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In Ireland we lag way behind our UK neighbours when it comes to pet friendliness; if you google an area in Britain looking for somewhere to stay, chances are that pet friendly options will pop straight up. Water bowls are put out at doors and in bars wherever you go and dogs are genuinely welcome almost everywhere.
We are making progress in Ireland though - this year, for example, saw the opening of Dublin’s first officially dog-friendly café, the aptly-name Pupp, and the owners have just announced the formation of The Dog-Friendly Association of Ireland, a community of businesses dedicated to making Ireland more dog-friendly. We, and all dog lovers in Ireland, will watch developments with interest!
Meanwhile, although it is far from the norm, many establishments here have quietly welcomed dogs for years, and our Pet Friendly Hotel of the Year is one of them.
The Salty Dog, a harbourside hotel that we have always liked very much, was selected by our own four-legged travelling companion, Pippa, as one of her favourite destinations in all Ireland, because its genuine pet friendliness makes it a home from home. And it’s popular with local dog owners, as well as resident guests.
A pavement board invites people out walking with their dogs to come in for a bite in the pet-friendly bar, where welcoming mats and water bowls are laid out and the simple house rules (keep dogs on the floor and on leads etc) set out clearly on a blackboard.
It's a happy arrangement for both owners and their contented pets - and dogs are also allowed in rooms, by arrangement, at no extra charge.
With beach, pier and promenade to choose from, there is easy walking on the doorstep, and also loughside walks and country parks nearby.
Owner Kenneth Sharp sees no need to make a big deal made about pet friendliness here - with only a few basic rules to ensure harmony, it’s just the way things are. An excellent model for others to consider.