If you pop by our website regularly, you’ll know I’m reasonably obsessed with unique places to stay in Ireland; both hotels and AirBnBs.
It kicked off when I first saw the Hobbit Pod in Donegal (you’ll find it below) and it climaxed when I had my very own castle for a night in Kilkenny (below, also).
In the following guide, we’ll take you through the most unique and unusual places to stay in Ireland, from bubble domes and treehouse accommodation to castles, ring forts and lots more.
Hit play on the video below if you can’t be arsed reading.
The Most Unusual and Unique Places to Stay in Ireland
- The Lost Cottage, Kerry
- The Library, Donegal
- The Ringfort, Wexford
- Clare Island Lighthouse, Mayo
- Treehouse with a hot tub, West Cork
- The Birdbox, Donegal
- A round tower in Drogheda
- A pub in Tipperary
- A beach house on Valentia Island
- A bubble dome in Fermanagh
There’s nearly 20 additional spots to the ones on the list above. Ready to dive in? Let’s go!
I’m going to break these unique rentals up into a handful of different categories, to make it easier for you to check out the ones that interest you the most.
1 – The Lost Cottage, Kerry (the most incredible accommodation Ireland has to offer, in my opinion)
Our first unique place to stay in Ireland takes us to the Kingdom of Kerry.
Beautifully set within 85 lush acres of private land in County Kerry, the Lost Cottage is a little chunk of stylish paradise.
For those of you in search of a dash of luxury along with a view that’ll knock you sideways, then this should tickle your fancy.
This is the scenery that the cottage faces out onto… And you can soak it all up right from your bed. Or while you enjoy your morning coffee.
2 – The Library, Donegal
I could lock myself away in this place for a month without batting an eyelid.
Why? Well… just look at it.
You’ll find ‘The Library’ on the secluded Inch Island in County Donegal.
The house itself dates back to the 17th century and was carefully restored and renovated a few years back.
You’ll have your pick of an extensive selection of books and a beautiful fireplace to chill by.
3 – The Ring Fort, Wexford
This. Place. Is. Amazing.
If you’ve ever wanted to stay in a Medieval ring fort, then this place will be right up your street. Those of you that spend a night here will be laying your head in ‘The Farmers house’.
It’s here that you’ll experience life as it would have been for our ancestors in the time of the Druids.
The best part? The ring fort is set in the grounds of the Irish National Heritage Park, and you’ll have full access to the 35 acre park after it closes to the public.
Easily one of the most unique places to stay in Ireland.
4 – Clare Island Lighthouse, Mayo
Clare Island Lighthouse is situated at the most northerly point of the Clare Island in Mayo, high up on the cliffs, offering a breath-taking view out over the surrounding mountains.
Built in 1806, Clare Island Lighthouse was decommissioned in 1965, after an whopping 159 years of service.
The lighthouse was lovingly restored by its current owner and can now be rented out for a couple of nights at a time.
The views from the bedrooms alone have me itching to visit!
5 – The West Cork treehouse… with a hot tub
You’ll find this gorgeous little rental in one of my favourite parts of Ireland – West Cork.
Nestled in the branches of spruce pines, this is a little bit of quirky luxury to base yourself in as you explore the beauty that lays all around you in West Cork.
This rental boasts luxury combined with nature and has been constructed 100% from sustainable materials, leaving no carbon footprint.
The icing on the cake? A hot tub… with a big-ass tree right next to it… that looks out onto the West Cork countryside…
6 – The Birdbox, Donegal
Whoever snapped the photos of our next unique place to stay in Ireland knew exactly what they were doing.
Welcome to the Birdbox.
The Birdbox is a cosy, handcrafted treehouse that’s nestled in the branches of beautiful mature oak and scots pine trees in County Donegal.
This treehouse accomodation boasts spectacular views towards Glenveagh National Park that you can soak up while you chill in the morning with a coffee, or with something a little stronger as the sun starts to set.
7 – A treehouse tent, Wicklow
A Tent… that hangs from the trees…
I’ve been daydreaming about this place for the last couple of weeks.
Hoovering up fresh country air, saturated with the smell of pine, while warming the feet by a campfire as a couple of fat sausages sizzle away.
Living the dream!
These lads on Airbnb have a site close to Rathdrum Village in County Wicklow.
Probably best to avoid having a few cans before hopping in for the night.
8 – Admire the view from this treehouse in Cork City
Wooden you love to stay here… I’ll get my coat…
Treehouse accommodation seems to be all the rage in Ireland at the minute.
This AirBnB is a legit, fully insulated treehouse that offers travellers spectacular views out over Cork City.
For those of you that fancy sticking reasonably central, you’ll be glad to hear that it’s just 5 minutes from Cork city centre.
What the host says:
“This structure is a real tree house and is designed to move slightly in strong winds. The accommodation is unmatched in Ireland whereby it is situated in an urban oasis in a large, quiet garden but is high in the leafy tree tops with a panoramic view of our beautiful city.
It lies in the corner of of a large garden which was originally a Victorian garden, complete with paths and ponds(URL HIDDEN) The sleeping accommodation is fully insulated to a modern spec., with heating suitable for all seasons. It has a double bed with superior quality linen.”
9 – A Hobbitpod by the beach, Donegal
Since I first saw this ridiculously unusual and unique place to stay in Ireland back in the summer of 2018, I’ve been plotting away in the hope of finding a couple of free days to head off to Donegal and try it out.
This Airbnb is hosted by Greg and Lukas and can be found tucked away in Southwest Donegal.
It was recently voted ‘Best Play to Stay 2018’ by the Irish Times – can you see why… ?
10 – Chillllll in this big aul tower/castle in Drogheda
This place looks beyond class.
Victoria Drummond Tower was built in 1858 and was recently restored into a small dwelling that can be rented during certain months of the year.
For those visiting, you’ll have access to the entire tower.
The big attraction, for me, is the roof level where guests can enjoy extensive views of the surrounding countryside.
11 – Have a buzz with friends at the driest pub in all of Ireland
Welcome to Conroy’s Old Bar in County Tipperary.
Now, while Conroy’s is arguably the most unique place to stay in Ireland, and yes, it’s packed with charm and character, the one thing that it doesn’t come equipped with is a fully stocked and functioning bar.
Referred to locally as ‘The Pub With No Beer’, the premises no longer holds a licence for selling alcohol.
Situated in a sleepy little village in north Tipperary, close to Lough Derg and the River Shannon, it’s well off the beaten track – perfect for those looking to escape city life for a couple of nights.
12 – Finn Lough Bubble Domes, Fermanagh
Imagine gazing up at the stars while you’re wrapped up snugly in a warm, duvet cocoon with the only thing separating you from the outside elements being a thin, transparent wall – magic.
So, you’ve probably come across the bubble domes in Finn Lough many times before.
They’re visually spectacular and have graced an endless number of articles online and in print over the last few years.
If you’re looking for Finn Lough Bubble Dome deals, then you’ll be looking for a while.
I’ve checked their website on many occasions looking to see if the price would drop to an amount that I’d be comfortable paying (the last I checked it was £245 per night), but I’ve never had any joy.
13 – The Merchant Hotel, Belfast
You’ll find this place in Belfast City’s buzzy Cathedral Quarter.
It’s hard to believe that this 5 star hotel was once the headquarters of Ulster Bank.
The Merchant Hotel on Waring Street in Belfast went under a £16.5 million refurbishment back in 2010, which transformed it into one of the most unique places to stay in Northern Ireland.
The exterior of the building is Italianate in style, which was a popular feature of High Victorian Architecture.
14 – Kick back in this Enchanting Cottage in Kells
There’s something incredibly special about a thatch-roofed cottage.
Maybe it’s because they’re so rare to see these days (especially if you’re a city dweller), which is why it’s on this list.
Originally built in the late 18th century, this charming cottage has been refurbished and restored to recreate ‘old world charm, with a modern twist’, according to the hosts.
I can easily picture myself kicking back in the couch below in front of the fire on a wet, blustery winters evening.
15 – Live the dream in this stone cottage by the beach in Connemara
The next rental in our guide to the most unique places to stay in Ireland takes us to a magnificently restored stone cottage in Galway that’s plonked right next to a beach!
All. Kinds. Of. Want.
Folan’s Cottage in Connemara is a beautiful designed holiday home that was rebuilt in 2010 from two ruined stone cottages. It’s old school on the outside, and insanely stylish on the inside.
16 – Konk out in arguably the best AirBnB in Kerry for those in search of a great view
This gorgeous rental in Kerry has literally everything going for it.
Just look at the view that you’ll be treated to as you kick back in the morning with a coffee or in the evening with a bottle of beer.
Finely situated a handy 3-minute stroll from Brandon Pier (where you can grab a drink or a bite to eat in Murphy’s Bar overlooking Brandon Bay), this 2-bed Airbnb is the first thing I’d look to buy if I ever win the Euro Millions!
Just take my damn money.
17 – Embrace #YurtLife at Portsalon Luxury Camping
If you read the 3-day Donegal road trip guide that we published recently, you’ll probably recognise this gem of a place.
You’ll also see it in our guide to 24 of the best places to go glamping in Ireland.
Portsalon Luxury Camping is situated on a hill in the North of Donegal – an area surrounded by an abundance of breath-taking landscape.
The thing that you’ll be spending the night in is known as a ‘Yurt’. Yes, ‘Yurt’.
The biggest draw Portsalon Luxury Glamping has for me is that it offers the perfect mix of nature and comfort.
You can kick back in bed with the wood stove blazing away (perfect for the winter months) and on the warmer evenings, or if you fancy sitting out with a few layers, there’s a decking area with outdoor seating and a fire pit.
18 – A cottage with a private beach in Donegal
I wrote a guide recently on the 20 best places to stay in Ireland if you’re in search of an amazing view – this place was a gem that I missed (see the guide here).
For me, the most unique places to stay in Ireland take you off the grid and immerse you into something completely different.
This traditional Irish cottage is sat right on the seashore and has direct access to a private sandy beach, so you can fall asleep to the sound of the waves and get up for sunrise on the sand.
I’m not far from the coast in Dublin, but this is just on a completely different level.
Imagine waking up and having your morning coffee right on the sandy shores below.
19 – A pre-famine cottage in Galway
This beautifully restored Pre-Famine cottage should appeal to those of you that fancy stepping into a bit of ‘old-world’ Ireland.
You can’t bate an aul thatch roof!
Listed on The Financial Times as ‘a tranquil escape from the bustle of modern life’, this is a cosy little getaway for those of you looking to abandon the city and embrace the countryside for a few nights.
There’s no TV or WiFi, so bring a book to chill with.
In front of the gorgeous fire below.
20 – Errigal House, Donegal
You’ll find Errigal House located at the base of Errigal Mountain in Donegal.
This rental offers those that spend a night or two an almost endless number of spectacular views of the surrounding mountains from every window.
Imagine chilling with a coffee here as the sun rises?! Magic.
Just look at the view from the foot of the bed…
If you fancy staying in a castle, check out our guide to the best castle hotels in Ireland.
21 – Tubbrid Castle, Kilkenny
You’ll find Tubbrid Castle just outside of Kilkenny City (20-minute drive) down some quiet country lanes and set against the backdrop of rolling mountains.
I spent a night here at the start of April and it was pretty damn special.
John, the host, lovingly restored this place so that it offers guests a unique castle stay while also providing the perfect dollop of luxury.
An ideal place to rent with the family or a group of friends.
22 – Live Like Harry Potter in a castle in Clare
Ever fancy renting a castle and living like Harry and the lads in Gryffindor tower for a couple of nights?
Well, the magnificent Ballyhannon Castle can be yours to rent from €140 per person per night (based on a group of 25).
Ballyhannon Castle is a medieval Irish castle that dates back to the 15th century, and can be found near the village of Quin in County Clare.
The castle is a listed/protected structure, so those that stay here will be treated to a dwelling that has been fully preserved in all of its original glory.
23 – Be the King of your castle… literally
You’ll find this castle a handy 25-minute drive from Galway City.
Built some time during the 1400’s, the castle has been refurbished in the last decade, and comprises of a master bedroom upstairs, with access to the turret, a living room, dining room, and two guest bedrooms
It’s mad to think that you can call home for a couple of nights from just 130 quid.
Here’s what Peter, the host, says about this incredible place:
“What to expect: lots of winding staircases, a castle that has been lovingly restored, but there are some cobwebs, and it gives you the real Irish castle experience. It’s not pristine, it’s not perfect, but it’s a real castle.’
A map of unique places to stay in Ireland
And that, folks, is a wrap.
Is there a unique place to stay in Ireland that we’ve missed? Let me know in the comments section below and we’ll check it out!
Hungry for more? Check out our guide to the 20 best places to stay in Ireland if you fancy an out-of-this-world-view.