My girlfriend and I are planning a one-week writing retreat to Ireland, but we're finding it difficult to find a place that is:

  • Relatively cheap (i.e., around 300 euros for 6 nights)
  • "Traditionally Irish" (i.e., a small-ish town in the middle of nowhere ... with at least one pub!)
  • Not impossible to get to from an Irish airport by a combination of train and bus
  • Is available in the beginning of July

Do you have any recommendations for how to find such a place?

  • 1
    Have you tried AirBnB? – Traveller Apr 6 '19 at 12:46
  • Good point! It's difficult to know where in Ireland to look for an AirBnB, though. It's either in a big city like Dublin (which is not what we're looking for), or somewhere that's impossible to get to by bus. – Mathias Vorreiter Pedersen Apr 6 '19 at 12:50
  • 3
    As soon as you get out of the larger towns, it’s going to be quite difficult to find places reachable by train and bus IMHO. – jcaron Apr 6 '19 at 12:51
  • 4
    It should be pretty quick to find out though... There are only 78 places available on AirBnb once you pick July 1-7, private place, less than 50 euros a night. Once you have eliminated any that don’t suit you for other reasons, it’s just a matter of checking for directions on Google Maps. – jcaron Apr 6 '19 at 12:59
  • 1
    Even if the place is unreachable by bus, the owner may agree to pick you up. – ugoren Apr 6 '19 at 13:38

A traditional B&B (Bed & Breakfast) will be a better option for two people sharing than an AirBnb; also breakfast is included (a full Irish breakfast, not just cereal, toast and tea.)

  • see www.bandbireland.com for listings. There are many more B&Bs than Airbnbs in Ireland. Somewhat ironically, some B&Bs also list on Airbnb (and Booking.com, et al).
  • Advantages: B&Bs always serve you a proper breakfast. You may get more privacy. The hosts may be more friendly and not have to rush out to work (not stressed-out people trying to cover their mortgage by AirBnb'ing a spare bedroom) and can suggest you places to go and give advice; look for reviews of places popular with foreign visitors. Some B&Bs are over a pub.

  • Availability & Price: for example, I found 45 options in County Galway under €300 alone for your spec (6 nights from 7/1/2019 for two people sharing).

  • Reachable from an airport by train+bus: first figure out are you flying into Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Knock or Belfast (NI)? And look at the train and bus maps.
  • "Traditional small-ish town in the middle of nowhere" Do some reading of guides and reviews, but most of Ireland (RoI and NI) outside the major cities fits your description:

    • east/southeast: County Kilkenny, Carlow, Wicklow, Kildare, Laois, Waterford, Wexford are all near Dublin. I imagine you'll probably fly into Dublin Airport as it has the most flights, also the train+bus network.
    • south and southwest (Cork, Kerry, Tipperary, Clare, Limerick). Fly into Cork Airport if possible.
    • Galway (in the west) is a very literary place, great scenery, history and affordable; direct train from Dublin. Galway City is nice, as is County Galway; the further west you go, the harder to get to and sparsely populated, but also very scenic. If I remember, Galway City has the most bookshops-per-capita of any Irish city.
    • the northwest: Mayo, Sligo, Donegal are all nice but a bit harder to get to (>4 hours from Dublin)
    • the midlands: sometimes said to be boring but has some gems and you might find something you like (Birr, Co. Offaly for example). Here are some tips. There are some small towns on the Shannon, where you get the river cruiser tourists passing through.
    • Northern Ireland is also very nice too. Land of Séamas Heaney, CS Lewis, the Brontes and others.
  • You can search for literary holidays, summer schools, festivals, etc. The universities have some summer activities too.

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