Destination Discovery Ireland: Where to Stay, Spa and Sweat in The Emerald Isle

From the rolling hills and the green pastures to the jagged cliffs and the bustling cities – The Emerald Isle of Ireland features some of the most breathtaking scenery, delicious food, and friendly people you’ll ever encounter. Let us take you on a virtual vacation to this magical destination.

Where to Stay

The most popular city to visit in Ireland is by far Dublin, where you’ll find amazing art and literature at the Chester Beatty Library and the famed Guinness Factory, while in Ireland a pint (or two) is a necessity! Here pick The Merrion, in the city center where 142 guestrooms and suites and the 2-star Michelin Restaurant, Patrick Guilbaud await in the four restored Georgian townhouses. Take one of the hotel’s bikes for a spin and visit nearby Trinity College and its Book of Kells and do some shopping on Grafton and Henry Streets.

For a visit fit for a king or queen, stay at the freshly renovated and iconic Ashford Castle in County Mayo, the newest member of the ultra-luxurious Red Carnation Hotel Collection. Following a $75 million two-year renovation, the 800-year-old Ashford Castle has been reborn with a few new features like a movie theater, intimate wine cellars, and lakeside cottage. The 82 guestrooms and suites are decked in rich fabrics and original artworks. Sprawled over 350-acres, the estate’s other highlights include Ireland’s oldest School of Falconry, an equestrian center, and the only Orvis-endorsed fishing property in the country.

For those looking to stay more inland, check out Kerry county’s Killarney Park Hotel, with its prime spot near Killarney National Park and its lakes and mountains. Just a stone’s throw away from a downtown of pubs and restaurants, the Killarney Park features the beautiful MacGillicuddy Reeks mountains as a backdrop.

For a castle experience like no other, stay in Limerick County’s Adare Manor Castle & Golf Resort, a luxury 5-stary hotel surrounded by medieval ruins, leaving you feeling like you’re living in a storybook. On 840-acres the estate features stonewalled gardens, private pathways, and a championship golf course. Choose between a variety of room categories, all of which are ornate and well-appointed. Take a break at the Lavender Cottage, where you can indulge in Elemis body treatments and massage.

Where to Spa

While the hotels feature fantastic spa options, many opt for a day spa experience at some local favorites like the Rain Spa and Wellness Clinic in Limerick. Here, nine treatment rooms, a thermal suite, outdoor Canadian Hot Tub, and hydrotherapy rooms are ready for you to rest and rejuvenate. Book a treatment featuring Elemis products and techniques based on exotic rituals. Pop into Dublin’s French Beauty Day Spa, where massage, facials, and mani-pedis are offered for a great break between touring the city and dinner.

Where to Snack

As we’ve previously mentioned, make a reservation at the 2 Michelin-starred Patrick Guilbaud in Dublin’s city center, where traditional Irish classics meet a contemporary dining twist. Also in Dublin, Chapter One, where the four-course tasting menu takes you on a culinary tour of Irish fare. When in Dingle, visit The Chart House, where local produce helps Head Chef Noel Enright create memorable, seasonal dishes for guests. Your best bet while in Ireland? Traditional pub fare. Pop in, order a pint, and comfort food that will leave you in awe and a few stories you’ll be sure to take back home.

Where to Sweat

In Ireland, a bicycle or a walking tour is a must, making getting your workout in is easy and fun! Cycle or hike along the cliff-side, walk around the streets in town, and meander around the notable sites.

What to See

While in Ireland, rent a car for a scenic drive along the coastal route that links Cork and Donegal, where you must see Horn Head, a rugged peninsula that forms part of Sheephaven Bay and offers up unbelievable cliff views. Check out the glacial valley of Glendalough in County Wicklow, where there are remains of a 6th century monastery, or visit Brú na Bóinne, the World Heritage Site, where a complex of Neolithic mounds that pre-date the pyramids can be seen. If you’re really lucky, one of Ireland’s legendary festivals will be occurring during your trip!