Where to Stay in Ireland for a Local Experience

Explore Ireland’s west coast with a stay at the Abbeyglen Castle Hotel
Explore Ireland’s west coast with a stay at the Abbeyglen Castle Hotel | Courtesy of Abbeyglen Castle Hotel / Expedia
Photo of Laura Hampson
31 December 2020

With amenities such as Dublin’s best cocktail bar and the most enticing restaurant in Cork, read our guide on where to stay in Ireland on your next trip.

Ireland is never a one-time destination. Those who have visited the country know how captivating its scenery, nightlife, culture and people are – which is why we return repeatedly. The best way to experience the Emerald Isle is to immerse yourself completely in the area you’re visiting. Whether you want to chat with locals at their favourite watering hole or dine at a beloved restaurant, we chart the best hotels below.

Kinnitty Castle Hotel

Independent Hotel, Luxury
4.4/5 (168 Reviews)
Kinnitty Castle Hotel
Courtesy of Kinnitty Castle Hotel / Expedia

In the very heart of Ireland, equidistant from Galway and Dublin, Kinnitty Castle Hotel sits within 650 acres (263ha) of parkland. It’s flanked by the picturesque Slieve Bloom Mountains and the village of Kinnitty, where you can rub shoulders with locals at Giltraps Pub. At night, hunker down in an individually styled room within this gothic castle. Many suites still retain the castle’s original 13th-century features, including stone walls.

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Hotel Isaacs Cork

4.2/5 (991 Reviews)
Isaacs Hotel Cork City
Courtesy of Hotel Isaacs Cork / Expedia

Set in a 19th-century red-brick building, Hotel Isaacs is home to one of the best-rated restaurants in Cork. The award-winning Greenes Restaurant serves seasonal, modern Irish fare using locally sourced ingredients (such as Skeaghanore duck and Ardsallagh goat’s cheese). When satiated, head up to your stylish room or serviced apartment and flop onto your large, plush bed. You can even order an extra pillow or two from the pillow menu.

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The Devlin Dublin

Boutique Hotel
4.5/5 (111 Reviews)
The Devlin Dublin
Courtesy of The Devlin Dublin / Expedia

Sitting in voguish Ranelagh, just south of the city, the Devlin opened at the end of 2018, making it one of Dublin’s newest offerings. For views across the Irish capital, a reservation at rooftop restaurant Layla’s is a must. When you want to sip on cocktails with locals, head downstairs to the buzzing Americana Bar. Catch a film at the hotel’s in-house cinema, and when sleep is in order, head to the design-led rooms, clad in deep teal hues.

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Park House Hotel

Boutique Hotel, Independent Hotel
4.6/5 (994 Reviews)
Park House Hotel
Courtesy of Park House Hotel / Expedia

Just a short walk from leafy Eyre Square, the Park House Hotel immerses you in the centre of stunning Galway. After dropping your bag in one of the well-appointed rooms, make a beeline for locally loved Boss Doyle’s Bar downstairs. Marvel at the hand-carved oak ceiling panels and stained-glass windows while you nurse a well-deserved pint.

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  • Abbeyglen Castle Hotel

    4.5/5 (484 Reviews)
    Abbeyglen Castle Hotel
    Courtesy of Abbeyglen Castle Hotel / Expedia

    In the quaint coastal town of Clifden, a short drive from Connemara National Park, Abbeyglen Castle Hotel is perfectly placed for exploring Ireland’s beautiful west coast. Behind the 19th-century castle façade, rooms come with four-poster mahogany beds, and spa treatments are available. Meanwhile, the restaurant has a daily changing menu that regularly features Connemara lamb and the freshest local seafood.

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    Great Southern Killarney

    4.4/5 (309 Reviews)
    Great Southern Killarney
    Courtesy of Great Southern Killarney / Expedia

    Built in 1854, Great Southern Killarney is a Victorian-era wonder. Set among 6 acres (2ha) of lush gardens, the rooms here are opulent, most with marble-clad bathrooms and clawfoot tubs. Oenophiles will love the Killarney Wine Room. After a taste of Killarney honey and Killorglin gouda cheese at the Garden Room Restaurant, perch yourself in the Whiskey Corner of Brownes Bar to sample the 190-strong collection.

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    Lough Rynn Castle Estate and Gardens

    Boutique Hotel, Independent Hotel, Luxury
    4.6/5 (231 Reviews)
    Lough Rynn Castle
    Courtesy of Lough Rynn Castle Estate and Gardens / Expedia

    In northern County Leitrim, Lough Rynn Castle Estate and Gardens takes its moniker from the stunning lough that lies next to it. Each of the individually styled rooms and suites takes on a modern medieval theme (think ornate fabrics, four-poster beds and dark wooden fixtures). After dining at the award-winning Sandstone Restaurant, find the secret door that leads you down to the gothic Dungeon Bar for a well-deserved nightcap.

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    Ballyfin Demesne

    Ballyfin Demesne 5 Star Hotel
    Courtesy of Ballyfin Demesne
    At the foot of the Slieve Bloom Mountains, Ballyfin Demesne is often touted as one of Ireland’s best hotels. Set on more than 600 acres (243ha) of ancient woodland, each of its achingly beautiful rooms is dotted with antiques, while deep soaking tubs and chandeliers adorn the bathrooms. When you can peel yourself away, there are whiskey tastings or a mosaic-tiled pool to enjoy. The team can also organise activities such as archery, fishing, boating and picnics.
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    These recommendations were updated on December 31, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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