Looking for lodgings with a difference? From a self-catering pub to a coastal defence tower, we round up the most unusual places to spend the night in Ireland.
1) Conroy’s Old Bar, Aglish, County Tipperary
A converted traditional Irish pub, Conroy’s Old Bar is locally known as “the pub with no beer”. This old watering hole can house up to four people for the evening, and is perfect for families or a group of nomads. If you’re looking for a pint, however, it’s BYOB at Conroy’s. The owners even advise guests to keep the chain on the door of their temporary home, or they’ll find people at the bar looking for a drink.
Best for: An adventure-filled family break or group holidays.
2) Bartra Martello Tower, Dalkey, Dublin
This Dalkey destination has been a costal defence tower since 1804. Step back in time and spend the night in a castle that’s got the perfect balance of old and new: an antique exterior and a very modern interior indeed. The catch, however, is that this national monument only has room for two castle-seeking globetrotters at a time.
Best for: A romantic costal evening for a wandering duo.
3) A barn, Cloonacool, County Sligo
Up to six people can spend a rustic evening in this converted hay barn. Located in the Ox Mountains, the barnyard lodging is perfect for those vagabonds looking to reconnect with nature, or romantics seeking a cosy getaway. Guests, however, won’t be sleeping alongside horses and livestock, as the barn is equipped with modern amenities, including a kitchen, living room and king-sized bed. The accomodation’s primary source of heat is a wood burner, so visitors can get cosy by the fire in their countryside home away from home.
Best for: Nature lovers, group breaks.
4) Ross Castle B&B, Oldcastle, County Meath
Channel your inner royalty and spend the night in this authentic Irish castle. Built in 1536, up to 14 guests will feel as if they’ve time travelled upon entering this old fortress. The catch, however, is that Ross Castle is haunted. Ghosts and ghouls reportedly roam the castle’s halls, with guests hearing the sounds of screams and slamming doors inside the lodging. A locally known ghost is that of Myles “the Slasher” O’Riely, who spent the final night of his life in the castle before dying during battle in 1644.
Best for: Thrill-seekers, ghostbusters.
5) A gypsy wagon, Fintown, County Donegal
Rock me mama like a wagon wheel. Listed on Airbnb as a “traditional bow top gypsy caravan”, guests will get the full wayfarer experience in this room on wheels. The wagon is stationed in a peaceful meadow among the Donegal Hills, equipped with all the amenities guests will need for a nature-filled night. The caravan can accommodate up to four people, making this mobile home the perfect lodging for small families or groups.
Best for: Family holidays, group breaks, nature lovers.
6) A hexagon hut, Westport, County Mayo
Spend time in one of the more eccentrically shaped Irish lodgings. This hexagon home can house up to two travellers, making it the perfect place for couples or vagabond duos. Guests will be neighbours to local goats and hens that inhabit the nearby field. In addition to their furry next-door companions, visitors can also enjoy the local entertainment in Westport, or visit one of the many unique local coffee shops.
Best for: Geometry lovers, romantic getaways.
7) A shepherd’s hut, Legan, County Longford
Another deal on wheels, this shepherd’s wagon is not to be confused with the aforementioned caravan. Situated in a lush forest, the hut’s location isn’t too far away from the famous international dance centre, Shawbrook. Visitors can enjoy a nature-filled adventure among the 30 hectares (75 acres) worth of trees, take advantage of the nearby rehearsal studios, or find serenity in a meditation tree room. This mobile home, however, can only accommodate one voyager at a time.
Best for: A peaceful break, tree-huggers, solo wanderers.
8) An Indian Tipi, Doolin, Clare County
Live off the land in a true-to-tradition Indian Tipi situated in its very own private location near a local park. Similar to a yurt, both of which are typically made from animal skins, this modernised and fully equipped tipi can accommodate up to five. The traditional-style lodging is perfect for an authentic rustic holiday, a romantic couple’s getaway, or small groups in need of a rural break.
Best for: Group breaks, romantic holidays, rustic adventurers.
9) A yurt in Inch Hideaway, Whitegate, County Cork
Nomads rejoice, as this is the perfect lodging for an evening with Mother Nature, and is conveniently located only a few minutes from Inch Beach. Although this seven-person yurt may or may not be made from traditional materials like felt or skin, the circular tent accommodation does come with all the modern amenities a 21st-century vagabond would need, including a communal “hobbit kitchen” for the four yurts on the property.
Best for: Rural holidays, group breaks.