Ireland is a land of magic and beauty and its hotels exhibit all of these qualities. From the modern city of Dublin to the quiet shores by Waterford, Irish hotels have a charm all their own. The republic of Ireland takes up 26 of the 32 traditional counties on the island of Ireland. The counties of Northern Ireland are referred to as Ulster by most Irish. Surrounded by water, Ireland features magnificent beaches. Ireland is also a country of mountains, with the plain that Dublin is located on running from the sea to the mountains.
Dublin takes up most of the plain area of Ireland. Here you can find local hotels, bed and breakfasts and even apartments to rent. Most of these are modern and have all the conveniences found in any grand hotel. Rooming houses are a long tradition in Ireland, and many bed and breakfasts are converted homes. Apartments tend to be in multiple floored buildings and are a great place to stay with a large group. Hotels in Dublin also include some world known brands that most travelers would be familiar with.
In the city of Cork, Ireland’s second largest city, hotel choices gravitate to more older and ornate buildings. Many hotels are over 100 years old. Yet, you can still find some new hotels in the city center. Local bed and breakfasts here tend to be individual buildings including farmhouses and former cottages or great houses. Apartments are found again in the down town area, in buildings designed to be time shares or renovated apartment buildings. Don’t forget to kiss the Blarney Stone in Blarney Castle which is located near Cork.
Moving on to the Killarney area, some hotels here offer the full resort treatment including spas, golf and private beaches. In this area of Ireland, there are more bed and breakfasts than any other type of lodging, so if you have never tried a bed and breakfast out, this is a good place to start. Many of these inns are located in farmhouses or large country homes and are run by gracious hosts. Apartments are not a common type of lodging in Ireland outside of the major cities.
In Limerick, the hotels run from modern new establishments to a number of full service spas. In this area of Ireland, the hotels and the bed and breakfasts are about equal in number with multiple choices at each service level. This is the region with most of Ireland’s castles, and with a little luck, you can arrange to stay at one. Don’t miss the Cliffs of Moher while you are visiting Limerick.
Waterford is another popular tourist area and here, too, you can find castle hotels and bed and breakfasts. Famous for its crystal, Waterford is also home to a great golf course and several magnificent churches. Here you can also mix with the local culture by staying at bed and breakfasts. And yes, you can tour the Waterford crystal factory.
For a special treat, there are six areas in Ireland that specialize in speaking Irish. Here you will find all the signs in Irish including the street names. The largest two Irish speaking areas are located near Waterford and Galway. Galway is a very Bohemian city in west Ireland and has numerous festivals each year. The Galway area of Ireland also hosts youth hostels which are prevalent in some of the lesser populated areas in Ireland. The government sponsors these hostels for traveling students and you can locate them through Ireland’s official tourist board web site. Youth hostels are very minimal accommodations and are certainly not for everyone.