The Best Boutique Hotels in Ireland

The Emerald Isle is Home to Some of Europe’s Most Stunning Properties

France and Italy may get the lion’s share of attention when it comes to stunning European hotel properties, but we’d like to propose Ireland as the dark horse in this race. The lush island is sprinkled with beautiful castles, grand manors, and elegant city properties that can rival the best hotels from Paris or Tuscany. Plus, with a flight time of less than seven hours from the East Coast, visiting this famed Emerald Isle on a short trip is eminently doable. Read on for seven of the most amazing boutique hotels in Ireland.

Adare Manor (Adare, Country Limerick, Ireland)

5 Stars | Website | Cork Airport

104 | Free WiFi; Indoor swimming pool; Spa; Fitness center | 1

Bunratty Castle & Folk Park; King John’s Castle; The Hunt Museum

Located just outside the charming village of Adare, this grand manor home is a rare example of a “Calendar House”: it possesses 365 leaded windows, 52 chimneys, 7 stone pillars, and 4 towers to mark the days, weeks, and seasons in a year. A recent renovation of the entire property has made Adare one of the finest manor house hotels in Europe; and an on-site Michelin-starred restaurant means you don’t even need to leave to find stellar food. Guests can also enjoy the 840 acres of manicured grounds, a Tom Fazio-designed golf course, and activities like falconry and fishing.

Ashford Castle (Cong, County Galway, Ireland)

5 Stars | Website | Shannon Airport

82 | Fitness center; Golf Course; Spa; Indoor swimming pool | 3

Ashford Castle; Cong Abbey; Aughnanure Castle

The former home of the Guinness family, this 83-room estate has been synonymous with luxury since opening in 1915. The castle itself may be 800 years old, but extensive renovations to the building have brought the infrastructure up to 21st century standards without sacrificing any of its charm. Guests can wander the 350 acres of woods, cruise the nearby lake, or take a swim in the indoor pool outfitted with seashell chandeliers.

Ballyfin Demesne (Ballyfin, County Laois, Ireland)

5 Stars | Website | Dublin Airport

21 | Fitness center; Spa; Indoor swimming pool; Free WiFi | 2

Rock of Dunamase; Emo Court House; Arderin

This Relais and Chateaux property smack dab in the center of the country is a perfect choice for those who enjoy a country house experience leveled up with superb food, drink, and sumptuous rooms. But there’s also plenty of beauty outside the property; the hotel is situated at the foot of Slieve Bloom Mountains, a tranquil and romantic spot. We also love how each room here is decorated uniquely and exquisitely, to reflect the classic proportions of the manor home. If you can tear yourself away from your room’s fluffy bed, there’s also much to do on property, from clay pigeon shooting, to horseback riding, to archery.

Cashel Palace Hotel (Cashel, County Tipperary, Ireland)

5 Stars | Website | Cork Airport

42 | 2 swimming pools; Fitness center; Spa; Free WiFi | 1

St. Dominick’s Abbey; Rock of Cashel; Hore Abbey

This Palladian mansion is one of the newest luxury properties to open in Ireland. Located by the famed Rock of Cashel in scenic County Tipperary, the small property boasts 42 rooms including nine oversized suites complete with fireplaces and deep soaking tubs. Another Relais and Chateaux member, the food here is worth the trip alone: the on-site restaurant Bishop’s Buttery serves some of the finest contemporary Irish cuisine in the country. And horse lovers make special note: the hotel employs a dedicated equine concierge.

Dromoland Castle (Dromoland, County Clare, Ireland)

5 Stars | Website | Shannon Airport

97 | Indoor swimming pool; Golf Course; Spa; Fitness center | 1

Dromoland Castle; O’Regan Park; Shannon Wetland

This castle about a half hour outside of Limerick has been a hotel since the 1960s, but the original building dates back to the astounding 1000s. Of course, much has changed since then (to put it mildly), but a sense of history is imbued in every stone of this property. We especially love the oversized rooms, many of which have postcard-perfect views of the nearby lake. Guest activities here run the gamut from playing golf on the hotel’s own championship, 18-hole course, to tours of the estate by horse and carriage, to stand-up paddleboarding on Dromoland Lough.

Sheen Falls Lodge (Kenmare, County Kerry, Ireland)

5 Stars | Website | Killarney Airport

72 | Indoor swimming pool; Tennis Court; Fitness center; Spa | 1

Killarney National Park; Muckross House; Torc Waterfall

Yet another Relais & Chateaux property, this one just outside the cheery village of Kenmare, Sheen Falls Lodge is known equally for its superb on-site restaurant The Falls and its spectacular location on Kenmare Bay. Notably, every one of the rooms here has a view, which makes it an especially appealing choice for those who want to immerse themselves in County Kerry’s famed landscape.  And, since new ownership took over in 2018, the lodge is more elegant than ever, with perks like afternoon tea, photography excursions, and guided hawk walks.

The Shelbourne (St. Stephens Green, Dublin, Ireland)

5 Stars | Website | Dublin Airport

265 | Indoor swimming pool; Fitness center; Spa | 4

Merrion Square; Book of Kells; Irish Whiskey Museum; Dublin Castle

Few hotels in Ireland, let alone Europe, boast the historical pedigree that this Dublin property can; the Irish Constitution was actually drafted here. But aside from its importance to the country, this is also just the most stylish and elegant bolthole in the capital city. Many rooms overlook the famed St. Stephen’s Green, and all feature feathertop mattresses and high-thread-count, Egyptian cotton bed linens. Don’t miss the afternoon tea here, perhaps the most famous in all of Dublin; or grabbing a drink at No. 27 The Shelbourne Bar, one of the city’s most in-demand watering holes.

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