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Ireland is a fantastic destination for the young, and the young at heart. Bursting with history, culture, great food and stunning landscapes, it’s perfect for a family adventure. But which county of Ireland should you choose as a base? Dublin, Cork, Mayo, Wicklow… all have their own charms and extend a warm welcome to visitors. We’ve consulted the Mumsnet forums for top recommendations for family-friendly hotels on the Emerald Isle.
What are the best family hotels in Ireland?
Best for family activities: Kelly’s Resort Hotel & Spa, Co. Wexford
Best with a pool: Hodson Bay Hotel, Co. Roscommon
Best by the beach: Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa, Co. Cork
Best for budget breaks: Leenane Hotel, Co. Mayo
Best for babies and toddlers: Dingle Skellig, Co. Kerry
1. Best overall hotel: Kelly’s Resort Hotel & Spa, Rosslare, Co. Wexford
Kelly’s Resort Hotel & Spa | Check availability
"Kelly’s in Rosslare is the best family hotel in the world" - recommended by Mumsnet user, renaldo
"If you can afford it then Kelly’s really is as good as all the hype" – tried and tested by Mumsnet user, Lickitysplit1
Hands down, the most popular Irish hotel among Mumsnet users is Kelly’s Resort Hotel & Spa in Rosslare. It’s been run by the same family for generations. Guests come for the spa, the delicious food, and the indoor and outdoor sports facilities like tennis courts, croquet lawns and a pool with panoramic views of Rosslare Beach. Families love the kids’ clubs and daily activities like scavenger hunts, kids’ yoga and movie nights
Nearest airport: Waterford Airport (54 miles)
2. Best budget hotel: Leenane Hotel, Connemara, Co. Mayo
Leenane Hotel | Check availability
"The Leenane Hotel is pretty reasonable in terms of price. It’s a very old fashioned hotel but clean and comfortable and it’s situated right on Ireland’s only fjord, Killary Harbour so the views are spectacular" - recommended by Mumsnet user, Avonmore
Ireland’s oldest coaching inn is the sort of place where all members of the family (including the family dog) receive a warm welcome and a hearty meal. This well-priced gem offers a genuine get-away-from-it-all vibe for families looking to switch off and reconnect. Use the hotel as a base and get out and explore Killary Fjord on foot or by boat. There’s a working sheep farm nearby that welcomes visitors and higher-octane activities for kids 8+ at the nearby Killary Adventure Centre.
Nearest airport: Ireland West Airport Knock Airport (43 miles)
3. Best Dublin hotel: Castleknock Hotel
Castleknock Hotel | Check availability
"Castleknock Hotel is close to Phoenix Park. It has family rooms, a spa, pool, children’s play areas and it is located on the northside of the city so is easily accessed from the airport" recommended by Mumsnet user, Ricekrispie22
This super hotel on the outskirts of Dublin offers the best of both worlds – it’s only a 15-minutes drive from the buzz and excitement of the city centre but at the end of a hectic day you can retreat to its large luxurious family rooms and make use of its pool (and toddler pool), playground and BBQ area. Phoenix Park and Dublin Zoo are on the doorstep too.
Nearest airport: Dublin Airport (7 miles)
4. Best hotel with a pool: Hodson Bay Hotel, Athlone, Co. Roscommon
Hodson Bay Hotel | Check availability
Ireland isn’t short of family hotels with swish, child-friendly pools but the Hodson Bay Hotel takes the trophy with a stunning pool overlooking beautiful Lough Ree. For something a little wetter and wilder, Baysports, Ireland’s largest inflatable water park, is minutes away from the hotel. And for the ultimate water ride, indulge your inner raider by hopping on a replica Viking boat tour – boats stop right by the hotel. Back on dry land, there’s a kids’ club offering treasure hunts and craft activities, as well as a spa, a gym and three restaurants to feed appetites large and small.
Nearest airport: Ireland West Airport Knock Airport (46 miles)
5. Best country hotel in Ireland: Hotel Westport, Co. Mayo
Hotel Westport | Check availability
"Westport will suit everyone, great town, wonderful beaches, surfing, theme park, pools, scenery, lovely people" - recommended by Mumsnet user, Sounbelievablydull
This luxury hotel, located within the magnificent 400-acre Westport Estate surrounding historic Westport House, is an easy choice for a fun family holiday. Smart family rooms accommodate four or five, there’s a pool, a pizzeria, woodland trails and even a Pirate Adventure Park with rides and slides. What’s more, the estate also hosts glampers and campers so a range of budgets is accommodated here in grand style.
Nearest airport: Ireland West Airport Knock Airport (30 miles)
6. Best hotel with large rooms: Amber Springs, Gorey, Co. Wexford
Amber Springs | Check availability
"They have loads right there for the dcs – way way more than most family-friendly hotels. There’s also lots to do in the area and lovely beaches, ancient ruins etc" - recommended by Mumsnet user, BreakfastLunchPasta
The award-winning Amber Springs in Gorey ticks that all-important box for larger tribes – its family rooms sleep five. What’s more, the hotel caters for kids of a range of ages with a soft play centre and an outdoor playground for the littlest ones; a teen hangout with table tennis, a pool table and foosball; and a petting farm, mini golf, go karts, a kids’ pool and cinema nights for all. Grown ups can enjoy a spot of pampering at the dreamy spa and foodies are looked after too with four restaurants and an emphasis on local produce – the meat for the burgers comes from the hotel’s own farm.
Nearest airport: Waterford Airport (46 miles)
7. Best for babies and toddlers: Dingle Skellig, Co. Kerry
Dingle Skellig | Check availability
"Dingle Skellig has a brilliant creche and baby room and staff really welcome children. The hotel has a spa and is in a fantastic location" - recommended by Mumsnet user, Ricekrispie22
The ever-popular Dingle Skellig has to be one of the top hotels for families with babies and toddlers – Mumsnetters highly rate its creche, and hotel staff for lovely customer service. The creche is open to children aged four months to four years, offering weary parents an hour or two to enjoy the spa or the pool or to indulge at one of the three on-site bars and restaurants. For older siblings, there’s a kids’ club open daily during school holidays and at weekends during term-time plus a kids’ pool, a movie room and junior evening meals. Dingle itself is a brilliant spot for young families, with an aquarium and a petting farm near the hotel and happy hours spent gazing out to sea to try and spot Dingle’s celebrity dolphin, Fergie.
Nearest airport: Kerry Airport (31 miles)
8. Best for olds kids and teens: Parknasilla Resort & Spa, Sneem, Co. Kerry
Parknasilla Resort & Spa | Check availability
"Lots to do and you never need to leave the place if you don’t want to . . . Great place for kids" - recommended by Mumsnet user, mineallmine
Mumsnet user mineallmine has it right – this fantastic hotel with lodges on the Wild Atlantic Way is so stuffed with activities you – and the kids – will be entertained from dawn to dusk. In addition to the spa, bar and restaurant you might expect of a four-star resort, Parknasilla offers walking trails, boat trips, tennis courts, kayaking, bike hire and cycling trails, and even a hotel murder mystery event. Teens have their own chill-out space, The Hideout, with a pool table, air hockey and table tennis and a quirky food trailer in a tram car.
Nearest airport: Kerry Airport (29 miles)
9. Best hotel on the beach: Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa, Co. Cork
Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa | Check availability
"There’s self-catering accommodation attached to hotel with a fab spa, restaurant and pub. Right on the most amazing beach" - recommended by Mumsnet user, bluebellation
It’s all about the sea, the sand and the spa at this blissful four-star hotel in West Cork. There are fewer kiddie activities here than some of the other hotels in this roundup – no softplay or go-karts – but who needs those when you have a Blue Flag Atlantic coast beach on the doorstep? The hotel offers guests kites, beach games and buckets and spades to take to the beach. The surrounding area is well worth exploring, with the historic town of Clonakilty only three miles away, and there are water sports and boat tours nearby too.
Nearest airport: Cork Airport (23 miles)
10. Best hotel with apartments: The Connacht, Galway
The Connacht | Check availability
"It's a 20-minute walk from Galway town centre. They also have family rooms, an indoor pool and gym" - recommended by Mumsnet user, sleepismysuperpower1
One hot tip from the Mumsnet forums on stretching the holiday budget is to seek out hotels with self-catering options to keep food costs down while still having access to the facilities of a great family hotel. The award-winning (and recently renovated) Connacht in Galway has multiple options for self catering. In addition to family rooms (with super-cool bunk beds) and family suites with interconnecting bedrooms, the hotel offers family-friendly apartments and even an on-site luxury campervan which sleeps eight. Whether bedding down in family rooms, apartments or over wheels, all guests have full access to the hotel’s kids’ club, family afternoon teas, 20-metre pool, and restaurant.
Nearest airport: Shannon Airport (41 miles)
Is Ireland good for families?
Ireland is great for families. There’s no shortage of hotels with family rooms, interconnecting rooms, kids’ clubs and family activities, not to mention a huge range of self-catering options and campsites. It’s a country that wears its history, culture and folklore on its sleeve so combine those charms with Ireland’s natural playgrounds and you can be sure you’ll return home with a happy, holidayed tribe.
Where’s the best place in Ireland for a family holiday?
While Mumsnetters are divided over which Irish county comes out top for holidays, there’s one thing on everyone’s wishlist – a good beach. Wexford and Waterford are said to be the sunniest regions in Ireland so head there for classic seaside fun in the sun. For rugged beauty and open sands, head to the west coast for adventure along the Wild Atlantic Way. County Cork is similarly strewn with glorious sandy coves and is also home to the much-loved Fota Wildlife Park: “Fota Wildlife Park is my favourite place in the whole world” – says Mumsnet user mnistooaddictive.
When’s the best time to travel to Ireland?
Generally speaking, the west is wettest and the east is driest, but like much of the UK, Ireland can experience four seasons in one day. Late spring and early summer are usually sunniest, and the late summer months are the warmest. Bring layers, a raincoat, sunglasses and an umbrella and don’t let the weather interfere with your plans for exploring.
What’s the best family-friendly hotel in Ireland?
Mumsnetters are firm on this: Kelly’s in Rosslare, County Wexford, is the best. It’s not cheap but Mumsnetters reckon it’s worth every penny – and that you’ll book again for next year before you’ve even left.
How we chose our recommendations
We know that there’s nothing like a personal recommendation so we first headed to the Mumsnet forums to find out which family hotels in Ireland were being recommended. We then did some online research, looking at the family hotels that had won awards or featured in ‘best choice’ lists, reading expert and customer reviews. Having collated all that information, we then narrowed our list down to the best family hotels in Ireland at the moment.
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