16 of the Best Hotels, Rentals and Stays in Ireland

The Emerald Isle is a go-to for travellers in search of a green destination in every sense of the word. We've journeyed from the Wicklow Mountains to the Wild Atlantic Way, via rollicking Dublin, to find Ireland's best places to stay. Expect castles that double up as hotels, wellness retreats and a self-catered lighthouse perfect for booking with friends and family.

Spas, hotels and cottages: check out Ireland's best stays before you check in

hotel

Lost Cottage

County Kerry

Once a tumbledown bungalow populated by mountain goats, this place was spruced up by a local family to become the sustainable-luxe lakeside hideaway it is today. Beneath the red-tin roof, furnishings have been crafted from local Douglas fir and a concrete floor colour-matched to the Iveragh Peninsula. Our favourite part? Stargazing from the sunken tub in the glass-roofed bathroom - Kerry is Ireland's first International Dark Sky Reserve.

Address

Inishmaan H91 NX86

hotel

Inis Meáin Restaurant & Suites

County Galway

This intimate, modernist hotel offers a self-proclaimed "elemental travel experience" amid the jagged cliffs and barren beaches of Inishmaan, the least-visited of the three Aran Islands strung across Galway Bay. If you want a proper getaway, this is your place. The five suites immerse guests in the natural environment (as do the complimentary bikes and binoculars), but the real draw is the restaurant helmed by local chef Ruairí de Blacam.

Address

Inishmaan H91 NX86

hotel

Ashford Castle

County Mayo

This 13th-century pad was home to the Guinness family before being converted to a hotel in 1939. Palatial features and the kind of extravagance that's just the right side of antiquated have drawn a star-studded clientele including King George V, Ronald Reagan and Mia Farrow. After a morning riding Ashford's Connemara ponies, unwind in the spa before going all out on the tasting menu in the George V Dining Room. Ireland has no shortage of castle hotels - for an equally regal getaway, try Gallway's Ballynahinch Castle Hotel or club together with friends and family to take over the 15th-century Tubbrid Castle in Kilkenny.

Address

Ashford Castle Estate, Cong, Co. Mayo, F31 CA48, Ireland

hotel

Ballymaloe House

County Cork

Set amid 300 acres of East Cork countryside and accessed by tree-lined avenues, this Georgian, Allen-family home-turned-hotel draws epicureans with its award-winning kitchen, working farm and, of course, the famed Ballymaloe Cookery School - it'd be a shame not to book onto one of the courses during your stay. Work up an appetite in the on-site pool, on the tennis court or atop one of Ballymaloe's complimentary bikes. If you're the type that travels through their stomach, Tannery Townhouse in Dungarvan, Waterford is another great option.

Address

Shanagarry Midleton County Cork

hotel

The Lighthouse Keeper's House

County Cork

Set on a cliff edge in the southeastern town of Youghal, this 200-year-old lighthouse was voted among Ireland's best homes of 2020 after a sympathetic renovation project pimped the place with a rustic-luxe open-plan living area, a sea-facing bathtub and self-catering kitchen kitted out with a butcher's sink and Smeg fridge. Sleeps six. Like this? The country is dotted with lighthouses you can stay in. Try Wicklow Head (Ireland's oldest of its kind) or Fanad Head, perched on the Wild Atlantic Way.

Address

Lighthouse Road P36 HF64

hotel

Ballyfin Demesne

County Laois

This Regency mansion was one of Ireland's most magnificent in its heyday and, after a nine-year restoration, it holds claim to that title yet again. Backdropped by the Slieve Bloom Mountains, the 19th-century property and its sprawling demesne (that's 600 acres of parkland to you and me) are bastions of grandiose romanticism. The steep price tag makes this a special-occasion stay, but for the big bucks you'll be pampered in rooms crammed with period furniture and Irish art. Book the Westmeath; its bed is shaped like a Faberge egg.

Address

Cappanrush County Laois R32 PN34

hotel

The Dean

Dublin

Visiting the Emerald Isle's capital doesn't mean dropping the cash equivalent of rare gems at check-in. At that sweet spot between blowout and budget, The Dean is an urban bolthole characterised by smooth concrete, warm woods and big-brand gadgets. Shops and bars populate nearby streets, but this place is a destination in its own right, thanks to rooftop bar Sophie's and a lobby that hosts DJs. Like this? Knock elbows with Dublin's cool crowd in sister hotel The Devlin or The Alex.

Address

33 Harcourt Street Dublin 2

hotel

The Wilder Townhouse

Dublin

Built in 1878 as a home for retired governesses, The Wilder is now one of Dublin 2's hottest hotel tickets with jewel-toned velvets, botanical motifs and literary leanings. Think of it as The Dean for grown-ups. In place of a lively rooftop bar, this Victorian-era, russet-brick townhouse conceals an art-deco Gin and Tea Rooms stocked with bespoke tipples from across Ireland. Say "Sláinte!" before heading up to one of the aptly named Popular rooms.

Address

22 Adelaide Road D02 ET61

hotel

The Turkey House at June Blake's Garden

County Wicklow

June Blake is behind Ireland's best rural garden and, thankfully for visitors, two 19th-century farm buildings here have been transformed into Pinterest-worthy rentals. The Cow received Best House at the 2014 Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland Awards, but we love the newer Turkey for its dramatic concrete stairs, Douglas fir "spine wall" and circular gable window. When you've done admiring the interior, the Wicklow Mountains are on your doorstep.

Address

Tinode W91 EC90

hotel

Ard Nahoo Eco Retreat

County Leitrim

Sheltered by hills on the Wild Atlantic Way, Ard Nahoo has been ranked among the world's best retreats, making it ideal for the cooped-up, city-weary and eco-conscious. Wash away your worries with an Uisce Hour in the detox box or throw a few asanas with yoga teacher and owner Noeleen Tyrrell before bedding down in one of three self-catering eco-cabins.

Address

Mullagh F91 RH59

hotel

Adare Manor

County Limerick

We like checking in here come winter, when the vaulted Great Hall greets guests with roaring fires and freshly baked barmbrack bread - perfect for defrosting after walks along the River Maigue. Nevertheless, we'd settle for a spin on its duck-egg-blue Pashley bikes in warmer climes. Take afternoon tea in the Gallery (Ireland's second-longest room) then bide your time until supper in the spa, the well-stocked library, on-site cinema or subterranean whiskey bar. For something more central, try No.1 Pery Square Hotel & Spa in Limerick's Georgian quarter.

Address

Adare V94 W8WR

hotel

Breac.House

County Donegal

Rising from Horn Head on Ireland's northwesternmost reaches, Breac.House enjoys brightness until midnight in summer and the dancing Northern Lights in winter. "Connection to place" is the ethos here, and that manifests in everything from the Letterkenny-based architect who decked out the property with Ardara quartz and Fanad granite to breakfasts of salmon from nearby Haven Smokehouse and vistas of Sheephaven Bay's thrashing waves.

Address

Horn Head F92 YC56

hotel

Park Hotel Kenmare

County Kerry

Overlooking Kenmare Bay, this Victorian pile is Kerry's grande dame of hotels - though, despite the old-school peat fires, romantically antiquated bedrooms and polished staff, there's nothing stuffy about the place. For us, the SAMAS spa is the standout, thanks to a thermal infinity pool that opens onto the wilderness - best enjoyed after a tai chi session in the Yoga Pavilion and before a two-AA Rosette-winning tasting menu of seasonal Irish fare.

Address

Shelbourne Street V93 X3XY

hotel

The Driftwood Sligo

County Sligo

Gazing across Sligo Bay to Oyster Island, The Driftwood is a sweet stop-off along the Wild Atlantic Way. Individually designed rooms ooze character courtesy of reclaimed pieces (we love the old barn doors), cast-iron tubs and bold prints balanced by muted, earthy tones and textures. Smoked local meats and seafood are the order of the day in the restaurant thanks to owner Paudie's dab hand with the Pitmaster. Best enjoyed before a stroll along nearby Rosses Point Beach. Coopershill House is another great option if you're staying in Sligo.

Address

Upper, Rosses Point F91 DXT4

hotel

Ballyvolane House

County Cork

In the secluded Blackwater Valley, this 18th-century, Italianate manor is renowned as Ireland's coolest wedding venue. Yet to preserve its romanticism for such nuptials is to miss out. Pootle about the estate - the bluebell woods are especially good around June - before sinking into a sofa with owner Justin's signature martini (the Green family crafts Bertha's Revenge gin on-site). The six rooms are all oversized headboards, freestanding baths, Marshall speakers and views of the Galtee mountains, and can be rented out en masse. What we love about Ballyvolane is that it has a host of glamping options to boot, with bell tents and a revamped pig ark almost as comfortable as the bedrooms in the main house.

Address

Castlelyons P61 FP70

hotel

Monart Spa

County Wexford

This adults-only retreat is a destination in its own right. Voted Ireland's best spa, Monart is a place where white robes, Swedish massage and yoga are du jour. State-of-the-art thermal suites are the headline act, with Finnish saunas, salt grottos, a caldarium, infra-red rooms and floor-to-ceiling windows framing the countryside beyond - spend the day here before devouring seafood lasagne with trout caviar in the fine-dining restaurant. If you're a fan of Monart, Waterford's Cliff House Hotel (and its sister rental property Cliff Beach House) will likely float your boat too.

Address

The Still Y21 XY79

Discover More
10 of the Best Cookery Schools in the UK and Ireland