I’m compiling a list and would love your list of favorite charming villages and small towns in Ireland. Thanks!
I loved Dingle.
My three 'k's - Kinsale, Kenmare, Kinvara. I also loved Donegal Town.
EDIT to add: Howth and Cobh also.
Clifden-Kenmare-Donegal Town-Lisdoonvarnna (but not during the festival!) to start. My husband's father's family is all from Donegal, Ireland and his mom's family from Dungloe. We had several wonderful trips visiting the places his family grew up. My mother's family was from a really tiny town (really a crossroads) called Horse-and-Jockey in County Tipperary. I am not kidding! It has a wonderful old parish church and graveyard in which I did see some stones with my family name on them. All of Ireland is full of small and wonderful places. I highly recommend you rent a car and spend spend time on the road, stopping in the places that pique your interest. Doesn't have to be all in one trip; our exploration wasn't. Ireland is a magical country.
Dingle, Sneem, Rosses Point, Aughrim, Adare, Cobh, Carlingford.
Kinsale was my favorite.
Dingle and Kilkenny.
This would be so much more interesting if people would indicate what it was about each village/town that makes it special. For those of us who haven't been ...
Thank you all for a great list of places so far!
Leenane (Connemara), County Galway. A tiny village in the lovliest of settings between three mountain ranges surrounding Killary Harbor, the location of Ireland's only fjord. The Blackberry Restaurant there, with well-prepared fresh food, is also one of the best in the country.
The little town on Inis Oirr, one of the Aran Islands, was great as was Tigh Ned! Easily accessible from the port of Doolin - another charming place.
Yes to Inis Oirr and Doolin. I have not been to enough other small towns and villages in Ireland to compare, but I have really good memories of wondering around Innis Oirr on a misty day, and of nightly music in the Roadford part of Doolin.
I appreciate all the input on this thread. Ireland is on my bucket list since I have discovered my Irish roots in Donegal as well! My husband's mother had ancestors around Enniskillen, so both of us have places we want to visit. Just a question, were B and B's the best place to stay in small towns?
Absolutely! If you want an intimate, family-centered experience in a quiet setting - along with excellent breakfasts - then B&Bs anywhere in Ireland are the way to go. The Republic and Northern Ireland have some 2,000+ B&Bs between them. You can get a printed guidebook mailed to you here:
Begin at "Help and Advice" at the top.
Yes to your question, Barb. Definitely choose B&Bs for the reasons David gave. Our hosts always treated us like members of their families. The breakfasts (and often an afternoon "treat") were always unique, special, delicious and homemade. Oh, the jams and freshly baked breads.
Every post here is so helpful, thanks to all of you i have a very nice list now and will research them all for my next trip, i’m sure they’re all wonderful places - the hard part will be choosing which ones to visit.
I also wondered about B&Bs... i’m not normally a fan of staying in B&Bs but i think in Ireland it would be nice.
The whole Northwest of Ireland, but specifically Sligo & Donegal...
Sligo: No real big tourist attractions but that's kind of why I loved it compared to somewhere like Dingle (cute town and glad I went, but kind of a tourist magnet). Intended to stay 1 day but ended up staying for 2- exploring the fantastic local music scene at night (not trad music), connecting with locals at the pubs and restaurants (such good food!), and relaxing in seaweed baths at nearby Strandhill. Also had my favourite B&B of the trip (Pearse Lodge).
Donegal: beautiful town and felt way more authentic than Dingle. Good base to explore the coastline and scenery west of Donegal. Most beautiful beaches I've ever seen.
Cahir (county Tipperary): super small town where I stayed 1 night on the way from Dublin to Dingle. Best meal of the trip at the Galtee Inn, awesome conversation in the pub with the locals and cool castle to check out in the morning before leaving.
Dingle and Kinsale.
Now that we've ventured to Ireland's wild west - County Donegal - toss in the village of Glencomumbkille in the far southwestern corner of the county. It sits right on the Atlantic and a hike up the surrounding hills gifts visitors fantastic views of the village, countryside and ocean far below. Biddy's Pub also features trad sessions all summer.
Thank you Krystal, Eric and David. Adding your responses to my list.
I appreciate everyone’s suggestions!
Now that Leenane has been mentioned I remember it for a wonderful wool shop. I bought sweaters and a sheepskin. The selection was great and the shop was situated close to the road but had plenty of parking.
Returned from Ireland (and Norway) a year ago tomorrow. Seems impossibly long ago. Saddened.
Thank you all - really helpful responses.
I know others have said this, but I really loved Dingle. I was there with my husband, toddler son, and in-laws and we all enjoyed it despite our varying interests. Some highlights for us were the aquarium, the Slea Head drive, exploring the town on foot, and seeing live music at the pubs. O’Sullivan’s was my favorite pub.
Dingle sounds perfect for us!
We have stayed at the Lighthouse b and b three times in Dingle and another three times at Celi Brach b and b (not sure of spelling) and you can't go wrong with either one.
We loved Dingle. We are hoping to get back to Ireland some day to see places we missed before, but I will definitely plan some time in Dingle too. Remind me to tell you about our evening out at the pubs.
We loved Cobh. Stayed at an Airbnb and it was amazing! The owner came into town and led us to her amazing house and we stayed in the 2 bedroom carriage house that she had converted for her mother and is now renting out. The town is cute...walked all over and saw the colorful deck of cards houses, St. Colman’s Cathedral, an exhibit on the Titanic, took the train into Cork and visited the English Market.