IRELAND: Ireland is a land of two-lane country roads dotted with majestic castles and oftentimes more sheep than people. But it is also an island that beckons with quirky alluring places that become instant party ice-breakers when you return home. Travelers in the know have long rated Ireland as one the best places in the world to discover quaint Ireland Bread & Breakfasts or B&Bs. Each is full of history and surrounded by lush green scenery.
Listed below are a half-dozen of Ireland Bread & Breakfasts you should visit. The list is by no means complete but intended only to offer a sampling of the treasures the Irish have to offer.
Clare Island Lighthouse, Clare Island, County Mayo:
Think of it this way, Clare Island is an island guarding a larger island off the western Atlantic coast of Ireland. Keeping watch at the entrance of Clew Bay, the Lighthouse has served as a nautical landmark for nearly two centuries.
Situated high atop craggy cliffs, Clare Island was once a safe haven for sailors protecting Achill, Westport and points beyond.
A different type of sanctuary
Today, the Clare Island Lighthouse is a different type of sanctuary, welcoming road weary visitors to enjoy one of the most unique and exclusive getaways in Ireland.
The ultimate room with a sea view is architecturally majestic, offering luxury, fully-catered B&B stays, complemented by the awe-inspiring, natural environment of the famous Wild Atlantic Way.
Sometimes it’s rather nice to be a little “nautical.”
Helen’s Tower, Bangor, County Down:
Island Lighthouse, Helen’s Tower perches high on a hill overlooking County Down. Nestled deep in the forest of Clandeboye Estate, on clear days, the three-story stone tower that offers views of the coast of Scotland.
Immortalized in poems by Alfred Lord Tennyson and Robert Browning, the tower was built between 1848 and 1850. It was initially a famine relief project to provide jobs for the unemployed.
The unique Gothic retreat features modern amenities as well as a rooftop terrace linked by a narrow stone staircase. Perhaps best of all, it is the ideal getaway with accommodations for just two people.
Barberstown Castle, Straffan, County Kildare:
Comprised of four buildings from different periods of Irish history, Barberstown Castle has had a turbulent legacy. Situated just 30-minutes from Dublin’s city center, it has a sense of being thousands of miles away thanks to 20-acres of surrounding grounds.
Since 1288, Barberstown has had no less than 37 owners, including world-famous guitarist Eric Clapton who held the deed between 1979 and 1987.
Barberstown opened its doors as a hotel in 1971.
Despite multiple owners, Barberstown’s proprietors have respected its history over the eight centuries of its existence maintaining the elegance of the structure by carefully blending its Victorian and Elizabethan extensions with the original Castle Battlement of 1288.
Built as a fortress to protect the people of Barberstown from rebel attack trying to burn the village, the walls of the Castle Keep walls slope inwards so as to prevent an enemy from getting out of range by closing up to the building.
Ironically, the rooms on the upper floors of the Castle are larger than those on the ground level as their walls are somewhat thinner.
Today, however, Barberstown is ideal for enjoying exceptional personal service, open log fires and great food and wine.
The Merchant’s House, Derry – Londonderry:
Savor the ambiance of a bygone era amid all the comforts of today in this unique four-story townhouse within walking distance of the famous Walls of Derry. Built in the Georgian style of nearly 150 years ago, the architectural features of the era survive largely intact at Merchant’s House.
It’s a distinctive, atmospheric base to explore the attractions and culture of Northern Ireland’s second city.
Martello Tower, Sutton, County Dublin:
Fearing an invasion by Napoleon in 1804, Martello Towers in Ireland and England were built to provide “bombproof” defenses.
Ireland’s circular stone tower was the first built. In historical chronicles, it is Tower No. 1.
The name comes from a tower at Mortella Point in the Gulf of Fiorenzo. When the Royalist French Navy and the Royal Navy were unable to seize the Napoleonic French tower at Mortella in 1794, that was all the inspiration the British needed to construct their defensive towers.
The names are different as a result of a mix-up in communication which transposed the letters “a” and “o”.
Martello Towers Today
Today this self-catering property accommodates up to four guests, promising a combination of luxury, exclusivity and privacy. The kitchen diner offers breathtaking 360-degree panoramic views from roof level.
The living area and balcony overlook the coastline of Dublin Bay on the middle level. While two bedrooms and a bathroom occupy the lower level.
Roundwood House, Mountrath, County Laois:
Spoil yourself in one of Ireland’s finest mid-size country houses of the Georgian period. Full of antique furniture and bedrooms lined with paintings, the property features overflowing bookshelves. Crackling fires, good food, lovely gardens and outbuildings make this a magical place in which to journey back in time.
Built by Anthony Sharp whose Quaker grandfather amassed a fortune in the late 17th century by running large flocks of sheep on his 2,000-acre holdings to supply his Dublin clothing business, Roundwood House has a “doll’s house-like quality” according to one analyst.
This is no place to be “sheepish” today, however, as the original furnishings make Roundwood House a delightful travel experience.
About the Author:
Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor was an award-winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.
He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
His goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime
Editors Note: Support Bob’s GoFundMe to give him a hand up