Welcome to Part 2 of our ‘How Much Does It Cost’ series (Part 1 on transportation). This time we’re reviewing all our Accommodations in Ireland—how much they cost and our experiences with each place. Joe and I stayed in 7 different locations for 14 nights in June, 2014, opting to stay in most places for multiple nights.
We selected where and how long were going to stay in each location primarily based on how many things we were going to do in the area. I look for good reviews online via Trip Advisor or B&B Ireland and have learned over time that we prefer the Irish B&B or a small self-catering unit over hotels.
To help you out, I listed the costs in US dollars and Euros. One US dollar cost about $0.363 more than one euro at the time of our travel.
Glendalough Hermitage Centre, Laragh, Co. Wicklow:
$286.23 (€210) or €70/night for 3 Nights
A handful of nuns run a small self-catering establishment in the hills of Wicklow near Glendalough. It is primarily meant for people who seek a quiet spiritual retreat. We stayed three nights in a tiny house with two twin beds, a small kitchen and a bathroom. It had an open floor plan and a lovely fireplace. While we didn’t spend too much time in the nearby coach house with a chapel or the church, visitors are welcome to join the nuns in their daily religious services.
Joe and I loved the sense of peace we found in the hillsides surrounding the Hermitage. We spent most of our days out exploring Wicklow. But because it was the beginning of our trip and we were still jet lagged, we enjoyed early evenings resting by a crackling fireside before drifting off to sleep. I fixed breakfast in the morning from the groceries we bought at a tiny store, McCoy’s, in Laragh. Joe and I dream of spending a week here someday. Relaxing, writing, and walking. It really was the best start for a trip to Ireland we’ve had yet.
Kilkenny Self-Catering Apartment, Kilkenny, Co. Kilkenny:
$375.64 (€275.60) or €65/night for 4 nights with €15.60 booking fee; Stayed 1 Night
We booked a place in Kilkenny for four nights over a Bank Holiday weekend. Because I was a little slow on the planning this year, we reserved this place just a couple of weeks before we left. It was a great deal for four nights in the center of town over the holiday. At the time I booked, it didn’t have any reviews and there were just a few pictures. I remember thinking that booking this place would be a gamble, but somebody had to be the first person to stay, right? So I booked it. Ugh.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t what we had hoped. It was in the bottom floor of a row house in town. Normally, this wouldn’t have been a problem, but the neighbor beside us played music until well into the wee hours of the morning (I’ll blame it on the Bank Holiday weekend).
I laid there and laid there; hoping that the music would die down and I could get some rest. On top of that, the people above clearly smoked and the odor was strong enough that my pajamas smelled of cigarettes within a couple of hours of being there. By about 2:30 in the morning, I couldn’t take much more. I pulled out my iPad and booked a B&B for the next three nights in Thomastown, village about 30 minutes outside of Kilkenny.
Even though we prepaid the apartment rental and knew we’d lose our money for the remaining nights, at 3:00 AM we decided a good night’s sleep was worth spending the cash.
I am beyond ashamed of myself because the next morning I didn’t have the guts to tell the owner the reason for our early departure. We simply said that we had a quick change in plans. I felt like a coward—still do, actually. We should have been honest with our host so that she could address the problems, if not for us then for the next people who rented the apartment.
While this place wasn’t right for us, now that I think back on the experience, I can see it being just fine for those who don’t mind smoke and are heavy sleepers (or have good ear plugs). Maybe the backpacker crowd? Our host was kind and gave us recommendations for great places to eat and things to do in Kilkenny. She had warm scones and hot tea ready for us when we arrived and we enjoyed perusing the large selection of books and travel brochures in the apartment.
I am going to chalk this one up as a good learning experience. By no means have I ever thought of us as luxury travelers, but I’ve come to the realization that we aren’t as intrepid as I once thought we were. My friends, I think it is possible that we are getting old or at least beyond the age when we can bound out of bed after a bad night’s sleep. I think I am ok with that, especially because that will make me seek out more places like the next one.
Oldtown Farmhouse B&B, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny:
$261.69 (€192) or €64/night for 3 nights
After spending a full day in Kilkenny we made our way to Thomastown, the nearest place with three nights available over the Bank Holiday. As soon as we walked into our room with its plush pillows and pretty garden view, we fell fast asleep with the birds still singing. Ah, it was glorious. Who knew I liked sleep so much?
This was probably our favorite B&B of the entire trip and it wasn’t just because of the comfy pillows. Our hostess Mary and her husband John couldn’t be better hosts. Joe and I decided we would like to adopt them as another set of grandparents. Each night when we returned from our day out, Mary would bring out tea and cookies and delight us with stories from her childhood in rural Ireland. When she learned that we lived in Pennsylvania she taught us a new song. Ever heard of Pawn Shop on the Corner in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania?—neither did we, but now I find myself humming it when anyone says Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Mary and John give great recommendations for food nearby (Carrol’s Hotel in Knocktopher, if you are wondering) and Mary had delicious traditional breakfasts at the ready in the morning. One night, Mary even gave us a very special tour of the ring fort behind her home (with fairy stories included).
I am pretty sure Joe and I would have been happy to stay here the entire time we were in Ireland. We were sad to be moving on from Oldtown after three nights, but I am certain we will be back again to see Mary and John soon.
Groveside Farm and B&B, Kilmore, Co. Wexford:
$190.82 (€140) or €70/night for 2 nights
Joe and I planned a day trip to Great Saltee Island, which is an island off the coast of Kilmore Quay in County Wexford. One thing we have learned from our trips to Ireland is that if you really want to do something big that will need most of the day, like visiting an island or climbing a mountain, schedule at least two nights in a nearby location. If the weather isn’t great the first day, you have another day to attempt the activity.
This is precisely why we choose two nights in at the Groveside Farm. The room was spacious and our hostess Mary was very welcoming She even left a wedding early just to be there to greet us. We mentioned that we were interested in the boat trip to Great Saltee the next day. She immediately called up the captain and reserved our two spots—which saved us the hassle of figuring it out as you can’t book prior to your trip.
Mary showed us to a room overlooking their beautiful farm and offered us some tea in the sitting room just off the main entrance. Joe and I enjoyed a cup and perused the menus of all the local restaurants. We also took some time then to check our email as the signal wasn’t very strong in our room.
Almost all of our B&B’s on this trip were in the country this time. The Groveside is removed from the town of Kilmore Quay by a few miles, and can be a little tricky to find especially in the dark. While being within walking distance from the pub is nice, we find our quiet mornings overlooking the hills or the ocean worth the trade.
Duncrone B&B, Ardmore Co. Waterford:
$269.87 (€198) or €66/night for 3 nights
When planning this trip we couldn’t quite decide how many nights to stay in West Waterford. We opted for three in Ardmore. Two might have been better for our itinerary but having three breakfasts at the Duncrone was worth staying that extra night. Seriously, yum!
After a few days, I tend to get a little traditional Irish breakfasted-out. I crave oatmeal, yogurt, and fruit and most B&B’s are happy to oblige. Jeannette, however, went above and beyond with possibly the best French toast I’ve ever had. We’re talking thick bread, fresh berries and maple syrup—I am still dreaming about it. I wish I had taken a picture before I gobbled it all up.
The rooms are nicely appointed too. We had two beds (one full, one twin), a hairdryer, and strong Wi-Fi. When another guest moved into the next room we found the walls to be a little thin.
I must talk about the view from our window. Oh the view—spectacular. It was the best of all the places we stayed. Brilliant green pastures with cows slowly moving across the fields. The turquoise blue Atlantic beckoning us to its shores. The ancient Ardmore round tower reminding us of sacred traditions. It was almost as if an artist woke up every morning and painted the scene on our window and in the evening added a berry pink sun setting on the water.
Jeannette gave us some great suggestions on things to do in area including a lovely walk from town to the round tower via the Oceanside cliffs—one of our favorite moments of the entire trip.
Coatesland House B&B, Adare, Co. Limerick:
$95.41 (€70) or €70/night for 1 night
We decided not to pre-book a B&B for our second to last night in Ireland, opting to be spontaneous instead. We ended up in Adare and at the Coatesland House B&B.
The hosts provide every possible amenity you might want in the room including tea, fruit, biscuits, bathroom reading materials and stuffed animals(which I found to be a little strange yet whimsical). The breakfast room is light and airy and they offer a large continental spread as well as a full Irish.
While it is the number one rated B&B in Adare, we found it to be a little dated—not awful ‘70 shag carpet dated, but just a little tired. The room was smallish without a lot space to lay out our things. The cookies left in our rooms were individually wrapped, but stale.
The best part about staying in a B&B is often the people you meet. Florence, our hostess, was great company around the breakfast table. We chatted with her and a French mother, daughter duo long after our meal was complete.
Dunaree B&B, Bunratty, Co. Limerick:
$95.41 (€70) or €70/night for 1 night
Our final B&B was a great find. We stay in Bunratty the night before flying out of the Shannon airport because it is a quick drive in the morning. Normally, our reservation is with the Courtyard B&B but when we got around to booking our stay, it was full. Penny had room at the Dunaree and we are so glad she did!
About a mile from Bunratty Castle on the Low Road (directly between the castle and Durty Nellies) is the Dunaree. We found this busy little B&B to be clean and very comfortable (especially at the end of our trip when we were becoming a little ragged). As we were unloading our car of the accumulated luggage, water bottles, sweatshirts, walking sticks, chocolate wrappers, etc., etc., etc., Penny recognized we were reorganizing our bags for the plane ride home. She offered to let us use the hallway, sitting room, or wherever else we wanted to repack. The space in our room ended up being just fine, but I found it astute of her to anticipate our needs.
The Wi-Fi signal was a little weak in our room at the end of the house, so I hung out in the sitting room to check-in for our flight the next day while Joe repacked.
Our final farewell to Ireland is often a traditional banquet at Bunratty (Kitschy? Yes. Fun? Absolutely). You can’t walk to the castle from the B&B, but there is a large car park just across the street from the castle entrance.
Would you believe we didn’t take a single photo at Dunaree? Me either! You can tell this was at the end of our trip. I promise the photos on their photo gallery page truly look like the real thing including the breakfast, which reminds me–it was really good, perfect for the last meal before our plane ride home.
Total cost for accommodations in Ireland for 14 nights was $1575.07 or €1155.60.
The average room cost $92.45 or €67.98.
There you have it. All the places we stayed in 2014. Did you have great accommodations in Ireland? Tell us about it! We are always looking for great places to stay!
Next up for ‘How Much does It Cost’ Part III—Food!