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Language: Irish Gaelic | Currency: Euro (€) | Local time: GMT | Avg. Flight time: 1 hrs
Ireland’s hotels are at their grandest in Dublin. In the tall Georgian buildings around Grafton Street you’ll find some of the cream of the crop, a phrase which provides an irresistible opportunity to mention Samuel Beckett’s famous quote about nearby Dublin University containing the “cream of Ireland: rich and thick”.
Even here in the capital, however, you can find quality budget accommodation by venturing away from the centre – there are some great cheap deals to be snapped up if you’re prepared to stay a little away from all the action.
Other regions of Ireland with superb hotels and resorts – particularly where luxuriously renovated manors and castles are concerned – include County Mayo and County Donegal. But in general terms, it’s fair to say that wherever Ireland’s chief visitor attractions are found, quality lodgings are never far away.
Some holidaymakers enjoy the traditional hospitality of a family-run B&B; others prefer the pampering potential of Ireland’s best spa hotels, or the back-to-nature pull of the country’s campsites and caravan parks (which represent some of Ireland’s best cheap accommodation). They’re all in good supply.
New openings continue to shape Ireland’s hotel scene. Making big news recently is an option with a difference: the Belmond Grand Hibernian is a new luxury train with modern cabins that covers various routes around the country, and in serious style.
Whether you plump for the two-night Taste of Ireland itinerary or the longer, six-night Grand Tour of Ireland option, the train has added an extra dimension to Ireland’s five-star offering – and the food’s pretty special too.
At the other end of the market, there’s much in the way of hostel accommodation. They call Ireland ‘The Land of A Thousand Welcomes’, which is rather understating things, as there are close to 8,000 beds in the hostel sector alone.
When coupled with the 130,000 hotel beds found across Ireland, they add up to a lot of competition – and competitive rates. You can, however, expect an increase in overnight rates around major local events such as bank holidays, festivals and big sporting occasions.
In Ireland as elsewhere, it’s always wise to allow yourself some time to book accommodation in advance. It might make your itinerary less flexible if you’re planning a full tour of the country, but it can help save you a considerable amount of money, and time.