The rugged coastline of Ireland, with its towering cliffs battered by crashing waves, creates a magical feeling. Ireland takes pride in its coastal beauty, protecting its seaside and beaches from over-development. You won't find rows of concrete hotels or beach houses squashed up against the dunes. Instead, you will find the odd lone hotel peering down to beaches and over landscapes that haven't changed much with time, making it easy to imagine what Ireland was like centuries ago.
County Wexford gets the most sun in Ireland, according to the Irish Tourist Board. The region has traditional pubs, sandy beaches and historic sights. The town of Rosslare is home to Kelly's Resort and Spa, where the same family has welcomed guests since 1885. In 2005, the resort was named the Ireland AA hotel of the year. The family-friendly resort overlooks five miles of beach, organizes activities for guests, has a pirate ship play area and crazy golf. If you prefer to test your skills on a championship golf course, the resort has packages that include two rounds of golf. Guest rooms have modern, comfortable furnishings, and many have sea views. In northern Wexford, check out the luxurious Seafield Golf and Spa Hotel, which perches above Ballymoney Beach and has its own 18-hole championship golf course. Guests can indulge in one of the spa's 60 different treatments or stroll along a private walk. Guest rooms have contemporary decor and soaking tubs, and many have a patio or balcony.
In the far northwest of Ireland lies County Donegal. Donegal is an outdoor lovers paradise, with lakes, fishing villages and long stretches of empty beaches. In southwestern Donegal is the Sandhouse Hotel and Marine Spa, which looks out over the long, flat Rossnowlagh Beach. The local area provides a great base for fishing, horseback riding and shopping for traditional Irish goods. Rossnowlagh Beach has particular appeal to surfers: It has hosted the European surfing championships on more than one occasion. Those in search of eco-friendly hotels may want to include the Beach Hotel on their shortlist. The hotel is on the edge of Sheephaven Bay, not far from Knock Shrine and an ancient church said to have a history that dates to St. Patrick himself.
County Kerry has some of Ireland's most beautiful scenery, such as the Dingle Mountains, Lakes of Killarney and the Ring of Kerry. The area is dotted with the ancient ruins of beehive huts and ring forts. The resort town of Ballybunion has a links golf course and a vast sandy beach. Perched on a cliff overlooking the beach is the Cliff House Hotel. The hotel includes a traditional Irish pub with an open fire and live music. Near the town of Tralee is the Banna Beach Resort, which has its own supermarket, leisure center, indoor and outdoor play areas, nightly entertainment and two- or three-bedroom cottage accommodations.
County Cork, home of the Blarney Stone, has a long and interesting history and more natural beauty than you can fit on your camera's memory card. The county's main city, Cork City, was awarded Lonely Planet's "3rd Top City in the World to Visit in 2010." The Barley Cove Beach Hotel in West Cork overlooks Barley Cove Beach. You can take walks along the sandy shore or enroll in surfing lessons during your stay. The hotel has a seafood restaurant but also serves a range of meat dishes made from Irish produce. Isolated from the Irish mainland via a causeway is Inchydoney Island Lodge and Spa. Standout features of this hotel include a warm seawater therapy pool and uninterrupted ocean views from all guest rooms.
- Kelly's Resort Hotel and Spa: Contact Us
- Seafield Golf and Spa Hotel: Contact Us
- The Sandhosue Hotel and Marine Spa at Rossnowlagh Beach: Contact Us
- Beach Hotel: Contact Us
- Cliff House Hotel: Contact Us
- Banna Beach Resort: Contact Us
- Barley Cove Beach Hotel: Contact Us
- Inchydoney Island Lodge Spa: Our Surroundings
- Inch beach in Ireland image by zimous from Fotolia.com