The Guide has always sought out pet-friendly places to stay. Our dog, Pippa, comes everywhere with us and she is probably the only dog to travel to every county in Ireland at least once every year. We recommend many wonderful pet friendly destinations all over Ireland and give special recognition to the best at our annual awards (some of those selected below have been winners of our Pet Friendly Destination of the Year Award), so it’s good to see that a growing number of establishments are seeing the light and welcoming their guests’ four-legged friends. There is great demand, especially for travellers from the UK and within Ireland - and, at times when travel further afield is restricted for some reason, the prospect of a laid-back trip complete with your dog is especially attractive.

The Mont Hotel   EAST

At the Guide we get a lot of inquiries from people who want to visit Irish cities, and especially Dublin, when travelling with their dogs. City choices tend to be limited, so there’s always big excitement here when a new dog-friendly establishment comes on stream. Enter The Mont - formerly the Mont Clare Hotel, it recently went through a prolonged closure for renovations and finally emerged from behind its cladding in 2019, re-branded 'The Mont'. It's just a few doors away from the National Gallery and ten minutes walk from Grafton Street (and also fairly priced for Dublin), so it is proving popular for both leisure and business guests - and their dogs. Checking in at The Mont, you’ll be greeted by Monty herself. The resident French bulldog likes to meet guests, “hoping” that they are bringing a four-legged friend to what is probably Dublin’s most central dog-friendly hotel. Four rooms are available for small/medium-sized dogs and it’s just across the road from leafy Merrion Square, so very handy for exercising. And, while Monty may not be allowed into the restaurant, she seems to enjoy the craic in the bar - to the great entertainment of the guests.

The Ardilaun Hotel  WEST
Galway City

The Ardilaun Hotel - GardensGalway is a city that you are very likely to want to visit when touring the West of Ireland with your dog, and this famous old hotel - which is away from, but convenient to, the city centre - is a very relaxing place for pet owners to stay. Dating back to about 1840 and in the ownership of the Ryan family for over 50 years (John Ryan is the current General Manager), it has been extended a good bit without losing its gentle old-style atmosphere and the friendly staff always make a good impression. Pets are genuinely welcome - this is, as they say themselves, 'one of the few Galway hotels to realise that you can’t have a family break without all of the family'. There is a modest charge, but it is worth it; an ‘Ardilaun Doggy Pack’ is provided, but the best thing is the location of the garden rooms that are available for guests with dogs, which not only give direct access to the gardens but they’re also right beside the (covered) car park. Families will also enjoy the leisure centre with 18m swimming pool.

The Mustard Seed  MID-WEST
Ballingarry, Co Limerick

The Mustard SeedThis is an absolute gem, much-loved by its many returning guests - and their pets. It all began with Dan Mullane's famous restaurant The Mustard Seed which started life in Adare in 1985 and then moved just ten minutes drive away to Echo Lodge, a spacious Victorian hideaway set on seven acres of lovely gardens, with mature trees, shrubberies, kitchen garden and orchard - and luxurious accommodation. The Mustard Seed is a four star hotel, but it has more of a country house feel and it's renowned for hands-on hospitality and exceptional food. And, although Dan Mullane retired a couple of years ago, The Mustard Seed was taken over by the long term manager, John Edward Joyce, who runs it with equal warmth and charm - and who also knows that, for many people, pets are part of the family and they expect them to be treated accordingly. Far from the token pet friendliness of those who offer distant kennels or the use of an outhouse in the yard, the welcome to guests travelling with pets is genuine and thoughtful. Pets are allowed in most areas of the hotel, except the restaurant, and they can stay with their owners in suitable ground floor rooms with doors opening onto the garden - very handy, as you can pop out with your pet without having to go through the hotel reception areas.

The Dunloe (formerly Hotel Dunloe Castle)
Beaufort, Killarney, Co Kerry

Hotel Dunloe Castle - Killarney County Kerry Ireland - Dog FriendlyThis five star resort hotel is a sister property to the Hotel Europe, nearby at Fossa, and the serene Ard na Sidhe overlooking Caragh Lake. Blessed with one of Ireland’s most hauntingly beautiful locations, it overlooks the Gap of Dunloe and is set in magnificent grounds that include an equestrian centre (home to the hotel’s gentle Haflinger Ponies, with riding available to guests staying at all three of the group’s hotels). Although long famous for its setting, world class gardens (catalogued in a booklet by plantsman and broadcaster Sir Roy Lancaster, who supervises new planting) and exceptional leisure facilities, this is not an hotel that stands still and, having created very family friendly accommodation and activities in recent years, they then turned their attention to the family pet. For a nominal charge per night, The Dunloe offers a choice of luxurious kennels or a dog friendly guest room where you will find a food and water bowl with floor mat, special pet treats and pet beds and (a very practical idea) “a doggy throw, to cover the sofa with, should that be your pet’s preferred sleeping place!” With 20 acres of grounds and gardens (clean-up bags provided), it’s emphatically a five star destination for dogs – the only trouble is likely to be persuading them to hop in the car when it’s time to leave.

Harvey's Point Country Hotel NORTH-WEST
Lough Eske Donegal Co Donegal

Harveys Point Country Hotel - Lough Eske County Donegal Ireland - Dog FriendlyHarvey’s Point is beautifully located on the shores of Lough Eske, in an area renowned for wonderful walking – so it’s no wonder that dog lovers enjoy coming here. First opened by the Gysling family in 1989, it has always been a pet friendly place and, in the early days, the original owner Jody Gysling was never to be seen without a couple of friendly black labs tagging along beside him. After its stunning location, Harvey’s Point is most famous for exceptional food and the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff - and, although the hotel came into new ownership in 2019, those remain its greatest strengths. The warmly hospitable General Manager, Noel Cunningham, has been a familiar figure at the hotel for over a decade - and it still welcomes four-legged guests - they even include a 'Crufts' Dog Show in the annual Christmas programme. All of the rooms and suites are extremely luxurious and those on the ground floor, with easy access to the grounds and lough, are especially popular with dog owners.

Carbery Cottage Guest Lodge SOUTH-WEST
Durrus, Bantry, Co Cork

Carbery Cottage Guest Lodge - Durrus Bantry County Cork Ireland - Dog FriendlyWhen heading to West Cork, dog lovers in the know make a beeline for this haven near Durrus. Hosts Mike Hegarty and Julia Bird are former owners of the unique Tin Pub, at Ahakista, and they brought the laid-back charm associated with it to this purpose-built B&B and adjoining self-catering cottage, which enjoy beautiful coastal views. They chose from the outset to make people who travel with their dogs especially welcome, and this USP has made Carbery Cottage a favourite destination for pet owners. It offers a home from home all round, with lovely rooms, lounging space indoors and out, evening meals (seasonal seafood banquets are a speciality) and packed lunches by arrangement – and all sorts of hospitable gestures including a well-stocked drinks fridge where you replace what you take, or use it to store your own purchases. Building on their special reputation as a dog lovers’ destination, Mike – who is a trained dog handler – can also offer off-season dog training weekends. Innovative and practical, this is sure to be enjoyable and rewarding for both owners and their pets. West Cork here we come.

Rathmullan House Hotel NORTH-WEST
Rathmullan Co Donegal

Set in lovely gardens on the shores of Lough Swilly, the Wheeler family’s famous nineteenth century country house hotel is quite grand but it’s not too formal and has always been known for outstanding food - their breakfast buffet was legendary long before it became a popular feature elsewhere, and their beautiful walled kitchen gardens supply much of the fresh produce used in the kitchen. And, in keeping with its beach-side location and popularity as a traditional family holiday destination, Rathmullan is almost as well known for its pet-friendliness – they even have a sleigh bed for Fido in a dedicated pet-friendly room. No excuses are ever needed for a trip to Donegal, but if persuasion is called for, bringing the dog makes it an especially appealing option - and there are hill walks and miles of uncrowded beaches to choose from, beginning at the bottom of the garden.

Renvyle House Hotel WEST
Renvyle Connemara Co Galway

Renvyle House Hotel - Renvyle Connemara County Galway Ireland - Dog FriendlyNot a lot of people know this, but Renvyle became one of Ireland’s earliest country house hotels, in 1883. This atmospheric Lutyens-esque house has been in and out of private ownership since then of course – most famously, Oliver St John Gogarty invited many high profile guests to visit him here in this hauntingly beautiful area. The scenery is stunning in good weather but, thanks to its character, open fires, Tim O’Sullivan’s great food and the genuine hospitality of the staff, it is always a great place to be – especially for guests with family or pets in tow. For dog owners this Connemara haven is a real find, with a number of large rooms that are particularly well suited to people with families and pets – especially some on the ground floor, which have little fenced garden areas outside. There's wonderful walking in the area, of course, and plenty of space around the gardens, golf course and beach for those morning and evening strolls.  Simply magic.

Lough Inagh Lodge WEST
Recess Connemara Co Galway

Lough Inagh Lodge - Recess Connemara County Galway IrelandThis lovely, pet-friendly small hotel is only 42 miles from Galway and makes a good base for exploring this spectacularly beautiful area. The lodge has special appeal to sportsmen and other lovers of the great outdoors, who often bring their dogs, and many others come here just to relax and enjoy the restful atmosphere and comfort of open log fires in the library and the oak-panelled bar. Fishing (Lough Inagh & Derryclare Fishery, at the top of the Ballynahinch system) is a key attraction in season, and golf, pony trekking, hill walking and garden visits are among the other things to do nearby at various times of year. Special interest breaks, including guided walking breaks for groups of 6-12, are a speciality, and off-season specials give especially good value - but you don’t have to be over-organised to make the most of a break here. People travelling with their dogs may be interested in the hotel’s booklet of walks and cycle trails for independent guests; ranging from about 11/2 to 4 hours or more, these walks are “intended for walkers who just want to get out along the valley and into the foothills” although they also stock guides to more demanding walks. After a day in the open air, this warmly hospitable and very comfortable place is lovely to come back to for a delicious dinner and a bit of craic in the bar.

Gregans Castle Hotel WEST
Ballyvaughan The Burren Co Clare

As well as offering simple joys like warming open fires and views across the Burren landscape, Simon and Freddie Haden’s quietly luxurious country house has a well-earned reputation as one of Ireland’s top food destinations - so it may not seem the likeliest of places to welcome pets. But the Burren is a walkers’ paradise, so it’s a very natural place to head for with your dog. Being animal lovers themselves, Simon and Freddie appreciate the need to treat one’s pooch to the occasional night away so they extend the Gregans Castle welcome “to particularly loved four legged friends”. In consideration to other guests, dogs are not allowed to roam around the public areas of the hotel, but a number of the ground floor guest rooms are very suitable for pet lovers. One, designated as a special “doggy” room, even has its own sheltered outdoor area, an outdoor kennel and an indoor play pen/bed for times when the weather is disappointing. The gardens at Gregans Castle have been ingeniously designed to include a woodland area that seems much larger than it is, thanks to the use of meandering paths that zig zag through the trees, so it’s ideal for those late night and early morning walks - pooper scoopers at the ready, of course!

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