Steam rising from freshly baked brown soda bread. Thick, locally sourced sausages sizzling on your plate and the finest cup of coffee since you arrived – food is the backbone of the B&B experience. If your spare time is spent discussing, tasting, buying and trying food then a Food Lovers’ B&B is accommodation sent from the gods. Hosts at Food Lovers’ B&Bs are in tune with taste and deal with local producers who provide seriously seasonal and fresh produce. They’ll probably also have the know-how on where you’ll find the finest cafés, restaurants, cheese makers and maybe even whiskeys in the area.
A word to the wise: Ireland is the Great Outdoors. And while it’s exciting to chase an adventure, it’s always nice when your hosts can direct you to the hottest abseiling spots, the biggest waves or the most challenging mountain trails. Ireland’s Adventure Seekers’ B&Bs are where the surfing, kayaking, hiking, horse-riding visitors stay to get the locals’ tips on the outdoor and adventure spots. They’ll send you where the air is cleanest, the buzz is best and the pros prefer. Think horse-riding on Cleggan Beach in Connemara, braving breakers in Clare and kayaking in Kerry. Think adventure. Mention packed lunches
For some people, Links and Parklands are on the periphery of a holiday. For hosts of and visitors to Ireland’s Golfers Welcome B&Bs they’re the centre of the world. Along with knowing the lie of pretty much every green in the country, these hosts provide those little extras that make your average golfer feel like Tiger Woods arriving at Augusta. Think lockable club storage, daily weather forecasts and all the information you’ll need on local courses, tee times and where to pick up any essentials forgotten at home. With care like this, you’ll find that drive feeling just a little sweeter.
If any pastime needs insider information – angling is it. From pike to perch and salmon to trout, there’s only so much you can learn about Ireland’s angling waters from trawling the internet. Anglers Welcome B&Bs are headed by walking, talking encyclopaedic hosts whose best buddies are ghillies/angling guides and can answer any angling query within seconds. Licences, equipment, little unknown angling spots… an Anglers Welcome B&B cuts out the unknowns and means you have no excuse not to land a whopper.
The sight of an egg nestling on straw, the sound of cows gently lowing and lambs nuzzling their mother - goodbye city stress hello country heaven. Getting back to nature and back to basics is the essence of Farmstay B&B accommodation. Sample all the joys of farm life like picking your eggs for breakfast, feeding newborn foals or strolling acres of pastoral perfection to remind yourself that outside the hustle and bustle of the city lives serenity. Farmstays Welcome B&Bs bring you back to basics and into nature. Mention families, sheep shearing, lambing, rounding up the sheep with the collie a favourite with kids
Arrive in Ireland with a solid pair of boots and the island is yours. No mountains are too tall, no valleys are too low and treading on soft, springy bog is like walking on air. Take spots like those purple-hued Wicklow Mountains or County Down’s epic Mournes and you’re in hiking heaven. Seal the experience by laying your head in a Walkers Welcome B&B. It’s here that the sites not noted on the map, the ‘must-sees’ and the inside track, so to speak, are endowed to the uninitiated. With some local advice, a stroll turns to an adventure and walking gets pretty wonderful. Add in super storage, early breakfasts for early risers and ideal locations and your walking retreat awaits. Don’t forget to ask your host to prepare a delicious packed lunch, full of home baked treats to keep you bursting with energy on your walk.
Local information – you really can’t beat it. Especially when you’ve travelled all the way to Ireland searching for the key to your family tree. Consider Irish Ancestry Seeker B&Bs a cosy, repository of local information where you get an amazing night’s sleep, a breakfast of epic proportions and the help that sets you on your way to finding that gaggle of cousins you’ve been after for years. Hosts at Irish Ancestry Seeker B&Bs are brimming with local history as well being clued in to local archives, where to source church records and what museums or heritage sights might further your ancestral enquiries. Which begs the question: Is there anything a B&B Ireland B&B can’t do?