Irish B&Bs Are Reinventing Themselves

I’ve been staying in B&Bs since my very first trip to Ireland. I’ve watched the days of shared bathrooms disappear, the rise and fall and rise again of a boutique breakfast menu, and sadly, the number of B&Bs in Ireland drop from 4,500 in 2000 to under 1,900 today.

It may come as a surprise, but even with fewer B&Bs, there are still plenty of rooms available. According to a recent article by Pól Ó Conghaile, 80% of Irish B&B guests come from outside Ireland… the Irish seem to have abandoned B&Bs in favor of hotels with leisure centres and restaurants. Adapting to the trend, Irish B&Bs are changing how they do business and relying on their greatest asset — personal service!


My advice… before you book your accommodation, make sure you’ve lined up at least a few nights in an Irish B&B. They will likely rank among your most memorable stays on the Emerald Isle. My other advice:

Read Brave New World for Irish B&Bs by Pól Ó Conghaile >>

Visit B&B Ireland >>

Read Our Review of the B&B Ireland iPhone app >>

Photo courtesy B&B Ireland

Author: Corey

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  1. Thanks for sharing this article. B&B’s have changed much over the years and still have lots to offer visitors to Ireland who want the real Irish family experience.

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  2. Sad to hear about the loss of over 2500 B&Bs. The first trip we took in 2002 was only in B&Bs for 3 weeks, all over the country. The next three trips mostly in self-catering. This upcoming trip will be mostly B&Bs again and I have to say, I… felt that loss of accommodation this time when trying to find places to book. It took me 3x as long to find open B&Bs in the areas we wanted to stay. It took even longer to get them at a fair and reasonable price (many were trying to compete with hotel pricing and the cost was way too high).

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  3. Ireland’s most precious commodity is it’s people. B&Bs are the best place to experience the heart & soul of Eire. Wishing much success to those that continue through these hard times – success will be theirs!

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  4. We always stay at B&Bs when we can — such a different experience. The personal touch is what makes Ireland a place to keep returning to. The scenery and people make it a great place.

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  5. Hi guys, and thanks for posting, Corey.

    One of the most telling aspects of this saga, I think, is that there never really was a changing of the guard in Irish B&Bs. Generally, the children of the women who started the original businesses in the 1960s and 1970s did not take them over during the Celtic Tiger years – concerned for the insecure income and unsocial hours – and that has contributed to the rising age profile of B&B owners. That’s one of the major reasons for the staggering dip in numbers.

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  6. We to always used B&Bs and in particular the town and country home B&Bs but alas NO MORE, we travel home to Galway 2/3 times a year and we always use the ferry as we like to take the car for when our children & now our grandchildren had so much stuff, but this year when we took our Easter trip we have been charged an additional £10.00 per room along with the room voucher we were supplied with by the Ferry Company, the voucher always covered our rooms in the past, this is something not budgeted for and very disappointing, thanfully we are only staying a long week end on this occassion but more research will be used for our next visit. I came across this site as I searched for the company to whom the vouchers belong and I cannot see any notification of an upgrade, but I was informed by the Ferry Company that they were informed of the upgrade but not the fact it would be so high.

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