Original Irish Hotels: An Exceptional Escape in Ireland

Sandhouse Hotel, County Donegal, Ireland.

Manor House Country Hotel, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.

Lough Rynn Castle, Mohill, County Leitrim, Ireland.

Original Irish Hotels are a group of over sixty independent hotels, many of which are family-owned and operated, that are spread across thirty-two counties of Ireland. I was fortunate to be hosted by this lovely brand at three properties, which were as diverse as they were exceptional.

Sandhouse Hotel, County Donegal, Ireland

Did you know Ireland boasts a booming surfing community? When you visit Sandhouse Hotel, which overlooks the Atlantic Ocean, you will immediately know why and may even be called to take a surfing lesson or two.

If surfing isn’t for you (and it might not be… thick wetsuits required!), stroll Rossnowlagh’s wide beach, enjoy a massage at Marine Spa or a pint of Guinness at the cocktail bar. However, don’t miss dining at Sandhouse Hotel’s The Glasshouse Restaurant. Overlooking Donegal Bay, the fresh seafood is as delicious as the unforgettable view.

INSIDER TIP: Only a fifteen minute drive from Sandhouse Hotel, Ballyshannon is a beautiful and historic town that is home to the oldest bridge in Ireland. Be sure to stand on the bridge and listen closely for the town’s fairies. Ballyshannon is also the birth place of guitar legend Rory Gallagher.

Manor House Country Hotel, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland

Resting on the shores of Lough Erne, Manor House Country Hotel is yet another unforgettable Irish retreat. There is a magical energy the surrounds this property, which is only multiplied when a wedding is also being hosted. Needless to say, I wasn’t surprised when I saw my first rainbow in Ireland at Manor House Country Hotel.

Be sure to take a walk on the docks, visit the neighboring sheep, and take a dip in the lovely indoor pool. As for dining? Enjoy lunch or dinner at Belleek Restaurant, which has been awarded AA Rosette for culinary excellence. The duck is outstanding. After your meal, venture over to the chic Watergate Bar. You might be tempted to order something sophisticated in a martini glass, but have a Guinness too—you are still in Ireland.

INSIDER TIP: Just a fifteen minute drive from Manor House Country Hotel is Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark, which is a UNESCO Global Geopark. This status of UNESCO Global Geopark is awarded to areas with internationally important geological heritage and the landscape is simply lovely. 

Lough Rynn Castle, Mohill, County Leitrim, Ireland 

Staying in a historic castle should be requirement for every visitor to Ireland and Lough Rynn will not disappoint. Set inside a 300-acre grand estate, Lough Rynn offers lush green gardens, lake views, ancient forests, and a magnificent Victorian walled garden. 

While staying at Lough Rynn Castle, there is no need to venture off property for even a meal, and the food is outstanding. For dinner I had the most delicious pot roast at the property’s cocktail bar, as well as a few drinks with some fellow American travelers. At breakfast I enjoyed a decadent (breakfast can be decadent, right?) meal at the award-winning Sandstone Restaurant. The salmon, eggs, and pastries are each amazing and you’ll be ready for another tour around the gardens to extend your perfect morning after your pefect meal.

INSIDER TIP: While exploring the gardens, you might make a new friend—a handsome and sweet Golden Retriever. Sadly, we failed to exchange names, but I was told by a local that the dog was a frequent garden guest.

For more on Original Irish Hotels please visit: Also, be sure to go to to view ConciergeQ's Steller Story on each property. 

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