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Character Irish Hotels

Character Hotels

Featuring small-groups, our Active Holidays allow us to get off the beaten track and take advantage of personable, family-run hotels which impart a sense of the local character of the region we're exploring. At Explore, we search out quirky, informal, character hotels which make for great places to relax and enjoy legendary Irish hospitality after a day exploring.

All of our hotel accommodation on our Active Holiday's is rated 3* or above and offers private double, twin, triple or single en-suite rooms and includes a traditional full Irish breakfast each day.

From old converted mills to traditional Irish Inns, you won't find any two of our hotels alike - but you'll certainly find a warm Irish welcome in every one!

We have featured a selection of the character hotels below which we use on tour below for you to take a browse through, though please note that the hotels we use change from tour to tour depending on availability.

  • Imperial Hotel, Cork

    Imperial Hotel, Cork

    One of Cork’s old institutions, this central landmark hotel is nearing its bicentenary and certainly knows how to age gracefully! Blending times past with contemporary comforts, beautiful marble floors, chandlers and blissful floral bouquets adorn the public areas. It's situated on South Mall; right in the heart of Cork City on what would have been one of Corks old river canals (before they got filled in). It's within striking distance of rambling lanes of the Victorian English Market, Cork's impressive St. Finbarre's Cathedral and any number of traditional pubs and restaurants. It was in the Imperial Hotel that Michael Collins, who negotiated the Free State Treaty in 1921, spent his last night before being assinated by the Republican force on his home turf.

  • Malin Hotel

    Malin Hotel

    Situated in Ireland’s most northern point on the wild Inishowen Peninsula, the Boutique Malin Hotel has been described as one of Ireland’s hidden gems! Sitting quaintly on the village green this snug atmospheric hotel could soften even the most unromantic soul blending traditional Irish charm with stunning decor. It’s been in the Douglas family for generations who offer up warm traditional hospitality, scrumptious meals and beautiful rooms - you’ll love it!  

  • McGrory’s of Culduff Hotel

    McGrory’s of Culduff Hotel

    McGrory’s of Culduff is a lively, friendly hotel in the pretty, colourful village of Culduff on the wild and remote peninsula of Inishowen. It was established in 1924 and has remained a family-run business for three generations. McGrory’s is the perfect place to experience true Irish village life, and is renowned in the area for traditional music sessions, local food and warm hospitality. McGrory’s is ideally situated to appreciate Inishowen’s natural beauty, with a gorgeous beach nearby and stunning walks and cycles to discover Malin Head, the remains of Clonca Church and Cross, and the Bocan Stone Circle 

    McGrory's Hotel

  • Old Ground Hotel, Ennis

    Old Ground Hotel, Ennis

    Dating back to the 1800s, the ivy clad Old Ground Hotel is one of Ennis’s old institutions! Its fabulous old world décor is combined with a contemporary flair, particularly in the rooms where you’ll sink into comfy starched beds with fluffy feather pillows! With its attached traditional Poets Corner Pub, this is a local haunt which bustles from dawn to dusk with locals going about their daily business. From weddings and funerals that spill out of the Cathedral across the street, to romancing young couples, gossiping ladies, vibrant musicians and wise old men stopping in for a pint, this place resonates of an authentic traditional Irish hotel at its very best.

  • The Moorings Portmagee

    The Moorings Portmagee

    The Moorings is a small family-run establishment with its own award-winning restaurant and a lively traditional Irish pub. Nestled in the tiny fishing village of Portmagee on the beautiful Ring of Kerry, The Moorings overlooks the pretty village harbour where you can observe the fishermen at work. It is an extremely picturesque area with a bridge now connecting the mainland to Valentia Island, a wonderful place to explore on bike or foot. And in the evening after our activities, you can join the locals in the attached bridge bar which serves up scrumptious local fare to the beat of some of the best traditional tunes in Kerry. (And maybe some traditional dancing if we're lucky!)

  • West Cork Hotel, Skibbereen

    West Cork Hotel, Skibbereen

    As laid-back as the Irish character, Skibbereen is one of the most colourful market-towns in West Cork. Skibbereen comes from the Irish 'Scióbairín', meaning 'little boat harbour', and it’s from here that we offer our optional starlight kayaking trip where we launch directly into the River Ilen from the West Cork Hotel. 
    This charming hotel was established back in 1902, and today is owned and run by Tim and Marion Looney who provide an old fashioned country hotel welcome. At the heart of its community, the hotel has a bustling local scene where you can witness first-hand the daily life of this town unfolding. Alternatively, venture out in search of some traditional music in one of the 26 friendly pubs that litter the town.