Ireland’s 100 Best Places to Stay – and they're surprisingly affordable
"It's about authenticity"
McKennas' Guides has published its 100 Best Places to Stay in Ireland, with some fascinating inclusions... and exclusions.
The influential guide features 12 new entries this year, ranging from Dublin’s five-star Marker Hotel to Glencarrig Farmhouse B&B on Co. Clare’s Loop Head peninsula.
Ard Na Sidhe in Co. Kerry – recently voted one of the world’s best affordable places to stay by Condé Nast Traveler - also makes the cut for the first time.
Cork City’s River Lee Hotel is new to the list for this year, as are the Bridge House and Lis-Ardagh Lodge in West Cork, The White Cottages in Skerries, Co. Dublin, Milltown House in Dingle, Léim Siar in Belmullet and the Blue Book’s Newforge House in Co. Armagh.
Galway gets two new entries - The Huntsman Inn and The Stop B&B.
One of the big features of the guide is its affordability and focus on small business.
Just four five-star hotels make the cut, for example, and rooms at Glencarrig and The Stop are currently listed from just €32.50pp and €35pp respectively.
None of Ashford Castle, Sheen Falls Lodge, The Merrion Hotel or Adare Manor make the 100 Best list, despite winning numerous international accolades (all four featured in Condé Nast Traveler's most recent list of the Top 15 hotels in Ireland).
Harvey’s Point in Donegal – recently voted TripAdvisor’s No.1 hotel in Ireland for the third year running - is also conspicuous by its absence.
The Marker Hotel, Dublin
"I respect things done well at the five-star level," said John McKenna.
"But the STAY 2015 app is aimed at people coming into Ireland for a holiday, and what we've learned over the years is that they want to meet the owner... It's about an intimate, homegrown experience, about feeling that you are in somebody's home - that's what visitors to Ireland are looking for."
"Ultimately it has to be places I want to stay," he added.
Cork accounts for more than a fifth of all entries, with 21 in total.
Ireland's 100 Best Places To Stay
Kilgraney Country House, Bagenalstown
Step House Hotel, Main Street, Borris
MacNean Townhouse, Blacklion
The Olde Post Inn, Cloverhill, Butler’s Bridge
Glencarrig Farmhouse B&B, Carrigaholt [NEW]
Gregan’s Castle, Ballyvaughan
Hotel Doolin, Doolin
Moy House, Lahinch
Stella Maris, O’Connell Street, Kilkee
Vaughan Lodge Hotel, Lahinch
Wild Honey Inn, Kincora Road, Lisdoonvarna
Ballinterry House, Rathcormac, Fermoy
Ballymaloe House, Shanagarry
Ballyvolane House, Castlelyons, Fermoy
Blindgate House, Kinsale
Bridge House, Skibbereen [NEW]
Fortview House, Goleen
Gallán Mór, Durrus
Garnish House, Cork City
Glebe Country House, Ballinadee, Bandon
The Glen, Kilbrittain
Gort na nain Farm Vegetarian Guesthouse, Nohoval
Gougane Barra Hotel, Macroom
Grove House, Schull
Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa, Clonakilty
Lancaster Lodge, Cork City
Lis-Ardagh Lodge, Union Hall [NEW]
Newtown House, Kinsalebeg, Youghal
Rolf’s Country House, Baltimore Hill, Baltimore
River Lee Hotel, Cork [NEW]
Sea View House Hotel, Ballylickey
Castle Murray House Hotel, Dunkineely
The Glen House, Clonmany
The Mill Restaurant, Dunfanaghy
Rathmullan House, Rathmullan
Aberdeen Lodge, Ballsbridge
Ariel House, Lansdowne Road
Brooks Hotel, Drury Street
Kelly’s Hotel, South Great George’s Street
The Marker Hotel, Grand Canal Square [NEW]
Number 31, Lower Leeson Street
Pembroke Town House, Ballsbridge [NEW]
The White Cottages, Skerries [NEW]
Angler’s Return, Roundstone
Ballynahinch Castle, Connemara
Connemara Coast Hotel, Furbo
Dolphin Beach, Clifden
The Heron’s Rest, Galway
The House Hotel, Galway
The Huntsman Inn, Galway [NEW]
Inis Meáin Suites, Inis Meáin, Aran Islands
Kilmurvey House, Inis Mór, Aran Islands
Lough Inagh Lodge, Recess
The Quay House, Clifden
Renvyle House, Connemara
Sea Mist House, Clifden
The Stop B&B, Galway [NEW]
The Twelve Hotel, Barna
Ard na Sidhe, Killorglin [NEW]
Brook Lane Hotel, Kenmare
Castlewood House, Dingle
Emlagh House, Dingle
Heaton’s House & Restaurant, Dingle
Hotel Europe, Fossa, Killarney
The Killarney Park Hotel, Killarney
Milltown House, Dingle [NEW]
QC’S, Cahersiveen, Ring of Kerry
The Ross, Town Centre, Killarney
Shelburne Lodge, Kenmare
Ivyleigh House, Portlaoise
Roundwood House, Mountrath
The Mustard Seed, Echo Lodge, Ballingarry
Number One Pery Square, Limerick
Viewmount House, Longford
Ghan House, Carlingford
Bervie, Keel, Achill Island
Knockranny House, Westport
Léim Siar, Blacksod, Belmullet [NEW]
Mulranny Park Hotel, Mulranny, Westport
Stella Maris, Ballycastle
Coopershill House, Riverstown
Inch House, Thurles
The Old Convent, Clogheen
Cliff House Hotel, Ardmore
Glasha Farmhouse, Ballymacarbry
Richmond House, Cappoquin
The Tannery Restaurant, Dungarvan
Lough Bishop House, Colinstown
Wineport Lodge, Glassan, Athlone
Kelly’s Resort Hotel, Rosslare
Ballyknocken House, Ashford
The Brook Lodge, Macreddin Village, Aughrim
Beech Hill House Hotel, Derry
The Carriage House, Dundrum
Dufferin Coaching Inn, Killyleagh
Marlagh Lodge, Ballymena
Newforge House, Armagh [NEW]
Ard na Sidhe - new to the list for 2015
The 100 Best guides, compiled by influential food writers and publishers John and Sally McKenna, were published in app format - along with a guide on where to eat and stay on the Wild Atlantic Way - this week.
The apps are produced together with DCU’s School of Communications via the Enterprise Ireland knowledge partnership scheme, and include GPS and links to social media and websites for the establishments listed.
They are available on iTunes and Google Play at €2.99 each.