In the Map & Itinerary link, we mentioned our favorite small boutique hotels located in the middle of towns along The Erin Way. Here are four more suggestions if you have always wanted to stay in a magnificent castle, an elegant country home, a classy lodge or a lovely B & B in the gorgeous countryside...all along The Erin Way.

*Favorite Pubs and Shops!


#1 Castle

Dromoland Castle Hotel: New Market-on-Fergus, Country Clare…near the Shannon Airport
We have to confess that one of our favorite experiences in Ireland is being served a hot supper on a small antique table in front of a roaring fire in the Gallery at Dromoland Castle. Also, the paneled bar next door with it’s collection of Staffordshire dogs and beautiful river views is one of our favorite rooms anywhere on earth.
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#1 Country House

Cashel House: Cashel, Connemara: Everytime we bring people to the Cashel House sooner or later someone will remark that they want their ashes scattered here when they die. The Cashel House is one of Ireland’s finest examples of what a mid 19th century country house should be: open fireplaces, antique furnishing, original paintings and interesting prints, chintz fabrics and fine china.
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#1 Lodge

Lough Inagh Lodge: Recess, Connemara. This 1880’s lodge is sited at the base of a mountain and across the road from one of Connemara’s most beautiful lakes. It has a definite Old World quality and yet affords all the modern conveniences you might require.
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#1 B & B

Anglers Return: Toombeola near Roundstone, Connemara. According to it’s website, the Angler’s Return is located “in a lovely corner between mountains and sea.” We can vouch for that and we will add that it has expansive views of a pretty river and is down the road from Ballinahinch Castle.
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Favorite Pubs and Shops on the Erin Way

Favorite Pubs on the Erin Way

Although the original Irish style pubs are disappearing with the advent of the big screen TV, you will definitely find plenty of 200 year old pubs along the way. We have found that Dingle Town has consistently the best music on The Erin Way. Some of the pubs listed below do not typically have music but are well worth the stop.
  • #1: O’Flaherty’s: Dingle Town. Check out the interior of this place. It is fascinating and reminds us of 19th century Scandinavian design which is not so shocking when you consider that the Vikings founded a lot of the seaports in Ireland. Every time we go in there we pray they haven’t changed the tin ceiling or repainted the gingerbread trim or taken down the plethora of memorabilia on the walls. This pub has the best music on the Erin Way and also has one of the best snugs. O’Flahertys is well known for its traditional Irish music and the variety of music you hear is outstanding. It was here that we first heard bag pipes played in Ireland. Be prepared for standing room only on weekends.
  • #2: Dick Mack’s Pub: Dingle Town. One of the most famous pubs in all of Ireland. Dick Mack’s is an old shoe shore with store counters, shelves and shoes boxes with old shoes on one side and a long bar and two snugs on the other. On the wall of the first snug on the right note the painting which is a painting of the snug and contains another painting of the snug within the original. There are rumored to be about 50 pubs out on the Dingle. This one is something you have to see to believe.
  • #3: Foxy John’s Pub: Dingle Town. You will love this Pub if you would like to see a half hardware store half pub.
  • #4 & #5: Hamiltons and Gaynors: Leenane. These two pubs are side by side in this wee village located on the beautiful Killary Fjord and appear to have not changed in 100 years. Hamiltons serves a great lunch. Gaynors is charming and full of character as well as characters and is the pub seen in the movie the “The Field”. Both pubs have peat fires going most days and once you have had an hour or two by a warm peat fire on a damp Irish day you will become addicted to the sweet fragrance that fills the air and will think of it often in the Fall after you return home.
  • #6: Matt Malloy’s: Westport. Owned by one of the Chieftans. This place jumps at night. We saw a battle of the tin whistles here where musicians on one side of the room played a tune and then musicians on the other side tried to copy the original rendition and make it better. In this case, one side was of elderly gentleman clearly in their 80’s and the other side consisted of young lads not old enough to be out at night by themselves. The fiddlers at Matt Malloys play the fiddle like they are going off to war in the morning. According to its website Matt Malloys has music every night which is not usually the case for a lot of other pubs.
  • #7: Murphy’s: Dingle Town. We have heard roaring good blended music at Murphy’s. Expect a full house here on the weekends and many weeknights in July and August.
  • #8: Molly’s: Letterfrack. We showed up for a traditional (trad) session here and found the interior of the place a fascinating shrine to the 1916 Uprising and the music terrific. But what really blew our socks off was watching large plywood pieces hauled in over the heads of the patrons to form a dance floor over the old stone floor. What we didn’t know was that when some of the patrons started to dance traditional Irish dance, which is a kind of soft tap dancing, the sound of the plywood hitting the uneven floor creates its own unique and unforgettable tapping sound.
  • #9: O’Dowds: Roundstone. One of the tiniest pubs in Ireland with one of the biggest and most spectacular views. Well known for its sea food. Original décor.
  • #10: Galvins: LaHinch. Located right in town on Church Street. Handsome 2 or 3 story residence built in 1840 from sea stones from the shore. The building is fascinating and the place is a well known hub for traditional music and draws musicians from all over Ireland even famous ones.


Favorite Pub Grub On The Erin Way



Favorite Pub Lunch: Morans. This thatched roof cottage just outside of Galway is cute but forget about that and go for the food. Be sure you stroll around the entire place before you decide to order...the place is actually humoungus. Try one of the open faced seafood sandwiches (favorites are shrimp and crab) on slices of thick homemade bread. The salmon dinners are to die for also. If you are not driving order a crisp glass of Chilean white wine and try not to stay all day. These people have to make a living, you know.

Favorite Pub Dinner: O’Danihers. This is a shocker. From the outside we never guessed we were all going to have an AH HA moment in this pub located right in the village of Cong. We came for a delicious hot meal (which we got...great menu...great food) but the best part was hearing the sweet, sincere voices of all the men in the pub sing “The Town I Loved So Well” along with an Irish family (Mom & Dad & 3 young children) who could pass many different instruments back and forth amongst themselves...playing each one with amazing ease.

Favorite Pub Dessert: Don’t go to Veldons in Letterfrack and order apple pie and coffee with cream if you are on a diet. For starters, the glob of real cream in the coffee is the size of a tennis ball. The apple pie is exquisite and tastes like authentic pie should. And actually, we were fine with the calories until we ordered the second round.


Favorite Shopping Along The Erin Way



Dingle Crystal: Dingle Town. We know you’ve seen beautiful crystal before but have you seen exquisite crystal pieces with palm tree designs or...how about dolphins? Stop at Dingle Crystal and check it out. The shop is smack dab in the middle of town and is worth seeing. This is the perfect place to buy something special for an anniversary, a wedding or better yet for yourself as a remembrance of your trip to Ireland. The owner, Sean Daly, is an interesting combination of a Harley driver and an extremely talented artist who qualified as a master craftsman with Waterford Crystal. Liz Daly, his wife, will probably wait on you. Buy a special piece and have it shipped home. You won’t be sorry. Also, you can order online without having to go there.

Roundstsone Music, Craft and Fashion: Roundstone. The Music, Craft and Fashion shop is located in an old Franciscan monastery just outside of Roundstone. If you have a shopper with you allow extra time to cruise through the great selection of books and prints. It also has a big assortment of high quality clothing, Irish household items, CD’s, tin whistles and children’s gifts. The best part is, at certain times, you can watch a master craftsman make bodhrans (Irish drums) which the store is famous for and sells all over the world.

Information Center in Dingle Town: Sounds crazy but this is the very best place to look for matted prints of Ireland if you want to bring gorgeous shots home of the places you have seen and your camera fogged up in the rain or your husband wouldn’t pull over for you to take any breathtaking shots because he was too nervous driving on the edge of a cliff without guard rails on the wrong side of the road. This is also the very best place to buy books and maps and since it is an information center the employees behind the counter are extremely helpful and can answer any logistical questions you might have about maneuvering out on the Dingle Peninsula. Also stocks souvenirs of every size, shape and price. Located in the wharf area across the street from the Dingle Bay Hotel. Check out the hours it is open so you don’t accidentally miss it.


Favorites of Ireland On My Mind

Favorite Castle Hotel

Dromoland Castle Hotel: New Market-on-Fergus, Country Clare...near the Shannon Airport
We have to confess that one of our favorite experiences in Ireland is being served a hot candle lit supper on a small antique table in front of a roaring fire in the Gallery at Dromoland Castle.

If you have always dreamed of going to Ireland and staying in a castle here is your chance. For starters, Dromoland (Dra moe lin) is located near the Shannon airport and is the perfect place to start your vacation or end it especially if you would like a little time for reflection. We like Dromoland because there is an intimate and serene atmosphere that is difficult to find in many castles. Here, it is possible to sip a cup of coffee, read a book in a quiet corner, enjoy the views and be alone.

The drive up to the castle is what you picture a castle approach should look like: lengthy winding driveway, acres of green park lawns, woodlands and a gorgeous 18 hole golf course, recently redesigned. On the property is our favorite English style walled garden which is a photographer’s delight.

The rooms are luxurious, the bedding sumptuous and the bathrooms large and updated. The dining experience and the service will not disappoint. The bar with its rich paneling, collection of Staffordshire dogs and beautiful river views is one of our favorite rooms in all of Ireland.

If you do stop by to make a reservation note the carving above the front door which is an interesting relic from days gone-by...a clenched fist holding a dagger.


Favorite Manor Home Hotel

Cashel House: Cashel, Connemara:
Everytime we bring people to the Cashel House sooner or later someone will remark that they want their ashes scattered here when they die. The Cashel House is one of Ireland’s finest examples of what a mid 19th century country house should be: open fireplaces, antique furnishing, original paintings and interesting prints, chintz fabrics and fine china.

Rooms are carefully and beautifully decorated and most have exceptional views of gardens and woodlands. If you stay in a junior or regular suite you will be hard pressed to leave the room. The bathrooms are perfectly updated and are spacious.

The Cashel house is surrounded by 50 acres of award winning gardens (including a secret garden) that you just have to see in order to fully appreciate. The paths that wind throughout the property will eventually lead you to a bubbling creek and a bench in a quiet spot on a hill overlooking Cashel Bay. The tranquil and luxurious atmosphere, superb dining experience and service that at times feels like it is one-on-one will keep you coming back. Family owned and operated. Owners are on site.


Favorite Lodge

Lough Inagh Lodge: Recess, Connemara.
This 1880’s lodge is sited at the base of a mountain and across the road from one of Connemara’s most beautiful lakes. It has a definite Old World quality and yet affords all the modern conveniences you might require. Lough Inagh Lodge has 12 or 13 elegantly appointed bedrooms, all ensuite, with fascinating mountain, garden or lake views. The public rooms have roaring open fires and are furnished in fine antiques. This location is right in the middle of all the beauty that Connemara has to offer and would be perfect for hikers, fishermen, photographers and anyone who wants serenity and peace and quiet while on vacation. The Lodge has its own cozy Irish pub which is open to guests and the locals alike. The food and the service are wonderful. When we left we were given a bag of fresh scones which we are still talking about. Family owned and operated. Owner is on site.


Favorite B & B

Anglers Return: Toombeola near Roundstone, Connemara.
According to it’s website, the Angler’s Return is located “in a lovely corner between mountains and sea.” We can vouch for that and we will add that it has expansive views of a pretty river and is down the road from Ballinahinch Castle. Also, this quaint, inviting 18th century residence is surrounded by acres of lovingly cared for woodland gardens. The public rooms here as well as the 5 bedrooms are furnished beautifully with the owner’s personal antiques. Each room is unique and has deep windows with wonderful views. If you are looking for a special B & B, try this one. Owner is on site and eager to prepare hearty breakfasts as well as special dining requests with advance notice. The location is great for touring Connemara. Possibility of a shared bathroom.


Ireland On My Mind
Linda Rosen
Managing Director