Staying in Ireland
Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin
Excellent hotels exist all over the country, ranging from gracious mansions and old inns to ultra-modern minimalist edifices; most tended to be rather expensive until the recent downturn in the economy, as a result of which many now offer excellent value.
Cheaper hotels have always existed, but vary a lot in quality.
Bed & Breakfast (B&B) / Guest Houses are almost always the best value accommodation in most parts of Ireland.
An Oige [Youth] Hostels are very cheap, but tend to be in remote locations, and usually involve dormitories and curfews.
Independent Hostels are not quite so cheap, but are usually situated in or near urban centres and are a lot more flexible.
“Self-catering” houses / apartments are increasingly available to vacationers in both urban and rural areas.
Traditional thatched cottages with old-style “half doors” are available for rent in the south and west of Ireland. Although old-fashioned in appearance, most are fully equipped with all mod cons. Suitable for groups of 3-12.
“House swaps” between Irish and foreign families are arranged by agencies, and nowadays on the Internet you can do it yourself, or rent an entire dwelling, or just a room in a private house. Remember that most Irish people live in houses, not flats.
Universities / student Halls of Residence sometimes provide accommodation for visitors in summer, especially language students.
Host families look after many visitors who come to learn English, and most students enjoy the experience.
Modern camper caravans, RVs, trailers, “mobile homes” etc. are legally confined to officially designated campsites, of which there are two types: those designed for holidaymakers, which vary in quality, and those designed for the Travellers‘ community, where visitors may not feel very comfortable.
Horse drawn caravans are available for hire in Counties Cork, Kerry and Wicklow. This is a wonderful, relaxing way to appreciate the countryside. It is, however, slow. Expect to cover about 10 miles per day. Be prepared too for some work: feeding, grooming and harnessing your horse can be time consuming and take effort. The caravans are generally designed to cater for four persons and are fairly basic. In high season, expect to pay €500-€600 for a week’s hire plus about €8.50 per night for overnight parking.
Camping in tents is an option for teenagers and masochists. Although not confined to official campsites, campers should be cautious of setting up tents without landowners’ permission.