Where to Stay in Ireland: COMPLETE Guide for 2020

 
Where to Stay in Ireland

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Do you believe in the luck of the Irish? Well you should because it’s served me well my entire life. But still, if you’re wondering where should I stay in Ireland, don’t leave the decision down to luck! Ireland has so many awesome towns, cities, beaches and beauty spots; knowing which ones to visit and where to stay can be hard.

Furthermore, hotels in Ireland and lodging in Ireland can be tricky to figure out, as is sifting through all the options for the best areas to stay in Ireland according to your tastes, budget, and style. That means that it’s time to sit down and tune in as I drop some knowledge on the top places to stay in Ireland! That’s right. You knocked at the door of knowledge, and little ol’ me answered. Is it too early to say you’re welcome?

Let me be your guide to all your questions about Ireland accommodation— whether you’re looking for the best city in Ireland to stay in or if you’re trying to find the most budget-friendly city! I’m here to help. So let’s go ahead and move past the intro and get into the meat of it— corned beef meat. That’s right, we’re heading to Ireland folks!

Oh, before we begin let me take a moment to clarify that this post relates only to Eire or The Republic of Ireland. Northern Ireland is part of the UK and has not been covered in this post.

 

Quick Answers: Where is the Best Place to Stay in Ireland?

  • Galway – Overall Best Place to Stay in Ireland
  • Limerick – Best Place to Stay in Ireland For Families
  • Sligo – Most Romantic Place to Stay in Ireland
  • Cork – Coolest Place to Stay in Ireland
  • Dublin – Where to Stay in Ireland on a Budget
  • Dingle – One of the Most Unique Places to Stay in Ireland
  • Kerry County – Where to Stay in Ireland for Adventure
  • Kilkenny – Where to Stay in Ireland for Saint Patrick’s Day

 

Map of Where to Stay in Ireland

Map of Where to Stay in Ireland

1.Galway, 2.Limerick, 3.Sligo, 4.Cork, 5.Dublin, 6.Dingle, 7.Kerry County, 8.Kilkenny (Locations in no particular order)

 

Galway – Overall Best Place to Stay in Ireland

Surprise, surprise! My vote for the overall best place to stay in Ireland is actually Galway and not Dublin! Don’t get me wrong, I definitely have Dublin love in my heart, but there’s something more magical about Galway that really earns it the number one spot! Also, it is known as the Cultural Heart of Ireland, which means that traditional Irish music, dance, and song all thrive there! If you are visiting Ireland you MUST come to Galway!

Galway, Ireland

Galway is our pick for the best place to stay in Ireland.

Galway is a harbour city on the west coast of Ireland. The city is beautiful, lined with stone-clad buildings and narrow, winding streets packed with cute boutiques and art galleries. Moreover, there is just so much to do in Galway! From visiting Kylemore Abbey, to walking through Connemara National Park, to checking out Dunguaire Castle, there is something for everyone in Galway.

 

Best Places to Stay in Galway

Galway is actually the sixth most populous city in Ireland, and is home to some awesome neighborhoods. Kinvara is the best area to stay in Galway for nightlife and Salthill is the best for staying on a budget. But, I have to recommend staying in Galway city if it’s your first time to Galway as it’s the true heart and soul of Galway.

The Nest Boutique Hostel, Galway

source: The Nest Boutique Hostel (HostelWorld)

 

Best Airbnb in Galway – City Center Apartment

This one bedroom and one bathroom townhouse is yours for the taking, right in the heart of Galway. It’s surrounded by plenty of pubs and clubs, so you won’t be lacking in the fun department. Plus, it’s actually attached to a hostel so you are invited to use all the facilities at the hostel, including complimentary breakfast, while enjoying maximum peace and quiet! Score!

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Best Hostel  in Galway – The Nest Boutique Hostel

The Nest Boutique Hostel is a charming Galway hostel located close to all the bars and restaurants in Salthill. It’s actually just a minute walk from the beach and from the seaside promenade. You’re sure to love the chilled out vibes and the cool common areas. There is also complimentary tea, coffee, and hot chocolate provided 24/7. The Nest will be your home away from home in Galway!

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Best Hotel in Galway – Oranhill Lodge Guesthouse

Oranhill Lodge is a charming family-owned and operated bed and breakfast. It oozes Irish charm with its’ manicured lawn and traditional red brick walls. You’ll love the complimentary, and very hearty, Irish breakfasts served each day. Plus, you’ll be very close to a Lidl, should you need to make a quick run for any necessities.

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Limerick – Best Place to Stay in Ireland For Families

When staying in Ireland with a family in tow, staying in Limerick promises a memorable, and stress-free experience. Limerick spans the backs of the River Shannon, which is lovely to wander around. You can always kayak along it, or go dolphin-watching where the river meets the Atlantic. Plus, there is the iconic King John’s Castle on the riverbank that will certainly call you and your kid’s names— it’s a must-see!

Truly, this castle is such a fun, and beautiful, castle to tour to get a real taste of medieval Ireland. Moreover, inside the castle is a museum that was designed to be very hands-on, complete with costumes and all.

King John's Castle, Limerick, Ireland

Limerick is defined by the river Shannon which cuts through it.

Furthermore, Limerick has a charming old town complete with St. John’s square that is lined with gorgeous Georgian townhouses. Make sure to stop in to an Irish bakery to pick up some goodies. And If you’re feeling artsy go ahead and catch a play or production at the Belltable Arts Center. Or, if you’re more in the mood for something athletic, take the kids for a mountain bike ride around the trails of Ballyhoura.

 

Best Places to Stay in Limerick

To really get a true feel for the beautiful city of Limerick, I recommend staying close to the city center. Even in the city center, you’ll still find tons of historic buildings and easy street parking!

The Old Quarter Townhouse, Limerick, Ireland

source: The Old Quarter Townhouse (Booking.com)

 

Best Airbnb in Limerick – The Wilmont House

The Wilmont is an Airbnb that is run like a bed and breakfast. It is a positively charming brick Victorian home that is just a five-minute walk from the city center. The building was actually built in 1898 but has been restored to its full glory 100 years later in 1998. You and your family will love staying at this Airbnb!

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Best Guesthouse in Limerick – The Old Quarter Townhouse

The Old Quarter Townhouse sits right in the heart of Limerick city center, close to all the local attractions and to great restaurants too! The rooms are quite comfortable and are nicely located. You and your family will love staying in the heart of town in these affordably priced, cozy rooms!

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Best Hotel in Limerick – George Limerick Hotel

Check out this Limerick hostel! The George Limerick Hotel is a luxury, boutique hotel that’s located right in the city center. It’s the perfect spot to stay for exploring the city by foot. Also, the rooms are designed to impress, so you and your whole family will be staying in complete comfort. Lastly, it is important to note that the rooms are really huge for European standards!

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Black Mountain Walk

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Sligo – Most Romantic Place to Stay in Ireland

Ever heard of Sligo? It’s sure not Dublin, but what it lacks in notoriety, it makes up for with charm! Sligo is a coastal seaport town in the North of Ireland. It is a more modest and humble town than other popular tourist hotspots in Ireland, which makes it the best city to stay in Ireland for romantic vibes. Up the privacy and intimacy factor, by staying in this historic town!

Benbulben, Sligo, Ireland

Romantic and majestic Sligo.

One of Ireland’s four most prominent Neolithic sites dwells in Sligo. The Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery is actually older than the pyramids of Egypt! Also, taking in the beyond majestic beauty of Benbulben, a shale and limestone mountain that is bizarrely shaped is quite the treat for the eyes. There is also a trail that leads up the south slope of the mountain that offers beautiful views from the top. Furthermore, make sure to not miss out on touring the 1253 gothic Monastery of Sligo Abbey.

As you can tell, Sligo is jam-packed with incredibly romantic things to do, from hiking to seeing Paleolithic sites to walking through the pebble beaches of Sligo Bay.

 

Best Places to Stay in Sligo

Bring on the romance! These are some of the top places to stay in Ireland, not just in Sligo. I positively adore the lodging in Sligo, and I’m sure you and your honey will too!

The Glasshouse, Sligo, Ireland

source: The Glasshouse (Booking.com)

 

Best Airbnb in Sligo – Lovely One Bedroom Apartment

This centrally located one-bedroom apartment in Sligo has your name on it. Right off the front doorstep, you have everything from supermarkets to scenic walks! There is a kitchenette that you can cook in, and a cozy couch to snuggle up on.

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Best Guesthouse in Sligo – Teach Eamainn

Teach Eamainn is a charming bed and breakfast located in a historic home. There are comfy lounges and tea and coffee always served with a smile! This B&B definitely has old-world charm, but blessedly has modern updates like renovated bathrooms. You and your loved one are sure to enjoy your stay at this remarkable bed and breakfast known for its views of the mountains across the lake, and for the phenomenal breakfasts too!

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Best Hotel in Sligo – The Glasshouse

Get ready for a stunning stay at the Glasshouse! This hotel has an incredibly unique design, and sits right on the Garavogue River. The rooms are luxurious and stylish. If you can afford the extra little price bump, the Glasshouse is definitely the place to stay.

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Cork – Coolest Place to Stay in Ireland

As Ireland’s second-largest city, Cork resides on the coastlines of southwest Ireland and is sliced by the meandering River Lee. Cork is known for being the perfect mix of relaxed yet lively. Make sure to note that the locals like to say that the city of Cork is the real capital of Ireland. The locals sure have abundant city love and pride.

Cork Coolest Place to Stay in Ireland

This cosmopolitan city is filled with hip, new things as well as traditional pubs and historic gems. I love all the live music happenings throughout the city— you never know what type of music you will find on any given night! There’s also, arguably, the best gastronomic delights in the country. Head on over to Market Lane for a fabulous meal or why not try Paradiso for some delicious vegetarian cuisine.

Whether you want to check out the Cork City Gaol, or go urban kayaking through Cork’s waterways, you’re sure to find unique things to do in one of the best cities in Ireland! So let’s have a look at where to stay in Cork!

 

Best Places to Stay in Cork

As Cork has officially been dubbed the “Coolest Place to Stay in Ireland” by me and by the entire population of the city itself, you’re sure to love these accommodation options— handpicked for maximal cool factor points!

Hotel Isaacs Cork

source: Hotel Isaacs Cork (Booking.com)

 

Best Airbnb in Cork – Urban Tranquil Treehouse

That’s right! Why stay in a boring ol’ room when you can stay in a treehouse! Never fear, this treehouse is fully insulated, has a heater, and ready for guests! You’ll be hanging out six meters off the ground, with an incredible view of cork city from your window. Below the treehouse is a full, private bathroom. Get ready for an unforgettable experience from up on high!

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Best Hostel in Cork – Bru Bar and Hostel

Get ready for a warm Irish welcome at this classic Cork hostel and pub! Enjoy daily happy hours and discounted drinks for guests. There’s even live music every single night of the week. How does free breakfast sound, too? That’s right! Bru Bar and Hostel hostel is a dream come true!

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Best Hotel in Cork – Hotel Isaacs Cork

Hotel Isaacs Cork is in a gorgeous, enormous historic building full of beautiful red bricks and thoughtful touches. You’ll be very close to the city center, and will love your clean, quiet, and immensely comfortable rooms. Beautiful wooden floors and tasteful accents make Hotel Issacs Cork the place to be!

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Dublin – Where to Stay in Ireland on a Budget

It probably comes as no surprise that the best place to stay in Ireland on a budget is Dublin. As the country’s capital, and as a major international transportation hub, getting to and from Dublin is usually pretty cheap! At least when you’re comparing it to renting a car and taking tons of trains to get to more remote areas of Ireland…

Dublin Castle, Ireland

Dublin castle in Ireland.

There are also loads of things to do in Dublin. Roam around Temple Market and do some fun window-shopping in this huge open-air market. Plus you can stock up on yummy free samples. Also, take a stroll through Phoenix Park  and see the Victorian flower gardens and the herd of wild deer wandering, plus check out the zoo there.

As one of Europe’s largest urban parks, there are plenty of acres to explore! And guess what? Parts of Dublin Castle are free to visit! While not the entire castle is free of charge to visit, you can see parts for free like the Garda Museum and the Chapel royal. Moreover, the Irish Museum of Modern Art also offers free admission, and is located in a gorgeous 17th century Royal Hospital. While that might not sound fancy, it certainly is! The grounds are absolutely stunning.

 

Best Places to Stay in Dublin

There are tons of great neighborhoods to stay in Dublin but you can’t beat the vibrant nightlife in the Temple Bar district. While there are more quaint and picturesque neighborhoods like Donnybrook or the coastal suburb of Dun Laoghaire, things can get pricer. So stick to the city center if you’re on a budget!

Perfect City Centre Apartment, Dublin, Ireland

source: Perfect City Centre Apartment (Airbnb)

 

Best Airbnb in Dublin – Perfect City Centre Apartment

For just over $30 a night, you can have an entire apartment to yourself! You’ll be close to the south city center in this bright and cozy one-bedroom and private bathroom apartment. There’s even a charming little balcony with chairs to soak in the views of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. There’s a living room, washing machine, dishwasher, kitchenette— all coming in at basement prices!

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Best Hostel in Dublin – Isaacs Hostel

Stay super close to Temple Bar at this lively hostel right in the center of Dublin! Plus, you’re close to the Busaras main bus station and from the Connolly train station too. It’s a very social hostel, with lots of events and activities from pub quizzes to pizza nights. Additionally, free breakfast each morning is an added perk!

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Best Hotel in Dublin – Beresford Hotel

Stay in the heart of Dublin at the Beresford Hotel without breaking the bank. You can find rates for well under $100 a night, which is a bit of a feat when we’re talking about Dublin hotels. You’ll be close to the Connolly Station and across from the bus station. It’s a very convenient location with a delicious breakfast buffet.

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first aid iconIreland is a truly amazing country that deserves every praise possible. It is not without flaws though.

Read about any noteworthy problems and safety issues in Ireland before leaving on your trip. You’ll be better prepared and ready to have the time of your life.

 

Dingle – One of the Most Unique Places to Stay in Ireland

Dingle is a tiny port town in southwestern Ireland where the population is just a smidge over 2000 people.  The local language here is Irish although most locals will gladly communicate with you in English.

Inch Beach, Dingle, Ireland

Tiny Dingle is the most unique place to stay in Ireland.

Dingle is by far one of the most unique places to stay in Ireland and offers more than just sandy beaches. You can go dolphin watching, or actually go swim with the friendly neighborhood dolphin, Fungi. Yep, Dingle actually has a pet bottlenose dolphin swimming around the harbor and loves swimming with the locals and the tourists. How about that for unique experiences in Ireland?

If you’ve already checked seeing Fungi off your list, why not go surfing at Inch Beach, or trying some Chocolate Whiskey or Pink Champagne Ice-cream at Murphy’s Ice Cream? Do a pub crawl, go sailing, eat some fresh fish… check some fun experiences off your list here in Dingle.

 

Best Places to Stay in Dingle

Since Dingle is a tiny town, there’s not really a need to explain the different neighborhoods or anything. There’s just a small smattering of guest houses, hotels, and Airbnbs to choose from, but don’t worry— these Irish accommodation options are gems!

Lovely Apartment in Middle of Town, Dingle, Ireland

source: Lovely Apartment in Middle of Town (Airbnb)

 

Best Airbnb in Dingle – Lovely Apartment in Middle of Town

This chic apartment is yours for the taking! It’s a two bedroom and one bathroom apartment right in the city center. It actually sits directly opposite of a church and some lovely gardens. Plus, you’re seriously directly on Main Street. The apartment is filled with stylish, original artwork and a small kitchenette. Moreover, free and convenient parking is right next door.

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Best Hostel in Dingle – The Grapevine Hostel

The Grapevine Hostel in Dingle is Dingle’s oldest hostel. It’s proud to offer guests a complimentary breakfast, 24/7 tea and coffee, and luggage storage. Plus, there’s even a community kitchen to whip up some meals or snacks in! This hostel is located just around the corner from all the best that Dingle has to offer— from restaurants to pubs to the cinema!

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Best Hotel in Dingle – Dingle Bay Hotel

Okay, this hotel is a bit of a splurge but it’s positively quintessential Dingle! Staying in this picturesque hotel is a real treat—located in the heart of Dingle, quite close to the pier. There’s also a delicious restaurant and bar inside! The restaurant sure does serve up some Dingle delights, from mussels to lamb.

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Kerry – Where to Stay in Ireland for Adventure

Kerry County is located in the southwest of Ireland. It has rugged mountains, and beautiful coastlines. The most renowned in the area is Killarney National Park, which spans a whopping 10,000 hectare of land! Expect incredible trails wandering through moorland and forests. If you decide to take some time adventuring on the trails, you can’t miss the epic landmarks of Torc Waterfall and Torc Mountain. How does that sound for adventure, my friends?

 

Torc Waterfall, Kerry, Ireland

There’s also numerous lakes inside the Killarney National Parks, so you can go for a swim, go fishing, or maybe even canoeing or kayaking!

If you want to get a real trek in Ireland on the books, take a guided trek up to the top of Ireland’s highest mountain, Carrauntoohil. Get ready for an awesome 1,038 meter hike!

 

Best Places to Stay in Kerry

If you’re looking for the best city in Ireland for adventure, you’ve come to the right place. If you’re trying to figure out where to stay in Kerry, I’ve got you covered too! These three spots below are perfect home bases for you adventurers out there!

Tralee Benner's Hotel

source: Tralee Benner’s Hotel (Booking.com)

 

Best Airbnb in Kerry – Kerry Glen View at St. Finan’s Bay

This Airbnb is pure magic. It’s a three-bedroom and two bathroom home that comes in just around $60 per night! Holy cow! This home is very private, located in the rolling hills about five miles from Ballinskelligs. It’s remote; it’s charming; it’s bursting with life in the beautiful Irish landscapes! Get ready for an unforgettable experience at this Airbnb.

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Best Hostel in Kerry – Kerry Ocean Lodge

Kerry Ocean Lodge is the closest thing to a hostel that Kerry has! It’s a twenty bedroom lodge with no dorm rooms. However, they do offer epically affordable room rates! Located in Glenbeigh, right inside the Ring of Kerry, you’ll love having Kerry Ocean Lodge as your spot to start your kayaking, trekking, or cycling.

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Best Hotel in Kerry – Tralee Benner’s Hotel

Tralee Benners Hotel is located in Tralee, in Kerry County. It has an on-site bar and is ridiculously close to the Siamsa Tire Theatre! The rooms are spacious and the bathtub is a real treat! Moreover, it’s just an overall great value hotel that still has lots of Irish charm.

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View on REI  View on Grayl

 

Kilkenny – Where to Stay in Ireland for Saint Patrick’s Day

Kilkenny is in southeast Ireland and is an old Medieval town that still has an abundance of well-preserved monasteries and churches. From St. Canice’s Cathedral to the Black Abbey Dominican priory, to the impressive Kilkenny Castle, you’re sure to have your jaw drop a time or two when visiting this incredible Irish city!

Kilkenny Castle, Ireland

Oh my God, they Killkenny!

However, if you’re heading to Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day, you’re sure to want to know the best place to go to experience this quintessential Irish holiday! Kilkenny is the answer. There is an epic parade and a Post Parade Party where free entertainment abounds. Kilkenny really goes above and beyond to make sure guests have the best experience, with activities like getting to try the bagpipes, to traditional Irish dance performances, to a medieval viking village! Really, Kilkenny has it all!

 

Best Places to Stay in Kilkenny

Kilkenny is packed with the awesome and the adorable. There’s so much to love about all the cool Kilkenny accommodation options out there. Picking just three was a battle. Yet here I stand, victorious!

The Hoban Hotel, Kilkenny, Ireland

source: The Hoban Hotel (Booking.com)

 

Best Airbnb in Kilkenny – The Castle Suite

This affordably priced private room in a Kilkenny house has your name on it! It’s an elegantly decorated room that oozes Irish charm. Enjoy garden views from your windows, and free on-site parking! Furthermore, the house is actually located within the former walled garden of Kilkenny castle. Talk about cool!

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Best Hostel in Kilkenny – Macgabhainns Backpackers Hostel

Macgabhainns is a Kilkenny hostel situated right in the center. In fact you’ll be just a ten-minute walk from the Kilkenny Castle! This hostel is pretty darn fantastic with complimentary breakfast, easy parking, and security lockers. What’s more? They even wash your dishes for you. I love the BBQ area and the outdoor garden. Got to love a hostel with all these extra bells and whistles!

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Best Hotel in Kilkenny – The Hoban Hotel

The Hoban Hotel is not just affordably priced, it’s completely iconic. This stylish hotel sits outside of the city center by about a twenty-minute walk, but trust me, it’s worth every inch of distance you’ll have to cover! It’s bright, modern, spacious, and completely gorgeous. Can I just go with gorgeous? Plus, you’ll love the complimentary breakfast, with a nice variety of foods offered.

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The Top Places to Stay in Ireland

 

There are so many awesome places to visit in Ireland that choosing a top 3 is tough!  Let’s get right down to business and cover my top choices of the best Ireland accommodation option.

Kerry, Ireland

 

Best Airbnb in Ireland – Kerry County –  Kerry Glen View at St. Finan’s Bay

Nestled in the remote Irish landscape in Kerry County, this Airbnb is beyond incredible. You’ll get a heavy dose of privacy in this remote home. Up to six guests can comfortably stay with the three bedrooms and two bathrooms ready for you to use! You’ll love the ocean views and the quick walk to the beach from your front doorstep.

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Best Hostel in Ireland – Cork – Bru Bar and Hostel

Bru Bar and Hostel in Cork is a backpackers dream come true. With a welcoming Irish atmosphere and live music played every night of the week, you’ll love staying in the heart of Cork! You’re sure to make friends at this super social, especially vibrant Irish hostel.

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Best Hotel in Ireland – Sligo – The Glasshouse

With incredibly innovative design and a completely unique exterior, your stay at The Glasshouse in Sligo promises an unforgettable experience. Centrally located, and overlooking the water this hotel is true perfection. Moreover, you’ll be quite close to all the Sligo highlights, from the Sligo Abbey to the Sligo Holy Well to the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception!

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Books to Read when Backpacking in Ireland

Here are some of my favorite books books set in Ireland:

The Backpacker Bible – Get it for free! Learn how to ditch your desk and travel the world on just $10 a day whilst building a life of long-term travel with an online income. To inspire and help the next generation of Broke Backpackers, you can now grab ‘How to Travel the World on $10 a Day’ for free! Get your copy here.

Ulysses — It has survived censorship, controversy and legal action, and even been deemed blasphemous, but remains an undisputed modernist classic: ceaselessly inventive, garrulous, funny, sorrowful, vulgar, lyrical and ultimately redemptive. Classic James Joyce.

Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats — I first read Yeats during my Ireland trip. Check out what makes the most celebrated Irish so enjoyable to read.

Angela’s Ashes — A Pulitzer Prize–winning, #1 New York Times bestseller, Angela’s Ashes is Frank McCourt’s masterful memoir of his childhood in Ireland.

The Dubliners — James Joyce’s groundbreaking story collection of Irish centered tales. They form a naturalistic depiction of Irish middle class life in and around Dublin in the early years of the 20th century.

 

Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Ireland

Ireland is full of beautiful places to visit that will excite absolutely everyone, from adventurers to history buffs to foodies! With incredible cities from Galway to Sligo to Cork to Dingle, you’re sure to leave a little piece of your heart behind on the emerald isles!

 

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Ireland

Shoutout from Will – The OG Broke Backpacker: Have fun on your backpacking adventure, but please do get insurance – take it from someone who has racked up tens of thousands of bucks on an insurance claim before: you need it.

Don’t forget to sort your travel insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of the best travel insurance for backpackers – check it out here, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads now, our favourite travel insurance provider.

Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple – just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!

world nomads insurance banner

 

 

Yay for transparency! Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation through the site, The Broke Backpacker will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Your support helps me keep the site going.


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