When travelers are asked their bucket lists or favorite places to re-visit, Ireland usually tops the list — and even well-traveled writers agree. The Emerald Isle is a beloved and enchanting country with breathtaking scenery, filled with history and legends, and the locals are friendly. When planning your vacation, from castles to urban historic hotels, consider the following best places to stay in Ireland.
There are so many reasons to visit Ireland. Lush greenery and rolling hills. Embark on a road trip along its rugged Irish Sea coast, the Wild Atlantic Way. Castles (seemingly) around every corner. The pubs (again seemingly) around every corner. Kissing the Blarney stone. Irish Whisky. The Irish folklore. The Irish people. We could go on and on, but if you’re going to travel to the Emerald Isle, you’ll need a place to lay your head. From Dublin to Killarney, hotels to castles, we’ve got the scoop on the best places to stay in Ireland.
Where to Stay in Dublin, Ireland
Located on the east coast, Dublin is the capital city of Ireland. Most travelers keep Dublin on their radar because its history is easily accessible with museums, castles, and more within its city limits.
O’Callaghan Davenport Hotel, Dublin
Stay close to all the action with a stay at the historic O’Callaghan Davenport Hotel in the heart of Dublin, Ireland. Dating back to to the early 17th century, you can’t miss the Davenport Hotel, with its neo-classical facade with columns and cornice covings.
For travelers wanting to explore Dublin, this four-star hotel seriously boasts an amazing location right next to Merrion Park. Put on your walking shoes and you can reach many of Dublin’s key attractions including Trinity College, Merrion Square, and government buildings within a five-minute walk. The main shopping area, Grafton Street, is within an easy 10-minute walk, and the National Gallery of Ireland is around the corner. And public transportation is also just a short walk away.
The Merrion Hotel, Dublin
Another perfect place to stay in Dublin is The Merrion Hotel. This luxurious five-star hotel boasts a prime address in the heart of Dublin on Merrion Square. Spread throughout four beautifully restored 18th-century Georgian townhouses, its location is not far from the city’s top attractions like Grafton Street and Trinity College.
And those legendary pubs are steps away from both hotels. As my concierge so eloquently said as he shook out the city map dramatically to pinpoint the closest pub to The Merrion, “Lassie, you’ll find a pub across the street, next door to that one, down two buildings, and then across the street. Repeat on the next block. And repeat again.” Cheers to that, right?
Chances are when Ireland comes to mind, so does the infamous plight of the Titanic. Visitors often add Belfast to their Ireland travels, for the opportunity to visit where the RMS Titanic was built at the Titanic Belfast, a monument to the city’s maritime heritage. And of course, this Northern Ireland capital city boasts a number of pubs worthy of raising a pint…or two.
Europa Belfast Hotel
Last summer, I visited Belfast overnighting in the heart of the city with a stay at the legendary Europa Belfast. As the most bombed hotel in Europe, this hotel carries its troubled past like a trophy, yet inside it’s still elegant and luxurious. Many of the city’s top tourist attractions, shops, restaurants, theatres, and bars are located nearby, although Titanic is a 10-minute drive away.
The Malmaison Belfast serves up its own little slice of Belfast history. Located at 34-38 Victoria Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland. Formerly it was two seed warehouses, it is now a boutique hotel.
According to our writer Mary Jo Manzanares, some of the original seed warehouse features are “retained, including iron pillars, heavy beams, and clever-looking carved stone gargoyles who look after your comings and goings. Looking at the high arched entry doors to the hotel – tall and wide – you can imagine the seed wagons coming through to pick up their loads at market.”
Centrally located, Malmaison Belfast also offers easy walking access to the city center and central business district. Shopping, restaurants and pubs, along with many of the sights, including St. Anne’s Cathedral and Belfast City Hall (free tours are offered) are also nearby. The Titanic Experience is a short cab ride away.
Where to Stay to Explore the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland
Harvey’s Point Hotel, Donegal
Located a two-hour drive from Belfast, Harvey’s Point Hotel still remains our favorite place to stay in Ireland. this all-suite family run hotel is surrounded by the waters of the Lough Eske and spread out across 900 acres. Rising above the mirror-like lake are the Bluestack Mountains. Located just 10 minutes from Donegal, this hotel is the perfect base to explore the Wild Atlantic Way and northwest Ireland. We loved our stay here so much that we nominated it my favorite hotel in 2017.
Cashel House, County Galway
Hotel Scoop writer Nancy Brown says, “If historic houses, lovely gardens, or walks on the beach appeal to you, Cashel House is calling your name.” Actors and movie producers have come here seeking inspiration and they have been rewarded with sweet dreams and picture postcard memories. Located on Ireland’s west coast, Cashel House sits perched above Cashel Bay on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. The 50-acre estate in County Galway offers a peaceful respite in Connemara.
Overnight in an Ireland Castle
If you missed visiting a castle, you’ve been sleeping as dozens of ancient castles are spread out across the countryside. Although many are tumbling amongst ruins, travelers desiring to feel like royalty and overnight in a castle are in luck, as your Irish vacation experience should include staying in a castle hotel. Our writers have explored most of this country with stays at several castles.
Adare Manor Hotel, County Limerick
Our editor Tim Leffel experienced a hard hat tour of Adare Manor Hotel, the latest castle hotel in the county of Limerick. Guests are invited to enjoy a dram of Irish whisky, play a round of golf, and enjoy the top-to-bottom renovation of the “newest” castle hotel in Ireland.
Kilkea Castle Hotel Ireland, County Kildare
As one of the first hotel guests at the newly opened Kilkea Castle Hotel Ireland, Leffel writes that “Kilkea is actually the oldest inhabited castle in Ireland—and that’s saying something.” This castle was the home of the Fitzgerald family in the 12th century and is now a hotel with a golf course and plenty of personality. Instead of me telling you about it, enjoy Leffel’s video tour of this castle located in the small village of Kilkea, in county Kildare.
Dromoland Castle Hotel & Country Estate, Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way
Both writer Nancy Brown and I experienced a stay at the 5-star Dromoland Castle last year — and we both loved it. Located in County Clare, Dromoland Castle Hotel makes guests feel like royalty from the moment you pass through the gates with your first glimpse of the majestic castle. Glittering antique chandeliers, grand staircases, elegantly meandering hallways and beautifully decorated rooms are just the start of your stay at the ancestral home of the O’Briens of Dromoland, Kings of Thomond with lineage dating back 1,000 years.
Although you’ll want to explore the nearby Wild Atlantic Way, the cliffs of Mohrs, and the County Clare and County Limerick, you’ll want for nothing on the more than 400 acres of this estate.
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