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There are thousands of bed and breakfasts across Ireland, and they come in all shapes and sizes from quaint country homes to lavish manor houses and everything in between. Most are private, family-run establishments where both lodging and a home-cooked breakfast is provided. While visiting Ireland’s top attractions is a must, these quaint accommodations offer you a chance to become immersed in the local culture. These top properties offer some of the best of the best in the Emerald Isle.
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One of the best bed and breakfasts in Galway, Rosleague Manor is a luxury B&B that offers accommodation in a 19th-century manor house. It’s nestled on the shores of Ballinakill Bay across 30 acres of beautiful, private wooded grounds near the scenic Connemara town of Letterfrack. Known as one of the country’s finest regency manor houses, The Foyle Family runs the home with meticulous care and attention to detail to retain its period charm and character. Enjoy an out-of-this-world dining experience amid an open log fire and historical paintings as well as afternoon tea in the Victorian conservatory. You’ll be just minutes from the popular town of Clifden and many of the area’s top attractions like The Twelve Bens, Connemara National Park and Kylemore Abbey.
Lough Dan House is an award-winning B&B that sits across 80 acres of farmland overlooking magnificent Lough Dan, the largest natural lake in the eastern region of Ireland. Hosts and owners Sean and Theresa Byrne are fifth-generation Byrnes who can tell you a lot about the history of the area as well as give lots of great advice on what to see and do. The property is ideal for those who want to hike among breathtaking scenery, set in Wicklow National Park among the highest mountains in Ireland. The house is just a short distance from where the History Channel series, “The Vikings” was shot, with scenes filmed at both Lough Dan and neighboring Lough Tay, allowing visitors to view some of the same magnificent vistas showcased in the popular show.
Carrig Country House is nestled on Caragh Lake at the foot of MacGillycuddy’s Reeks in Caragh Valley, offering an especially magnificent location on the Ring of Kerry. This Victorian Country Manor features an award-winning restaurant overlooking the glistening lake and the Kerry mountains as well as beautifully-appointed rooms with luxurious king-size beds. It makes an ideal base for enjoying nearby activities like hiking, golf and horseback riding along the beach as well as exploring the Ring of Kerry, Killarney National Park, the Dingle Peninsula and the Skelligs.
This gorgeous, family-friendly B&B looks across Donegal Bay out to the Bluestack Mountains near Donegal town in Ireland’s northwest, known for its miles and miles of picture-postcard coastline, including idyllic sandy beaches and sheer ocean cliffs. The hosts are incredibly hospitable, getting to know each guest by name while providing customized traditional Irish breakfast options as well as plenty of recommendations as to what to do and where to go throughout this beautiful region of the Emerald Isle.
The Bantry House is renowned as one of the finest historic houses in Ireland, and it also commands one of the very best views over Bantry Bay in West Cork. Dating back to the 17th-century, this historic private estate has been open to the public for nearly 70 years and is still owned and lived in by the Shelswell-White Family, direct descendants of Richard White, Earl of Bantry, and his family. You’ll enjoy especially elegant accommodations with views over the property’s magnificent gardens as well as the glistening waters of the bay, along with freshly-cooked breakfasts. Area activities including fishing, sailing, golfing and hiking.
Ballymaloe House offers simple yet elegant B&B accommodation in an old Georgian manor built on the ruins of a Norman castle on 400 beautifully landscaped acres. Each room is calm and relaxing, with fresh flowers from the garden brought in daily, including sweet peas in the summer and old roses in the fall. Guests can even enjoy massage and beauty treatments right on site, as well as golf, tennis, croquet, a heated outdoor pool and even theater, concerts, ballet and other performances.
Caherdaniel, located on the Iveragh peninsula on the spectacular Ring of Kerry, is home to David and Geraldine Hare’s Iskeroon, which offers one of the most striking settings in all of Ireland overlooking Derrynane Harbour. You’ll enjoy the best of both worlds, with a stay in an especially tranquil area, yet just a short stroll to a lively pub, the beach and pier where you can take a cruise to the Skelligs or a complimentary kayak to explore the harbor. This pink, slate-roofed former summer lodge features beautiful suites as well as a studio apartment for longer stays. All accommodation options include a well-equipped kitchen, so you won’t have to go out to eat for every meal unless you really want to, comfy goose down duvets and pillows, underfloor heating in the bathrooms and much more.
Rossroe Lodge is ideally located in the heart of Connemara in a remote, beautiful location overlooking Cashel Bay. This modern home provides luxurious comfort along with impeccable views and easy access to the area’s renowned sites like Kylemore Abbey and Connemara National Park. A tasty, wholesome breakfast is provided with dinners available upon request. Highly acclaimed meals include extensive use of local ingredients. Guests are also welcome to use the sitting room with a real turf fire as well as numerous books and brochures that will help you plan your tour of the area.
Originally built in 1930 as a set for the film “The Man of Aran,” Joe and Maura Wolfe have run this charming thatched cottage on the largest of the Aran Islands, Inishmore, as a B&B for more than two decades. It stands on an acre of vegetables, herbs and a flower garden. The cottage overlooks the North Atlantic, surrounded by open meadows filled with ferns, saxifrage and wild roses. Nearby, you’ll find lots to explore, including tide pools and beautiful beaches, one of the finest Celtic stone circle forts in Europe, Dun Aengus, and a village with pubs, restaurants, boutiques and sweater shops. Like Inisheer, you’ll have to rent a bike, or hire a traditional “Pony & Trap” to get around.
This spectacular family-run B&B is listed as a historic home, dating back to the late 1700s. The house is surrounded by 35 acres of ancient woodland, teeming with native wildlife, as well as lovingly restored gardens. Take a scenic walk to the shores of Clifden Bay and enjoy a cozy fire after a day of play in the stylish sitting room. Located just minutes from Clifden, you’ll also have easy access to the town’s many outstanding pubs known for featuring nightly live music.
Lough Key is a 200-year-old Georgian period home surrounded by 11 acres of gardens and orchard. It sits near the edge of Lough Key Forest Park, a hidden gem in Ireland, drawing vacationers for centuries with its breathtaking views, abundant wildlife, historic buildings and interesting islands, though it’s often overlooked by tourists. Enjoy the ultimate in luxury at this 5-star B&B, including exceptional breakfasts that feature home-grown plums, pears, apples and rhubarb as well as freshly-baked bread.
This luxurious B&B is located in a peaceful area near some of Killarney’s most stunning scenery yet an easy stroll to the center of Killarney town. You’ll find an especially homey atmosphere, along with king-size beds and LCD flat-screen televisions. Your lovely host and her family are more than happy to help you organize tours or trips to the area’s most famous attractions. A complimentary ride can be provided to and from the bus or train station, and bike hire is available right onsite.
Woodside Lodge, a premier bed and breakfast just 10 minutes from the center of Westport, known for its flower-lined bridges and charming streetscapes, provides a very warm Irish welcome with a French touch. Your hosts, Helen, a native of Westport, and Patrice, originally from Northern France are both bilingual in English and French. Take advantage of complimentary bikes to explore the colorful town and the area’s abundance of award-winning beaches.
The 19th Lodge is an ideal B&B for golf enthusiasts. It was named for its enviable location, directly opposite the legendary Ballybunion Golf Club, a stunning seaside links course. Here, you’re likely to feel as if you’re visiting an old friend, as the hosts offer an especially gracious, warm welcome to all guests. The property has frequently been voted as one of the best B&Bs in all of Ireland, beloved for its gourmet breakfasts and dining room with panoramic views of the course.
The Green Gate is a hidden treasure. This thatched cottage set atop a seaside bluff with spectacular views of the water and countryside offers a ton of rustic charm and character. Its cozy rooms feature wood-beamed ceilings, pillowy beds and thick comforters. If you’re expecting something like the Holiday Inn, you’ll be disappointed – there are no televisions or Wi-Fi. But for those that seek the interesting and authentic, this is the place for you.
Brownes is an award-winning B&B, frequently ranked among Ireland’s very best, in a region renowned as one of the most breathtaking spots on the planet, the Dingle Peninsula. It’s just a short stroll from town with its many lauded restaurants, pubs and shops in a quiet setting overlooking the bay. Cycling enthusiasts can rent a bike on-site and will be given local ordinance maps as well as advice on planning the most memorable journey. Breakfasts are especially tasty, including porridge served with Bailey’s Irish Cream, local smoked salmon, free-range eggs, homemade brown bread and much more.
This wonderful family-run B&B commands striking views, while popular pubs, eateries and shops are all just a 10-minute walk away. Enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and lots of natural light with massive windows providing incredible vistas of the sea and Dingle Harbor from each room as well as the dining room, guest lounge and garden patio. The hosts go out of their way to ensure a wonderful stay while also providing an amazing breakfast and beautiful common spaces filled with books, games, binoculars and more.
Inisheer, the smallest of the three Aran Islands, offers the chance to experience old-world Ireland along with the ultimate peaceful, relaxing escape. Although you’ll have to leave your vehicle behind and walk onto the ferry, this two-square-mile island is easy to get around on foot, bicycle or by hiring a traditional “Pony & Trap” at the pier upon arrival. South Aran House provides a warm welcome and a comfortable stay in a home near the edge of the Atlantic, just a few minutes away from the pier, along with delicious breakfasts and dinners mostly based on fresh, local produce.
A top bed and breakfast in Dublin, Evergreen offers a perfect place to stay near the airport and just 30 minutes via public transport to the center of Dublin. Your hosts, Olive and Henry, are especially welcoming and go out of their way to ensure a pleasant stay without being overbearing. Enjoy comfortable rooms and a fantastic, made-to-order breakfast with extensive menu options featuring a traditional full Irish breakfast and other delicious choices like Irish smoked salmon with scrambled eggs and brown bread.
Ross Castle doesn’t offer the typical luxurious castle stay, but it does provide the chance to spend the night in an authentic medieval castle. Your hosts treat each guest as if they were a welcome friend or family member, serving tasty homemade breakfasts as well as dinners upon request, and are also lovely to chat with. A stay in one of the tower rooms of this castle built in 1563 is sure to be an unforgettable experience. It may not ideal for sleeping, however. Guests have been known to wake up at various times of the night hearing voices or doors shutting on their own. Some have even felt the presence of a spirit at the edge of their bed while trying to get some shuteye. Choose this B&B if you’re looking for adventure.
Hook Head Bed and Breakfast is centrally located on the Hook Peninsula, a beautiful but less-visited area of Ireland home to the world’s oldest working lighthouse and numerous idyllic beaches. Enjoy a wide array of water sports in the summer, as well as scenic walks, world-class golf and horse riding. Hook Head B&B is ideal for those who want the chance to get to know the local culture and feel as if they’re visiting an old friend, while still enjoying a very comfortable stay in a meticulously decorated home that’s quite relaxed and inviting at the same time. Your host is truly the highlight of a stay here. Not only can you look forward to a delicious home-cooked breakfast, but wonderful conversations with a host who is excited to share this fabulous region of the Emerald Isle with visitors.