Ireland (or Eire), poetically called the Emerald Island, is shared by two countries, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. It is the twentieth largest island in the world, and is famous for its rich culture and history of magic, myth, charm and tradition. The experiences a traveller can have here are almost surreal and the land is a spectacular wonder to behold. The people of both countries are a real joy to meet and very friendly and welcoming. What many travellers are not aware of is that Ireland is also home to some exceptionally characteristic accommodation for its more curious visitors. Here is a list of ten unique hotels throughout Ireland.
10. Grouse Lodge, Rosemount, County Westmeath
Grouse Lodge is an extraordinary place to stay to say the least. On these magnificent grounds just 75 minutes from Dublin, a Georgian estate houses a 275 year old, beautiful stone cottage and outbuildings. These accommodate not only the average tourist, but is also has two world-class residential recording studios. Numerous musicians have travelled from near and far to stay and record here, including both local acts as well as world famous talents such as REM, Moya Brennan, Manic Street Preachers, Snow Patrol, Ronan Keating, Paolo Nutini, Dame Shirley Bassey and Sinead O’Connor. In 2006, the property earned additional renown when it became Michael Jackson’s secret hideout for six weeks. Although Grouse Lodge is a cost-effective solution for recording and mixing music and accommodation, it offers much for its guests including nine double bedrooms in the stone outbuildings and a further six bedrooms in the Victorian Coolatore House, where you may choose between self-catering or a fully-catered holiday. Do make time for the 15-metre, indoor, heated pool, the gym, the sauna or, better still, the Jacuzzi! Guests are sure to enjoy recording stories likely to be retold time and time again in the early hours at the nearby pub.
9. Drenagh, Limavady, County Derry
Drenagh is located on an impressive 1,000 acres near Limavady in County Derry, at the northern end of the invigorating Antrim coastline. Originally constructed during the Regency era and home to the McCausland family for hundreds of years, this fascinating property is now fully open to the public. It also offers tours of the property and grounds. This stately mansion is the ideal location for a grand wedding and/or reception. There are an astounding 95 golf courses with an hour’s drive of Drenagh and it is a great location from which to explore some of Northern Ireland’s greatest natural and cultural treasures, including Benone Beach, the Giant’s Causeway, the Mussenden Temple, Downhill and the historic city of Derry. Drenagh offers eight bedrooms and modern accommodation, including a delightful billiard room, home cinema, indoor pool and the largest walled garden of its kind in the country, while your personal chauffeur and house staff cater to your every whim.
8. Dromoland Castle Hotel, Newmarket-on-Fergus, County Clare
The Dromoland Castle Hotel in south-west Ireland is often referred to as the hotel of dreams. In 1962, this amazing property was transformed from a private home into an hotel. The famous castle dates back to the 5th century and was the ancestral home of the direct descendents of Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland. Today, the property is a 5-star luxury hotel, offering guests gracious service and an authentic experience of the Irish gentry. It is built on an immense 375 acre estate, just 13 kilometres from Shannon International Airport. Among it facilities, it has its own golf academy and an 18-hole golf course, beautiful walking trails set in over 410 acres of mature woodland and feral lakes, horse-riding, horse and buggy rides, cycling, fishing, archery, clay-shooting, falconry, tennis, gym, a 17 metre indoor swimming pool, sauna and Jacuzzi, as well as a luxury health spa. Here, guests can withdraw from the hustle and bustle of today’s world and take pleasure in a stay on this magical estate.
7. Merchant Hotel, Belfast, County Down
No list would be complete with the Merchant Hotel. This 5-star, gorgeously restored, Victorian, sandstone building is located in Belfast’s famous Cathedral Quarter. Originally purpose built in 1857 as the headquarters of the Ulster bank, it is evident from its greatness that 19th century bankers knew how to spend money. Antique tapestries, Italian marble, immense gilt-framed mirrors and ridiculously high ceilings all testify to the richness that makes up Merchant Hotel.
6. Gyreum, Castlebaldwin, County Sligo
For guests interested in an eco-retreat, Gyreum is the place for you. Gyreum is located in the hills of Sligo. This retreat offers guests accommodation in their massive hut-style temples, complete with wildflower roofs, and self-sustainable wind- and solar-powered facilities. Many guests come during their Pilgrim’s Progress, an intense six-county walking expedition that concludes in an outdoor hot tub under the gorgeous moon. However don’t be fooled. This unique lodge provides inspiration for many. Gyreum often hosts a diverse range of innovative and eco-centred events, classes and gatherings.
5. Clontarf Castle Hotel, Dublin
Dublin’s Clontarf Castle is nothing but sensational. In modern years, this castle has undergone millions of euros in development and reconstruction. The result is turrets, tapestries and an ancient history that transpires into 21st century style and facilities. Clontarf Castle strives to offer guests unique style and exceptional service in a contented atmosphere. Built from the guests’ point of view, it offers a modern aesthetic impression built around the ancient form. Clontarf Castle may be the perfect blend of boutique and luxury hotel.
4. 25 Eustace Street, Dublin
Despite the fact that 25 Eustace Street is located in Dublin’s famous, invigorating Temple Bar district, visitors can easily pass by without realising exactly what they are missing. Number 25 Eustace Street is a one-of-a-kind, 18th century, three-storey merchant’s townhouse, which in recent years has been restored by the Landmark Trust, using authentic materials and furnishings. This historic building accommodates up to seven guests, each room available nightly. It has no television but, after a night on the town, you can relax and kick back with a tinkle on the Bechstein boudoir grand piano, or avail yourself of the bookshelves stacked with the works of Irish authors.
3. The Schoolhouse, Annaghmore, County Sligo
The Schoolhouse, located near the Owenmore river in County Sligo, was initially built in the 1860s. Although today this quaint inn sleeps four, it was once the two-bedroom house of the schoolmaster, as well as the schoolhouse for local children. Today, guests will not only love privacy and seclusion, but they will also appreciate the original fireplace, antique chalk boards and coat hooks. Be sure to ask the interesting owners about the local legend that claims that the previous owner hid all of his money in a tin which he burried somewhere on the school grounds!
2. Blackhead Lighthouse, Belfast Lough, County Antrim
When looking for rare accommodation, guests will have a hard time outdoing Blackhead Lighthouse. Blackhead Lighthouse is a striking, historic lighthouse established on spectacular coastal cliffs in County Antrim. It was built during the peak of Belfast shipping in the early 20th century and became responsible for the daunting task of guiding ships, including the Titanic, through Belfast Lough. Today, visitors can stay at the lighthouse in intimate, private rooms complete with welcoming cast iron beds, be astonished at the nautical paraphernalia or just admire the spectacular views of Belfast Lough.
1. Cullintra House, Inistiogue, County Kilkenny
In Inistiogue, County Kilkenny, there is a cosy 19th century home different from all the rest—Cullintra House. Although all guests are sure to receive a warm welcome, this is meant to be a cat paradise. At Cullintra House cats are king, and painter-owner Patricia’s feline friends clearly act like they own the place, as well they should. Visitors will find cat memorabilia in abundance. Little furries are guaranteed to be discovered in the charming bedrooms, in the communal dining room and exploring the lovely grounds. This particular house is likely to be a hit with feline-adoring travellers world-wide.
Ireland possesses a colourful history, a landscape rich in both natural beauty, as well as a wild tapestry of architectural styles, pairing Norman castles with snug, little cottages. Here, visitors can be assured that their greeting is warm, their accommodation is oozing with charm and their journey growing more delightful by the moment—so is the Irish experience!
flickr image by Abi SkippWrite a Comment
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