When it comes to unique stays Ireland has plenty. In fact, with each passing year a flurry of new quirky accommodation is brought to the market.
Every year, we do our best to pull together a guide to the most unusual and unique places to stay in Ireland for couples, solo travellers and families.
This years’s edition contains everything from secluded mountain chalets and caves (yes, caves) to domes, lighthouses and plenty more.
The most unique places to stay in Ireland
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1. The Hidden Haven
One of the most unique places to stay in Ireland that I’ve stumbled upon in recent years is The Hidden Haven, located in Derry Duff, around a 20-minute drive from Glengarriff in West Cork.
The Hidden Haven is a boutique farm stay that’s finely perched on a remote site overlooking a serene lake with mind-boggling vistas.
Although it’s the view (and the breakfast hamper packed with home made and home grown foods…) that makes this one of the most unique stays Ireland has to offer, there’s more to Hidden Haven than meets the eye.
Inside, you’ll find a spacious, light-filled interior with a fully-equipped kitchen and a bedroom that boasts a super king bed that faces out onto the deck. It sleeps two and there’s a 3-night minimum stay.
2. Goleen Harbour
The next of our unusual places to stay in Ireland is the brilliant Goleen Harbour located in, unsurprisingly, Goleen in West Cork (not far from Mizen Head).
Situated in a wild and remote location on the edge of the Atlantic, Goleen Harbour is a 38-acre eco farm where you can kick-back in a hot tub or grab a seat around a fire pit and gaze at the stars.
There are several different places to stay here – the light-filled EcoCabins that offer panoramic views of the ocean, the GeoDomes (on the left in the photo) and the bell tents.
Quirky accommodation aside, there’s a clatter of experiences on offer at Goleen, from kayaking and moonlit BBQs to foraging and more. This is one of the most unique stays Ireland has to offer for good reason!
3. Slow Cabins Kinvara
We’re off to the Burren in County Galway, next, to a secluded, 40 acre rewilded site just 1km from the village of Kinvara.
At Slow Cabins, you can expect an idyllic escape into nature. There are five off-grid cabins here, each of which boasts a Japanese and Scandinavian minimalist design.
Large windows allow light to flood in to an interior that’s equipped with a waterfall shower, a log-burner, a kitchen and a queen-sized bed.
One of the things that make Slow Cabins some of the most unique accommodation Ireland has to offer is its emphasis on ‘switching-off’ and soaking up nature – there’s a network blocking phone box at play, here, so bring a book and prepare to chilllll.
4. Letteran Lodges
Tucked away at the foot of Slieve Gallion in Derry is arguably one of the most unique places to stay in Ireland for couples – the outstanding Letteran Lodges.
Few places in Ireland offer a view (there are some, see our guide to the best accommodation with views in Ireland) that rivals the one on offer from the luxury lodges here.
Each of the lodges boast private hot tubs, views of five (yes, five) counties, a fully equipped kitchen and a luxury rainfall shower.
You can enjoy the scenery from the patio outside or you can kick-back by the fire with a coffee and admire it from the comfort of the couch. A little slice of magic.
5. The Merchant Hotel
Next up is one of the most unique hotels in Ireland – the 5 star Merchant Hotel in Belfast City. The hotel is located inside an old bank that dates back to the 1860s and it boasts an impressive interior and exterior.
The building was created in an Italianate-style and its impressive façade is dotted with sculptures. Inside, there’s a stunning central dome (see photo on the left) and an interior that screams elegance and opulence.
One of the hotels most impressive features is its Great Room Restaurant, which is located in what was once the grand banking hall. There’s also an extensive art collection, luxurious, old-world-style rooms and a spa.
If you’re looking to stay in unique hotels in Ireland and you have a decent budget, the Merchant is well worth considering.
6. Drumhierny Woodland Hideaway
Leitrim’s Drumhierny Woodland Hideaway is home to 16 lodges, each of which is nestled within their own private section of the 100-acre estate.
Habitat Lodges (‘A Frame’ style lodges designed to impress), ‘Birds of a Feather’ Lodges (traditional lodge style with luxurious interior) and ‘ReTREEt’ Lodges and ‘Wildflower’ Lodges (both contemporary style).
The Outdoor Wellbeing Sanctuary is what makes Drumihierny one the most unique places to stay in Ireland. It’s home to seaweed baths, outdoor hot tubs, sauna and loungers.
Although each lodge is kitted out to be fully self-catering, there’s also the on-site Woodpecker Cafe and the popular Beirnes of Battlebridge, a 5-minute walk from the entrance.
6. Mayo Glamping
This guide to the most unusual places to stay in Ireland has undergone 5 updates over the years, with places removed and added regularly. However, one of the few that has stood strong is Mayo Glamping.
Located in Castlebar, this glampsite is home to several types of accommodation – Hobbit Huts, Frame Cabins and Fairy Huts.
The Hobbit Huts, pictured above, are the pick of the bunch and each sleeps up to 4 people and boasts wifi and a smart TV.
The glampsite, which is set in the rolling hills of the Mayo countryside, has a hot tub, firepits, a pizza oven, and a kitchen area.
8. Clare Island Lighthouse
Mayo’s Clare Island Lighthouse is one of the more remote unique stays Ireland has to offer, but it’s well worth the 20-minute ferry ride from Roonagh Pier.
The current Clare Island Lighthouse has guarded the entrance to Clew Bay since 1818 and was decommissioned in 1965. In recent years, it opened its doors as a boutique guesthouse.
Perched atop craggy cliffs and offering views that’ll knock-you-sideways, the lighthouse boasts a sleek interior and 5 bedrooms, a kitchen, drawing room and library.
While there’s plenty to do on the island itself, you’ll find it hard to tear yourself away from the views from the rooms. If you’re looking for unique places to stay in Ireland for couples, look no further.
9. Rincolisky Castle
Although there are many castle hotels in Ireland that offer a unique experience, few match the views offered by Rincolisky Castle in West Cork (it sleeps 6).
Built by the O’Driscoll clan in 1495, the current version of Rincolisky is a world away from what its original inhabitants would have experienced.
The castle is located on an elevated site overlooking Roaring Water Bay and it now boasts a new top room with glass windows that open up onto a terrance that offers breath-taking views.
Although Rincolisky has all of the creature comforts you need, the interior has been finely preserved so that there’s a glorious mix of old-meets-new.
10. The Lost Cottage
If you’re looking for cool places to stay in Ireland that’ll be a world away from anything you’ve experienced to-date, hit play above and get a sense of what The Lost Cottage is all about.
Located in Glenbeigh in Kerry and set on an 85-acre site, the beautifully designed cottage offers majestic views over Caragh Lake and beyond.
It sleeps 4 and boasts an open plan living area, stylish decor, a log fire and a bathroom with a glass roof (it’s located in the Kerry Dark Sky Reserve, so stargazing awaits).
The cottage was home to a heard of goats for 40 years before it was meticulously restored in 2003. I’ve said enough, the footage above will do the rest.
11. Ballynatray Boathouse
Another of the new additions to our guide to the most unusual places to stay in Ireland is the brilliant Ballynatray Boathouse in Youghal in County Cork.
Perched right above the Blackwater, the boathouse offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
There’s a double room where you’ll be able to see the water from your pillow and a roll top bath where you can relax and soak up the view.
There’s also a shower, a bathroom, a small kitchen and a rocking chair where you can kick-back and take it easy.
12. Balance Treehouse
Although there’s plenty of treehouse accommodation in Ireland, the Balance Treehouse in County Armagh is arguably the one to beat.
Located along the Ring of Gullion, an area of outstanding natural beauty, this treehouse has been hand-crafted and it blends a rustic interior with all the modern conveniences you could want.
The fun begins as you cross the rope bridge. You then have your choice of relaxing on the bed while admiring the views, chilling in the hot tub, taking an outdoor shower or swaying on the hammock.
If you’re looking for unique places to stay in Ireland for couples, a night or two here should be right up your street.
13. The Cliff House
Next up is another of the most unique hotels in Ireland – the Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore in County Waterford.
Arguably one of the finest spa hotels in Ireland, the Cliff House is a 5 star stay that clings to the cliffs above Ardmore Bay.
There’s a mix of rooms on offer here, each of which makes the most out of its location (see the snaps above).
There’s also an award-winning restaurant and a luxury spa that both gaze out over the ocean.
14. Lough Mardal
The next of our quirky accommodation in Ireland takes us to County Donegal’s Lough Mardal, a 20-minute spin from Donegal Town.
There are two different options available here. The first is the Skydome Yurt – fully insulated, spacious and kitted out with a luxury super-king bed, heavy tog duvets and offering views of the surrounding lake and mountains.
The second is the Shepherd’s Hut – a little cabin with luxury furnishings, a king-sized bed and a porch offering lake views.
Then there’s the impressive communal lodge where you’ll find a self-catering kitchen, toilets, showers and a comfy lounge area where you can kick-back and soak up the views.
15. Irish National Heritage Park
Yes, you can stay in a ringfort in Wexford, and if that wasn’t enough, you can also stay in a Viking settlement!
Each of these unique Irish stays are located inside the Irish National Heritage Park – an open-air museum that tells the story of human settlement in Ireland from the Mesolithic period up to the Norman Invasion.
Both the Viking settlement and the ringfort boast a thatched roof and a central hearth. Visitors can throw on authentic costumes, cook a meal on the open fire and experience a chunk of old-world-Ireland.
Each costs €550 per night, so it isn’t cheap. However, the Viking options sleeps 4 – 8 guests, so you could spread the cost amongst friends to make it a bit more doable.
16. Armada Cottages
You’ll find the Armada Cottages in Spanish Point, situated along Clare’s rugged coastline and offering magnificent sea views from both inside and out.
There are 6 cottages here, each of which has private access to the rocky section of Spanish Point Beach (the sandy parts are a short stroll).
It’s the closeness to the sea that makes these cottages so unique – on fine days, you’ve an outside seating area to admire the view.
On wet and wild days, kick-back beside the fire and watch the Atlantic rage away from the comfort of the sitting room. There are 6 cottages and each sleeps 6.
17. Conroy’s Old Bar
If you’re looking for unique accommodation in Ireland that’ll suit a group getaway, Conroy’s Old Bar in Tipperary is likely to tickle your fancy.
You’ll likely recognise this place from Facebook or Instagram, as it tends to go viral fairly often – it’s the world’s first self-catering pub, after all.
Although it no longer holds an alcohol license, you’d be easily fooled into thinking that this is a fully operational pub, with its polished mahogany bar, complete with pumps, stools and dart board.
With room to sleep 4, you’ll find it hard to tear yourself away from the lounge with its cozy real turf fire.
18. Tubbrid Castle
Tubbrid Castle provides guests with the chance to experience life inside an extensively restored 600-year-old piece of Irish heritage.
I stayed here several years back and it was one of the most memorable nights away I’ve had in a long, long time.
Although this 15th-century tower house has been renovated to include many luxuries (like rainforest showers, modern kitchen etc.) it’s retained much of its original charm and character.
You can dine at a grand oak banqueting table, navigate the narrow stairs that’ll make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time and relax by the fire in the large open lounge area.
19. Waterfall Caves
Located in Derry on the shores of Duncrun Fishing Lakes and right beside Binevenagh Mountain is one of the more unusual places to stay in Ireland.
At Waterfall Caves, you’ll spend the night in some very modern underground caves, complete with spacious bedrooms, smart TVs and more.
However, it’s what outside that counts here. Guests can tackle one of the forest walks, drive buggies around the farm trails or roast marshmallows over a fire pit.
There’s also private hot tubs, too! If you’re looking for romantic getaways in Ireland and you fancy something unique, these are well worth considering.
20. Portsalon Luxury Camping
One of the ‘original’ unusual places to stay in Ireland is Portsalon Luxury Camping. I say ‘original’ as it has been around since 2014, long before glamping in Ireland became mainstream.
Located a stone’s throw from the beautiful Portsalon Beach in County Donegal, this place offers an adult-only experience in a part of Ireland that’s home to endless things to see and do.
Visitors will sleep in a big, cozy yurt with a king-sized bed, luxury bedding and a wood-burning stove. When you want to cook, you can head into a building with a fully kitted out kitchen.
Or, if you just fancy taking it easy, you can relax on the decking area or chill in a hammock while soaking up both sea and mountain views.
21. The Dockhouse
While there’s plenty of unique accommodation in Ireland, few boast a location as prime as the Dockhouse in Kinsale in County Cork.
A 5-minute walk from the hustle and bustle of the town, the Dockhouse overlooks the harbour and to say it makes the most of the view would be an understatement!
The main focal point is the living area which has enormous floor to ceiling windows that open and… well, look at the top right photo above!
The building can sleep 8 people and, if you manage to tear yourself away from the view, you’re a stone’s thrown from plenty of bars, restaurants and attractions.
22. Hilltop Hideaway
If you fancy a bit of luxury glamping in Northern Ireland, Newry’s Hilltop Hideaway, which is finely plonked on an elevated site that offers 360 views, is worth considering.
The Hilltop Hideaway is situated on a secluded and private site, which is handy when temptation hits and you finally climb into the hot tub.
There’s also a bathroom, shower, electric stove and an outdoor patio heater that you can chill on as you watch the sun set over the hills.
23. The Beara Bus
You’ll find The Beara Bus on the Beara Peninsula in Cork where it offers breath-taking views of Sheep’s Head and the Mizen Head Peninsula.
The bus has a bedroom (upstairs) with a king-sized bed, a toilet, shower and a fitted out kitchen and dining area.
There’s also a lovely little snug area (the drivers area) that has a gas log burner and cozy seating. There’s even a lounge complete with mood-lighting, a TV, a PS4 and a drinks fridge.
Outside, there’s a dining area for when the weathers good along with a private viewing area that takes in outstanding scenery.
What unusual places to stay in Ireland have we missed?
Although we spent a painful amount of time researching this guide to the most unique places to stay in Ireland, I’ve no doubt we’ve overlooked some.
If you know of any unique hotels in Ireland, quirky cabin, odd dwellings or any cool places to stay in Ireland that you think warrant a mention, let us know in the comments!
Keith O’Hara has lived in Ireland for 34 years and has spent most of the last 10 years creating what is now The Irish Road Trip guide. Over the years, the website has published thousands of meticulously researched Ireland travel guides, welcoming 30 million+ visitors along the way. In 2022, the Irish Road Trip team published the world’s largest collection of Irish Road Trip itineraries. Keith lives in Dublin with his dog Toby and finds writing in the 3rd person minus craic altogether.