Ireland's 100 best places to stay - just five 5-stars make the cut

STAY 2016 checks in...

Gregan's Castle

John & Sally McKenna.

Inchydoney Island Lodge and Spa, Co. Cork

Newforge House, Co. Armagh

Twelve Hotel, Galway

Hotel Doolin

thumbnail: Gregan's Castle
thumbnail: John & Sally McKenna.
thumbnail: Inchydoney Island Lodge and Spa, Co. Cork
thumbnail: Newforge House, Co. Armagh
thumbnail: Twelve Hotel, Galway
thumbnail: Hotel Doolin
Pol Ó Conghaile

McKennas' Guides has released its app of the 100 Best Places to Stay in Ireland for 2016, and it's an intriguing mix.

"Star ratings and deep-pile carpets mean little or nothing in Irish hospitality."

That's according to John and Sally McKenna, for 25 years arguably the most influential couple in Ireland's food and hospitality scene.

The McKennas have just published STAY 2016, the latest reboot of an app featuring their take on Ireland's 100 best places to stay.

New entrants on a list that gives short shrift both to grand hotels and hipster boutiques include The Headfort Arms in Kells, Bog Bean in Roundstone, Connemara, the Cork International Hotel and Lorum Old Rectory in Carlow.

Dublin's Conrad Hotel, The Europe and Killarney Park in Killarney, Monart in Co. Wexford and the Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore, Co. Waterford are the only five-stars to make the Top 100.

The list is described as "a tribute to the great hospitality families of Ireland", many of whom are seeing new generations emerge - including the Kellys of Rosslare; the Foyles of Clifden; the Wheelers of Rathmullan and the O’Haras of Sligo.

"Corporate-run hotels squeeze the spontaneity out of conviviality," the McKennas say.

"What determines whether you have a great time is the ability of the owners to make you feel welcome, to cook you a delicious breakfast of Irish foods, and to offer you sound and sage advice on what you need to know and where you need to go to get the best from travelling through Ireland."

Ireland's 100 Best Places To Stay

Co. Carlow

Kilgraney Country House, Bagenalstown

Lorum Old Rectory, Kilgraney [NEW]

Co. Cavan

MacNean Townhouse, Blacklion

The Olde Post Inn, Cloverhill, Butler’s Bridge

Co. Clare

Glencarrig Farmhouse B&B, Carrigaholt

Gregan’s Castle, Ballyvaughan

Hotel Doolin, Doolin

Moy House, Lahinch

Sheedy’s, Lisdoonvarna

Stella Maris, O’Connell Street, Kilkee

Vaughan Lodge Hotel, Lahinch

Wild Honey Inn, Kincora Road, Lisdoonvarna

Inchydoney Island Lodge and Spa, Co. Cork

Co. Cork

Ballinterry House, Rathcormac, Fermoy

Ballymaloe House, Shanagarry

Ballyvolane House, Castlelyons, Fermoy

Blindgate House,  Kinsale

Bridge House, Skibbereen

Cork International Hotel, Cork [NEW]

Fortview House, Goleen

Gallán Mór, Durrus

Garnish House, Cork City

The Glen, Kilbrittain

Gort na nain Farm Vegetarian Guesthouse, Nohoval

Gougane Barra Hotel, Macroom

Grove House, Schull

Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa, Clonakilty (above)

Knockeven, Cobh

Lancaster Lodge, Cork City

Lis-Ardagh Lodge, Union Hall

Rolf’s Country House, Baltimore Hill, Baltimore

River Lee Hotel, Cork

Sea View House Hotel, Ballylickey

Co. Donegal

Castle Murray House Hotel, Dunkineely

The Glen House, Clonmany

The Mill Restaurant, Dunfanaghy

Rathmullan House, Rathmullan

Co. Dublin

Aberdeen Lodge, Ballsbridge

Ariel House, Lansdowne Road

Brooks Hotel, Drury Street

The Conrad, Earlsfort Terrace [NEW]

Kelly’s Hotel, South Great George’s Street

Number 31, Lower Leeson Street

Pembroke Town House, Ballsbridge

The White Cottages, Skerries

Co. Galway

Angler’s Return, Roundstone

Ballynahinch Castle, Connemara

Bog Bean, Roundstone, Connemara [NEW]

Connemara Coast Hotel, Furbo

Dolphin Beach, Clifden

The Heron’s Rest, Galway

The House Hotel, Galway

The Huntsman Inn, Galway

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

The Twelve Hotel, Barna (below)

Twelve Hotel, Galway

Co. Kerry

Ard na Sidhe, Killorglin

Brook Lane Hotel, Kenmare

Castlewood House, Dingle

Heaton’s House & Restaurant, Dingle

Hotel Europe, Fossa, Killarney

The Killarney Park Hotel, Killarney

Milltown House, Dingle

QC’S, Cahersiveen, Ring of Kerry

The Ross, Town Centre, Killarney

Shelburne Lodge, Kenmare

Co. Laois

Ivyleigh House, Portlaoise

Roundwood House, Mountrath

Co. Limerick

The Mustard Seed, Echo Lodge, Ballingarry

Number One Pery Square, Limerick

Co. Longford

Viewmount House, Longford

Co. Louth

Ghan House, Carlingford

Co. Mayo

Bervie, Keel,  Achill Island

Knockranny House, Westport

Léim Siar, Blacksod, Belmullet

Mulranny Park Hotel, Mulranny, Westport

Stella Maris Country House Hotel, Ballycastle

Co. Meath

The Headfort Arms Hotel, Kells [NEW]

Co. Sligo

Coopershill House, Riverstown

Co. Tipperary

Inch House, Thurles

The Old Convent, Clogheen

Co. Waterford

Cliff House Hotel, Ardmore

Glasha Farmhouse, Ballymacarbry

Richmond House, Cappoquin

The Tannery Restaurant, Dungarvan

Co. Westmeath

Lough Bishop House, Colinstown

Wineport Lodge, Glassan, Athlone

Co. Wexford

Kelly’s Resort Hotel, Rosslare

Monart, Enniscorthy

Co. Wicklow

Ballyknocken House, Ashford

The Brook Lodge, Macreddin Village, Aughrim

Northern Ireland

Beech Hill House Hotel, Derry

The Carriage House, Dundrum

Dufferin Coaching Inn, Killyleagh

Marlagh Lodge, Ballymena

Newforge House, Armagh  (below)

Newforge House, Co. Armagh

Among the higher-profile properties to drop off the Top 100 this year are Dublin's Marker Hotel and the Step House in Borris, Co. Carlow.

STAY 2016 is available on iTunes and Google Play at €3.99.