The 32 counties of Ireland each have something to offer the visitor and local traveller alike. Some counties are easier to sell than others. This is easy to see, given the wonders of our Western seaboard, the Cliffs of Moher, Connemara, Ring of Kerry, West Cork, The Burren, Mayo, Sligo and majestic Donegal. But if you zoom into each county there is always something unique, something special to visit and experience, Ireland is far more than pretty scenery. Accommodation is the one area where Nature, Culture, History and Heritage cannot influence. Here we at Carroll’s Tours we give you 32 Unique Places to Stay in Ireland for each 32 counties in Ireland, they are not in any catagory (3/4/5 star) just their own unique selling points. We will present it alphabetically by county for no other reason than it is the easiest way for us to do it. Each have all been visited by us and we have been charmed by each.
So here goes:
Antrim – Fullerton Arms Hotel, Balintoy – The Fullerton Arms nestling in the town of Balintoy/Ballycastle County Antrim, is an iconic stay on the exceptional Northern Causeway Coast – this old wonderful Inn offers splendid accommodation, magnificent food and wonderful traditional Irish music sessions all in front of a superb blazing fire. Nearby is the Carrick-a-Reade Rope Bridge, Dunluce Castle, The Dark Hedges, Giants Causeway and Old Bushmills Distillery. What a great place to base yourself on the magnificent Antrim coast. But rest assured The Fullerton Arms offers you a great unique place to stay, as you explore and enjoy your stay on this area of outstanding beauty.
Armagh – VII Houses Boutique Hotel, Armagh City. What a beautiful Hotel located in the very centre of historic Armagh City. VII Houses is a stroll away from the local many bars and restaurants. The Market Place, The Theatre and Arts Centre are a mere 5 minutes away on foot. VII is located on the square where the twice weekly local market is held. Atmosphere and rooms are bright and airy, some boast period feature fireplaces and large sash windows, they all offer en-suite facilities, satellite TV and Free Wi-fi. Breakfast is included at the Hotels wonderful Bagel Bran Café across the road serving a wide selection of choice. So what makes this place unique? relaxed, laid back, no rush, a place you can sit and enjoy these invigorating surroundings.
Carlow – The Clink, 38-39 Dublin Street, Carlow Town – Boutique accommodation in the heart of the south east and home to Cell 38½ the restaurant and cocktail bar. With inspiration drawn from San Fran to Shoreditch and everywhere in between The Clink offers a unique experience like no other. The restaurant at Cell 38½ will offer a selection of brunch favourites served with a twist throughout the week, until 3pm when the restaurant will begin to serve its evening menu, containing a wide variety of timeless classics. So whether it’s a catch-up over brunch or an intimate late night dinner Cell 38½ at The Clink is perfect for all occasions. The Clink has a certified in-house mixologist who has created a simple yet diverse range of creations certain to appeal to all diners. With a personal expertise in all things gin you can be sure that all of our concoctions are at the forefront of innovation and creativity, while also housing a bar stocked with all of our regular favourites.
Cavan – The Angler’s Rest a well known family-run pub with 8 ensuite modern bedrooms located in the border town of Ballyconnell in the heart of beautiful County Cavan. Francis and Pauline, the proprietor chefs and their fabulous quality food is available seven days. This is a great place to stay tucked in the mountains of Cavan, Leitrim and Fermanagh. The place is located in the heart of a historical region, with a rich abundance of local heritage sites and all within a short drive of Anglers Rest. For those wishing to travel further afield, there are a huge variety of places of interest across neighbouring counties Fermanagh, Roscommon, Leitrim and Monaghan.
Clare – Wild Atlantic Lodge, Ballyvaughan, The Wild Atlantic Lodge ideally located along the Wild Atlantic Way in Ballyvaughan Village. Set right in the heart of stunning region called The Burren. Thisunique accommodation boasts 20 cosy unique en-suite bedrooms equipped with all you need for a relaxing break away. The Wild Atlantic Lodge consists of a restaurant, bar, and bakery it has everything in one of Ireland’s great villages. Sea, mountains, culture, heritage and all set in an area of outstanding beauty. The perfect base for touring The Burren region, or discovering the staggering coastal clifs, the Cliffs of Moher, Kilkee, and Loophead. How about taking a sea trip to view the Cliffs or the Aran Islands? or the great Wild Atlantic sea creatures? The Wild Atlantic Lodge serve continental and full breakfast, including local smoked salmon all until noon. They will then invite you to dine in their wonderful restaurant and discover their creative chef & traditional recipes.
Cork – Roseville Townhouse, Youghal – Fine Georgian Residence in the Heart of Youghal Town. Youghal the medieval walled town, with its exceptionally preserved military structures. Creating a unique coastal town experience. Lively bars, restaurants and the centre of places to see and do, once the home of Walter Raleigh whose house still stands “Myrtal Grove” is well worth a visit. But in Roseville House, which is a magnificent Georgian residence built in 1838 and enclosed within a charming walled garden. Centrally located in the heritage town of Youghal, the the gateway to Ireland’s Ancient East, close to all restaurants, shops and bars, ideally situated to explore the fascinating history and wonderful natural beauty of this seaside town. Our guests are perfectly placed to explore East Cork, West Waterford and the surrounding areas.
In Room Breakfast Dining at Roseville House. Along with breakfast from the Larder, the Roseville Breakfast Basket consists of local bakery breads, cheese, juice and yoghurts delivered to your room on the morning of your stay. Each larder is also equipped with a fridge, toaster, crockery and cutlery for those who wish to eat at their leisure throughout the day! Each room has its own private entrance from our courtyard.
Derry – Shipquay Hotel – Derry City, Make like a true Derry Girl and enjoy a short stay in Northern Ireland’s famed walled city. The Shipquay is a beautiful boutique hotel just a stone’s throw from the city’s major landmarks including the famous Guildhall and the renowned City Walls. Choose from 21 cosy bedrooms and enjoy a sumptuous cocktail at The Shipquays exquisite Lock & Quay Bar where you’ll also find an extensive range of craft beers and a vast wine selection.
Donegal – Rusty Mackeral, Teelin – The Rusty Mackeral offers the traveller everything, a great bed, food and entertainment. Set in the tiny lively fishing village of Teelin at the foot of Europe’s highest Cliffs – Sliabh League. Spend a day or two here, climb the majestic cliffs, take the breathtaking coastal scenry or indeed sail in boat to the foot of the cliffs, either way this area is a truly awesome outstanding beautiful experience with sand and sea and gorgeous sunsets/rises to die for! All the while, no matter how invigorating or exacting your day has been, you can be rest assured The Rusty Mackeral provides a luxurious bed, sumptious hearty food and fantastic entertainment.
Down – The Mill, Ballydugan, Downpatrick, What a stunning unique premises has eleven ensuite bedrooms, with a fine dining restaurant and bistro. The building was built in 1792 as a flour mill, and it lay derelict for many years. It has now been beautifully restored to its original glory, yet it still retains the old building and many other features from its original period. Great stone and wooden interior and good old fashioned hospitality certainly makes The Mill at Ballydugan the ideal location for exploring the Mournes, Cooleys and Belfast area.
Buswells Hotel – Dublin City Centre Molesworth Street. Iconic Buswells Hotel for long associated with the Irish House of Parliment (The Dail) just across the road! Amongst the Buswell’s neighbours are the National Science Museum of Ireland, the National Achealogical and History Museum, the National Art Gallery, the National Library of Ireland, Dail Eireann (Irish National Parliament), Exclusive shopping area Grafton St and Trinity College. Buswell’s is a charming, stylish boutique hotel that exudes Dublin. The guest rooms are designed keeping your comfort and convenience in mind and there is a wide range to choose from. All 67 bedrooms of this magnificent 18th century Georgian hotel are distinctive and unique in its own way. Beds are Queen size 16 sq yards!
If you love the idea of staying in an old-world hotel that is traditional in every way, from the décor to the hospitality, you won’t find anything better than Buswells Hotel.
Fermanagh – Belle Isle Estate and Private Island Belle Isle must be one of Fermanaghs, if not Irelands’, most unique accommodations. Offering guests a very authentic castle stay in historic surroundings. Located on 400 acres of lush Fermanagh countryside, the estate is entirely private. That means that guests staying on the estate are the only people permitted to walk on the trails and enjoy the estate grounds. The estate comprises of the beautiful 18th century castle with accommodation for 26 people in 13 bedrooms, plus 13 country cottages offering a further 58 guests accommodation. Our estate experience is like no other. Once you have arrived on the island via a short single lane bridge, you feel yourself instantly leaving the outside world behind, time takes on a different pace, and you have the choice to power down as much as you want to. Popular for couples getaways, family holidays, business residentials and weddings Belle isle offers a truly special castle experience.
Galway – The Leenane Coach House Hotel, Leenane, Galway – Leenane Hotel located in the village of Leenane in Co Galway, Ireland – part of the Connemara region of Ireland. Overlooking Killary Harbour, Ireland’s only fjord, the Hotel enjoys what is perhaps one of the most scenic locations in Ireland.
The Leenane Hotel has played host to Kings and Mortals for the last three centuries and like all good things, has improved with age! Originally established as a Coaching Inn, the earliest records show that there has been an establishment in existence here since the 1790’s. As you would expect, standards have come a long way since then but you will still find that the essential character of the Hotel and the surrounding area remains. The Lodge/Hotel provides a warm welcome, along with the highest standards of hospitality and a fine dining experience all in the most scenic setting in Ireland.
Kerry – The Moorings, Portmagee, Skellig Ring, Kerry – 25 years operating in this special corner of South Kerry just off the Ring of Kerry. The Moorings have spectacular scenery on your doorstep and a wealth of history, culture and local traditions. Whether you are stopping off on your journey along the Wild Atlantic Way, or hoping to visit the Skellig Islands, even looking to experience Irish traditions first-hand at one of the local festivals or music sessions or just looking for peace and seclusion, your stay at The Moorings offers it all. Choose to eat in their award-winning Seafood Restaurant or in their cosy Bridge Bar – voted Munster’s Best Gastro Pub in the 2013 Restaurant Association Awards – before retiring to one of our newly refurbished bedrooms for a relaxing night’s sleep followed by a full Irish breakfast to set you up for a new day. The Moorings, set on the majestic,mysterious Skellig Ring, offers a pause, as you reset and enjoy a great stay.
Kildare – Barberstown Castle, Straffan, Timeless Romantic 13th Century Castle, a mere 30 mins. from Dublin set in the bog of Allen, a landscape of flat waterways and beautiful bogland. A unique and elegant place to stay, providing excellent rooms, beautiful location and stunning game food. This property is one of the first great Irish country houses to display its splendour to the outside world when it opened as a small guesthouse in 1971. It has maintained the elegance of design over eight Centuries by sympathetically blending its Victorian and Elizabethan extensions with the original Medieval Castle Keep of 1288.
It was a former home of the acclaimed Musician Mr. Eric Clapton from 1979 – 1987 where famous rockstars came to stay and played music into the early hours in our Green Room & Castle Keep. It had a chequered history built by Nicholas Barby c. 1288. A much fought over property eventuallty passed into the French Wine Merchants Barton who originally owened the castle and fled to France. Renovations of Barberstown Castle in 1996 revealed a previously undiscovered tunnel that links the castle to the nearby church in Straffan and is thought to have been used secretly in during the pograms of the Penal Law era.
Kilkenny – City Centre B&B, Kilkenny City Situated less than 1 km from Kilkenny Castle, The City Centre B&B features accommodation with a shared lounge, a garden and room service for your convenience. Free WiFi is available throughout the property. The City Centre B&B offers a terrace and nice homely setting right in the heart of Kilkenny City. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Smithwick’s Brewery Tour, Nowlan Park and The Tholsel.
Laois – Roundwood House, Laois, An award-winning, family-friendly Georgian country house hotel. Roundwood House nestles in beautiful parkland at the foot of the majestic Slieve Bloom mountains. This fine house features blazing fires, beautiful dinner room, expansive gardens.Explore the beautiful scenery of the Laois mountains, and at night retire to the unusual, purpose-built library in the evening and explore the history of world civilisation all with a with a glass of wine in your hand.
Leitrim – The Bush Hotel, Carrick-on-Shannon, The Hotel has been in existence for 220 odd years, yes 220 years of hospitality, service and experienced customer care. Renovated, refurbished, reinevented, but still, 220 years of excellence. Fine food, great place to drink and listen to music and of course rest your head where thousands have done before you. Carrick-on-Shannon is at the heart of the Northeast region, it is built on the river and the river defines this lively county town. At the heart of it is The Bush Hotel.
Limerick – No 1 Pery Square, Limerick City, Overlooking the handsome, tree-lined People’s Park in Limerick’s historic Georgian Quarter, No.1 Pery Square is a luxurious and intimate boutique townhouse hotel. Delicious food & wine at The Long Room & Sash Restaurant, an innovative and polished organic spa in the basement, a sweet terrace and kitchen garden, and full of personality and style throughout. No.1 is one of the country’s prettiest and most characterful hotels. The vision of the owner, Patricia Roberts who bought the building in 2006, is to be found everywhere at No.1, one of a terrace of six Georgian houses built around 1830 by the Pery Square Tontine Company.
Longford – Keenan’s Boutique Hotel, Tarmonbarry (Roscommon), Tarmonbarry (Termonbarry) is a quiet little village which straddles two counties, searated by the majestic River Shannon. The town has a relaxing feel to it. It has a lovely marina and a couple of restaurants and pubs make up the nucleus of the village. At this places beating heart is Keenan’s wonderful family run hotel. A great walk in pub, lovely restaurant, magnificent aspect and wonderful rooms. Whether you are passing through or staying to explore Keenan’s Hotel has a slice of the area it is set in. For a truly relaxing stay ideal for midweek or autumn/wonter breaks.
Louth – Grove House, Carlingford, cocooned in 3 acres of beautiful gardens, Grove House B&B is located in the quiet little medieval village of Carlingford, County Louth. Grove House offers beautiful home cooked breakfasts which give you a great start to the day, free Wi-Fi and free parking come as standard to all of the guests. the centre of Carlingford village and all of its medieval treasures is a short ten minute walk away. The Carlingford hills surrounding the property boast great trails if you wish to get out and about to enjoy the fresh air and witness first hand the spectacular views Carlingford and Cooley has to offer. With many continental and cooked breakfast options available for the guests and the service provided second to none you can rest assured that you wont be able to fault your stay, it will feel like home away from home. The comfortable and relaxing atmosphere mixes well with the spectacular surroundings guarantees that you get a quiet and fulfilling stay at Grove House B&B. If you’re thinking of a weekend or a short break in Carlingford, individuals, groups and families are all catered for at this B&B.
Mayo – Clare Island Lighthouse, Clare Island, Mayo – Uniquely beatiful lighthouse stay on stunning Clare Island off the Mayo coast. It has 6 en-suite rooms, on all inclusive basis, with superb views over Achill and Westport. Clare Island Lighthouse is located on Clare Island in Ireland and dates back to 1806. It offers 6 individually designed en-suite rooms. The original stone walls, period paintings and furniture, and the stunning views over Achill and Westport create a truly special atmosphere. Clare Island is situated just 3 miles from Roonagh pier on the Mayo mainland where there is a daily ferry service to the main harbour on the island. There are many activities to enjoy on the island such as walking, cycling, horse riding, fishing, marine activities, wellness pursuits and arts and crafts. The island also has a beautiful beach and plenty of walking and cycling trails. Bike hire is available. The Tower House is a suite that features spectacular sea views, a circular double bedroom reached up a winding staircase, bathroom and living room with double sofa bed.
Meath – The Bective Mill House, County Meath – set in the Royal County, so called because of the ancient capitol Hill of Tara, the majestic fortification of one of Ireland’s largest Castles at Trim, or the mysterious ancient UNESCO site at newgrange part of the oldest human decorated sites in Western Europe known as Bru na Boinne. The royal county also hosts the medieval towns of Drogheda and Trim, the battlefield site of the Boyne where two kings fought for the throne. To the mysterious and enigmatic ancient site of Loughcrew – The hills of witches. The ancient monastic settlements of Bective, Monasterboice and Mellifont and hills of Tara and Slane storied in myth and legend. This is the land of Kings, known as Ireland’s Ancient east – lying in there is the suberb B&B accommodation the Bective Mill House – which offers a unique Irish experience. This place offers excellent surroundings, summptious food and luxurious rest! Single and Double rooms with own bathroom, hot showers and relaxing lounge area.
Monaghan – Castle Leslie is an authentic 17th Century Plantation Castle. Unique historic Castle still run by the same family, the Leslie’s. It is a beautifully maintained as it always was and run with many years of greeting and looking after the traveller offering a wonderful experience. The hotel is off the highest uncompromising standards and it is a real old world experience in luxurious style. Castle Lelie complete with ghosts, magnificent parkland, blazing fires, excellent food and drink and service that treats you like a King and Queen.This is a place to really threat you and the one you love.
Offaly – Kinnity Castle, Birr – Kinnity Castle here now is a fine luxurious Castle Hotel set in the lush rolling Irish countryside, to suit any budget. It had a very colorful and at times violent past. But now peace and tranquility reign, large four poster beds, large fireplaces burning, afternoon tea, sumptious breakfast and dinner. All the while you may wonder why the castle is so haunted! So have a read….. Situated in ‘The Haunted Triangle’ of Ireland, Kinnitty Castle has become renowned for its additonal guests whom many have not necessarily checked in, or out for that matter! The midlands is also home to Kinnity’s sister Castles, Leap and Charleville Castle. Both are also very known for having things that go ‘bump in the night’! All three Castles where in the hands of the Warlike and Ruthless O’Carroll Clan – who where renowned for their particular ferocity. Kinnity Castle will ensure a “Safe”, lovely unforgetable stay all at an incredibly affordable price.
Roscommon – Gleeson’s Restaurant & Rooms – Townhouse Roscommon. Gleeson’s is a lovingly restored 19th century Townhouse at the very Heart of Roscommon Hospitality. Gleeson’s Townhouse operate a flexible Early Check In, Late Check Out & Late Breakfast consisting of a wide variety of room offerings and also hosting a popular Restaurant. Set in this wonderful part of Roscommon, enjoy the buzz and relaxing laid back efficiency that which is what makes this such a great place to stay, Near Sligo Town and Coast, Leitrims Lakes and Roscommon’s hidden beauty.
Sligo – The Beach Bar, Aughris, Sligo here is a traditional Irish Thatched Pub and Restaurant, with family Bed and Breakfast Accommodation in a beautiful location right beside the sea, litterally! This old world traditional Irish pub sits peacefully on the unspoiled Aughris beach in Sligo bay, with the Atlantic waves rolling in outside the front door and the Ox mountains overlooking behind. The majestic peaks of Knocknarea and Benbulben compete for your attention to the east. One of Irelands truly old-style pub-restaurants, the attractions of the Beach Bar are as interesting and diverse as the clientele it attracts.
Tipperary – Aherlow House Hotel, Newtown, The hotel is set adjacent to the stunning Glen of Aherlow Nature Park, a 50 acre natural woodland, with many local and historical features and provides a series of outstanding walking trails. Near everything, Galtee Mountain walks and trails, Cahir Castle, Rock of Cashel, Hoare Abbey, stunning villages and and towns of Tipperary. Central to Kilkenny, Cork, Limerick and Kerry. The Aherlow House Hotel and its stunning Lodges overlook the Glen of Aherlow and has uninterrupted views of the Galtee Mountain which are Ireland’s highest inland mountain range. The hotel offers a wonderful retreat and break, fab facilites, lovely restaurant and bar, stunning views, great varierty of luxury accommodation a stunning place for an autumn or winter break.
Tyrone – Kelly’s Inn, Garvaghey, Kelly’s Inn is one of Tyrone’s oldest and most famous bars and restaurants ideally situated on one of Ireland’s most ancient highways leading from Donegal in the west, Antrim in the north and Dublin in the south.Kelly’s has a repudation for playing host to well-known musicians and famous faces from the world of sport, but Kelly’s Inn is a wonderful place to enjoy its cosy, friendly atmosphere and of course the ‘craic’.
The Inn delivers real traditional and excellent dining facilities to suit all manner of tastes and budgets.Set in the heart of Sperrin’s ideal for exploring the great outdoors, exceptional food and drink and wonderful entertainment in its lively bar.
Waterford – Treetops B&B, Dungarvan – Treetops B&B is a beautifully situated Guesthouse, set in woodland high up over beautiful Dungarvan and the Copper Coast. Affording spectacular scenery, the accommodation is set to an extremely high standard. A wide choice of lovely breakfasts and rooms. So what makes this so special? the views, the setting, hospitality, food and its base – quite stunning and catering for all group types.
Westmeath – The Athlone Springs Hotel is one of the few actual hotels on this list, it is ideal for a stay in the midlands and Athlone in particular. The Athlone Springs Hotel has all mod cons and leisure facillites, it’s location is what makes this place so special. Athlone is lucky to be found within both Failte Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands and Ancient East, with so much to see and so you will be spoilt for choice. A lovely bar, really nice restaurant and a great place to explore places like Rathcroghan, The Shannon, Athlone, Westmeaths stunning lakelands, Clonmacnoise, Loughcrew, Corlea Trackway and the great walks and treks to be explored in Ireland’s hidden heartlands.
Glendine Country House, Wexford – 4 Star Georgian House B&B in South East Ireland. Glendine Country House was originally built in 1830 and completely refurbished in 2010. Glendine Country House is located on the Historic and magestic Hook Peninsula, close enough to Kilkenny, Wexford and Waterford for a day of exploring the wonderful South East coast of Ireland. Glendine is situated in 50 acres of private gardens and paddocks where you can see animals strolling around. Luxury spacious accommodation stunning sea views. This is a marvellous place to base you travels and stay in this beautiful part of Ireland.
Wicklow – Trooperstown Lodge, Laragh – Trooperstown Lodge is a traditional luxury guest accommodation set in the scenic Wicklow Mountains. Trooperstown Lodge, which is just a 4-minute drive to Glendalough National Park, is the perfect base during your trip to Glendalough.
Set directly on the Wicklow Way trail, Trooperstown Lodge is ideal for your stop of on the Powerscourt, Roundwood, Laragh or Glendalough stages along the Way. The comfortable furnishings and beautiful surroundings make it the perfect place to rest, recover and repeat. Trooperstown Lodge is comprised of a number of superbly finished en-suite guest rooms.The valley view rooms on the first floor overlook the beautiful Glendalough landscape along with Trooperstown wood hill. Any special sleeping arrangments can be accommodated. Trooperstown Lodge, which is just a 4-minute drive to Glendalough National Park, is the perfect base during your trip to Glendalough.
Written by Austin Rock, Carroll’s Tours Tour Guide and Planner