Where to stay in Ireland

Where to find the best hotels, B&Bs, guesthouses, and alternative cheap lodgings in Ireland


Jackson Court, Daublin
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Glasha Meadows, Doolin
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Lake Lodge, Killarney
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Barnacles Quay, Galway
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Latchford, Dublin
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It seems everyone is hanging out a B&B shingle these days—these are on the coastal road out of Galway—so you have to work harder than ever to find the truly special onesIt seems everyone is hanging out a B&B shingle these days—these are on the coastal road out of Galway through Whitestrand.I have been to Ireland four times, and it wasn't until my most recent trip (in 2011) that I actually stayed in a Irish hotel.

Not that there's anything wrong with hotels in Ireland. They are prefectly nice, perfectly clean, often very central, and offer all the amenities you want to pay for in a hotel. It's just that there are far more interesting—and usually cheaper—places to stay in Ireland than a hotel. Chief among them: the mighty Irish B&B.

How much a room costs in Ireland

Double rooms start as low as €35–€40 (though hostel bunks and tent camping can bring this as cheap as €8–€10 per person). Rates obviously can go much higher, and they vary with the seasons, type of accommodation, and location (the same quality room will cost more in a big city center than in a small town—though cities often offer more basic, cheaper options as well). Rome rules of thumb:

Seasons: Prices at any kind of lodging will generally be higher April to September (peaking in July and August), and at their most inexpensive between November and February.

Stated costs: All prices below reflect the cheapest, off-season rates for a double room at the booking engines (which often offer rooms at lower prices than the offiical "rack rates").

Price ranges: Though the first several price ranges below seem to be highly similar, note that there are greater numbers of B&Bs and guesthouses near the lower price end of their price scales than there are hotels in their lower price range. Overall, hotels average around €55 to €90, guesthouses and B&Bs €40 to €70.

Bed and Breakfasts in Ireland

Irish B&Bs are as inexpensive as they are warm and wonderful, usually offering a chance to get to know a local family a bit, sleep in homey quarters, and—last but certainly far from least—indulge in that massive and delicious calorie-fest known as the Full Irish Breakfast.

Note that B&Bs rates posted on signs are usually per-person, not per-room... Full Story

  • Rates for a double room in an Irish B&B: €38–€90 (in Dublin, €35–€90).
Hotels in Ireland
How to find Irish hotels
• Venere.com
• Booking.com
• Hostelworld.com
• Discoverireland.com

Frankly, proper hotels in Ireland are often pricey and, with the exception of historic hotels (castles, Georgian manor houses, etc.) usually bland.

Hotels are, however, often a good choice in the cities, where B&Bs tend to be scarce, lcoated largely outside the center of town, or both.

Hotels also offer all the amenities you wish to pay for, so if you need more services than just a comfy bed and a lovely breakfast, a hotel can be the better option.

  • Rates for a double room in an Irish hotel: €35–€138 (in Dublin, €39–€250).
Guesthouses in Ireland
How to find Irish guesthouses
• Venere.com
• Booking.com
• Hostelworld.com
• Discoverireland.com

A notch below the bed-and-breakfast is the Irish guesthouse. These can range from small, family-run properties indistinguishable from a B&B, to slightly larger operations (20 to 30 rooms) run a bit more like a low-end hotel, to places that straddle the line between simple hotel and hostel, offering both private rooms and beds in (small) shared dorms.

  • Rates for a double room in an Irish guesthouse: €40–€95 (in Dublin, €39–€99).
Hostels in Ireland
How to find Irish hostels
• Discoverireland.com
• Hostels-ireland.com
• Venere.com
• Booking.com
• Irelandyha.org

Ireland has got to be one of the most be-hosteled countries in Europe. I don't think there was a single village we drove through that didn't have at least one guest hostel, usually prominently located on the main road in town.

Hostels—communal living for all ages, though still patronized largely by backpacking youths—these days offer both the shared-room-with-cots arrangement (usually bunk beds, and usually only four to ten beds per room) as well as smaller private rooms that cost a bit more (but styill less than a hotel).

These days, you often don't even have to walk down the hall to a large, shared bathroom—though folks in the shared dorms usually do (though even some of them have them own bathroom attached to the room).

Travelers at hostels gather in the lounge, communal kitchen, or on-site Cypercafe to picnic, exchange tips, swap stories, and form little gangs to head out in search of a good pub or three for the evening.

The vast majority of these hostels are run independently of the Hostelling International body—and independent hostels are often nicer, funkier (in a good way), less institutional, more amenitied, and—most importantly—frequently unencumbered by all the silly old rules and regualtions of traditional hostels (curfews, lock-outs, limited check-in times, etc.).

  • Rates for a dorm bed in an Irish hostel: €9–€18 (in Dublin, €10–€23).
  • Rates for a private room at an Irish hostel: €15–€60 (in Dublin, €25 to €75).
Camping in Ireland
How to find Irish campgrounds
• Camping-ireland.ie
• Discoverireland.com
• Discovernorthernireland.com
• Eurocampings.net

Even cheaper, and sometimes more scenic is camping.

Keep in mind, however, that there is a reason Ireland is so famously green. It rains here. A lot. In spring and fall, it can rain in downright Biblical amounts. Perhaps come summer plopping down a tent might seem a bright and sunny option, but know that you are taking your chances on a potentially sodden camping vacation.

Note that, as in most European campgrounds, the costs are often broken down to a price per site, plus another charge per-person, another per car, a supplement for electrical hook-ups (€3–€5), and sometimes a feee for showers (€1). The rates below give a sense of the total for a couple, without extras.

  • Rates for tent camping at an Irish campground: €16–€29.
  • Rates for a caravan pitch (camper van/RV) at an Irish campground: €14–€34.
Other lodging options in Ireland

Then, of course, there are apartments (from €60), agritourism (from €60), rental cottages (often called "self-catering;" from €180/weekend, €250/week), couchsurfing (free)... all the usual alternative lodging options.

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This article was by Reid Bramblett and last updated in September 2011.
All information was accurate at the time.

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Copyright © 1998–2013 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.