Rick Steves seeks out the eclectic, friendly and best located hotels and B&Bs throughout Europe, and the selections for our Best of Ireland tour did not disappoint our group. From luxurious boutique hotels to quaint little B&Bs, we experienced a broad range of accommodations throughout Ireland and always felt at home and most importantly close to the action in every town. Here’s how we rated them:
Buswells Hotel23-25 Molesworth Street Dublin, IRELAND
Tel: 011 353 1 614 6500 Fax: 011 353 1 676 2090 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Full of Old World charm, the Buswell’s Hotel welcomed us into its warm embrace after a long day of travel from Scotland to Ireland’s emerald shores. Located in the heart of Dublin, it is walking distance to all the major sights, good restaurants and the nightly entertainment of Temple Bar.
The rooms are well appointed, comfortable and quiet unless you are unlucky enough to score a room on the back street where the early morning rituals of any big city could wake even the heaviest sleeper. The free WiFi requires guests to get a login password from the front desk, and is only valid for one day on one device. Coverage is spotty in the rooms, especially in the rooms at the rear where we could not access it at all but we just used the foyer as our extended living room to meet our digital life needs.
The breakfast buffet would satisfy anyone but the fussiest eater and the full Irish breakfast will keep you going well past lunch on your busiest sightseeing days.
Tel: 011 353 21 477 7384 Fax: 011 353 21 477 4363 E-mail: email@example.com
Frair’s Lodge is a comfortable hotel in Kinsale but if you are looking luxurious living this is not the hotel for you. The rooms are austere, the WiFi did not work for most of our stay here and there was no hot water in our room on our last morning.
Breakfast consisted of the standard Irish fare (eggs, bacon, black pudding, porridge etc), hearty meals well cooked but nothing that evokes a strong memory for your culinary senses.
Recommended for larger groups but I’d seek out a B&B in Kinsale for a couple’s retreat.
Ardawn House is a rustic little B&B about ten minutes walking distance from the centre of Galway with small simply appointed rooms, and a comfortable sitting room downstairs to while away the evening reading or updating Facebook using the free WiFi.
Breakfast is a simple menu; fruit, yoghurt and cereal on the buffet with the full Irish breakfast fare cooked to your taste by your hosts.
Castlewood HouseThe Wood, Dingle, Co. Kerry IRELAND
Tel: 011 353 66 9152788 Fax: 011 353 66 915 2324 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Castlewood House is a purpose built boutique hotel, and a perfect retreat for a weary traveller or romantic weekend. The rooms are luxurious with modern bathrooms and if you ask for a front facing room a view of Dingle’s harbour. Helen and Brian Heaton made us very welcome, and always met us with a smile even when our early departure got them out of bed early on Sunday morning. Free WiFi, parking and a short walk to Dingle’s restaurants and pubs.
Breakfast at Castlewood House is an event to be savoured, and the bread and butter pudding is a great starter before tucking into the perfectly prepared eggs and black pudding washed down by a nice cup of tea. The best breakfast in Ireland, and a credit to Brian’s skill in the kitchen.
Tel: 011 353 982 8088
Fax: 011 353 982 5783 E-mail: email@example.com
Clew Bay Hotel is a well appointed boutique hotel in central Westport, big rooms and a comfortable bed with all the usual modern conveniences. Free WiFi.
The hotel provides a good hearty breakfast of typical Irish fare.
Tel: 011 44 28 7082 5544 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Portrush is a seaside resort, and the Adelphi struck us the typical upscale hotel frequented by British holiday-makers since the 1950s. Well appointed rooms, a spa to pamper your senses and a central location close to the attractions, beach and restaurants. In the high season this hotel would be bursting with British families but the colder September weather meant we had a quieter time at the beach. Free WiFi.
A standard Irish breakfast but less than friendly staff seemed to be the norm here.
Cavangarden House is the accommodation we selected for ourselves and you will not find it in the Rick Steves Ireland guidebook. After the tour ended, Colleen and I headed back across Ireland to Ballyshannon to explore the ancestral home of her Atkinson forebears. Cavangarden Farm was the Atkinson family estate until 1968 when last member of the family past on, and the present owners bought it from her beneficiary. They turned the Georgian home into a guest house and Colleen revelled in exploring the grounds and her Irish roots.
Rooms are furnished with vintage furniture, and are farm comfortable but not lavish by modern standards. For the equestrians, Cavangarden provides stabling and pasture for quests (for a fee) who are travelling by horse across the country. Most of our fellow guests fell into this category, and all seemed well pleased with the farm. They also have a self-catering option in what used to be the family chapel.
Our host provided a wonderful breakfast, fresh scones, fruit and your choice of offerings from the grill. When we left very early on the last day, Agnes also left us a few scones to feed us before the pre-dawn drive to Dublin.