19 Unique and Unusual Places to Stay in Ireland in 2023 Recommended by Locals
Finding an exceptional and distinctive place to stay has become a priority for travelers seeking a new experience. It’s no longer just about finding a standard hotel room but seeking an extraordinary and unforgettable experience reflecting the destination’s culture and heritage.
If you’re planning a trip to Ireland for your next holiday or considering a staycation, you’re in luck! Ireland offers a wide range of accommodations that will take your breath away. From cozy cottages to luxury castles, there is something for everyone.
To make your search for a unique place to stay easier, we have curated a list of ten unique places to stay in Ireland that will leave a lasting impression. The following unusual places to stay in Ireland are selected based on its distinctive character, location, and ambiance. Whether you’re looking for a tranquil retreat, a romantic getaway, or a family-friendly option, an accommodation on this list will suit your needs.
So, get ready to explore Ireland’s stunning landscapes, rich history, and culture while staying in an unforgettable and unique accommodation. It’s time to pack your bags and embark on a lifetime journey!
Before jumping in…
- Plan Your Trip in Ireland With These Resources
- 10 unique places to stay in Ireland
- Is it worth spending a night in one of those unique places to stay in Ireland?
- Visiting Ireland: things to know
- What are the best Ireland guides to buy?
Plan Your Trip in Ireland With These Resources
- Book your flights to Ireland with Skyscanner. Compare prices and duration and choose the most suitable flight to the destination of your choice. Start planning your trip.
- Book your unique place to stay in Ireland using Booking.com. Check the prices, the reviews, and the conditions, and spot the best hotels in Ireland at the best price. Start looking for accommodation in your destination. Booking is our choice when it comes to hotels worldwide.
- Buy your SIM in advance using Airalo. With Airalo eSIMs, you can connect immediately when you land and avoid data roaming charges. We use this when we travel, and we could not be happier. Explore Airalo and travel smart.
- Use GetYourGuide to purchase tickets in advance and skip the queues, or plan extraordinary experiences during your holiday.
- Find the best car rental prices with Skyscanner’s comparison tool.
- Buy your travel insurance with SafetyWing.
10 unique places to stay in Ireland
If you’re looking to break away from the typical hotel experience, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most unusual places to stay in Ireland for you to consider. From lighthouses and tower houses to merchant houses and stately homes, these unconventional options offer a one-of-a-kind stay.
So, if you’re ready to try something different and create unforgettable memories, look at this list to start searching for an extraordinary place to lay your head in Ireland.
1. Clare Island Lighthouse
The Clare Island Lighthouse, situated on the beautiful Clare Island in County Mayo, is a unique and extraordinary accommodation that should not be missed if you’re planning a trip to Ireland. This lighthouse provides a once-in-a-lifetime experience of sleeping in a historical building that has been converted into a luxurious, fully-catered bed and breakfast.
What sets the Clare Island Lighthouse apart from other accommodations is its exceptional location on the Wild Atlantic Way, known for its stunning views and natural beauty. The panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and the surrounding landscape are breathtaking, and the lighthouse’s location offers guests the opportunity to disconnect from the outside world and immerse themselves in the serene environment.
In addition to its spectacular location, the Clare Island Lighthouse offers a unique blend of luxury and history. The lighthouse has been restored to its former glory, retaining its original features while offering modern amenities and comforts. Guests can expect a high level of service, including gourmet meals prepared with local ingredients and excellent hospitality.
Overall, if you’re looking for an unforgettable and luxurious experience that combines history, nature, and comfort, the Clare Island Lighthouse is an excellent choice for your holiday in Ireland.
In the same area:
- West View Accommodation – situated near the ferry for Clare Island, is conveniently located just 3.5 km from the picturesque town of Louisburgh and the stunning Old Head beach. Additionally, the Roonah pier is easily accessible and only a short 13-minute drive away. Check prices and availability on Booking.com.
- The Cottage Hillside – Located in Westport, 2.1 km from Bertra Beach and 8 km from Clew Bay Heritage Centre, Cottage Hillside is situated near the ferry for Clare Island, offering easy access to the island. Check prices and availability on Booking.com.
2. Helen’s Tower
If you’re looking for unique and unforgettable accommodation, why not consider staying in a tower? Helen’s Tower, located in Bangor, County Down, offers a gothic-inspired and quirky self-catering hideaway for two.
This exceptional tower features a modernized bedroom, shower room, kitchen, living room, reading room, and rooftop terrace, all connected by a narrow stone staircase. Guests can enjoy stunning views of Scotland and the beautiful rolling countryside from the tower’s rooftop terrace.
Staying at Helen’s Tower is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, perfect for those seeking a romantic getaway or a solo adventure. The tower’s distinctive character and breathtaking views will leave a lasting impression and create unforgettable memories.
In the same area:
- Clandeboye Lodge Hotel – Located just a 5-minute drive from Bangor, the Clandeboye Lodge offers contemporary design, a cozy atmosphere, and elegant rooms. The lodge also houses the Coq & Bull brasserie, adorned with oak floors, iroko wood tables, and stylish furnishings. Check prices and availability on Booking.com.
- Galgorm – Featuring a luxurious spa and an award-winning restaurant, the 4-star Galgorm welcomes you to a lush 65-hectare park along the River Maine, just 4.8 km from Ballymena in the stunning County Antrim. Bangor is easy to reach from here. Check prices and availability on Booking.com.
3. Barberstown Castle
For a unique and unforgettable experience, consider staying at Barberstown Castle if you’re looking to sleep in a castle. This exceptional accommodation is located in Straffan, County Kildare, just 30 minutes from Dublin, in the heart of Ireland’s Ancient East.
Barberstown Castle is surrounded by acres and acres of stunning grounds, perfect for enjoying the best of what Ireland has to offer, including food and wine. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a family vacation, the castle’s location and ambiance offer a perfect blend of history, luxury, and relaxation.
In the same area:
- The K Club – The K Club, constructed in 1832, is an award-winning accommodation located on a sprawling 550-acre estate with mature parkland and the River Liffey running through it. This exceptional property boasts three excellent restaurants, The K Spa, and it is the epitome of 5-star luxury, offering guests an unforgettable experience surrounded by unparalleled opulence. Check prices and availability on Booking.com.
- Kilkea Castle – Kilkea Castle is steeped in rich history and is a unique place to stay in Ireland offering a glimpse into Ireland’s medieval past. Dating back to 1180, this magnificent castle has been beautifully restored to offer guests a luxurious and unforgettable stay. Check prices and availability on Booking.com.
4. Martello Tower Sutton
Staying in a Martello Tower is an undoubtedly unique and quirky experience that you won’t forget. The Martello Tower in Sutton, County Dublin, is just one of several ‘bombproof’ defenses constructed at the end of the 1800s against a potential Napoleonic invasion. This tower is capable of accommodating up to four people and offers awe-inspiring 360-degree views from the rooftop, a living area, and a balcony overlooking the stunning coastline of Dublin Bay on the middle level. The lower level houses two bedrooms and bathrooms for your comfort and convenience.
In the same area:
- Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links – Situated between the charming villages of Malahide and Howth, the Portmarnock Hotel boasts a stunning location overlooking the Irish Sea. The Portmarnock Hotel seamlessly blends elegant and modern styles with the grandeur of a 19th-century residence once owned by the famous Jameson family, known for producing the world-renowned Jameson whiskey. Check prices and availability on Booking.com.
5. Roundwood House
Indulge in a luxurious stay at one of Ireland’s finest mid-size country houses from the Georgian period. Roundwood House, located in Mountrath, County Laois, offers everything you could want in a luxury accommodation. The rooms are adorned with antique furniture, while the bedrooms are lined with paintings and overflowing bookshelves. Guests can cozy up to crackling fires, savor good food, and explore the property’s incredible gardens and extensive outbuildings. Overall, Roundwood House is the perfect choice for those seeking a luxurious and memorable stay in a historic setting.
7. Ballyfin Demesne
Located in County Laois, Ballyfin Demesne is a Regency mansion that has been voted the top resort hotel in Europe, offering the ultimate indulgent escape. The mansion’s magnificent staterooms and elegant drawing rooms feature decorations acclaimed as among the finest of the Neoclassical and Empire periods in Ireland.
In addition to the stunning interiors, Ballyfin Demesne also provides superb service, fabulous food, and 614 acres of peaceful grounds to explore. The hotel’s beautiful surroundings are perfect for outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and cycling.
8. Ashford Castle
Ashford Castle, a multi-award-winning hotel in County Mayo, boasts 800 years of history and offers luxurious five-star accommodation within a 26,000-acre estate. If you’re looking for a unique destination in Ireland to celebrate a special occasion or simply pamper yourself, Ashford Castle is an excellent choice.
In addition to the castle itself, guests can also opt to stay at The Lodge, which provides a more affordable option for those looking to experience the luxurious ambiance of Ashford Castle. The Lodge offers exceptional accommodation and service, ensuring that guests have an unforgettable experience during their stay.
9. Bantry House
Bantry House, situated on the Wild Atlantic Way in County Cork, is widely regarded as one of the finest historic houses in Ireland. Overlooking the picturesque Bantry Bay, this exceptional property offers both bed and breakfast and self-catering accommodation.
If you’re looking for a luxurious overnight stay in a historic setting, Bantry House is the perfect choice. The property boasts stunning views of the surrounding landscape, and the bed and breakfast or self-catering options provide guests with the flexibility to create their own unique experience.
In the same area:
- The Maritime – The Maritime is a luxurious hotel situated in a prime location on the famous Bantry Bay. With over 100 designer rooms, this exceptional hotel offers a variety of accommodations, some of which feature balconies with stunning sea views, while others overlook the ancient woods. Check prices and availability on Booking.com.
10. Lough Eske Castle
Lough Eske Castle, a magical turreted five-star hotel located in County Donegal, boasts a rich history that dates back to the 1400s. This exceptional property offers deluxe accommodations, first-class spa services, and fine dining, making it an indulgence that is not to be missed when exploring the rugged beauty of Donegal.
If you’re looking for a luxurious and unforgettable experience in Ireland, Lough Eske Castle is an excellent choice. The hotel’s stunning architecture and beautiful surroundings provide the perfect setting for relaxation and rejuvenation. Whether you’re exploring the rugged coastline of County Donegal or simply seeking a peaceful retreat, Lough Eske Castle is the perfect destination.
10. Finn Lough Bubble Domes
Experience the ultimate in room views with these luxurious and secluded forest domes located in County Fermanagh. These exceptional accommodations boast 180-degree transparent walls and ceilings, providing an unparalleled view of the surrounding natural beauty.
From the comfort of a cozy four-poster bed, guests can stargaze and marvel at the breathtaking scenery, making this one of the most beloved and sought-after accommodations in all of Ireland.
In the same area:
- Manor House Country Hotel – The Manor House Country Hotel, located in the heart of the Fermanagh Lakelands near Enniskillen town center, was awarded the AA Hotel of the Year 2016/2017 for Northern Ireland. This exceptional hotel boasts a stunning location on the shores of Lower Lough Erne, offering guests unparalleled views of the lake. Check prices and availability on Booking.com.
Is it worth spending a night in one of those unique places to stay in Ireland?
Spending a night (or two) in one of the unique accommodations listed above is an experience that is truly worth cherishing. Each of the unique places to stay in Ireland that we have chosen offers something special and memorable, ensuring that your stay will remain etched in your memory forever.
It’s easy to forget the importance of creating memories, but sleeping in one (or more!) of these exceptional accommodations is a gift that will stay with you for a lifetime. Regardless of your personal style and preferences, there is an accommodation on this list that is sure to meet your needs and exceed your expectations. And if you find it difficult to find a room or you find those too expensive, we’ve provided you with excellent alternatives that you won’t regret.
Overall, if you’re looking for a truly unforgettable accommodation experience in Ireland, consider staying at one of the unique and memorable places listed above. From historic castles to luxurious forest domes, there is no shortage of exceptional options that will create lasting memories.
Visiting Ireland: things to know
When planning a trip to Ireland, there are several factors that you should consider.
1. What is the best month to go to Ireland?
May and June are considered the best times to visit Ireland, as the spring weather is typically mild and the crowds are not as overwhelming as they are during the summer months. While it can be challenging to predict the weather in Ireland, visiting during the spring can offer a more comfortable and enjoyable experience.
On the other hand, summer is the peak tourist season in Ireland, and August in particular can be quite crowded. Visitors should also be prepared for rain, as it is not uncommon during the summer months. If you prefer to avoid the crowds and don’t mind a bit of rain, then autumn may be the best time to visit.
Regardless of when you visit Ireland, it’s important to come prepared with the right clothing. A waterproof jacket, scarf, and comfortable, sturdy shoes such as hiking boots are essential for exploring the Irish countryside. It’s also a good idea to bring “smart” clothing for evening outings or dining at nicer restaurants.
Read Also: How to Plan a Trip to Ireland
2. How many days do I need in Ireland?
To truly experience Ireland, it’s recommended to plan for at least 10 days, and ideally 15 days or more. With so much to see and do, it’s important to have enough time to fully explore and immerse yourself in the local culture.
When planning your itinerary, it’s best to pack your days with activities and sights that interest you. From exploring charming villages and historic castles to hiking in stunning national parks and enjoying traditional music sessions in local pubs, there is something for everyone in Ireland.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when traveling in Ireland is to rent a car. Having your own transportation allows you to easily explore the countryside and take advantage of the country’s scenic routes and hidden gems. Just be sure to drive on the left side of the road!
3. Is Ireland expensive to visit?
It’s true that Ireland can be one of the more expensive countries to visit in Europe, but there are still ways to make your trip affordable while experiencing all the country has to offer. To avoid overspending, it’s important to plan and research carefully.
One tip is to consider traveling during the off-season, as prices for accommodation, transportation, and activities can be lower. Another way to save money is to book your accommodations in advance, as prices can often be higher if you wait until the last minute.
When it comes to food and drink, there are plenty of affordable options to choose from, including traditional pub grub and street food. It’s also worth checking out local markets and supermarkets for fresh, affordable produce.
What are the best Ireland guides to buy?
f you’re looking to enhance your trip to Ireland, there are plenty of fascinating guidebooks and books to choose from:
- Fodor’s Essential Ireland – Check on Amazon
- Rick Steves Ireland – Check on Amazon
- DK Eyewitness Back Roads Ireland – Check on Amazon
- Lonely Planet Ireland – Check on Amazon
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