Ireland has a long tradition of bed and breakfasts, so in essence you stay with a family when you’re there. However, most modern B&Bs are professionally run and the homes are purpose built. This makes for a quality experience, but can also keep a certain amount of separation between hosts and guests… not like the old days when you used the toilet down the hall and ate breakfast with granny and the rest of the family.
A new Irish company at www.homestay.com is working to connect travelers with families offering their extra rooms. In many cases hosts also offer local tours and pickup from town as part of the offer. With its emphasis on user reviews, Homestay.com is a bit of a hybrid of AirBnB, HomeAway, and Couchsurfing with its own twist.