Southern Ireland Accommodation Reviews

Tips for Future Travellers

The hotels we chose to use as bases for exploring Southern Ireland on a 10 Day Road Trip are set out below.  I’m going to be honest here and say that we made some mistakes on this trip and I am definitely NOT recommending all the hotels listed!

For further detail, read on to the Accommodation Reviews, but for a quick summary:

  1. Think about missing out Killarney altogether and making it a shorter trip.
  2. If you do stay in Killarney, then definitely don’t stay at The Ross Hotel.  A much better option would be a short (10 minute) ride out of town at Killeen House.  We took a taxi there on our second night to escape the centre of Killarney and had a lovely dinner at Rozzer’s Restaurant.
  3. Don’t stay at Wynns Hotel either.  You really don’t need extra days in Dublin at the end of the trip – it is only a tiny city and 2 days is ample to explore the best of it.
  4. One last tip.  We travelled to Dublin from Holyhead via Irish Ferries Dublin Swift via .  The catamaran is a bit quicker than the ferry (2 hours or so rather than 3 1/4 hours).  I really wouldn’t bother forking out for Club Class though – unless you intend to consume more than 16 euros pp in food and drink on the short crossing.  The seats in economy are well spaced and more seemed to have tables than in Club Class too.

10 Day Itinerary

Days 1 – 2 – Dublin – South 31

Days 3 – 4 – Kinsale – Perryville House

Days 5 – 6 – Killarney – The Ross

Days 7 – 8 – Galway – Glenlo Abbey

Days 9 – 10 – Dublin – Wynns Hotel

Accommodation Reviews

South 31 - Dublin

South 31 is a Georgian Townhouse.  It is a lovely quirky boutique style hotel. Breakfast is served in a converted stables block a short walk across a pretty terraced garden with a fire pit feature.  Delia takes a lot of pride in making  a home cooked breakfast worth getting out of bed for.  Her signature porridge is particularly good.

The hotel is well located – just a short walk from St. Stephen’s Green and central Dublin.  There is no restaurant at South 31, but there is ample choice in the vicinity.

On the downside:

  • Space restrictions mean that the breakfast area is laid out with long trestle tables rather than individual tables, which may not be to everyone’s taste.
  • There is no lift and there were 4 flights of stairs up to our Room (33).  Our luggage was carried for us, so that wasn’t a problem, but we did get quite a lot of exercise making numerous trips up and down those stairs during our stay!
  • There is no air con either and a noisy road nearby means opening the window is not an option.  A noisy fan was provided but really didn’t help much.  South 31 is probably best in cool weather, which usually is not a problem for Ireland.
  • Parking is available, but strictly limited to  4 spaces opposite the hotel.  They keep the keys of any cars that park in front of you.
Southern Ireland Where to Stay South 31 Dublin - Bedroom
South 31 Dublin - Bedroom
Southern Ireland Where to Stay
South 31 Dublin - Garden Terrace
Southern Ireland Where to Stay South 31 Dublin Delia's Breakfast
South 31 Dublin - Delia's Signature Porridge
Southern Ireland Where to Stay South 31 Dublin
Perryville House - Kinsale

Perryville House Kinsale is a really lovely hotel. Everything spells luxury here.  The light and airy reception rooms – repainted every year – are immaculately kept.  There are huge soft “sink into me” sofas with large, well plumped feather cushions.  Freshly cut flowers from the cutting garden – sweet peas, hydrangeas and gladioli – are used to decorate the rooms.

There is great attention paid to detail here.  Breakfast is a sumptuous affair – even the breakfast honey comes from their own bees.  We had a lovely view of Bandon River from our room (Room 53), but rooms without a view over the water now have a fine view over the recently planted roof garden.

Parking is available in front of the hotel and a wide selection of fine restaurants are available within easy walking distance – Kinsale is the gourmet capital of Ireland.  Pre booking a table is essential.

Perryville House Kinsale
Southern Ireland Where to Stay Perryville House Kinsale Bedroom
Perryville House Kinsale Bedroom
Southern Ireland Where to Stay Perryville House Kinsale Bathroom
Perryville House Kinsale Bathroom
Southern Ireland Where to Stay Perryville House Kinsale Room View
Perryville House Kinsale Room View
Perryville House Kinsale Exquisite Breakfast
Perryville House Kinsale Exquisite Breakfast
The Ross - Killarney

The Ross is definitely NOT a place I would recommend staying.  The room we were allocated (201) was large, but expensive and no more comfortable than a good budget hotel.  There was no kettle in the room, no milk (you have to ring down for that) and no shampoo (just body wash). 

We were told that we couldn’t sit in the rather uninviting glitzy Pink “Residents Only” Lounge because it had been pre-booked by a large hen party who successfully kept their rowdy party going all night.  Go girls (?!)

The package we had booked unfortunately included dinner in the hotel restaurant.  The food was truly dreadful.  The restaurant is downstairs in a dark cellar room which has no windows.  There is loud music playing while you dine.  Fortunately, our dinner reservation for the following evening at the Ross’s sister hotel – The Peregrine – was cancelled at the last minute because the restaurant was closed.  There are clearly some problems with these hotels.

The bill was wrong too.  They added insult to injury by charging for the awful meal we had been forced to order as an inclusive part of the 2 night package.  In fact, the only thing they did do right was to book an alternative restaurant at Killeen House – we should definitely have stayed there instead!

I am very suspicious of the universally good reviews that this hotel seems to receive on Trip Adviser and can’t help wondering if perhaps they may have been bought?

The Ross Killarney Bedroom
The Ross Killarney Bedroom
The Ross Killarney Pink Lounge - Closed to Residents?!
The Ross Killarney Pink Lounge - Closed to Residents?!
The Ross Killarney Pink Lounge - Closed to Residents?!
The Ross Killarney Pink Lounge - Closed to Residents?!
Glenlo Abbey - Galway

A complementary bottle of bottle champagne awaited us in our sumptuously comfortable room at Glenlo Abbey.  A huge super king feather bed envelopes you.  Cheerful, attentive staff really do their best to make ensure you have an enjoyable stay.  The doormen always have a a smile through the rain and ably assist you with parking, brollies and directions around the grounds.

You can opt for a bistro style meal in Palmer’s Bar, but dinner on the Pullman Train in the grounds is a real highlight (see previous post).  A “serenity” walk around the grounds on the outskirts of the golf greens will take you an hour or so and is a nice way to work up an appetite for dinner.  You can watch the hares bounce around the immaculate greens as you walk. We had room 306, which gives you a nice view of the train.

Southern Ireland Where to Stay Glenlo Abbey Galway Bedroom
Glenlo Abbey Galway Bedroom
Southern Ireland Where to Stay Glenlo Abbey Galway
Glenlo Abbey Galway
Southern Ireland Where to Stay Glenlo Abbey Pullman Train Restaurant
Glenlo Abbey Pullman Train Restaurant
Wynns Dublin

Wynns Dublin is I’m afraid not a great choice of place to stay on your trip to Southern Ireland despite the staff on reception who couldn’t have been more friendly.  It is situated in the Docklands area, which is not the nicest part of the city – by a long way.

We were upgraded to the “best room in the hotel”, which was a suite room.  It looks OK on the photo above, but the room had a rather depressing view of the hotel’s creaky pipework.  The toilet didn’t flush, the plumbing made a series of prolonged loud noises every time you ran any water and the bathroom decor was peeling in places.  The windows were stuck open which meant you got plenty of fresh air – but also that you could hear the seagulls screeching all night.  If this was the best room, I really wouldn’t want to spend any time in the others.

Breakfast was OK – after a 15 minute wait in the lounge for a table to free up (at 9am).  We decided to check out a day early and headed for home.  

Wynns Hotel Dublin Bedroom
Wynns Hotel Dublin Bedroom