Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Virginia Beach, VA

February 2, 2023

HOTEL GUIDE: All the Hotels We Stayed at in Ireland

       Last spring, my mom and I finally got to take a much-awaited trip to Ireland! We had experienced two and a half years of trip cancellations, first from my mom having a medical emergency and then for the pandemic. May 2022 was finally our time! Now it's finally time to recap the trip in full! I was taking a break from blogging for most of last spring and summer, and as you can see, I'm still playing catch-up from some of the blog posts I wanted to write in 2022.

      I realized that my full Ireland Travel Guide blog post was going to be very long, so I did a poll on Instagram to ask if y'all would prefer one really long post, or two separate blog posts- one about hotels we stayed in on the trip and our tour itinerary day-by-day. More people voted for two posts, so that's what I'm doing. For today's first post, I'll be recapping and reviewing all four of the hotels that we stayed at in Ireland as part of our Insight Vacations Irish Elegance Tour. I'll be sure to link this post for anyone to refer back to when I share the tour itinerary later on! 

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     The hotel for nights one and seven of the trip was the Clayton Hotel Burlington Road in Dublin. This mid-range hotel was clean and comfortable. We also had our first group dinner of the trip in the hotel restaurant, which was good. However, if I was ever back in Dublin on my own... I feel like there are better hotels in this price point in Dublin. The Clayton Hotel Burlington Road was in a pretty residential area. When our tour group briefly went to explore a more historic/busy part of Dublin, it was like a 10-minute bus ride. 
      A couple personal gripes with the hotel: they refused to give my mom and I a refund for an extra night of lodging that we had booked on our own (for the night before our Insight Vacations tour officially began), even though we both had cancelled flights and weren't able to get to Dublin when we were supposed to. Our tour director even spoke to the hotel staff for us about our flight issues and they still wouldn't budge. There was also a fire alarm (that ended up being a false alarm) that went off in the middle of the night on the first night of our tour, which was definitely not ideal while fighting off jet lag! 

     I actually forgot to grab a picture of our room, but it was pretty standard as far as European hotel rooms go. I'd compare this hotel to a Marriott Courtyard in the US. If I were to ever go back to Dublin, I think I'd want to stay somewhere that's in walking distance of more shops, restaurants and historic attractions. But this hotel definitely isn't bad!

      For the second and third nights of the tour, we stayed at the Killarney Plaza Hotel. This hotel is absolutely gorgeous on the outside, and the lobby felt very luxurious! The room was a lot more spacious than our Dublin hotel room from the first night of the trip. Our whole tour group had dinner one night in the hotel restaurant here, and two breakfasts at the hotel. I really enjoyed all the food in the hotel restaurant. Probably the best part of this hotel was the incredible location. It's right at the start of Main Street in Killarney (pictured below), and walkable to so many shops and restaurants, as well as walkable to one of the main entrances for Killarney National Park! This was my second favorite hotel of the trip (it would be hard for anything to top Ashford Castle- keep reading below for info on that one!).

     Nights four and five of the trip we stayed at the Connemara Coast Hotel, right on Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way in County Galway. The hotel itself is very warm and welcoming, and there are many lovely spots both indoors and outdoors to relax with a drink or a good book. The hotel is located right on the Atlantic Ocean, and the views from the back of the property are stunning! Also a good restaurant on the property that we had a dinner and two breakfasts in. I really liked the hotel itself, but I did not like the remote location of it.
      The Connemara Coast Hotel is in a very rural coastal area. There isn't anything within walking distance to the hotel except for some houses. The city of Galway is about a 25 minute drive away. Our tour group only spent one very brief evening there. Galway seemed like an amazing city, and one of my few complaints about our tour itinerary is that we barely spent any time in Galway. It looked like Galway had lots of great hotels at varying price points to choose from. I would've much rather stayed there during our time in this part of Ireland.
     If you ever find yourself in this part of Ireland, the Connemara Coast Hotel is definitely nice, but just keep in mind how rural it is and far from all the attractions of the city of Galway.

     And finally... the best hotel of all! Honestly, this will probably go down as one of the best hotels that I'll ever stay at in my entire life. Our tour group spent our sixth night at the luxurious Ashford Castle. This five-star hotel never would have been in my mom and I's budget. That's the beauty of traveling internationally with a tour company like Insight Vacations. They're able to get more affordable group rates at incredible places like this, which would normally be out of the average traveler's budget! I loved our stay at Ashford Castle so much that I wrote a dedicated blog post about it! I could go on and on about how amazing our 24 hours at Ashford Castle was. It all felt like a dream! I also ate the absolute best breakfast of my entire life here.

      If you've ever been to Ireland and stayed at one of these hotels, I'd love to hear! So far, my other blog posts from our trip include my dedicated review of our stay at Ashford Castle, and a post rounding up the outfits I wore in Ireland. Excited to share our tour itinerary with you very soon!

     God Bless,

      xoxo Annaliese


  1. So frustrating that the first hotel wouldn't refund your missed night - you may be able to file a claim with your credit card if you used one with travel protections!

    It looks like the rest of the trip made up for that hiccup though - how stunning!

    1. We did have trip insurance and are still working with them to try to get reimbursed- ugh! Thank you so much for reading!! It was a special trip and I'm excited to share more soon.


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