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24 Aug 2019
25Aug 2019
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The Fab 50 - Ireland’s 50 best places to stay in 2019!

From hip hotels to cool campsites and character stays, Pól Ó Conghaile and Nicola Brady have the year’s hottest accommodation list.

The 2019 tourism season kicks off this weekend, and with it our Fab 50 — the Irish Independent’s annual list of Ireland’s best places to stay, in association with Fáilte Ireland.

Why is this list different? Firstly, you can trust it. It’s not gathered via Google. We’ve travelled from Horn Head to Hook Head to vet and visit inclusions. We’ve spoken with owners and staff. We’ve listened to our readers.

The Fab 50 isn’t about the usual suspects. It’s about places that are at the top of their game now — rather than trading on former glories. It favours award-winners, exciting new arrivals and properties that continue to evolve and improve (be it a clever refurb, or a cool new menu). It changes from year to year, and purposefully leaves room for the unsung heroes of Irish hospitality. These are places we believe will define and inspire the Irish short break in 2019 — from Ireland’s sole carbon-neutral hotel to its next-gen B&Bs, stunning city penthouses and cosy cabins in the woods.

Trends? We’re seeing a growing niche for adult-only getaways, and hotel lobbies evolving into all-day eating, working and social spaces. Oh, and fire pits. Lots of ’em. On the downside, too many Irish properties continue to make token environmental gestures (towel notes or optional plastic straws, for example), while showering us with single-use plastics — from mini-toiletries to water bottles and wrappings. That has to change.

Finally, the Fab 50 is a distinctly Irish list. We love properties that invest creatively in Irish design, art, food, producers and their local communities. The world is full of generic hotels. We’re celebrating those you could only find on this island.

 

Where: Fethard, Hook Peninsula, Co Wexford.

Why: Not long ago, Tristan Fahy and Emma King were living a stressed-out city life in London. Now, they have business meetings on the beach. That was one of the images that stuck with me on a visit to this next-gen B&B, which opened last May on the Hook Peninsula. There were many others. Here’s a dormer-with-a-difference — with a dining room blasted with slogans and street art, rooms themed on cities (Sydney, Tokyo, New York) and a breakfast menu that eschews the Full Irish for dishes like homemade brown bread, cream cheese, fluffy organic scrambled eggs and local smoked salmon. The idea is a "non-traditional B&B", Tristan says. "We both hit a brick wall one day and said, ‘Enough!’". London’s loss is Wexford’s gain. — PÓC

Insider Tip: Tristan could be persuaded to offer personal coaching tips in the mini-fitness studio. Oh, and Templars Inn is just a short stroll from the front door.

Details: B&B from €110 for a double (adults only). 087 1135561;

Date: 03/04/2019