If you want to add a unique touch to your Ireland vacation, consider staying in a Bed & Breakfast (B&B). The Irish B&B is a wonderful way to meet the real people of Ireland, experience Irish living and get the ‘inside scoop’ on a local area.
B&B’s are found in villages, towns & cities and throughout the countryside and range from remote farmhouses, modern homes and cottages to city townhouses or historic estates. B&B accommodations include en-suite private rooms (some have their own private entrance) and most have been modernized and offer free WiFi.
B&B’s can be arranged in advanced (this is highly recommended during the summer months or 'high' season') or by simply driving up and enquiring at the door. This is completely acceptable and as long as a “No Vacancy” sign is hanging out front--you shouldn’t have any problems finding a room for the night. As a general rule, if I plan to stay in B&B’s for the duration of my trip—I will always pre-book the first and last night to ensure availability.
Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by the hostess (or host) and genuinely welcomed into their warm & cozy home. The Irish are best known for their hospitality and you’ll be treated like an old friend the moment you walk through the door. Once you have been shown to your room, the host will likely offer a nice ‘cuppa’ (hot cup of tea) or coffee with fresh baked goods like home-baked scones, cakes or brown bread. This is a brilliant treat after a long day of sightseeing or driving.
Most B&B’s have a communal sitting room or outdoor garden area that’s perfect for reading or chatting with the B&B hosts or other guests. Full of local knowledge, hosts often have the low down on what’s going on in the area and love sharing their personal recommendations on what to see or do. They are happy to offer advice on restaurants & pubs, local entertainment & places of interest in the area.
My Irish grandmother would always say “the most important meal of the day is breakfast”! A hearty breakfast is included in the B&B rate and usually includes a “Full Irish Breakfast” (or “Ulster Fry” in Northern Ireland). The Full Irish is an Ireland specialty that consists of farm-fresh eggs (normally fried, but you can request scrambled), Irish bacon (or rashers), pork sausages, black & white pudding, sautéed mushrooms & tomatoes, fried or grilled potato bread and a choice of Irish soda or brown bread—of course pots of tea & coffee or fresh orange juice are always available.
If the full Irish isn’t for you, usually an assortment of other breakfast items are offered such as homemade pancakes, scrambled eggs & smoked salmon, homemade oatmeal drizzled with fresh cream & honey, homemade muesli and granola with locally sourced organic yogurt, fresh fruit and cereals. If you have dietary restrictions, the B&B host will be happy to accommodate with an alternative entrée (just make sure to mention this at check-in!) Whatever the case, it is guaranteed, you will not leave hungry as you head out for the day!
The flexibility of staying in a B&B is perfect for self-drive itineraries or small groups. Accommodations can be arranged for the duration of your vacation or for one night. McKinney Shaw can pre-book, arrange for ‘vouchers’ to be used during your vacation or offer guidance on B&B selection throughout Ireland.
For a closer look at the wonderful B&B experience: