Affordable doesn’t have to mean a compromise on style with a stay in the Emerald Isle’s castle hotels and country estates.
The Irish are renowned for their hospitality – and it doesn’t have to come at a price. The country has many affordable and comfortable hotels where staff will ensure you have a great stay and where you won’t bust your budget. Here’s our pick of the best budget-friendly bases in Ireland – from Kilkenny to County Clare.
A budget hotel in Ireland that puts guests at the heart of it all: the Academy Plaza is situated at the top of the capital’s O’Connell Street, close to the General Post Office (a landmark, built in Greek Revival style) and the Spire of Dublin (a 120m-high (390ft), pin-like monument). After exploring it all, the Academy’s Plaza Bar & Grill is the hub of the hotel with affordable dishes, such as Dunbarra brie and beetroot filo tart, served with typical Irish flair. Guest rooms are welcoming, comfortable and neat.
Located on the banks of the River Shannon, Castle Oaks hides rooms that blend contemporary and period styles within a Georgian-era manor house. Guest rooms are smart and spacious, the grounds are lovely and there’s even a spa and 17m (56ft) pool – surprising perks in a place the prides itself on being wallet-friendly. The Acorn Restaurant serves cuisine created using fresh local produce.
Carrygerry is an old-world country house in rural County Clare with antique furniture and cosy crackling fires. The superior rooms have four-poster beds and views of the surrounding countryside. Downstairs, the Conservatory Restaurant has panoramic views and a menu that’s won awards.
This four-star boutique hotel offers a world of elegance and privacy. Rooms are spacious, with comfortable furnishings, and both wifi and parking are free. Downstairs, the pub-like Lark’s Bar leans in around an open fire, and Lil’s restaurant serves the finest Kilkenny ingredients for less, with an early-bird sitting that lets you dine on multi-course dishes of trout fillet with saffron butter and Irish featherblade of beef for a fraction of the cost.
The George’s trump card is its prime location: slap-bang in Dublin’s city centre at the top of O’Connell Street, surrounded by restaurants and bars, each offering music and a great atmosphere. You’ll save on transport by being in the midst of everything – Temple Bar and Grafton Street’s shops are close by, too – but also thanks to the hotel’s commitment to keeping rates down by creating rooms that allow you to divide and conquer the costs (there are singles, doubles, twins, triples and *gasp for air* quad rooms to choose from here).
With panoramic views across the Clare hills and Shannon estuary, the Inn at Dromoland is a perfect base for touring the karst-carved Burren National Park and the Cliffs of Moher. The inn has many grades of rooms available, but all have cosy, tactile textiles and the run of the surrounding Dromoland Castle estate. Guests can choose from two dining experiences, Deerfields Restaurant and the more-informal (and affordable) Shannigans Gastro Pub for Connemara seafood chowders and smoked salmon salads.
For more hotel options, check out our guide to the most family-friendly hotels in Ireland, bookable with Culture Trip.
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