Set above the sapphire-blue waters of Mannin Bay, this family-owned hotel offers the chance to immerse yourself in Connemara’s vibrant culture, as well as its stunning coastline. Ideal for an active break with older children, the surrounding beaches offer excellent surfing, coasteering, kayaking and paddleboarding, with guided hillwalking for those who prefer to stick to dry land. The Sands Bar & Restaurant creates traditional Irish dishes from the best local produce, while the Voya Spa specialises in revitalising seaweed baths and treatments. The all-white rooms are simple and crisp, and offer excellent value for money.
Doubles from £99 B&B; connemarasands-hotel.com
Amid the stunning scenery of the Wild Atlantic Way, Dingle Skellig is a great base for families who want to explore Kerry’s beautiful coast, with excellent surfing and body-boarding conditions on nearby beaches, and boat trips and sea safaris offering fishing or dolphin-spotting trips. Rooms are comfortable, but it is worth spending a little extra on the updated Deluxe rooms, with family rooms and suites available. After active days, the hotel’s Bin Ban Brasserie and Coastguard restaurant both offer wonderful fish and seafood dishes.
Deluxe doubles from £167 B&B; dingleskellig.com
A striking 19th-century manor house set in a tranquil 500-acre estate, Parknasilla offers a variety of accommodation from rooms and suites to spacious courtyard lodges and woodland villas. The estate is latticed with eight walking trails and boasts its own golf course, tennis courts and outdoor hot-tubs, while the spa has a spectacular waterfront location with lovely views. Evenings are a glamorous affair, with the Doolittle Bar’s resident pianist providing a mellow soundtrack to sunset cocktails, before dinner in the swanky Pygmalion restaurant.
Doubles from £199 B&B; parknasillaresort.com
If you’re looking to recharge and reset body and mind, the Cliff House is the perfect choice, perched above the clear waters of Ardmore Bay, on Waterford’s tranquil coast. Soak up the fresh sea air with an alfresco bathing therapy in the intimate spa, take an invigorating dip in the natural outdoor rock pool, or laze by the indoor infinity-edge pool, with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the Atlantic. All rooms come with glorious sea views, while dinner on the outside terrace at the Michelin-starred restaurant, the House, is the highlight of a stay.
Doubles from £186 B&B; cliffhousehotel.ie
The natural beauty of County Clare’s rugged coast is everywhere in this charming hotel, with seascape wallpaper, surfing-themed artworks, handwoven tweed blankets and seaweed soaps all made by local craftspeople. This is a place for long, blustery walks along Mal Bay’s spectacular beaches; to sit on the sands and watch the surfers glide in towards the beach. On cooler days, Johnny Burke’s is the spot for a warming whisky beside the fire, while Aileen’s restaurant offers wonderful beach views, with dishes created from the best of County Clare’s producers.
Doubles from £164 B&B; armadahotel.com
Another great family choice, Redcastle has super-affordable, unfussy rooms, a waterfront location and Leisureland – Ireland’s largest indoor amusement centre – directly opposite the hotel. It’s an ideal base for golfers, too, with a nine-hole parkland course on site and a clutch of world-class courses within easy reach. Non-playing partners can settle into the hotel’s spa, which has wonderful views across Lough Foyle, with hearty suppers in the Castle Bar, or more upmarket dining in the Edge restaurant.
Doubles from £125 B&B; redcastlehoteldonegal.com
Set overlooking the vast sweep of sand of Rossnowlagh beach, the Sandhouse offers classic, country-house rooms, most with glorious sea views. This is the heart of Ireland’s surfing country, with two excellent surf schools nearby, which also offer kayaking and paddleboarding coastal tours. After an active day, the Marine Spa is the perfect place to retire to, with seaweed baths and organic Voya products. The Surfer’s bar is a convivial mix of locals and visitors, with live music at the weekend, while the Glasshouse offers the best of local produce set against the stunning beach backdrop.
Doubles from £124 B&B; sandhouse.ie
Run by the welcoming Barrett family since the 1930s, Dunmore House is set on the cliffs above Clonakilty Bay, with 30 individually styled rooms, with handmade wooden furniture, locally woven rugs and Irish Voya toiletries. An ideal base for walkers and those who love the sea, there are 10 different beaches within a 10-minute stroll along the picturesque Wild Atlantic Way. Casual, post-walk suppers can be taken in the bar and lounge, with Adrift – the Michelin-listed restaurant – offering more formal dining.
Doubles from £168 B&B; dunmorehousehotel.ie
One of the most spectacularly located hotels on the Irish coast, this chic lodge and spa is set on a small headland that bisects the vast swathe of Inchydoney beach. A stay here is all about the sea, with wonderful views from bedrooms and the glass-walled lounges, a wide programme of thalassotherapy treatments in the Island Spa, and locally caught seafood and fish served up for dinner in the elegant Gulfstream restaurant. Activities offered include surfing, whale-watching and seaweed-foraging, or simply relaxing in the cosy lounges and drinking in the views.
Doubles from £169 B&B; inchydoneyisland.com
Ideal for a twin-centre break, Seafield is just an hour’s drive from Dublin, set a stone’s throw from the golden sands of Ballymoney beach. Children will love the extensive playground – complete with zipline and slides – and nature trail, set in the hotel’s 160 acres of parkland, while the Courtyard suites, which come with their own kitchenettes and dining areas, are a great bet for families. The Oceo Spa offers a peaceful adults-only retreat (the hotel can arrange babysitters), with child-friendly menus in the Village Bar & Grill and more formal dining in the award-winning Green Room restaurant.
Doubles from £115 B&B; seafieldhotel.com2023-04-02T07:10:09Z dg43tfdfdgfd