Surf Coast: where to stay

Ben Bulben

From cozy guesthouses to the full castle experience, enjoy stunning landscapes and unique experiences while exploring this stretch of the Wild Atlantic Way

The Ice House Hotel, Ballina

Despite its name, the Ice House Hotel isn’t the slightest bit chilly. In fact, the name comes from its previous life as an ice store. This is a luxurious boutique hotel perched right on the banks of the River Moy, and the ice store was used to preserve the freshly caught salmon. If it’s splendid views you’re after, you could do worse than simply gazing over the inky blue waters from its floor to ceiling windows, while anglers try their luck with the rod.

As one would expect, a definite emphasis upon the sea – and upon local provenance. The dining room is a lovely, light-filled space: all glass and wood, with views across the river.

The Telegraph newspaper

The Chill Spa is something to be treasured, with products from local provider Voya Seaweed Baths… even the outdoor seaweed bath is a lot more cozy than you’d think. And those views make you feel at one with nature. Wandering further afield, book a tour of Foxford Woollen Mills; meet the craftspeople, and discover the history and techniques that have been passed down through generations.

Rossmore Manor, Donegal

Just outside Donegal Town is the picturesque Rossmore Manor and a rather lovely spot to unpack your suitcases for a while. On the edge of Donegal Bay, it comes with wonderful panoramic views as standard, including mountains to the north, sea to the south, and lush green forests to the east.

Rossmore Manor is absolutely fabulous. The view is stunning and there are beautiful gardens around the house.

Katja, TripAdvisor

As a base to see the sights, it’s ideal. Check out the imposing Donegal Castle, built beside the River Eske by the O'Donnell chieftain in the 15th century. Head to the edge of the world at Slieve League, among the highest sea cliffs in Europe and affording views that are simply gorgeous. Or take in the sights from the sea with a trip on the very enjoyable Donegal Bay Waterbus.

Enniscoe House, Ballina

Enniscoe House is a beautifully preserved Georgian country house, originally built in 1740 on the shores of Lough Conn. While the house has been kept up to date with every mod con you could desire, the spiral staircase, friezes and original wallpaper ooze old-world charm.

Our short stay at Enniscoe House was heavenly. The house and grounds are stunningly beautiful. The welcome we received was very warm and we were delighted to be able to bring our dogs.

Patricia, TripAdvisor

Take the opportunity to marry together an appreciation of art and nature by following the Tír Sáile, which is North Mayo’s sculpture trail. Or if any of your ancestors hail from around here, pop into the North Mayo Family Heritage Centre Ireland to see if they can uncover more about your heritage!

Belleek Castle, Ballina

The eccentric and amazing 19th century Belleek Castle is filled with all manner of curiosities to draw you in: Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley’s four-poster bed, a bar built from the salvaged 400-year-old wood of Spanish Armada shipwrecks and one of the finest collections of arms and armour in the whole of Ireland. But it’s the warmth of the smiles that greet you when you enter the Great Hall, and the smell of the turf burning on an open fire that will have you lingering for a while in this manor house by the Moy.

Wonderfully authentic yet unpretentious castle. The adjacent woodland walk is magical. The rooms are modern in an antique setting. A not to be forgotten indulgence.

Kieran Halligan

The award-winning food is both classic and imaginative, all created using local seasonal ingredients from the land, sea and air mixed with a large dollop of tradition. When you do rise from your four-poster bed, help yourself to homemade bread and jam, then take a guided tour of the beautiful collections and grounds.

Coopershill House, Riverstown

Tucked away in the serene Sligo countryside and surrounded by trees and wildlife, Coopershill House has great escape written all over it. Unplug your smartphone, then take a stroll through the beautiful 500-acre estate and discover its winding woodland paths and deer pastures.

We recently visited Coopershill House for a two night stay and by the end of the weekend we didn't want to leave. If you’re looking to "get away from it all" this is the place to do it.

Louise, TripAdvisor

Check out the Coopershill ‘Hawk Walk’ in the company of an experienced falconer. They’ll teach you how to ‘cast’ your hawk into the trees and recall it to land on your gloved fist as you walk through the ancient woods. As day turns into night, sink into your gorgeous antique armchair and watch the sun set through your bedroom window.

Waterfront House, Enniscrone

Whether you’re basing yourself in Enniscrone to tackle the glorious surf or just a curious onlooker, gazing out over the vast sands and shimmering Atlantic Ocean from Waterfront House is an absolute treat – and every room has a sea view, too!

We loved our stay and meals at the Waterfront House and Restaurant. We were given a room with a lovely view of the beach and had an amazing birthday dinner in the restaurant, complete with singing!

Lucy, TripAdvisor

The Waterfront Restaurant, led by award-winning head chef Yvonne Kathrein, offers creative dishes made with fresh local ingredients, such as pan-seared Clew Bay scallops and mouthwatering Clare Island organic gravlax salmon. Just think of this as your home away from home after a blissful stroll along Enniscrone’s pristine beaches and dunes, or maybe after a trip to Kilcullen’s Seaweed Baths for a traditional hot seaweed bath.

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