Pacifiers & Passports since 2015

Where to Stay in Ireland: My Favorite Bed & Breakfasts

This is a pre-baby review. However, all of these Bed & Breakfasts in Ireland would be excellent choices for a family with children.

Ireland is the perfect country to skip out on the more traditional lodging options and stay in a Bed & Breakfast. The Irish are insanely friendly and that is certainly true of Bed & Breakfast owners!  Staying in smaller family run businesses allowed us to connect with locals, get great travel tips, and have more space to stretch our legs. Most importantly, the breakfasts were all amazing!!

Our group consisted of six people (three couples). Another bonus to staying in B&Bs is that we frequently were able to take over entire homes. Talk about home away from home!

How I Select Lodging

  1. Location! My number one requirement is a location that is within walking distance to all of the sites we might be interested in as well as restaurants. I balance this with my desire to sleep. You won’t ever find me recommending a B&B or hotel above a bar.
  2. Price.  I’m not a millionaire and I don’t travel like one.
  3. Amenities.  I tend to focus more on cleanliness than aesthetics.  I want to make sure everyone feels comfortable. However, I am a firm believer that you travel to do something other than hang out in a hotel room. Therefore, I don’t require much more than a bed and a shower.

All of the below Bed & Breakfasts exceeded my expectations in terms of location, price, and their cleanliness.

Kinsale, Cork

We stayed in a charming B&B in Kinsale, Cloisters Bed and Breakfast, run by Aileen and Orla. The B&B has all of the amenities you would expect – wifi, free parking and breakfast. The breakfast was excellent! The rooms are clean and tidy. As a selfless trip planner I put my husband and myself into their smallest room. We still had ample space and comfortable bed!

Our group in front of the Cloisters
You know you like your lodging when you take a family photo in front of it!

We walked to all of the local shops and restaurants from the Cloisters Bed and Breakfast. Aileen and Orla provided excellent dinner recommendations and were very helpful in pointing us in the right direction.

Dingle, County Kerry

The Dingle Peninsula is a highlight for many people when visiting Ireland. We were fortunate enough to book our stay at the Clonmara B&B. Another family owned business, I spoke with Blandina to schedule our stay. I am a slightly needy guest. I tend to travel with family, some of which have weird requirements (i.e. no cats, quiet rooms, etc). Therefore, I tend to get a pretty good feel for people and I knew before meeting Blandina that she was going to be wonderful.  She helped us with dinner reservations, securing bicycles, and all of my other questions.

Clonmara B&B Dingle
Our room at the Clonmara B&B

The rooms were large and clean but you shouldn’t come to Clonmara B&B for the rooms. Come for the view! Just over a small bridge, Clonmara looks back towards town.  This does mean it is slightly off the beaten path.  Our family drove into town because my mother-in-law had a leg injury. However, my husband and I often opted to just walk. It should take you 30 minutes tops, which was often less time than it took our family to find parking.

Dingle B&B
View from the front lawn of the Clonmara B&B. Instead of being grumpy while waiting for my slow travel companions I sat outside and read!

Portrush area, Northern Ireland

Please stay at The Whins! You will be so happy if you do. We came to Northern Ireland for the Giant’s Causeway, Dark Hedges, and hiking – much less so for the city of Portrush.  Therefore, we felt totally comfortable booking something outside of town.  The Whins is located in Ballycastle and is a bit off the beaten path. Staying here does necessitate a car. Again, it is totally worth it and in general we enjoyed having a car in Ireland.

The Whins Ballycastle
Baby cow at the Whins!

Niki and her husband Paul were amazing hosts.  Niki is an amazing chef! She made the most delicious breakfasts of our trip, packed to go lunches for my husband and myself on our hike, and had a platter waiting for us upon check-in.  We loved her food so much we asked for the recipe (spoiler alert: it doesn’t taste as good if Niki isn’t the one making it!).

But I can’t forget about Paul! My husband is an avid golfer and I realized upon arrival in Northern Ireland that the area is home to some world-renowned courses. Paul gave my husband advice about golfing on a rather tough course, offered to loan him clubs, and helped him book his tee-time.

Royal Portrush Golf Course
The Royal Portrush Golf Course – thank you Paul for arranging this!

 

I would go back to Northern Ireland to stay with the Heverin’s again in a heartbeat! Their two-room B&B is perfect for a young family. I was pregnant when we stayed there but I know our daughter would love it. They have dogs, cows, and chickens!

Tip for Booking Bed & Breakfasts: The Cash Discount

I was definitely not born to be a bargainer.  However, many Bed & Breakfasts in Ireland offer discounts if you are willing to pay upfront or in cash. The rate may vary but we encountered discounts of 5-10%. We also were frequently booking the entire lodging which I am sure helped with discounts. Don’t be afraid to ask. This is something I wouldn’t normally be very comfortable doing but it worked out well for us. You should definitely ask upfront if your B&B would consider a discount.

 

Where have you stayed in Ireland?

I was not provided any compensation for my reviews of these B&B’s. I spent a lot of time researching the perfect accommodations and wanted to share my favorites!