubt that staycations during Covid-19 will be a different experience to what we are used to. However, we have adapted remarkably to simple every day tasks like grocery shopping and getting our hair done, and we will adapt in the same way to holidaying in Ireland.
 

 

 
Remember, travelling, be it in Ireland or abroad, isn’t just about discovering new places. Travelling is also about switching off work, enjoying family time, and doing things you don’t do at home. Try not to fixate on the new restrictions, you will be surprised at how quickly you will adapt to holiday time! You will also find a new found love for our own country, I know I certainly did.
 

 

 
holidays in Ireland

 

I hope this post on staycation tips will help you plan your next break away. Note this post was published on 30th July 2020, travel advice and updates are changing on a daily basis. It is important to check with the hotel you are booking for individual policies. 

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

Holidays in Ireland

Top Picks For Glamping In Ireland

The-Hideaways-1024x659-compressor

Bubble domes to bell tents, vintage caravans to tree-houses, there are so many different ways to try glamping in Ireland, check out my top picks below.

 

When I started researching this post on glamping in Ireland, I noticed that the word ‘glamping’ or glamorous camping, can really mean anything from a fancy tent with a mattress, to a glass bubble dome in the woods with a waiter service. I found adult-only glamping sites for the ultimate romantic getaway, as well as camp sites with lots of facilities for kids, including kids clubs and aqua parks.

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My first piece of advice is to think about how you want to experience glamping in Ireland. Do you want a luxury hideaway with no children to be seen, or do you want a family break with lots to keep the kids happy? Other important things to consider are whether you need an en-suite toilet or shower, a separate bedroom for children, and if you are looking for a traditional camping experience.

glamping in ireland

 
Some of my favourite memories of glamping in Ireland are cooking on an open fire, and having a private outdoor deck to enjoy the morning chorus. However, kids clubs and WiFi might be a high priority in your household…I have listed my top picks for glamping in Ireland below, hopefully there is one here to suit you.
 

 

 

1. Dromquinna Manor, Co. Kerry

A member of Ireland’s Blue Book, Dromquinna Manor is one of most luxurious choices for glamping in Ireland. You can enjoy all the benefits of camping with the added advantage of having a bar and restaurant on your doorstep.

Their custom-made safari tents are impressive too. They are furnished like a luxury hotel bedroom with comfortable beds, high walls, a private veranda and and a breakfast basket waiting at your tent door each morning – what more could you ask for?
 

 

 
Family tents are also available with a separate bedroom and there is a playground, games room and a dedicated area for barbecues and camp fires. Washing facilities and toilets are located close to the tents. 

For the ultimate glamping experience you can rent the Hideaway.  This secluded tent has a separate entrance via a private gated garden, has antique furnishings and ensuite facilities, as well as stunning views over the lake.   

Check prices here
 

 

 

2. Finn Lough Forest Domes, Co. Fermanagh

The Finn Lough Bubble domes are one of the most unique places to experience a glamping holiday in Ireland. In fact, I’m not even sure they should be categorised as a ‘glamping’ experience – I think they probably deserve a loftier title. 

finn lough bubble domes glamping in ireland

You may have seen images of similar domes under the Northern Lights in Lapland or Norway, but you only have to venture as far as Co. Fermanagh to enjoy stargazing from the comfort of your own four-poster bed. With a 180 glass dome you will feel immersed in nature, albeit from a heated dome that comes equipped with an ensuite bathroom, Nespresso coffee machine, bath robes and complimentary breakfast.  
 

 

 
Finn Lough Resort has a host of amenities on site including a spa, a choice of watersports and a great restaurant that boasts top quality locally sourced food. Note the Bubble domes are adult-only accommodation, however there are other accommodation choices available within the resort.

Check prices here
 

 

 

3. Ballyvolane House, Co. Cork

If you want to try a luxury glamping experience but are not too keen on cooking, then Ballyvolane House is the place to go. The award-winning Ballyvolane country house has been welcoming guests for over thirty years. You will enjoy a full-service glamping experience here, with all meals, drinks and afternoon tea provided in the main house, as well as a ‘glamping box’ provided with essentials.

glamping holidays in ireland

They are different glamping options to choose from. The ‘glamping ark’ is ideal for couples, while bell tents sleep up to two adults and two children. All glamping accommodation is fully kitted out with raised timber beds, and the Ballyvolane turn-down service includes hot water bottles in your beds!

A fully heated wash house with toilets, showers and hair-dryers is located beside the glamping area, and best of all – a full Irish breakfast is served until noon in the main house, so you can enjoy a lazy morning in your cosy tent. 

Check prices here
 

 

 

4. Killarney Glamping at The Grove, Co. Killarney

Killarney Glamping at The Grove is a couples-only glamping site located close to Killarney town. You can enjoy a peaceful countryside setting with the option to stroll into town if you fancy dining out or enjoying some live music. We stayed here six years ago when it had recently opened, the location is superb.

best glamping in ireland

The Glamping Suites have a luxurious double bed, electric blanket, gas stove and en-suite toilet. The private outdoor kitchen with barbecue and gas hob means you can enjoy a meal on your own heated patio in the evening time. You can also choose to stay in one of their luxury lodges, which have central heating, king size beds, a wet-room style shower and a mini-kitchen with a Nespresso machine.  

Check prices here
 

 

 

5. Nire Valley Eco Lodge, Co. Waterford

We stayed in the newly opened Nire Valley Eco camp last summer and we loved it. All five eco-cabins have acres of space around them with stunning views of the Comeragh Mountains. The cabins are beautifully furnished with a large comfortable bed, and have a bathroom with shower and toilet, and a mini-kitchen. It is an ideal glamping site for families too as kids can sleep above you on the mezzanine level, and pets are also allowed. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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One of the highlights for me was the breakfast basket that was delivered to our cabin every morning, with locally sourced foods and freshly baked brown bread. For more information on our stay in Nire Valley Eco camp read my blog on things to do in the Munster Vales.

Check prices here
 

 

 

6. Portsalon Luxury Camping, Co. Donegal

Portsalon campsite is home to five luxurious yurts close to stunning coast in North Donegal. With king sized beds, wood burning stoves and carpeted floors, you are guaranteed a warm comfortable stay. The outdoor decking comes with a hammock, firepit and barbecue area as well as stunning sea views.

glamping in donegal ireland

Communal bathrooms and kitchen facilities are available beside the yurts and there is  24-hour complimentary wifi available.

 

Check prices here
 

 

 

7. Aran Islands Glamping

If you are looking to swap the hustle and bustle of city life for rugged landscapes and local traditions, its hard to beat the Aran Islands. The Aran Islands Camping and Glamping site located on Inis Mor, the largest of the Aran Islands.

 

There are traditional camping facilities as well as glamping pods, all located close to the main town of Kilronan, and the stunning Frenchman’s beach. There are two types of glamping pods which can accommodate four or six people, so they are an ideal choice if travelling with friends or family. All pods have a shower room, toilet and wash basin, as well as a mini kitchenette.

 

 

 

8. Teapot Lane, Co. Leitrim

Teapot Lane offers a wide selection of accommodation for glamping in Ireland. The vintage caravan which sleeps up to two, is their lowest price accommodation option, but this is equipped with a small double bed and a Nespresso coffee machine. Yurts are also a popular choice. They are heated, furnished with wooden floors and have a private deck where you can enjoy a barbecue. Communal toilets, kitchen and shower facilities are located close by.

tree house glamping in ireland

Have you always wanted to stay in a tree house? This is your chance! Complete with a king sized bed, a pot belly stove. a wine fridge and a swing chair to relax and enjoy the view, this couples-only retreat is the perfect romantic hideaway. 

 

 

 
However, Teapot Lane is not just for couples or families. For ten years they have hosted unique Hen weekends, which come with meals and activities included. It is BYOB but they have bars available with glasses, mixers etc. If you fancy a night in the city, their complimentary bus will take you to and from Sligo town or Bundoran. 

Check prices here

 

 

 

 

9. Purecamping, Co. Clare

Purecamping was my first experience of glamping in Ireland and I loved it. Located in Loop Head, just 7 kilometers from Kilkee, it has all the feels of a retreat, but with great amenities close by. You can choose to stay in one of the 5-metre bell tents which sleep up to four people, complete with its own deck and fire pit, or one of their wooden cabins, some of which can accommodate families of six. Cabins have their own toilet, sink and stove, while communal toilets and showers are available close to the tents. 

family glamping in ireland

A new woodland trail through the 10 acre native woods is a nice way to start the day, and there is a large indoor playhouse as well as plenty of open fields for kids to play and kick ball. They have a pizza oven where kids (and adults) are encouraged to make their own pizzas. This is a good way to meet your fellow campers too. I recall the night time gatherings around the campfire, some cooking fish that they had caught that day, others toasting marshmallows. There was plenty of beer and wine, starry skies and best of all – plenty of chat.

 

glamping in ireland

The owner Trea is a qualified yoga instructor and offers yoga and meditation classes, and the new wooden barrel sauna with dunk bucket is bound to be a great asset to the camp. Purecamping also run special events throughout the year, such as a Yoga and Vegan Cookery retreats and Loophead Wellness weekends. 

 

Check prices here
 

 

 

10. The Old Forge Glamping, Co. Wicklow.

Located on the grounds of a Georgian House amongst the Wicklow Hills, the Old Forge Glamping site is an idea choice for a family glamping holiday in Ireland. There are four yurts which sleep up to four people, and a log cabin that can accommodate up to six, and you can even hire the whole campsite if you want to get a group of friends or family together.

glamping in ireland

Each yurt or log cabin has its own campfire and barbecue area, and inside they are fitted with proper bedding. You are free use the fully furnished kitchen and bathroom facilities in the Georgian farmyard building, and there is also an outdoor bar.

Check prices here
 

 

 

11. Podumna Glamping Village, Co. Galway

The Podumna Glamping Village offers visitors the feel of a camping experience, with the added advantage of being close to the town of Portunma and the river Shannon nearby. They have a selection of pods, huts and cabins, some sleeping up to six people. 

glamping pods in ireland

The Pods come with a luxurious double bed and are ideal for couples, while there are family pods that sleep up to five. All pods are fully insulated and come with bedding, heating, and a deck with barbecue, table and chairs. Communal bathrooms, kitchen and dining rooms are available. If you wish to have a large family gathering or group event, you can hire the exclusive use of Podumna Village for a large group.

Check prices here
 

 

 

12. Rock Farm Slane, Co. Meath

Rock Farm Slane has five yurts and two shepherd huts on a 150 acre farm along the the banks of the River Boyne. Surrounded by a wild meadow and overlooking Slane Castle, it is a wonderful ecotourism destination that will give you a back to nature experience in Ireland’s Ancient East.

glamping sites in ireland

Rock Farm Slane is suitable for singles, couples and families, and can even host weddings, hen parties or corporate events. The luxurious yurts can sleep up to six while the cosy shepherd huts sleep up to two. ‘Le Shack’ has a communal kitchen dining area and bathrooms with a decking area for hair drying.
 

 

 
The chill out zone has a wood burning stove, an iPad docking station, and there is a clay pizza oven and large communal fire pit which are popular ways to meet fellow campers. If you fancy a dip you can choose the private river access for wild swimming or the outdoor hot tub for a more relaxing experience.

Check prices here
 

 

 

13. Glamping Under the Stars, Co. Laois

As well as offering six different glamping accommodations, the name, ‘Glamping Under the Stars’ has already got me thinking that I want to stay there. Located just an hour from Dublin, this award-winning glamping site has bell tents, wood lodges and a shepherd’s hut, all equipped with proper beds, a private decking area and sockets for charging phones. The Lake View and Starry Night bell tents sleep up to four, while the Blue Sky bell tent, the Shepherds hut and lodges sleep up to six. 

glamping in ireland

The communal ‘Glamp House’ has a kitchen & dining area with a barbecue deck, campfire area, and proper bathrooms. There is also a children’s playhouse, sandpit and fairyhouse.

Check prices here
 

 

 

14. Belmullet Coastguard Station, Claggan Island

 

 
 
 
 
 
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I spotted these luxurious glamping pods recently and I can’t wait to see them first hand. Located on Claggan Island – which was only officially declared an island in 1991. It is located about 12km from Belmullet and is linked to the mainland by a narrow, sandy causeway that divides Trawmore Bay from Blacksod Bay, and is surrounded by sandy beaches. 

The luxury Pods can sleep up to four adults and have a toilet and washbasin, with full access to the dedicated kitchen and shower area.  Tents can be pitched beside the pods for additional €15 per day.

Check prices here
 

 

 

15. The Hideout, Romantic Tree House in Co. Wexford

treehouse stay in Ireland

Are you looking for somewhere unique to stay in Ireland? This beautiful tree house should do the trick! Featured on RTÉ’s The Big DIY Challenge, this fully insulated tree house comes with a wood stove and multiple oversized windows, to catch the perfect sunset views. You can also stargaze through the skylight in the loft-style bedroom, and enjoy a BBQ on the outside deck. The house has all modern electrics, and the bathroom pod has a normal toilet and a large two-person shower. This treehouse is featured on Airbnb, you can see more glamping sites on Airbnb in this post:

Top Airbnb glamping sites in Ireland

 

See more here
 

 

 

16. River Valley Holiday Park, Co. Wicklow

Although more like a holiday resort than a traditional glamping site, River Valley Holiday Park has a wide selection of glamping accommodation options including treehouses, lodges and a Kukoo hut, some of which can accommodate up to families of six. The treehouse has two double beds and two single beds as well as a toilet, wash basin, small fridge, microwave and heaters.

river valley glamping in ireland

The lodges are similarly equipped but without bathrooms, however, a communal area is just steps away with toilets, showers, kitchen, etc. Note you need to supply your own sleeping equipment such as pillows, sleeping bags and towels, as well as dishes and cooking utensils.

There are numerous activities available on-site including kids clubs, mini-golf, a pet corner and an air-soft rifle range – extra charges do apply. Regular evening entertainment is held during July and August.

Check prices here
 

 

 
 


 

I hope this post will inspire you to go glamping in Ireland in the near future. Let me know if you decide to book any of these glamping sites and how you got on when you get back. Note some of the links in this post contain affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made, but at no additional cost to you.

 

Like holidays in Ireland? See more here.

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

 

 
Travel

10 Great Hotel Deals in Ireland From €40pp

Ashford Castle 2

Take your pick from these highly rated four and five-star hotel deals in Ireland and get planning your next break away.

 

I have teamed up with Groupon who offer a wide variety of hotel deals in Ireland and abroad, with up to 60% off the cost, as well as lots of extras free of charge. Some deals offer a bottle of prosecco in your room, others a free evening meal, there are also late check-outs available, while two of these hotel deals in Ireland include a round of golf! I have hand-picked these hotels from their website and all are highly recommended on TripAdvisor.

Most deals are valid until the end of the year, so there are lots of dates to choose from. I’ve got city hotels, country houses, castles and spa resorts from various counties in Ireland –  I have no doubt that one of these hotel deals in Ireland will suit you 😊.

 

 

1.  Delphi Resort Connemara, Galway: From €65pp With Breakfast, Dinner & More

Perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, Delphi Resort is surrounded by 200 acres of forest, and has a wide selection of leisure activities to choose from. Thrill seekers will love zip-lining, kayaking and rock climbing, but the thermal suite and yoga classes provide excellent opportunities for those who just want to relax. Located on the Wild Atlantic Way and only a short drive to Westport, the opportunities for day trips here are endless. This super deal also includes a two-course evening meal at the popular 814 restaurant.

cheap spa breaks in ireland

Price of €65pp includes an overnight stay in a one-bedroom suite with breakfast, one-hour thermal suite access, 10% off treatments and activities, and a two-course dinner at the 814 Restaurant. Want to stay for two nights? The price is just €95pp. Valid until 13th December.

View offer here
 

 

 

2.  Belleek Castle, Mayo: From €58pp With Breakfast, Sweet Treat and Late Check-Out

If you are looking for the perfect romantic getaway – look no further than Belleek Castle. Don’t let the name intimidate you, Belleek is renowned for its friendly, home from home atmosphere. You can expect open log fires, elegant interiors and mouthwatering food too. Belleek Castle just recently won Fine Dining Hotel of the Year and Restaurant Manager of the Year at the Irish Hotel Awards 2019, so it is a great choice for foodies. Their signature dish, the “Drunken Bullock”, a filet steak flambéed at the table and served flaming from a sword, is a must-have! Check out the reviews on TripAdvisor if you still need convincing.

cheap castle stays in ireland

Price of €58pp includes an overnight stay in a Manor double room with breakfast, a sweet treat in the Jack Fenn Cafe, and a late check out*. Want to stay for two nights? The price is just €113pp. Valid until 30th April.

View offer here
 

 

 

3.  Shearwater Hotel & Spa, Galway: From €40pp With Breakfast, Spa Credit & More

Located just 15 minutes from Athlone and 35 minutes from Galway city, the Shearwater Hotel is great choice if you want to explore Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands. Recently refurbished, it now boasts an elegant interior, with a luxurious lobby and an inviting Library. The brand-new gym, ‘Shear Fitness’, 20-meter swimming pool and awarding winning Spa are sure to please, and there is live entertainment every Friday – Sunday. 

hotel deals in ireland with swimming pools
 
Price of €40pp includes an overnight stay in a double or twin room with full Irish breakfast, a glass of prosecco, €10pp spa credit, full use of leisure facilities and a late check-out of 1pm. Want to stay for two nights? The price is €70pp. Add on a three-course evening meal for just €20pp. Valid until 30th September, additional charge for Friday, Saturday and bank holiday Sunday.

View offer here
 

 

 

4.  Knightsbrook Hotel, Meath: From €75pp With Breakfast, Dinner, Spa credit & Round of Golf!

This multi-award-winning resort hotel has just won Hotel of the Year and Best Hotel Spa Ireland, at the 2019 Hotel Awards Ireland. It is situated in the scenic Boyne Valley yet only 35 minutes from Dublin. However, with an 18-hole championship golf Course, a leisure club and spa and a choice of dining options, you may find it difficult to leave. This amazing deal also includes dinner and a round of golf!

4 Star Knightsbrook Hotel in Ireland

Price of €75pp includes an overnight stay for two in a deluxe double room with breakfast, two-course dinner on one night, €20 spa credit per person, a round of golf per person (all must be pre-booked), and full access to leisure facilities! Want to stay for two nights? The price is just €120pp. Valid Sunday-Thursday from 26 November – 29th April 2021.
 

 

 

 

5.  Maryborough Hotel & Spa, Cork: From €95 With Breakfast, Prosecco, and Dinner & Spa Credit.

Perfect for a romantic escape or spa break, the Maryborough is one of Cork’s most loved hotels. Housed in an 18th-century building, yet furnished in contemporary style, this hotel receives excellent reviews on TripAdvisor. With an award-winning restaurant, state-of-the-art leisure centre, luxurious ESPA, and surrounded by 300-year-old listed gardens – this is a great choice for an overnight escape.

maryborough hotel deals in ireland

Price of €95 per person includes an overnight stay for two in a deluxe double room with breakfast and a bottle of prosecco; €10 pp dinner credit to use on a full a la carte dinner, and €20pp spa credit to be used on either a 50-minute ESPA facial or a massage. Want to stay for two nights? The price is just €140pp. Valid until 30th April.

View offer here
 

 

 

6.  Mount Wolseley Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort, Carlow: From €69pp With Breakfast, Main Course Dinner, Golf & Spa credit. 

Walk in the footsteps of some of the world’s best golfers, on the championship golf course at Mount Wolseley. If golf is not your thing, enjoy spa treatments with Elemis beauty products at the luxury spa instead. There are great dining options too, including the award-winning Fredrick’s Restaurant. Check out the reviews on TripAdvisor here.


 
Price of €69pp includes an overnight stay for two in a deluxe double or twin room with full Irish breakfast, main course dinner on one evening, spa and golf credit, and access to the Wolseley Leisure Centre. Want to stay for two nights? The price is €110pp. Valid Sunday – Thursday up to 19th December 2020, supplement of €60 per night for Friday or Saturday night stays. 

 

View offer here
 

 

 

7.  Fitzwilton Hotel, Waterford: From €50pp With Breakfast, Main Course Dinner and Late Check-Out 

If you are looking for a hotel that is right in the heart of the city, look no further than The Fitzwilton. Located in Ireland’s oldest city, this is ideal for couples who don’t wish to drive – it is just 300 meters from the train station and five minutes from the Waterford Greenway. The Fitzwilton is a boutique hotel, that boasts newly refurbished rooms and a choice of two dining options. Priced at just €50 per person including breakfast and dinner – this is a great value city break.

hotel deals near the waterford greenway

Price of €50pp includes an overnight stay for two in a double or twin room with breakfast, main course dinner in the Met bar and late check out. Want to stay for two nights? The price is just €75pp. Valid until 22nd December 2020.
 

View offer here
 

 

 

8. 5-Star Fota Island Resort & Spa, Cork: From €75pp With Breakfast, VIP Spa Passes, Dining and Golf Credit & Voucher for Titanic Experience 

 
I am a big lover of Fota Island Resort, I have visited many times. I usually go with my kids so I am always envious of those on a romantic break. I have also witnessed the afternoon tea and it looks divine! There are lovely walks around the grounds as well as choice of golf courses to choose from. The pretty town of Cobh, with the wonderful Titanic Experience attraction, is just a short drive away.

 
Read all about my stay in Fota Island Resort here

hotel deals in ireland at fota island resort

Price of €75pp includes an overnight stay for two in a classic plus room with full Irish breakfast, VIP spa passes, €20pp spa credit towards a full-price treatment of €100 or more, €20 dining credit towards a three-course meal for two people, €20 golf credit between two people towards a round of golf on any of the three championship golf courses. This super deal also gives you €25 credit to spend on entry to local attractions such as Fota Wildlife Park, the Titanic Experience or the Jameson Experience. Want to stay for two nights? The cost is just €143pp. Valid until 31st May.

 
View offer here
 

 

 

9.  The Lodge at Ashford Castle, Mayo: From €140pp with Breakfast, Dinner, Round of Golf and Late Check-Out

Ashford Castle needs no introduction – it is arguably Ireland’s best hotel. To get a deal in the 19th-century Lodge at Ashford Castle is a feat in itself, but to include dinner and a round of golf must make this one of best hotel deals in Ireland! You will have the advantage of staying in a spacious duplex suite in The Lodge, but also enjoying all the facilities of Ashford Castle, including golf, tennis, cycling, kayaking, fishing and horse riding.

 
Ashford castle hotel deals

Price of €140pp includes an overnight stay for two with full Irish breakfast, glass of Prosecco on arrival, two-course meal for two in the Quay bar and brasserie, complimentary round of golf and late check-out. Want to stay for two nights? The cost is just €140pp. Valid until 30th April. 

View offer here
 

 

 

10.  Royal Valentia Hotel, Kerry: Two-Night Stay From €60pp With Breakfast  

Unlike the other deals above, this offer includes a two-night stay, which is just what you need to explore one of Ireland’s most scenic coastlines. Located in the heart of the Wild Atlantic Way, overlooking Valentia Harbour – a stay at the Royal Valentia Hotel is the perfect choice for a couple looking to explore the Ring of Kerry and The Skellig Islands. In fact the Valentia Island Car Ferry runs right beside the hotel. Recently refurbished, you can now expect modern decor inside this 200 year old hotel. The hotel’s Royal Bar and Restaurant is a popular haunt for locals as well as guests. Check out the reviews on TripAdvisor if you still need convincing.

great hotel deals in ireland - co kerry

Price includes a two-night stay in a double / twin room with full Irish breakfast and a complimentary glass of wine when purchasing a main course. Want to stay for three nights? The price is just €85pp. Valid until 31st May.

View offer here

 

This post on great hotel deals in Ireland was sponsored by Groupon, but all views, as always, are my own.

  

Like holidays in Ireland? See more here

 

 

 
Sarah

The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

 
Holidays in IrelandLightening Deals

20 Mother and Daughter Spa Hotel Breaks in Ireland – That Won’t Break The Bank

Mum Rossbeigh Beach

Treat yourself and your Mum to a quick break away. I have selected 20 spa hotel breaks in Ireland from €45 per person including breakfast!

Spa hotel breaks always sounds expensive, but they don’t have to be. All of the hotels listed below are four or five-star, highly rated on Tripadvisor, and all cost less than €95 per person! I have priced these based on staying the 28th February, but if that date doesn’t suit, simply edit the dates when you click on the links below, to suit your requirements.
 
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1. Killarney Plaza Hotel & Spa, Co. Kerry: Twin Room €57pp 

 irish spa hotel breaks in killarney

Who doesn’t love Killarney? The National Park, Killarney Lakes, Torc Waterfall, Muckross Abbey – there is so much to see and do here. I brought my Mum to Killarney a few years ago and she loved it. The Killarney Plaza Hotel is adjacent to Killarney National Park and offers stylish bedrooms, a choice of dining options, as well as a Spa and Leisure Centre.
 

 

 
Price of €114 per room, includes stay for two in a twin room with free parking. Add on breakfast for an additional €12.50 per person. If this date does not suit, simply search dates to suit you when you click below.
 
View offer here
 

 


 

2. Fota Island Resort & Spa, Co. Cork: Twin Room B&B €80pp  

 irish hotel spa breaks at fota island resort

I am a big lover of Fota Island Resort, I have visited many times. I usually go with my kids so I am always envious of those on a spa break! I have also witnessed the afternoon tea and it looks divine. There are lovely walks around the grounds as well as choice of golf courses to choose from. The pretty town of Cobh, with the wonderful Titanic Experience attraction, is just a short drive away.

Read: My review of Fota Island Resort
 

 

 
Price of €159 per room, includes an overnight stay for two with full Irish breakfast and free cancellation, based on the 28th of February arrival. If this date does not sure, simply search dates to suit you when you click below.
 
View offer here
 

 

 

3. Galmont Hotel, Galway, Twin Room: €70pp

spa hotel breaks in Galway

The centrally located Galmont Hotel is located just a few minutes walk from Eyre Square and the train station, so it is an ideal choice for anyone who doesn’t want to drive. The on site spa, gym and swimming pool, and choice of two restaurants, make it one of the most popular places to stay in Galway. 

 
Price of €140 includes overnight stay for two, based on the 28th of February arrival. Add on breakfast for €10pp.

View offer here
 

 

 

4. Faithlegg Hotel, Co. Waterford: Twin Room B&B €50pp 

hotel deals for New Year's eve in Ireland

Faithlegg Hotel is a restored 18th century mansion that is set in acres of woodlands overlooking the Suir Estuary. It offers all the cosy feels for the perfect winter break. Faithlegg offers a choice of dining options – choose from the award-winning Roseville Rooms in the main house, or casual dining in the Golf Club. 
 

 

 
The health and fitness centre boasts a swimming pool, sauna and steam room, tennis courts, as well as treatment suites. This great rate includes breakfast and free cancellation too.

View offer here
 

 

 

5. Redcastle Hotel & Spa, Co. Donegal: Double Room B&B €57pp 

I have a hankering to visit Donegal next year, its been over 20 years since I have been. The Redcastle Hotel offers superb value to explore this coastal county, with a two-night stay only €96 per person. However, with a waterfront location, 9-hole golf course and Thalasso Spa, you may find it difficult to leave.
 

 

 
Combine this spa break with a visit to the Slieve League Cliffs, Donegal’s answer to the Cliffs of Moher, and one of the highest and finest marine cliffs in Europe. Price of €113 includes an over night stay for two including breakfast and free cancellation, arriving 28th.  If this date does not sure, simply search dates to suit you when you click below.

View offer here
 

 

 

6.  Mount Wolseley Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort, Co. Carlow: Deluxe Twin: €52pp 

 

Enjoy spa treatments with Elemis beauty products at the luxury spa, or walk in the footsteps of some of the world’s best golfers, on the championship golf course – perhaps you could do both? There are great dining options too. Check out the reviews on TripAdvisor here.
 

 

 
Price of €104 per room, includes a stay for two in a deluxe twin room with free cancellation, arriving 28th February. Add on breakfast for an additional €13pp. If this date does not sure, simply search dates to suit you when you click below.

View offer here
 

 

 

7. Maryborough Hotel, Co. Cork, Deluxe Room B&B: €78pp

maryborough hotel deals in ireland for Christmas

The Maryborough is one of Cork’s most loved hotels. Housed in an 18th-century building, yet furnished in contemporary style, this hotel receives excellent reviews on TripAdvisor.
 

 

 
With an award-winning restaurant, state-of-the-art leisure centre, luxurious ESPA, and surrounded by 300-year-old listed gardens – this is a great choice for a mother and daughter spa break in Ireland.  This rate includes breakfast and free cancellation.

View offer here
 

 

 

8. Bunratty Castle Hotel, Co. Clare: B&B €55pp

Located just nine minutes from the famous Bunratty Castle & Folk Park, this is a great choice for a mother and daughter spa hotel break. One of Clare’s newest 4-star hotels, you can expect modern decor, well equipped bedrooms and an authetic Thai Angsana spa with an indoor pool. The dining options are good too with Fibber McGee’s Steakhouse proving popular for lunch or dinner and the library offering afternoon tea. 

irish hotel spa breaks co clare

Price of €109 per room per night includes breakfast and free cancellation, arriving 28th February.  If this date does not suit, simply search dates to suit you when you click below.

View offer here
 

 

 

9. Breaffy House Hotel, Co. Mayo: Twin Room €40pp

 

 
 
 
 
 
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We stayed in Breaffy House Resort this summer and had a wonderful experience. There is a large swimming pool and spa on site and if you like wine, make sure you take a tour of their cellar! I loved Mayo. There is so much to see and do. Price of €81 per room per night includes free cancellation and free parking. Add on breakfast for an additional €12.50pp  

Read: 10 reasons to choose Breaffy House Resort for your next staycation

 

View offer here
 

 

 

10. Slieve Russell Hotel, Co. Cavan: Twin Room B&B €70pp

Slieve Russell Spa

The Slieve Russell Hotel has it all – set in 300 acres with lakes, a 20-metre swimming pool, a luxurious spa and a Championship golf-course. For experienced walkers, one of Ireland’s best Instagram locations, the ‘Stairway to Heaven Walk’ on the Cuilcagh Mountain trail, is only a 30-minute drive from the hotel. 
 

 

 
Price of €139 includes an overnight stay for two with a full Irish breakfast and free cancellation, arriving 28th February. If this date does not suit, simply search dates to suit you when you click below.

View offer here
 

 

 

11. Dunboyne Castle, Co. Meath: Deluxe Twin €58pp B&B

spa hotel breaks in Ireland

Dunboyne Castle Hotel & Spa is set in 21 acres of gardens and woodlands, and boasts a luxury spa with a hydrotherapy pool, an outdoor hot tub, and treatment rooms. You won’t even have to leave the hotel, as the award-winning Ivy Restaurant is the perfect choice for a relaxing meal.
 

 

 
Its proximity to Trim Castle, Newgrange and the Hill of Tara, as well as being less than 20 km from Dublin, means there are lots of possibilities for day trips along Ireland’s Ancient East. Price of €115 per room per night includes breakfast and free cancellation.

View offer here
 

 

 

12. 5-star Muckross Hotel & Spa, Killarney, B&B: €95pp

Muckross Park Hotel & Spa blends traditional style with contemporary decor perfectly. Set amongst 25,000 acres of the Killarney National Park, all of Killarney’s highlights are right on your doorstep. If you can manage to tear yourself away from Killarney’s stunning scenery, the spa and dining options at the hotel are superb. 

View offer here
 

 

 

13. Ferrycarrig Hotel, Co. Wexford: Double Room B&B €45pp 

Great value hotel breaks in Ireland at the Ferrycarrig Hotel

The highly rated Ferrycarrig Hotel offers stylish and spacious accommodation overlooking the river Slaney. It is renowned for its great food, olympic-sized pool and active health club and spa. Rated as excellent on Tripadvisor, this is great value for a spa hotel break.
 

 

 
The price of €90 per room is based on a double room and includes breakfast and free cancellation. You can book a family room which will sleep up to three people for €140 per room per night.

 

 

 

14. BrookLodge Hotel, Co. Wicklow: Twin Room B&B €74pp 

spa hotel breaks in Ireland

BrookLodge is one of Ireland’s most loved hotels. It is set in its own unique village, just over 60 minutes drive from Dublin. Brooklodge is famous for its delicious organic food  – in fact it won Hotel Restaurant of the Year and Culinary Hotel of the Year. It blends old and new perfectly, with country-style bedrooms and a luxury swimming pool and Wellness Spa including an outdoor hot tub. 

View offer here
 

 

 

15. Connemara Coast Hotel, Co. Galway: Twin Room B&B €45pp 

spa hotel breaks in Galway

Offering spectacular views over the Atlantic, yet only 10 minutes drive from Galway City, the Connemara Coast Hotel offers the best of both worlds. The Leisure club boasts a 19 metre swimming pool, jacuzzi, steam room, gym and treatment rooms. With the Connemara coast and the Wild Atlantic Way on your doorstep, you may wish to extend your stay…
 

 

 
Price of €90 per room per night includes breakfast and free cancellation, arriving February 28th. If this date does not suit, simply search dates to suit you when you click below.

See more here
 

 

 

16. Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel, Co. Kilkenny: Classic Room €40pp 

 Great value hotel breaks in the heart of Kilkenny

The Kilkenny Ormonde is practically a landmark in Kilkenny City, and is located just minutes away from the Medieval Mile. Its brasserie and lively bar attract locals as well as visitors, and it is the only city hotel in Kilkenny that has a leisure centre and spa. 
 

 

 
Kilkenny is a great choice for a mother and daughter break. There is so much to see and do in Kilkenny, including Kilkenny Castle, Jerpoint Abbey as well as great shopping in the Kilkenny Design Centre.  

Price of €79 per room per night is based on arriving February 28th. Add on breakfast for just €13.50 per person.

View offer here
 

 

 

17. 5-star Mount Juliet Estate, Twin Room B&B: €65pp

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Mount Juliet Estate consists of two residences, the original Georgian Manor House and the chic Hunter’s Yard. This super deal is based on staying in Hunter’s Yard and includes breakfast. Why not treat yourself to a meal in the Michelin-starred Lady Helen restaurant, and make it a stay to remember. I stayed in Mount Juliet recently and loved it, you can read all about my stay here:

Read: My review of Mount Juliet Estate

View offer here
 

 

 

18. 5-Star Lough Erne Resort, Co. Fermanagh: Twin Room B&B €80pp

luxury hotel breaks in Nothern Ireland

We stayed in Lough Erne resort a few years ago and loved it. It’s stunning location on a 600-acre peninsula was just one of the reasons, the top quality food and service were others. It caters equally well for couples and families and offers a host of activities including two Championship Golf Courses and a unique Thai inspired Spa. It has also won numerous awards including Hotel Restaurant of the Year and Hotel of the Year.
 

 

 
Price of €160 includes breakfast and free cancellation, arriving February 28th. If this date does not suit, simply search dates to suit you when you click below.

Read: My review of Lough Erne Resort

View offer here
 

 

 

19. Farnham Estate, Co. Cavan: Twin B&B €75pp

Farnham Estate - luxury spa hotel in Ireland

Farnham Estate’s award-winning spa boasts a large indoor pool, an outdoor infinity pool, a mud chamber, ice fountain, forest walkways and a wide selection of treatment options. There is also an 18-hole golf course, superb dining options and 1300 acres of grounds for you to explore. Afternoon tea is also available in the main drawing room of Farnham House, which is ideal for a mother and daughter break. Check out the reviews on Tripadvisor if you still need convincing.
 

 

 
Price of €149 per room per night includes breakfast and free cancellation, arriving February 28th. If this date does not suit, simply search dates to suit you when you click below.

View offer here
 

 

 

20. Johnstown Estate, Co. Meath: Deluxe Twin €60pp

spa hotel deals in ireland

Johnstown Estate is the ideal choice if you want a luxury spa break that is close to Dublin. Set within 120 acres of stunning parkland, this 1750’s Georgian residence is an ideal choice for mother and daughter getaway. Its has extensive leisure and spa facilities, golf and horse riding, as well as a choice of dining options.
 

 

 
Price of €119 per room per night includes breakfast and free cancellation, arriving 28th February. If this date does not suit, simply search dates to suit you when you click below.

View offer here

 

 

So go on treat your Mum to a spa hotel break in Ireland, the only question is which one will you choose? It is important to note that some of the facilities / activities listed may have restrictions due to Covid-19 – please check with individual hotels for clarification.
 

 

 
Please note when you make a booking you do so via Hotels.com or Booking.com. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made, but an no extra charge to you. Read more in my privacy policy.

 

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

 

Holidays in Ireland

Ten 4 Star Hotels in Ireland That Guarantee A Warm Welcome

Trident Hotel Kinsale

Select Hotels of Ireland offer a wide selection of accommodation across many cities and counties in Ireland. They have family hotels, intimate country clubs, and friendly 4 star hotels in Ireland.

 

 

Select Hotels of Ireland are renowned for their great service, quality food and warm Irish welcome. I have listed ten 4-star  hotels in Ireland below, but you can see all 30 hotels on Select Hotels of Ireland new website. Alternatively call the Central Reservations Office and let their expert staff help you choose the right hotel for you.

Select Hotels of Ireland - Dingle Skellig Hotel

 

1. Falls Hotel & Spa, Co. Clare

As well as an award-winning spa, swimming pool and fitness centre on site, the Falls Hotel & Spa is ideally situated to explore the Wild Atlantic Way. With the Cliffs of Moher and the lively town of Doolin less than 15 minutes away, a stay at the Falls Hotel & Spa offers the best of both worlds. You can also reduce your carbon footprint by staying here, The Falls Hotel & Spa gets its electricity from the river that runs alongside it. Self-Catering apartments are also available, and a kids club runs daily during school holidays.

4 Star Hotels in Ireland - Falls Hotel & Spa

See more here

 

2. Malone Lodge & Apartments, Belfast

This Victorian town-house hotel, situated in the Queens University Quarter of Belfast, needs no sales pitch. The luxurious location and intimate atmosphere combine to offer a delightful stay in the heart of Belfast. Visit the Titanic Museum or explore the nearby Causeway Coast and Game of Thrones locations.

4 Star Hotels in Ireland

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3. Oriel House Hotel, Co. Cork – Part of The Talbot Collection

Complete with a 25-metre pool and leisure centre, a lively bar and bistro, the Oriel House Hotel is one of Cork’s leading 4-star hotels. Located just 10 minutes drive from Cork City, yet within easy access to West Cork, Killarney and the Ring of Kerry, makes it a great choice for business or leisure. Families are well catered for two with a kids club operating during school holidays, and plenty of family attractions close by. 

4 Star Hotels in Ireland

See more here

 

 

4. Kilkenny Ormonde, Kilkenny

The Kilkenny Ormonde is practically a landmark in Kilkenny City and is located just minutes away from the Medieval Mile. Its brasserie and lively bar attract locals as well as visitors, and it is the only city hotel in Kilkenny that has a leisure centre and spa. A kids club operates during school holidays, making it a great choice for couples and families alike.

4 Star Hotels in Ireland

See more here

 

5. Trident Hotel, Kinsale, Cork

Superbly located in the picturesque town of Kinsale, the 75-roomed Trident Hotel has been recently refurbished and now boasts 11 luxury penthouse suites with sea views. Voted as Kinsale’s best place to stay on TripAdvisor, this is a superb choice to enjoy this colourful town. If you can manage to tear yourself away from The Gourmet Capital of Ireland – Kinsale – remember you are located on the Wild Atlantic Way, so take time to explore the surrounding countryside. 

4 Star Hotels in Ireland

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6. Hotel Minella & Leisure Club, Co. Tipperary

Take a trip to Tipp and stay in the 4-star Hotel Minella & Leisure Club. Overlooking the River Suir in Clonmel, this award-winning hotel boasts an AA Rosette for Culinary Excellence for the last 10 years, and is proud to offer many locally produced foods. Choose to relax in the hotel and enjoy the swimming pool and leisure centre or explore the countryside and the nearby Suir Blueway. Modern two-storey catering apartments are also available and are ideal for families.

4 Star Hotels in Ireland - Minella Hotel

See more here

 

7. Talbot Stillorgan, Co Dublin – Part of The Talbot Collection

The award-winning Talbot Stillorgan is one of the Talbot Collection Hotels, a group of six 4 star hotels in Ireland. Located close to Dublin’s city centre, you can avail of the free shuttle bus (10 minutes) to Saint Stephen’s Green, or enjoy the nearby coastal towns of Blackrock and Dun Laoghaire. You will find many special offers available on the Select Hotels of Ireland website, including kids staying for free, a Dublin Zoo family package, and deals for over 50s.

4 star Talbot Stillorgan Hotel

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8. Knightsbrook Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort, Co. Meath

This multi-award-winning resort hotel has just won Hotel of the Year and Best Hotel Spa Ireland, at the 2019 Hotel Awards Ireland – this must be one of the best 4 star hotels in Ireland. It is situated in the scenic Boyne Valley yet only 35 minutes from Dublin. However, with an 18-hole championship golf Course and a leisure club and spa on site, you may find it difficult to leave. 

Families are well catered for too with self-catering houses, a kids club and games room on site. Its close proximity to Newgrange, Hill of Tara and Tayto Park are sure to please too. 

4 Star Knightsbrook Hotel in Ireland

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9. Ardilaun Hotel, Galway

Located in a secluded setting, yet only 1km from Galway city centre, the Ardilaun offers the best of both worlds. The spacious gardens provide an ideal choice for an evening stroll, and the choice of award-winning dining options are sure to please. There is a leisure centre, swimming pool and kids club on site and pets are also welcome.

See more here

 

10. The Dingle Skellig Hotel, Co. Kerry

The Dingle Skellig Hotel is superbly situated overlooking Dingle Bay and is an ideal choice to explore this beautiful peninsula. Drive around Slea Head, take time to see Fungi, the resident dolphin, and catch a traditional music session in one of the many pubs for which Dingle is famous. The hotel also has a leisure club, swimming pool, spa, and outdoor hot tub – so if you just want to relax, you can do that too! Rated excellent on TripAdvisor, this is one of the best places to stay in Dingle.

4 Star Dingle Skellig Hotel in Ireland

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This post on 4 star hotels in Ireland was sponsored by Select Hotels of Ireland, but all views, as always, are my own.

 

Like holidays in Ireland? See more here

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

 
Holidays in IrelandTravel News and Reviews

Select Hotels of Ireland Launches New Website

DELUXE KING Edited

Tired of the large hotel chains with expensive room rates? Want a staycation filled with traditional Irish hospitality? From the Dingle Skellig Hotel to Actons of Kinsale, Select Hotels of Ireland is a group of 30 independent Irish hotels, bookable on one great website.
 

 

Select Hotels of Ireland are renowned for their great service, quality food and high standards of accommodation. You can also expect a warm Irish welcome and a full Irish breakfast. There are many different hotels to choose from, across various cities and counties in Ireland. Select Hotels of Ireland offer family breaks in self catering lodges, Christmas and New Year offers and group tours.

I have listed some of my favourite hotels from the Select Hotels of Ireland website below, but there are many more to choose from. If my personal picks don’t suit you, you can see all 30 hotels on Select Hotels of Ireland new website, or why not call the Central Reservations Office and let their expert staff find the perfect hotel to suit you.

 

select hotels of ireland - hook lighthouse

 

Actons Hotel Kinsale, Cork

With a yacht-filled harbour, cobbled-stone streets and delightful dining options, it’s not surprising that colourful Kinsale is one of Ireland’s most popular port towns. It was also voted Ireland’s top foodie town last year.

Kinsale’s landmark hotel, Actons, is an excellent place to stay according to TripAdvisor, and I second that! I love Actons’ home from home atmosphere – in fact this embodies what Select Hotels of Ireland is all about. This boutique hotel offers some excellent dining options, as well as a health and leisure club with a gym, a 15-metre swimming pool, sauna and steam room. 

select hotels of ireland

See more here

 

Dingle Skellig Hotel, Kerry

The Dingle Peninsula is full of exciting places to explore. The Slay Head Drive is probably one of Irealnd’s best coastal drives, with Gallarus Oratory and Coumeenole Beach just some of the highlights. You must also take time to see Fungi, the resident dolphin, and catch some traditional music in one of the many pubs that line Main Street. 

The Dingle Skellig Hotel is superbly situated overlooking Dingle Bay and is an ideal choice to explore this beautiful peninsula. The hotel also has a leisure club, swimming pool, spa, and outdoor hot tub – so if you just want to relax, you can do that too! Rated excellent on TripAdvisor, this must be one of the best places to stay in Dingle.

Select Hotels of Ireland - Dingle Skellig Hotel

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Wyatt Hotel Westport, Mayo

Westport is a delightful town, so much so that you may not want to leave it! However, it is a shame not to explore Mayo’s beautiful coastline. Pay a visit to Achill Island and marvel at Keem Bay. If weather permits, why not cycle there on the Great Western Greenway bike trail?

I have chosen the boutique hotel Wyatt, which is superbly located in the heart of Westport. The Wyatt has a traditional Irish bar, an upmarket brasserie, an award-winning restaurant, and offers access to the 4-star Westport Leisure Park during your stay. It also happens to be Westport’s only Dog Friendly Hotel! Rated as excellent on TripAdvisor, a stay at the Wyatt is sure to please. 

select hotels of ireland - wyatt hotel

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Clifden Station House Hotel, Galway

This unique hotel was once an old railway station. It has been beautifully restored and manages to combine the old brick and native oak with modern furnishings. Its location in the upmarket town of Clifden is ideal for anyone who wants shops, bars and restaurants close by, but also wants to get out and about and explore the rugged coastline of Connemara. Rated as excellent on TripAdvisor, you will also find a spa and leisure centre with an indoor swimming pool. Families are well catered for too, as children under 12 stay free when sharing with adults. There is also a free kids club throughout the school holidays. 

Select Hotels of Ireland

See more here

 

Talbot Hotel Wexford & Talbot Suites Stonebridge, Wexford

The Talbot Hotel Wexford is located right in the heart of Wexford Town and boasts a fully equipped leisure centre and swimming pool. The Talbot Hotel Wexford is part of The Talbot Collection, which also includes Talbot Hotel Stillorgan, Oriel House Hotel and the Midleton Park Hotel. It has recently added the luxurious Talbot Suites at Stonebridge to its collection – a super choice for groups or families looking for large apartments in the heart of the city. There are 73 luxury two- and three-bedroom apartments available, with floor-to-ceiling windows, high gloss fully equipped kitchen, TV’s in all living areas and bedrooms, and all have access to the Talbot Quay Leisure Centre. Rated number 1 on TripAdvisor – these are a super addition to the Select Hotels of Ireland portfolio.

select hotels of ireland apartments

See more here

 

Gift Vouchers

Still can’t decide which hotel to choose? Buy a Select Hotels of Ireland gift voucher. Gift vouchers are a great idea for Christmas, birthdays or a special thank you. What I love about Select Hotels of Ireland gift vouchers is that they can be used in ANY of their 30 hotels.

You can purchase gift cheques from €50, which can be used towards the cost of a hotel stay, or purchase one- or two-night Gift Voucher Specials for €150 and €295 respectively. These will cover the cost of a one- or two-night stay, in a luxury room a full Irish breakfast for two people, in ANY of the Select Hotels of Ireland. You will also receive a complimentary bottle of wine with the two-night stay. 

select hotels of ireland

If you are looking for the ultimate gift, choose the Select Hotels of Ireland Ultimate Gift Voucher. This includes a two-night stay for two people as above, plus a €100 Gift Cheque that can be used in the hotel for meals, spa treatments, etc. The total cost is €395.

select hotels of ireland

You can order Gift Vouchers online and they will be sent directly to your inbox, or order paper Gift Vouchers, which are beautifully presented and posted. 

 

Buy Vouchers here

 

This post was sponsored by Select Hotels of Ireland, but all views, as always, are my own.

 

Holidays in Ireland

SuperValu Getaway Breaks Inspired Collection: Luxury Hotel Deals in Ireland From €62.50!

Aghadoe heights penthouse tub (1)

Did you know that SuperValu Getaway Breaks have an Inspired Collection of 4 and 5-star hotels? To be able to get luxury hotel deals in Ireland from only €62.50pps, from one of Ireland’s leading brands, now that’s a game changer! 

 

Fancy an overnight stay in The g Hotel & Spa in Galway for €75pps, or a two-night break in the fabulous Aghadoe Heights in Killarney from €140pps? These are incredible deals for such top-class hotels. I am delighted to team up with SuperValu Getaway Breaks to tell you about their Inspired Collection of Ireland’s finest luxury hotels. These premium 4 and 5-star hotels are hand-picked and are sure to please even discerning travellers. I am a regular SuperValu shopper, and I was aware of SuperValu Getaway Breaks, but I did not realise that they offered so many luxury hotel deals in Ireland. 

Contrary to what you might think, you don’t need to be a SuperValu shopper to purchase one of their Getaway Breaks. However, if you are a SuperValu Real Rewards member, you can collect Real Rewards points when you purchase a Getaway Break. Every €1 you spend on SuperValu Getaway Breaks will earn you one Real Reward point. There are over 300 three, four and five-star hotels on their website, including family fun breaks and holiday homes.
 
spa hotel deals in ireland
Aghadoe Heights

How to book SuperValu Getaway Breaks:

Booking your SuperValu Getaway Break couldn’t be easier! Simply log on to SuperValuGetawayBreaks.com and select one of their luxury hotel deals in Ireland, or call their dedicated travel experts on 0818 22 00 88 who will find you the perfect break at the best possible price. You can also add a 3-course dinner to your break from only €20 per person. Simply tick  B&B + Dinner at the top of the page after your search, to browse the best dinner break deals.

luxury hotel deals in ireland

 

My top picks from SuperValu Getway Breaks’ Inspired Collection of luxury hotel deals in Ireland

 I have picked some of my favourite two-night breaks to tempt you. There are over 40 different hotels in the Inspired Collection, so choosing only five was not easy! I have chosen hotels in Cavan, Cork, Galway and two in Kerry to show you that there is a wide variety of luxury hotels deals in Ireland available in the Inspired Collection. You don’t need to just take my word for it though, all of the hotels I have chosen have received the top rating of ‘excellent’ on TripAdvisor. All of the prices below are available and are based on travelling in October, November and December.
 
five star hotel deals in ireland
Muckross Park Hotel & Spa

 

4-Star Montenotte Hotel, Cork: 2 Nights B&B from €125pps

I have heard so many great things about the Montenotte Hotel. It has been recently refurbished and offers stunning views of Cork City. This boutique hotel is one of the most popular places to stay in Cork. With a state-of -the-art leisure centre, an in-house cinema, and this cosy outdoor terrace – you may not want to leave!  

luxury hotel deals in ireland
 
Book here

 

4-Star Brehon Hotel & Spa, Killarney: 2 Nights B&B from €125pps

Who doesn’t love Killarney? The National Park, Killarney Lakes, Torc Waterfall, Muckross Abbey – there is so much to see and do here. I brought my Mum to Killarney last year and she loved it. The luxurious Brehon Hotel overlooks Killarney National Park and is Ireland’s best 4-star hotel according to Fáilte Ireland! It is also renowned for its great cuisine and the luxurious Angsana Spa, whose Thai therapists have been extensively trained at The Banyan Tree Academy in Thailand.

 irish spa hotel breaks in killarney
 
Book here

 

4-Star Slieve Russell Hotel, Golf & Country Club, Co. Cavan: 2 Nights B&B from €139pps

The Slieve Russell Hotel has it all – set in 300 acres with lakes, a 20-metre swimming pool and a luxurious spa. However, I included this on my list for another reason. Not only is the Slieve Russell Hotel home to an 18-Hole, PGA National Ireland Championship golf-course, but you will also find a nine-hole par 3 Academy Course, and adventure golf here. For experienced walkers, one of Ireland’s best Instagram locations, the ‘Stairway to Heaven Walk’ on the Cuilcagh Mountain trail, is only a 30-minute drive from the hotel. 


 

Book here

 

5-Star The g Hotel & Spa, Galway: 2 Nights B&B from €150pps

Galway City’s only 5-star hotel & spa, The g Hotel is the best place to stay if are looking for luxury and easy access to Galway’s vibrant city centre. Designed by Philip Treacy, you will love the modern decor in its three signature lounges: the Grand Salon, Pink Salon and the Blue Lounge. Choose to dine in its award-winning restaurant, or enjoy a leisurely 20-minute stroll to Eyre Square to sample Galway’s lively bars and restaurants. Whatever you do, don’t miss the luxury spa – Espa at The g. Situated over two floors, you will find a large thermal suite, as well as 12 treatment rooms and a fitness studio. 

luxury hotel deals in ireland
 
Book here

 

5-Star Sheen Falls Lodge, Co. Kerry: 2 Nights B&B from €160pps

One of my favourite hotels in Ireland, Sheen Falls Lodge enjoys an idyllic location overlooking Sheen Waterfalls, as well as being within walking distance to the picturesque town of Kenmare. A Relais & Chateaux Hotel, it boasts fine food and wine and a host of activities including kayaking, paddle-boarding, archery, fishing, horse riding, clay pigeon shooting and falconry. If you prefer to relax, spend some time in the spa or indoor heated pool. Kenmare is ideally situated on the Ring of Kerry and on the Wild Atlantic Way, so a two-night break is an ideal choice.

luxury hotel deals in ireland
 
Book here

 

Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. Prices above were based on 16th October arrival but many other dates in October, November and December were available at the same cost. See full list of Ts&Cs here. This post on luxury hotel deals in Ireland was sponsored by SuperValu Getaway Breaks, but all views, as always, are my own. 

 

Like holidays in Ireland? See more here.

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

 
In The Media

My Top Picks For Autumn Holidays At Home and Abroad

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Fancy a break away before the end of the year? I’ve got staycations, cruises, city breaks and long haul holidays. Check out my top picks for autumn holidays and get planning!

 

Last minute European sun holidays:

Tour Operators, TUI and Sunway have lots of last minute autumn holidays available. They have already paid in advance for flights and accommodation, so if you are looking or a week in the sun, they should be your first port of call. I have picked some favourites below, but bear in mind prices may change, as these are last minute holidays.

Aer Lingus September sale is also worth a look. They are offering flights to Europe from €24.99 one-way for travel between the 1st October and 16th December.

Gran Canaria: 10th October, 7 Nights, inc Flights, Transfers & Baggage from €350 

View offer here

 

Sicily: 5th October, 7 Nights, inc Flights, Transfers & Baggage from €449

View offer here
 

Crete October Mid Term Break: 5* Anemos Luxury Grand Resort, Half Board, from €799; 2ad & 2ch from €3155

autumn holidays in crete

I holidayed in this same resort during the summer with my family. The hotel has a superb beachfront location, and is close to the beautiful towns of Chania and Rethymno. 

View 2 sharing here View family offer here 

 

Read my review of Anemos Luxury Grand Resort
 

 

 

City breaks:

 

Vienna Weekend Break: 5th October, Flights & 4-Star Hotel, 3 Nights, €238

This is a super deal to see one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. You will be staying in the highly rated 4-star Austria Trend Hotel Savoyen Vienna hotel which is located in the heart of the city and close to all the attractions. Price of €238 per person includes flights and hotel accommodation for three nights, departing Saturday the 5th of October.

holiday deals

See more here
 

 

 

Venice Short Break: 23rd October, Flights, Hotel & Gondola Ride, 2 Nights, €285

It is rare to see such a good special offer to Venice, and even more rare to see a gondola ride included! The price of €285 per person includes return flights with 10kg hand luggage per person, two nights in a 3* Hotel San Zulian and a free gondola ride. This hotel is superbly located close to St. Mark’s Square, and receives excellent reviews on TripAdvisor.

autumn city breaks

View offer here
 

 

 

Disneyland Paris, Halloween Festival, 2 ad & 2ch, 3 Nights inc Flights & Park Passes, €1473

Halloween and Christmas festivals at Disneyland Paris run almost consecutively from the end of September right up to the 6th of January, so it is a great time to visit. If your children are not in school yet you can get great value autumn holidays, departing September and October. I found a great deal over the October Mid Term Break, departing Friday the 1st of November for 3 nights. Price with flights, hotel and park passes is €1473, based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing.

halloween festival at disneyland paris

See more here

 

Read: The best time to visit Disneyland Paris.
 

 

 

Cruises:

 

5* Celebrity Edge, 10 night Spain & Monaco Fly Cruise, €1820

Celebrity Edge is one of the world’s newest and most luxurious cruise ships. Its unique design includes the world’s first ‘Magic Carpet’ a cantilevered, floating platform that rises 13 stories above sea level, with a full bar, open-air dining area and space for live music. Edge also has an adults-only Solarium and a rooftop garden, as well as the usual facilities and dining options you would expect from a world-class cruise ship. This cruise sails from Rome on the 11th of October and visits, Naples, Santa Margherita, Monte Carlo and over nights in Barcelona. Price for flights, and cruise on a full board basis is €1820 per person. Upgrade to an oceanview stateroom for an additional €440, and receive a classic drinks package and $300 onboard spend per stateroom.

autumn holidays

View offer here  

 

 

 

October Mid Term Break: 9 Night Med Cruise, MSC Preziosa, €855pp

cruise holiday deals

This exclusive deal on MSC Preziosa is ideal for anyone who is tied to school holidays. Visit France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Morocco over 9 nights. Price of €855 includes flights, cruise with meals and entertainment and gratuities, staying in an interior cabin. Cost for 2 adults and 2 children is only €2730, staying in a balcony cabin.
 
View offer here
 

 

 

U River Cruises: 21st September & 8th October, Cruise only €899 – save €400

holiday deals

Sail along the Danube from Regensburg to Budapest over eight days in a luxury 5-star river cruise ship. Price includes meals and excursions, flights are extra. Note the €400 savings will not show online – you need to call a U Specialist on 01 906 9408 or your local travel agent to avail of this special discount.  

Read my review of U River Cruises – luxury river cruises for younger travellers.
 

 

 

Rest of the World:

 

12 Nights Thailand holiday: Bangkok, Elephant Hills & Khao Lak, Inc Flights & Transfers €2099

I love when a holiday combines a beach stay with a little adventure. If I can manage to add a city to the mix too, that is even better. I have researched various Thailand holidays, as I would love to return, and this one ticks all boxes. This Thailand itinerary combines bustling Bangkok and an ethical elephant safari, with some relaxing beach time. If all of that isn’t enough to tempt you, there are luxury hotels included too. Your stay at Elephant Hills luxury tented camp also includes all meals and activities. 

autumn holidays in thailand

See more here

 

Read: The best Thailand Itinerary – Bangkok, Beach and Wildlife
 

 

 

Barbados: 4-star All Inclusive Resort inc Flights & Transfers, 7 Nights, €1399 

last minute deals

Treat yourself to a week in the brand new Sands Barbados Hotel. There are savings of up to €690 per person if you book by the 30th of September. The hotel is currently undergoing a ‘soft opening’, hence the super prices. Some restaurants or facilities may not be in operation, see more details on the link below. Price for flights, transfers and a seven-night stay on an all-inclusive basis is only €1399, departing in September or €1439 in October/ November.

View offer here
 

 

 

G Adventures Costa Rica  Tour – 25th October or 1st November, €729 

This 8 day classic group tour is so on trend at the moment. Despite white water rafting, the wildlife safari and zipline activities, this tour is suitable from age 12, and there is no upper age limit. Enjoy swimming in waterfalls and natural hot springs as well as some chill time on Costa Rica’s amazing beaches. Group size are between 12 and 16 (max ) and it is suitable for most fitness levels. Price of €729 includes all accommodation, tours and some meals – sole travellers can share, or can pay a supplement for a single room. Flights with United Airlines via Newark are available from €701.
 
g adventures costa rica
 
 
 

3 Nights Dubai and  7 Nights All Inclusive Mauritius stay Inc Flights & Transfers, from €2519 

This wonderful two-centre holiday offers the perfect mix of city and beach. Spend three nights seeing the sights in Dubai while you stay in the luxurious 5* Hilton Dubai Creek, followed by seven nights relaxing in the all-inclusive 4* The Ravenala Attitude hotel in Mauritius.

See more here
 

 

 

Staycations:

 

SuperValu Getaway Breaks

SuperValu Getaway Breaks are great value for anyone looking for a last minute staycation. Contrary to what you might think, you don’t need to be a SuperValu shopper to purchase them, although if you are a Real Rewards member, you can accumulate valuable Real Rewards points. They have over 300 hotels on their website, including an Inspired Collection of four and five-star hotels. They are currently offering €20 off their 2-night stays for travel before the 31st of December. Luxury hotels like The Brehon in Killarney is €125pp for a two-night stay and the 5* Sheen Falls Lodge is only €150pp for a two-night stay.

supervalu getaway breaks

 

I am just recently back from Waterford and the Munster Vales, where we cycled the Waterford Greenway and enjoyed delicious food in Waterford’s foodie capital, Dungarvan. I found great deals staying in the Park Hotel or Gold Coast Resort, Dungarvan. Price for a two-night stay, with breakfast, is only €75 per person departing on various dates in September / October. There is a leisure centre and gym in both and the 18-hole championship Gold Coast Golf Course is adjacent to the Gold Coast Resort.  Dungarvan is also on the Waterford Greenway, so this is an ideal choice for anyone looking for an active break.

See more here

 

Read my top things to do in the Munster Vales.
 

 

 

Center Parcs

I was delighted to visit Center Parcs Longford Forest this summer – it really did live up to the hype! Prices during the summer months are high, so Center Parcs is an ideal choice for autumn holidays. Prices for a three-night weekend break in October are €559, based on a 2 bedroom Woodland Lodge. If you want to travel over the October bank holiday weekend, the price increases to €999, but the real value is departing on the 1st of November, the kids are still off school, and the price is only €699. Children are back to school on Monday the 4th, so you can choose to return on the Sunday night if you don’t want to take the kids out of school for a day.
 

 

 
Center Parcs will also have a Winter Wonderland theme starting on the 8th of November, where the forest will transform into a magical winter playground, with snow, lights and festive decorations. You can also visit Santa,  additional charge applies.

autumn holidays in ireland

 

See more here

 

Read my ultimate guide to Center Parcs Longford Forest.
 

 

 

Taste the Island promotion.

This year sees the start of a three-year initiative from Tourism Ireland to boost domestic and international tourists to Ireland, outside of the summer months. They have introduced a ‘Taste the Island’ celebration, where we are showcasing the very best of our food and drink culture. There are events on throughout the country, so if you are planning autumn holidays, find out what’s on here. Many hotels have embraced this theme and are offering stays with special ‘Taste the Island’ menus. Lough Rynne in Leitrim, which is available on SuperValu breaks, Actons in Kinsale and Clew Bay in Westport are just some of the hotels involved. There are events on throughout the country – you can see what’s on here.
 

 

 

Like holidays in Ireland? See more here.

 

Stenaline UK Breaks

Stenaline is offering two-night breaks to Scotland, England or Wales with return ferry travel by car included from €145 per adult sharing. Kids under 16 travel free by ferry, but there may be supplements for hotels. Take your pick from hundreds of hotels and apartments including Alton Towers and Legoland. This offer is available for autumn holidays and for travel until the 31st of March 2020, but needs to be booked by 30th November 2019.
 

See more here
 

 

 
Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. Please note some of my top picks for autumn holidays include affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made.

 
Sarah 

travel deals

Holidays in Ireland

Ireland’s Best Instagram Locations

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I love to travel, but sometimes what you are looking for is right on your doorstep! Ireland has many stunning beaches, extraordinary landscapes and world class attractions. Check out 20 of Ireland’s best Instagram locations, just in case you need a little reminder of how beautiful our homeland is.

 

1. Glenadalough, Co Wicklow.

As a Dublin native, Glendalough is a place I have visited on many occasions. Just a short drive from the capital, yet worlds apart, this stunning part of Wicklow is home to Ireland’s oldest monastic site, as well as some of Ireland’s best Instagram locations. There are walking trails suitable for all fitness levels, as well as a monastic site that was founded in the 6th Century. This medieval city survived many attacks from the Vikings and is now one of the top attractions on Ireland’s Ancient East.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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2. Giants Causeway, Co. Antrim.

One of Ireland’s three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Giants Causeway is probably our most famous. This small, yet fascinating site, consists of 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption. Located in Antrim in Northern Ireland, it is perfectly situated to enjoy a weekend on the Causeway Coast. You can read all about my stay on the Causeway Coast here.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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3. Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Co. Antrim

Another one of Northern Ireland’s famous attractions, I loved visiting the Carrick-a-Rede Rope bridge. However it is not for the faint hearted, as it is suspended 100 ft above sea level! The Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge was raised annually for 250 years to allow fishermen access their nets, but it now stays up all year round. The photos from the bridge and the surrounding area are superb. Located just a short drive from the Giants Causeway, it is a great idea to combine two of Ireland’s best instagram locations in one trip!

 

 
 
 
 
 
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4. Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare

Rugged cliffs with breathtaking views best describes Ireland’s top tourist attraction. Located in Co. Clare, the remarkable Cliffs of Moher stretch for almost 14km of coastline. Enjoy the cliff walk and then pop into one of Doolin’s traditional Irish pubs afterwards!

 

 
 
 
 
 
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5. Killarney National Park, Co. Kerry

There are so many attractions within the Killarney National Park that it is difficult to choose just one to include in this list of Ireland’s best instagram locations. Torc Waterfall, Muckross House and the stunning Killarney Lakes are all impressive in their own right, but it is the typical Irish jaunting carts that are visible throughout Killarney National Park, that caught my eye. Read about my family holiday in Killarney here.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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6. Temple Bar, Dublin

For Irish natives, this will not be considered one of Ireland’s best instagram hotspots, but for tourists it certainly is. With crowded pubs playing Irish folk music, quirky boutiques selling local crafts and cobbled stone pedestrian streets – Temple Bar the picture postcard Dublin scene. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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7. The Dark Hedges, Co. Antrim

For Game of Thrones fans, a trip to the The Dark Hedges in Antrim is a must. The beech trees were planted in the 18th century as the impressive entrance to the Stuart’s family house. 200 years later Bregagh Road is one of the most photographed roads in Northern Ireland. The Dark Hedges is moody and magnificent, but try to go in the morning or evening to avoid the crowds and to get the best light.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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8. Cobh, Co Cork.

Famous for being the Titanic’s last port of call and for the Titanic Experience, Cobh is a popular spot with tourists. Fota Wildlife Park is also close by, as is Spike Island, but it is the colourful buildings in the town centre that make it one of Ireland’s best instagram locations. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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9. Dun Chaoin Pier – Slea Head Drive, Co. Kerry

The Slea Head Drive in Kerry offers endless photo opportunities but Dun Chaoin Pier has to be one of Ireland’s best Instagram images. Located on the most westerly tip of the Dingle Peninsula, you can see the Blasket Islands just three miles off shore. It’s stunning location lends itself to amazing sunsets, if you happen to be there on a clear day. Make sure you pop into the lively town of Dingle after your visit and catch a traditional Irish music session in one of the local pubs.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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10. Gap of Dunloe, Co. Kerry

The Gap of Dunloe is a narrow mountain pass in Kerry that offers stunning scenery synonymous with the Irish Landscape. Expect to see mountains awash with herds of sheep, five different lakes, old stone bridges and country cottages. You can hire a jaunting cart to travel through the 11km pass and take the boat back to Killarney. It is quintessential Ireland at it’s best. 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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11. Dun Briste, Down Patrick Head, Co. Mayo

Ireland’s most famous sea stack – ‘Dún Briste’ was once joined to the mainland. The name is Gaelic for Broken Fort, and it is 150 feet tall. It is easily reached by car and the car park is only a ten minute walk to the cliffs, where you will get amazing photos. Don’t miss the blow hole in the same location, and the EIRE 64 sign that was carved into the ground during World War 2. This was there to show American planes overhead that they were passing a neutral country. Not only is Down Patrick Head one of Ireland’s best Instagram locations, it is also one of its most interesting.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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12. Lough Tay, Co Wicklow

Another gem in Co.Wicklow, Lough Tay is easily accesible from Dublin, if you fancy a hike or even a scenic drive. The Guinness family estate runs through the area and the white sand at the top of the lake is said to resemble a pint of guinness!  The views from Military Road are spectacular, especially if you get a fine day.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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#loughtay was looking fine today with my #drone – hard to believe this has #nofilter 😎 When you get the weather there is no place like home!

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert) on


 

 

 

13. Ha’penny bridge, Dublin

Located in the heart of Dublin’s city centre,  the famous Ha’Penny Bridge is one of the earliest cast-iron structures of its kind. It connects the north side of the city to the south side and it is next to Temple Bar, one of Dublin’s top night spots.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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14. Skellig Michael, Co. Kerry

One of Ireland’s oldest sites is now one of our top tourist attractions. It is one of only three UNESCO world heritage sites in Ireland and is one of the famous locations in Star Wars, The Last Jedi. However it is not the easiest place to get to, visitor numbers are restricted and the boats only visit the island if there are calm seas. You need to pre-book your experience by phoning one of the local boatmen. Don’t panic if you are unable to step on to Skellig Michael, Portmagee or Valentia Island offer superb views of the islands and are instagrammable hotspots too.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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15. Cuilcagh Boardwalk  – Stairway to Heaven Walk, Co. Fermanagh

Cuilcagh is a mountain between Fermanagh and Cavan and is home to the famous ‘Stairway to Heaven’ walk. You need to walk for 4km before you reach the boardwalk and the final ascent is via steep steps, so it is not for the faint hearted. However once you reach the viewing platform, you will be rewarded with breath-taking views of the surrounding landscape. This is surely one of Ireland’s best instagram locations.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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16. Glaslough village, Co. Monaghan

This small Irish village is well known for being the home town to the luxurious Castle Leslie Estate in Monaghan. Although surrounded by beautiful lakes and woodlands, it is the stone cottages with colourful flowers that make it one of Ireland’s prettiest villages. Read all about how I was captivated by Castle Leslie and Glaslough village here.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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17. Doolin, Co. Clare

Famous for it’s traditional Irish music, or ‘trad sessions’ as the locals call it, Doolin is also a pretty colourful town and shouldn’t be missed if travelling along the Wild Atlantic Way.  The fact that is just happens to be 10 minutes from the Cliffs of Moher is another bonus! 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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18. Keem Beach, Achill, Co. Mayo.

Regarded as one of Ireland’s best beaches – Keem beach took my breath away when I visited. It is located at the very end of the Achill Island, Ireland’s largest island and is easily reached by car. My advice would be to go early and get a parking spot right beside the beach. Make sure you climb up the mountain behind the beach for the most incredible views and the famous Instagram shot.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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19. The Long Room in Trinity College, Dublin.

One of the top things to do in Dublin is visit Trinity College. And one of the few regrets I have in life, (I have very few), is that I wish I went to college there! The main chamber of the Old Library of Trinity College is called the Long Room. It is 65 metres in length and filled with 200,000 of the Library’s oldest books. It is one of the most impressive libraries in the world and certainly deserves it’s place on Ireland’s best instagram locations list. 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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20. Titanic Museum, Co. Antrim.

Not only is this one of the world’s leading tourist attractions, but the Titanic Museum looks great on the gram! This modern building, designed by Eric Kuhne, has been designed to look like a ship, with sharp edges and a striking structure that stands out against the Belfast’s docks.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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21. Donegal Airport

Voted the most scenic airport in the world for the second year in a row, this is an incredible feat when you think that it fought off competition from St Maarten, Nice and Mahe. The combination of the rugged coastline, sandy beaches and majestic mountains helped it win the coveted prize. However just two routes operate from Donegal, so perhaps it is best to combine a visit with a stay in Dublin – check out Stobart Air for flights.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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22. The Guinness Store House

No visit to Dublin would be complete without a visit to its number 1 attraction, the Guinness Store House. Enjoy seven floors of interactive experiences, before you are rewarded with a pint of the black stuff in their world-famous roof top Gravity Bar. With panoramic views of the Dublin skyline, is there a better way to toast Ireland than this? 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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I hope you have enjoyed my list of Ireland’s best Instagram locations but perhaps I have missed some? If you have any suggestions I would love to hear them, just comment below.

 

Like holidays in Ireland? See more here.

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

 

Travel

Ten Great New Year’s Eve Hotel Offers in Ireland

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If you’re looking to escape the age old problem of making plans for New Year’s, why not skip all the rigmarole and plan a luxurious escape for yourself. Check out this list of ten great New Year’s Eve hotel offers in Ireland which will hopefully provide you with some inspiration.

 

Every year the same debate always pops up; “what shall we do for New Years?” More often than not, this normally pops up just a couple of days before and everyone is already exhausted from Christmas. Instead of falling into the same traps, why not plan a bit ahead this year? If you look around even now, there are lots of great New Year’s Eve hotel offers in Ireland to be had. The below list aren’t in any particular order, they are all four stars and they are spread all around this beautiful Ireland of ours. Enjoy! 🙂

Treacys Oakwood Hotel – Limerick

Price: €51pp

Shannon is more than just a river! Situated right in the heart of Shannon Town, you will find the charming Treacys Oakwood Hotel. It is just a short spin away from Bunratty Castle and has the fabulous Pierre 17 restaurant where you can enjoy a delicious meal… and a glass or two of wine. 😉

Book This Hotel

New Year's Eve Hotel Offers - Treacys Oakwood Hotel

 

Sneem Hotel – Kerry

Price: €58pp

Sneem Hotel is right in the middle of the stunning Ring of Kerry. You will be able to enjoy some breathtaking views and forget about all the hectic madness of the weeks previous. There is a sauna and a steam room where you will be able bring 2018 to a close in style.

Book This Hotel

New Year's Eve Hotel Offers - Sneem Hotel

 

Ballina Manor Hotel – Mayo

Price: €54pp

Ballina Manor Hotel is a chic and stylish four-star hotel right in the heart of Ballina. It has a lovely swimming pool on site if you’re looking to take a dip and it’s location means that there is some great bars within walking distance. If you’re on the hunt for a drink and a sing-song, you won’t have to look far!

Book This Hotel

New Year's Eve Hotel Offers - Ballina Manor Hotel

Radisson Blu Hotel Letterkenny – Donegal

Price: €68pp

The Radisson Blu Hotel Letterkenny sits just a short walk away from the centre of the extremely colourful town of Letterkenny. Again there is a swimming pool available for patrons to spoil themselves and you will also find Glenveagh National Park just a short drive away.

Book This Hotel

New Year's Eve Hotel Offers - Radisson Blu Hotel Letterkenny

 

Shirley Arms Hotel – Monaghan

Price: €70pp

The Shirley Arms Hotel is one of the gems of the midlands. It is a smaller hotel of only twenty-five rooms. That doesn’t mean that it’s not right up there when it comes to luxury. It’s only an hour away from Dublin and Belfast and has an amazing restaurant for those of you who like a bit of fine dining.

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New Year's Eve Hotel Offers - Shirley Arms Carrickmacross

The Beacon – Dublin

Price: €58pp

The Beacon in Dublin is a very trendy hotel that is both as far away and as close to Dublin as you want it to be. It is still only a short spin in a taxi into the centre of town if you’re looking to celebrate in a big way. It’s also just far enough away where you enjoy some intimate alone time with your loved one.

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New Year's Eve Hotel Offers - The Beacon Dublin

Carragaline Court Hotel & Leisure Centre – Cork

Price: €61pp

The Carragaline Court offers a relaxing escape from the stresses of daily life at the best of times. During the holiday season though, its peaceful surroundings will be nothing short of a godsend. Collins Bar should be a nice place to grab some drinks and share a few laughs as midnight approaches.

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New Year's Eve Hotel Offers - Carragaline Hotel & Leisure Centre

Harlequin Hotel – Mayo

Price: €65pp

The Harlequin Hotel in Castlebar is our second offering from the beautiful county of Mayo. It’s boutique design gives off a very modern vibe and it is again just a stone’s throw away from some brilliant bars and restaurants in Castlebar. Dining Room and The PIZZA Bros are two places worth checking out.

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New Year's Eve Hotel Offers - Harlequin Hotel

 

Kingswood Hotel Citywest – Dublin

Price: €77pp

If you’re looking to escape the capital but don’t want to travel that far, you can enjoy a mini getaway in the Kingswood Hotel Citywest. Even a a few kilometers between yourself and home can give you that much needed change of scenery. This hotel is very easy on the eye and has a fantastic reputation, so why not check it out? 🙂

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New Year's Eve Hotel Offers - Kingswood Hotel Citywest

Old Ground Hotel Ennis – Clare

Price: €70pp

I have extremely fond memories of Ennis from my childhood as we would head west every summer for our family holidays. The town just has this infectious charm that undoubtedly goes into overdrive during the holiday season. Experience this charm for yourself in a truly lovely hotel.

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New Year's Eve Hotel Offers - Old Ground Hotel Ennis

Lough Rea Hotel & Spa – Galway

Price: €85pp

The Lough Rea Hotel & Spa is another beautiful four-star hotel that could offer you a peaceful alternative to your local pub. Its lakeside setting is highly romantic and it’s only a short two hour spin from Dublin. Don’t let this one pass you by!

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New Year's Eve Hotel Offers - Lough Rea Hotel & Spa

 

A nice change of pace and a chance to spend some quality time with one of your nearest and dearest is what it’s all about. For all the investments you will probably make over the holiday season, I could guarantee you that a night away in one of the above hotels will be one that you’ll be glad that you made. 🙂

 

Prices are correct at time of issue but are subject to change. Please note that these links are affiliate links where we receive a small commission if a booking is made.

 

Martin McKenna – The Travel Expert Team

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Holidays in Ireland

Dunbrody House Serves Up Much More Than Just Good Food

Dunbrody House Window

With celebrity chef Kevin Dundon at the helm, our stay in Dunbrody House was always going to be about the food. However, it did win ‘Luxury Country House of the Year’ by the Luxury Travel Guide, so is there more to Dunbrody House than just good food?

 

I have always been a food lover, my mother often reminds me that when I was a little girl, I used to ask three days in advance what we were having for dinner. And when my sister married a two-Michelin star chef 30 years ago, food became an integral part of our family life – you can imagine what it was like at the early stages when he was invited to dinner! My career in travel developed my palette too. From Spain to Sri Lanka, no matter where I travel, I love trying local foods.


 

 

 
So when Ireland’s Blue Book invited me to stay in Dunbrody House, I jumped at the chance. Dunbrody House is renowned for using fresh local ingredients. Their seasonal dishes include Comeragh Mountain Lamb in Spring, Fresh Duncannon Crab with Dressed Baby Leaves in Summer, and Slow Cooked Haunch of Venison in the depths of Winter. I think I need to visit during every season….

Dunbrody House
 

 

 
But other than having great food, I didn’t know too much about Dunbrody House, which was probably not a bad thing. I set off with my good friend Ita, with a completely open mind, for a rare girls night away.

After a leisurely two hour drive from Dublin we arrived at Dunbrody House. Set in 300 acres of parkland, you get the impression you are arriving somewhere special, as you drive the tree lined road up to the house. We were greeted by a magnificent crimson coloured creeper that hugged the side of the 1830’s Georgian manor. The hall door, wasn’t bad either – I had to grab a quick snap before we were shown to our room.

 

We were warmly welcomed by Catherine Dundon, who quickly showed us around and led us to our spacious deluxe room. It was elegantly decorated in typical country house style, with added modern touches of an iPhone docking station and Nespresso coffee machine.
 

 

 
I loved the views of the grounds from our windows and that we were able to walk directly through French doors into the garden. The gardens were so well kept, but as much I loved the Autumn leaves, I couldn’t help but imagine how different the house and the gardens must look in different seasons. The spring daffodils, crackling log fires in the period fireplaces in the winter, I think Dunbrody House must have a rare talent of being able to appeal at any time of year.

dunbrody house
 

 

 
We arrived just in time for lunch, obviously well planned 😉. Dundons Champagne Seafood Bar, which serves outside on the terrace in the Summer months, did initially take my fancy, but when we heard there was a cosy country pub on the grounds, we had to investigate. ‘The Local’ was a big surprise for me. I read on their website that there was a pub on-site but I never expected it to be so authentic. We loved it. It is located just meters from the house, yet we never felt like we were in a hotel at all.

Dunbrody House
 

 

 
We arrived on a Sunday which is when they have Jazz brunch from 12-4pm. The ‘girl from Ipanema’ was playing when we walked in. They make craft beers on site and they have REAL fish and chips. I was in my element. The fish and chips was delicious. The fish was beer-battered and served with chunky chipper style chips, in chip-shop paper!
 

 

 
They also have stone-oven baked pizzas, gourmet burgers and American style pancakes. My friend Ita opted for the porter glazed rack of pork ribs, spiced slaw and chips – it was finger-licking good.

dunbrody house
 

 

 
It is not only hotel guests that frequent The Local. They offer live music every Friday and Saturday night, as well as the Jazz Sunday brunch. Customers are brought home on the ‘Safe-Home’ shuttle bus to Arthurstown, Duncannon, Ramsgrange and Ballyhack! If only there was a ‘Safe-Home shuttle’ in my local…
 

 

 
We decided to walk off our lunch by strolling down to the village of Arthurstown. This was actually a lot closer than we thought, we were there within minutes. This pretty little town has a quaint harbour which we explored and a cool country bar, the Kings Bay Inn. It had the perfect outside table with our name on it. It was a balmy sunny evening and we had perfect sea views – we had to stop for a dink, sure we were on a girls night away after all.

 

After our cocktails by the sea, it was time to go back to the house for some chill time before dinner. It is strange that I would call it a house rather than a hotel, but that is really what it feels like. Husband and wife, Catherine and Kevin Dundon, own and operate Dunbrody House and have created a traditional homely atmosphere. Although they no longer live in the house, Catherine admitted she spends most of her time there. In fact, she only had one day off during the month of August. Her passion was infectious and she was only too happy to show us around the grounds.

 

In between the herb and vegetable gardens, there were sculpted tree trunks and deep forests, we even came across one of the resident horses. I loved the ‘cosy cabin’ – a self contained two bedroomed house with stunning views over the valley. This would be ideal for a family stay and it is also listed on Airbnb – my mind was working overtime! They also have the 1830’s Stewart’s House, complete with an open fire, which suits families or up to six adults.

dunbrody house

It was time for dinner. After a delicious rhubarb cosmopolitan in the bar, we went into the Harvest Room. It felt more like a classy restaurant than a hotel dining room. Although I must admit, I have had better scallops, the Dunbrody double joint was incredible.
 

 

 
They have a different daily roast for two each day, but this was probably one of the best beef joints I have ever tasted. It was perfectly cooked and bursting with flavour. I loved the presentation too, served with mouthwatering beef cheeks in a red wine jus and bearnaise sauce. It was accompanied with fresh vegetables that I can only assume came straight from the garden.

dunbrody house
 

 

 
Our desserts were delicious too, I had the almond tart, and Ita opted for the dark chocolate and praline filled macaroon with praline ice cream. We were guests of Dunbrody House but our three course menu was priced at €70 per person which included the €5 supplement for the beef joint – a little pricey, but worth it in my opinion.
 

 

 
We fell into our comfy beds, complete with goose down pillows and orthopaedic mattresses. We ended up having an early night, not exactly a wild girls night out, but it was exactly what we wanted – cocktails, delicious food, wine and lots of girly chats! We woke fresh the following morning, although not fresh enough to help make scones in the kitchen at 7.30am, (which guests are invited to do).

dunbrody house

I attempted to fly my drone instead (not my finest hour – it crashed into one of the trees!) so we decided to take another stroll around the grounds before going for breakfast. I loved being in a country house, it felt so relaxed, we could read the papers in the drawing room or ramble around the grounds.
 

 

 
Dunbrody House also has a cookery school which is offers a variety of courses, from beginners, to specialised courses for gourmet chefs. The two-day ‘Dinner Parties for Six’ course sounds like a winner to me, All of the courses have been personally designed by Kevin Dundon with an emphasis on using locally-sourced ingredients and simple recipes. A word of warning – you will need to book in advance.

dunbrody house
 

 

 
There is spa on-site too, which we had a quick tour of. The spa offers a wide selection of treatments using Aromatherapy Associates London, an Asian-styled Serail steam & mud room as well as a relaxation room with day beds. It was one of those moments when I wished we had another day.

dunbrody house
 

 

 
In true Dunbrody style, breakfast is served until 12 o’clock, and boy did we take advantage of it! We were seated at a perfect table overlooking the grounds so we stayed there for over an hour. We enjoyed muesli from the buffet counter and a mini full-Irish – that was definitely not mini. However, I couldn’t resist the homemade scones with jam and cream afterwards….

dunbrody house
It was time to say goodbye to Catherine and all at Dunbrody House. We left with heavy hearts and full tummies, to discover the surrounding area, before our drive home.
 

 

 
Country House Hotels can sometimes be quite isolated but not Dunbrody House. There is so much to see and do close by. We took the scenic coastal drive around Hook Peninsula, the culmination of Ireland’s Ancient East. We stopped briefly at Hook Lighthouse, the world’s oldest working lighthouse. Not only is it one of Wexford’s top attractions, but it is one of Ireland’s too.

dunbrody house

Dunbrody House is also close to the Dunbrody Famine Ship, Tintern Abbey, The Kennedy Homestead and Loftus Hall – Ireland’s most haunted house! Needless to say we didn’t have time to see them all, but we did manage a brief stop in Duncannon Beach – a spot I would certainly like to come back to.

dunbrody house
 

 

 
Yes Dunbrody House most definitely has a foodie focus. In fact, it is rare that a country house with twenty-two rooms has three different dining options. However, it is not only the food that makes Dunbrody stand out as one of Ireland’s luxury Country Houses. It’s old world charm makes you instantly feel relaxed, the facilities on site such as the spa and cookery school, as well as 300 acres of grounds to get lost in – will make you want to come back for more. Sure I would have to try the Comeragh Mountain Lamb in Spring – right?
 

 

 
Prices from €75 per person sharing in low season for bed & breakfast but I think the dinner, bed & breakfast is the best option. Priced from €145 per person including a late check-out till 2pm (great considering breakfast is served till 12 o’clock!) and a complimentary room upgrade when using a Blue Book Voucher.

 

Visit DunbrodyHouse.ie or Irelands Blue Book.ie for more details

 

Like Holidays in Ireland? See more here.

 

 

This post was sponsored by Ireland’s Blue Book, but all views, as always, are my own.

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

 

 

Family HolidaysHolidays in Ireland

 Is Kelly’s The Best Family Hotel in Ireland?

Kelly's Resort Hotel, Wexford

Perched on five miles of sandy beach, with award winning cuisine and a host of activities for children, is Kelly’s the best family hotel in Ireland?

 

For years I have heard friends boast of Kelly’s fine food and fantastic kids facilities. The Irish Independent’s reader awards named it as their favourite place to stay for 2018 and it was voted the most family friendly hotel in Ireland in last years Gold Medal Awards. These are on top of a plethora of other awards that Kelly’s has received for as long as I care to remember! I was interested to see what all the fuss was about, so when Wexford Tourism invited us to stay I jumped at the chance.

Waiting in line to check-in was bizarre. I overheard two separate couples rebook for the following year. There was no question of cost, they were confirming their booking for the same time, a year later. I asked the receptionist if this was normal and she said she has seen four generations of families staying at Kelly’s since she started working there – a startling statistic. I recalled that I have ever holidayed in a place that my parents stayed….

I couldn’t help but notice that throughout the hotel there were multi generational families holidaying together. Kelly’s is a bit on an anomaly – it manages to cater superbly for children but also for adults, even grandparents! It is not only the clientele that come back year after year. It was heartwarming to see so many long-serving members of staff, who recognised guests from previous visits, a rarity in the hospitality sector these days.

kelly's the best family hotel in ireland

 
There is entertainment around the clock. It starts after breakfast when the kids club opens at 930am. Kelly’s have a ‘Pirates Club’ for kids aged 4 and over.  There are arts and crafts, drama and dress up, musical games, painting, pool games and much more taking place throughout the day. The ‘Starfish Club’ caters for younger children from 8.30 am – 5.00pm, however a fee of €3.00 per child per hour applies. Parents are free to spend a day at the beach, play a round of golf at the nearby championship course, or relax in the multi award-winning spa. A word of warning, prebook your spa treatments, the spa looked seriously impressive! As it was our first time to visit,  I didn’t realise how popular it was, it was booked out for our entire stay.

kelly's the best family hotel in ireland

 
Lunch is served from 12.30pm. Families dine together and enjoy an array of delicious hot and cold options from the buffet. I am not normally a buffet fan, but we ate here on our last day and it was excellent. The selection of salads was superb, not to mention desserts! They even had a selection of homemade ice cream with cones for the kids. If you don’t fancy buffet dining, you can also choose to opt for waiter service in Beaches, the à la carte restaurant, for breakfast or lunch.

kelly's the best family hotel in ireland

 
Dinner is a whole different ballgame. After an afternoon full of activities, children are encouraged to dine at the ‘kids buffet’ at 5.30pm. Personally, I found this a tad early! We happened to be out all day so this wasn’t an option for us anyway, but the idea is that kids dine separately with their new found friends. Dinner is followed by a kids disco and then back to the kids club for a movie. There is complimentary child-minding for all children from 7pm – 9pm so parents can enjoy a ‘date night’.

 

 

I spoke to a few families while I was there and they loved this arrangement. In fact this was one of the main reasons they return to Kelly’s year after year. They get to enjoy fine dining in Beaches alone, while the kids watch a movie. Kelly’s also have a remote intercom system so when you put the kids to bed, you can leave the phone off the hook and dial in to make sure there is no one awake. You can also hire staff babysitters ( €10 per hour), if you have young children or are not comfortable with this arrangement. I doubt this would be used much in international hotel chains, but Kelly’s has been a family run hotel for over 100 years.

Originally opened as a tea rooms in 1895, Kelly’s has been passed from generation to generation and has always remained a family run hotel. Kelly’s is now run by the fourth generation Bill Kelly and his wife Isabelle. Isabelle happens to be the daughter of leading French wine-makers from Chateauneuf-du-Pape – so no wonder the wine list is so good!

Laura Kelly, the fifth generation Kelly has also taken the helm beside her father. Like her father and grandfather, she studied in the famous Hotel Management school of Switzerland and has since worked in top class family resorts around the world, including Club Med. The reason I mention this is because Kelly’s has a Mediterranean resort feel to it. It is not like a typical Irish hotel. Most people book the full board package, which includes all meals, even afternoon tea! Kelly’s reminded me of an all-inclusive family resort in Spain, I don’t think I have seen anything like it anywhere else in Ireland.

kelly's the best family hotel in ireland

 
We ate in Beaches twice, albeit with the kids! For a large hotel restaurant, Kelly’s not only manage to serve delicious food but the atmosphere felt more like a local restaurant than a large hotel dining room. It should be noted that young children are not allowed to dine in Beaches. The menu actually states ‘adults only’ but when I had a mild panic attack, I was told it was not enforced for older kids.

Looking around the restaurant I don’t think there was anyone under six. If you want to dine with young children you can reserve a table in the bar area and enjoy the Beaches menu there.  I thought this a little autocratic initially, but it works!

kelly's the best family hotel in ireland

 
The food in Kelly’s is superb. Whether you dine at the buffet or in Beaches, for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you are guaranteed delicious meals and super service. In Beaches I enjoyed a tasty goats cheese salad starter and Cormac, the crab salad. There was no separate kids menu but there were ample dishes for kids to enjoy.

However if you have fussy eaters, they are only too happy to provide children’s food off menu. The fillet of beef was perfectly cooked, as was the scallops and black pudding. The desserts were delicious too. After one day in Kelly’s I understood why people were so obsessed with the food – it really is that good! Mr Kelly played the perfect host, checking in with all guests asking about their day and if everything is ok with their meal.

kelly's the best family hotel in ireland

 
There are also lots of things that families can enjoy together. There are two large swimming pools with no restrictions on swim times, and of course the beach is on your doorstep. With miles of sandy beach and rock pools for kids to explore, a day at the beach is inevitable.

Watersports enthusiasts will love the windsurfing, kayaking and sailing lessons provided by the Rosslare Watersports centre during the Summer months. There are also indoor and outdoor tennis courts, boules and a great mini golf course, which we played on a few occasions.  As well as the kids club there is also a large pirate ship playground and a games room for kids to enjoy.

kelly's the best family hotel in ireland

Kelly’s is unique. It is a family-run resort hotel, where parents dress up for dinner while their kids play elsewhere. Kelly’s offers escapism. Kelly’s is located in County Wexford, in Ireland’s sunny South East, which was given the name because Wexford has lower average annual rainfall than any other county in Ireland. Having lunch on the sunny rooftop balcony on our last day we almost forgot where we were. It was like the Mediterranean. With fine beaches on your doorstep, non stop entertainment for kids, mouthwatering food and a wine list to die for, it is not surprising that many believe Kelly’s is the best family hotel in Ireland. Go see for yourself!

 

For more details visit Kellys.ie  and check out my blog on things to do in Wexford with kids.

 

 
Sarah

 

The Travel Expert
Holidays in Ireland

Living It Up At Lough Erne Resort

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Wonderful walks, lodges straight out of a fairy tale and a food lovers paradise – find out how I lived it up at Lough Erne Resort.

 

It was my first time to visit Fermanagh. For someone who has visited every other county in Ireland, I felt almost ashamed that it took me this long to get there. I was kindly invited by Lough Erne Resort to stay for two nights, so I accepted with open arms. However, as much as I like nice hotels, I also like to discover the surrounding area and as this was a family trip, it was important that there was something here to please everyone. I had of course heard of the prestigious Lough Erne Resort, that has won numerous awards and accolades, including 2017’s hotel of the year in the Northern Ireland Tourism Awards. In fact, the G8 Summit was held there in 2013, so I guess if it was good enough for Barack Obama, it was good enough for me 😉.

lough erne resort

Once we reached the entrance to Lough Erne Resort, we had to drive past not one, but two, golf courses to get to the hotel. You get the feeling that you are driving on to an island. The 600 acre peninsula where Lough Erne Resort is located is stunning and the frosty day made it feel even more dramatic. It was a good start! This was nicely followed when we were given keys to our self catering lodge, located right beside the hotel. I was really surprised by this because in most cases the self catering lodges tend to be a long distance from the hotel reception. And speaking from experience of Irish weather, there is nothing worse than being soaked on the way to dinner!

lough erne resort

The lodges are an attraction in their own right.  My daughter shrieked with delight when she saw them and thought that our new two story home, complete with a turret, resembled Rapunzel’s tower!  Needless to say the kids decided they wanted the upstairs bedroom. Both bedrooms were extremely spacious and certainly deserved the five star rating. The bathrooms were equipped with large double showers and a free standing baths. The main living room was spacious too, although the kitchen area was quite small. One other thing to point out is that while our kids (ages 7 and 10) were at the perfect age, families with younger children may not like sleeping on a different floor to their parents.

I loved that breakfast is included in the hotel when you book one of the self catering lodges. I haven’t found this at any of the other hotels that I have stayed in and I think it is a massive bonus. Not only does this give you an incentive to rise early in the mornings (breakfast is served until 10.30) but to have a delicious a la carte breakfast served to you each day was greatly appreciated.  This is standard for anyone staying in one of the twenty five, 2 or 3 bedroom lodges at Lough Erne resort.

lough erne resort

Speaking of food…. Lough Erne Resort is renowned for its culinary delights and locally sourced produce. The Executive Head Chef Noel McMeel  has worked with some of the world’s most respected chefs and is no doubt the reason why Lough Erne resort is the proud winner of the Hotel Restaurant of the Year.  We dined in the Catalina Restaurant, Lough Erne’s fine dining offering and we were suitably impressed. While myself and Cormac were given an ‘amuse bouche’ of goats cheese to start, the kids were not overlooked. They two were given their own ‘amuse bouche’. A strawberry, blackberry and raspberry on a cocktail stick – what a nice surprise!

lough erne resort

My starter of braised cheek ravioli was perfectly cooked as was the halibut, but the pièce de la resistance was the chocolate soufflé. It really was superb! The kids were happy too with plenty of options to choose from the kids menu. Alex had a tasty pasta dish while Luke enjoyed the chicken curry. Prices for two courses are £45 or £52 for three courses, quite reasonable I thought for such high quality food in a five star hotel.

lough erne resort

There are other more casual options if you don’t fancy fine dining. The Blaney Bar where we had pre dinner drinks, served light bites and the Loughside Bar and Grill offers tasty steaks and seafood, overlooking the Nick Faldo golf course.  Did I mention there were two championship golf courses here?

The following morning the hotel staff recommended we take the 40 minute walk around the Nick Faldo designed golf course, so off we went. Although freezing, (it was actually -2 degrees), it was bright and sunny which showcased just how stunning the hotel grounds are. We stopped at the 10th hole which offers breathtaking views over Lower Lough Erne. For someone who has never played golf I suddenly began to understand the attraction!

After about 40 minutes we realised that we must have taken a wrong turn because we were still miles away from the hotel. We popped into what was aptly called The Halfway House at the 9th green only to find out that we had still another 20 minutes to go. We left our room without wallets or cash but thankfully the friendly barman said he would call reception and allow us to put any purchases on our room. We opted for some tasty homemade soup and hot chocolates before we set off back to the hotel.

The grounds are superb and there are many different walks to take. The following day we walked across Reeds Bridge on Castle Hume Lough. This is located at the rear of the hotel and offers the perfect view of the hotel and it’s conical lodges.

If you are feeling adventurous there are much more arduous walks in the surrounding area, the most famous being the newly opened boardwalk at Cuilcagh Mountain, which is only 15 miles from the resort. Often described as Ireland’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’, this is now considered one of the top things to do in Northern Ireland. However the walk takes approximately 6 hours in total and is not for the faint hearted. With cold temperatures and two small kids in tow, we decided we would have to try this another time. We opted for Lough Navar Forest instead. Only a 15 minute drive from our lodge, this is a beautiful forest walk. You can actually take the 7 mile drive through the forest and stop at many of the viewpoints, if you don’t fancy walking. Make sure you visit Magho Viewpoint which offers panoramic views over Lower Lough Erne, Donegal Bay and the Blue Stack and Sperrin Mountains. Other popular tourist attractions in the area are the Marble Arch Caves , Belleek Pottery, Castle Coole and EnnisKillen Castle.

Of course, staying in such a luxurious hotel, it can be difficult to leave…. The following day we enjoyed a morning swim in the large indoor pool. Children are allowed in from 8am-11am and 4.30-5.30pm. There is also a Light Therapy Sauna and Tropical Rain Shower, a Steam Room and relaxation areas. There are ten spacious treatment rooms including a dual treatment room. I thought it would be a nice Mother and Daughter treat perhaps. The Thai Spa offered a winter saver package of a 30 minute facial, 30 minute body polish and full use of all the facilities for £75 which I thought was good value for a luxury spa.

lough erne resort

While Lough Erne Resort is not a typical family hotel, children are well catered for. At check-in, Luke and Alex were delighted to receive a nice swim bag with a colouring book and crayons inside. There is also a kids playroom called Ernies Den that offers a range of fun games including, table football, air hockey, table-tennis and a pac-man machine. Open from 9am – 9pm, we enjoyed a drink in the bar while the kids played happily for an hour. This is handy for older kids who don’t need to be supervised and I am sure there are many new friendships formed here in the busier Summer months. Children can also have golf lessons on site or try mountain bike trails or take a guided pony trek nearby.

lough erne resort

We were only there for two nights so we decided to go into Enniskillen for our second night and suss out the local scene. We were amazed at how busy the town was. There was no sign of anyone opting for ‘dry January’ in Enniskillen. We had promised the kids pizza but unfortunately Francos, the restaurant that was recommended to us, was fully booked all evening. We decided to make use of our luxury lodges and went back to Lough Erne resort and ordered pizza from the local delivery service. On a cold January night, I decided to do something I hadn’t treated myself to in a long time, soak in a hot bath, chill out in front of the TV and enjoy some take away pizza! It was our home away from home.

Of course my FOMO (fear of missing out) kicked in and I still wanted to see if Franco’s lived up to the hype! We decided to pop in for lunch on our way home. Decorated from head to toe, it was the perfect place to finish off our Christmas holidays. With tasty food and a family friendly atmosphere, it is a great choice if you can manage to tear yourself away from the fabulous Lough Erne Resort…

 

For prices and bookings click here.

 

Like holidays in Ireland? Read more here.

 

Sarah

 

The Travel Expert

 

Family HolidaysHolidays in Ireland

VIP Family Experience at Fota Wildlife Park

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We enjoyed the VIP family experience at Fota Wildlife Park recently. Find out what we got up to.

 

Despite visiting Fota on numerous occasions,  we never knew about the family VIP experience at Fota Wildlife Park until recently. My son Luke (age 10) is an animal lover, and I don’t just mean he likes animals like most kids, he is practically obsessed! The only books I can get him to read are animal books and much to my chagrin he watches reruns of Deadly 60 over and over again! This seemed like the perfect day out for all the family, especially Luke!

We were staying in Fota Island Resort to see their annual Santa Experience, you can read all about that here. We decided to combine the two and visit Fota Wildlife Park before our return journey home. We booked the 10am slot and were told it would be 2 -3 hours in length. While I am normally very punctual we arrived about 15 minutes late, probably due to the tasty breakfast at Fota Island Resort! I didnt realise that being late can actually cause a problem, but animal feeding times are quite specific so if you book the tour, arrive on time! We were greeted by the enthusiastic head warden, Willie Duffy, who has been at Fota Wildlife Park for over 30 years. He showed us around the park, with lots of  ‘behind the scenes’ access,  all from the confines of a comfortable golf buggy!

VIP Family Experience at Fota Wildlife Park

Willie started by giving us some interesting insight into how Fota Wildlife Park is run and their conservation efforts. Set on 100 acres of land, Fota Wildlife Park is home to 140 different species. Fota is a non-profit organisation and is also a registered charity that cares for several species that are in danger of extinction.  The only way Fota Wildlife Park survives is by the gate receipts, they receive no government funding, which I found extraordinary.

Fota Wildlife Park is also renowned for its successful Cheetah breeding program. It has bred over 200 cheethas since 1985. We heard interesting stories about the animals and learned what it is like to be a warden at a wildlife park. We all found it very interesting but my son in particular was transfixed, a degree in zoology might be on the cards!

 

Our first stop was to feed the giraffes. Fota Wildlife Park have 13 giraffes so we all got a chance to feed them and it was a wonderful experience. I was presently surprised at the quality of food the animals received. I’m not suggesting I expected it to be bad food, but when we visited the kitchen I could easily have tucked into any of the animals salads, and the steaks looked like something you would see in a high quality butchers!

VIP Family Experience at Fota Wildlife Park

We then visited the Asian Sanctuary where we got up close to the lions and their cubs as well as the Sumatran tigers. When Willie fed them they came up close to the windows and it enabled us to get great photos.

VIP Family Experience at Fota Wildlife Park

Our next stop was the white faced Saki Monkeys from South America, a highlight for the kids as they were able to put the peanuts directly into their mouths. We had a similar experience with the penguins as we had fed them with small slivers of fish. I decided it might be cool to feed the pelicans at the same time and got swarmed! Despite some droppings from over eager seagulls, it was actually great fun and I got some great photos.

We were not so lucky with the rhinos, although we got up close to them, they were not feeling hungry at the time! A sure sign that this tour is not always predictable, but certainly authentic. Driving around the park you will see many animals roaming freely, including lemurs, kangaroos and mara. You know you are in a wildlife park, and not a zoo. You can also expect to see bison, ostrich, zebras, red pandas, Brazilian tapirs, wallabies and a host of other animals. This photo was taken from a previous visit, but you can see how close I was able to get to the kangaroos.

fota island resort

We love visiting Fota Wildlife Park, there is no where else that you can see so many animals roaming free. But if like us you have visited before, I would recommend trying the VIP Family Experience at Fota Wildlife Park. To get up close with the animals, learn all about the running of Fota wildlife park with behind the scenes access, I believe it is worth every penny of the ticket price.
 
Cost is €150 for 2 adults and up to 4 children which includes admission to the park and a 2 – 3 hour private guided tour, tea and coffee and a certificate signed by the warden to say you took part. You should be able to feed penguins, lemurs or giraffes but these are subject to change.

 

Click here for more details 

 

Like holidays in Ireland? See more here.

 

Sarah

 

The Travel Expert
 
 

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