If you frequent this website on the regular, you’ll know that we often feature unique places to stay in Ireland; both hotels and AirBnBs.
Now, I’ll be the first to throw my hands up into the air and admit that I rarely stay anywhere overly unusual in Ireland.
A hotel/hostel/BnB to me has always just been a base; somewhere to chuck your bags before heading off for a ramble.
So, in the hope that it’ll spur me on to be more adventurous with where I stay in 2019, I’ve given myself a kick in the arse and created the below bucketlist.
Loads of unique places to stay in Ireland in 2019… or die tryin’
OK, the die tryin’ is obviously me talking 💩, but you get my drift.
Here’s 17 unique places that I really want to spend a night or two in over the next year.
1 – Snooze on the edge of a cliff at Clare Island Lighthouse in Mayo
I need this place in my life.
You’ll find Clare Island at the entrance to Clew Bay in County Mayo.
For nearly two centuries, the island’s lighthouse was simply a nautical landmark; sat proudly on the islands rugged cliffs, gazing out at Westport and Achill.
You can now spend the night in this magnificent structure.
Here’s what the host says:
Where possible we have let the landscape do the talking! Clare Island Lighthouse is a retreat like no other, a special place where guests are free to while away their time in solitude or to enjoy mingling and socialising in the welcoming warmth of the kitchen, drawing room or library.
2 – Soak up Dingle from a toasty hot tub
Staying here would be the absolute epiphany of #TreatYoSelf.
OK, so this one isn’t necessarily about the room or the hotel itself; it’s all about the hot tub and the views.
I’ve been going mad to stay in the Dingle Skellig hotel for the last couple of years, solely to kick back in their hot tub that looks out over Dingle Bay.
This view + a glass of whiskey + hot, bubbling water = life.
You’d have to drag me out of it by the head.
The fact that it’s just a stone’s throw from some of the most beautiful scenery in Ireland sweetens the deal that little bit more.
3 – Hang out in a forest in Wicklow from inside a treehouse tent
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.
Here’s what they say about what is soon to be my nest for a couple of nights:
This unique and comfortable outdoor shelter is not only fun and immensely comfortable, but also elevates you above ground conditions, insects and other creepies. The interior consists of three spacious bays with a rip-resistant insect-mesh top overhead. Access via floor hatch in the centre and a large front door.”
Probably best to avoid having a few cans before hopping in for the night.
Looking for things to do in Wicklow? Check out our one-day Wicklow guide.
4 – Be the King of your castle… literally
I’ve always wanted to kip in a castle; once it’s not haunted, that is…
Just 25 minutes from Galway City stands a beautiful, original medieval castle that can be yours to call home for a couple of nights from just 130 quid.
Built sometime 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
Here’s what Peter, the host, says about this incredible place:
There are lots of sheep and cows in the nearby fields – but lots of peace and quiet. his is a very unique place to stay. There’s nothing like it around, where you can say that you stayed in an actual castle. It’s not a tourist attraction (like Blarney Castle) and it’s not pristine like a hotel, but you’ll have a great time visiting.”
Here’s 13 swanky castles you can spend a night in Ireland.
5 – Dive into some of Ireland’s treehouse accommodation in West Cork
You’ll find this unique place to stay in Ireland 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… 😍😍😍😍😍
How the host describes it
Here you’ll find your own, private two-person Canadian hot-tub, chairs and a table. You’ll be drawn to this area both day and night. It has a magical quality and there’s something wonderful about being up in the trees, at one with nature.”
Fancy exploring this part of Ireland? Check out our 4-day that takes in 30 of the best things to do in West Cork.
6 – Live like Frodo in Donegal for a night at this Hobbitpod by the beach
We wrote about this insanely unique AirBnB in Ireland during the summer.
Since then 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 into the rugged landscape of Southwest Donegal in Glencolumbkille.
It was recently voted ‘Best Play to Stay 2018’ by the Irish Times and had previously been given the illustrious title of ‘Best Place in Ireland to Get Away from it All’ (2017) by The Times.
Can you see why… 😍
What the hosts say
This bespoke ‘one-off’ retreat is a perfect ‘minimoon’/Honeymoon destination in a wilderness landscape. Walk to the secluded beach or up ‘your’ mountain to discover the seven lakes. Be a Hobbit for a few days and enjoy some mountain life by the sea!”
Looking for things to do in Donegal? Here’s a 3-day road trip you can steal!
7 – Gaze at the stars from a cosy forest dome in Fermanagh
So, you’ve probably come across the bubble/forest domes in Finn Lough many times before.
They’ve graced a million articles. And it’s not hard to see why.
The one things these guys have going against them (in my opinion) is the price – 2 nights here (based on a search I did for a weekend in February) will set you back a whopping £345.
That being said, I know a few people who’ve stayed here and they loved it.
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.
Here’s what the host of arguably the most unique place to stay in Ireland has to say:
Escape the noise of the outside world and enjoy stargazing in comfort for the perfect romantic break in Northern Ireland. Featuring bespoke four poster bed, ensuite bathroom, Nespresso coffee machine, fluffy robe and slippers and daily breakfast.”
If your visiting Fermanagh, make sure to carve out some time to check out Ireland’s very own “Great Wall”.
8 – Live Like Harry Potter in this gorgeous old 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.
What the hosts say
It is indeed fortunate that we, the current owners, take great care of it and are in a position to allow it to continue to be among the few castles in Ireland to rent on an exclusive basis for the likes of weddings, honeymooners, family reunions or other milestone events, or just for those who wish to have the unique experience of having an entire real medieval Irish castle privately to themselves.”
9 – 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, the 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.
Here’s what the host has to say:
A hall leads out to the gardens, with steps leading up to a small apple orchard from which are views of the surrounding countryside, mills, church spires and the nearby historic Augustinian Priory. Situated in an idyllic rural location, the Mill Cottage is for someone looking for something special and unique.”
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 – Go off the grid for a while in this cottage in Donegal with a private beach
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).
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.
The Guardian newspaper visited this rental recently and here’s what they thought;
12 – Live the dream in this stone cottage by the beach in Connemara
You may have seen us writing about this little Connemara gem recently.
It’s 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. Old school on the outside, and insanely stylish on the inside.
This place is a wonderfully unique Irish AirBnB.
What the host says:
It is only a few meters from a wonderful quiet sandy beach, with views of the Twelve Bens and across the ocean to the Arann Islands. The setting is magical and remote with just rabbits, sheep and Connemara ponies as your neighbours.”
13 – 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.
A little slice of perfection.
Welcome to the Green House.
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!
What the host says:
The bright open plan, split level living area is ideal for relaxed holiday entertaining. Unique interiors w designer furniture and an established garden surrounded by incredible walks. 3 pubs w food and a beach at the end of the drive! Panoramic sea & mountain views and just a short drive to the lively Dingle town. RURAL BLISS!”
Just take my damn money.
14 – 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 travelers 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 center.
What the host says:
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.”
15 – 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.
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.
What the host says:
Surrounded by breathtaking scenery, there is no shortage of things to see and places to explore or you can choose to just kick back and relax on our easy going site. Our local village of Portsalon has a wonderful 3 mile long blue flag sandy beach. Peaceful, tranquil and secluded, our site is the perfect escape from a hectic pace of life.”
16 – Bask in complete seclusion at Delphi Resort in Leenane
So, this isn’t overly unique in comparison to some of the places above, but it’s located near one of my favourite villages in Ireland – Leenane
Just look at this…
Delphi Resort can be found at the heart of the spectacular Delphi Valley, and those that spend a night here will be spoiled thanks to a location that’s enveloped by a rugged wild Atlantic landscape.
The best part? You can lap it all up from the waters of the leisure suite.
Take me here. Now… Please.
What the host says:
With its stunning scenic location, Delphi is a world apart and a haven for romantic getaways, special occasions, adventure-filled family holidays and wellness escapes. Situated just 10 mins from Leenane, Connemara, 30 mins from Westport and 80 mins from Galway City, Delphi Resort is surrounded by magical scenic drives along the Wild Atlantic Way. “
17 – Have a buzz with friends at the driest pub in all of Ireland
You may have seen this place before.
Welcome to Conroy’s Old Bar in County Tipperary.
I’m turning 30 this year and this place looks like the ideal spot to spend with a group of friends.
Now, while Conroy’s is packed with charm and character, the one thing that it doesn’t come equipped with is a fully stocked and functioning bar.
Often referred to locally as ‘The Pub With No Beer’, the premises no longer holds a liquor licence, and is completely dry of 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.
What the host has to say:
The old snug next to the lounge is now a double bedroom with en-suite wc and what was once the cellar/keg store is now home to a super king-sized bed, complete with the old beer barrel delivery door and sloping floor to aid the moving of the barrels.”