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All properties that display the above logos are approved and registered by Bord Failte and meet minimum standard  requirements. Hotels, Guesthouses, Caravan and Camping and Self-Catering are classified. All premises are subject to annual review.


Stately country houses, luxurious castles, intimate old-world inns and modern premises are all included in this category. All hotels comply with statutory registration regulations which cover physical requirements and the level of service provided. Most hotels welcome children. Hotels carrying the Family Friendly symbol meet the particular needs of children, providing playgrounds, playroom, special menus, mealtimes, etc. Meals and refreshments must be available to non-residents.

Hotel Classification

Irish hotels and guesthouses are classified under the star classification. Devised by Bord Failte-Irish Tourist Board and the Irish Hotels Federation, the classification system makes it easier for visitors to evaluate and choose the hotel and guesthouse of their choice. Each hotel and guesthouse has a distinct character and range of facilities. Details on the style and services unique to each premises are listed in the accommodation listings.

Hotel classification descriptions

The following are the hotel classification descriptions:

Five Star

These include Ireland’s most luxurious hotels, all of which are of high international standards. They range from elegant, stately castles to prestigious country clubs and top class city hotels catering for both the business and tourist. All guest accommodation is luxurious and spacious suites are available. These fine hotels boast some of the country’s best restaurants and offer table d’hôte and/or a la carte lunch and dinner menus. Exceptional service and a personalised welcome are the norm in these hotels.

Four Star

These include contemporary hotels of excellent quality and charming period houses renovated to a very high standards complete with all modern comforts. All guest accommodation is of high standard and half suites are usually available. Restaurant facilities provide excellent cuisine and service for the discerning diner. Table d’hôte and/or a la carte lunch and dinner menus are available.

Three Star

These range from small, family-operated premises to larger, modern hotels. Guest rooms are well decorated with the emphasis on comfort and all have private bathrooms with a bath and/or shower.

Restaurants offer high standards of cuisine in relaxed and hospitable surroundings. Table d’hôte and/or a la carte dinner menus are available. These hotels offer a range of services making them ideal for the cost-conscious traveler seeking comfort.

Two Star

These are more likely to be family-operated premises, selected for their charm and their comfortable facilities. All guest rooms have a telephone and most have a private bathroom with a bath and/or shower. Full dining facilities are available, representing excellent value and good wholesome food.

One Star

Here you can enjoy the comforts of a pleasantly simple hotel where a warm welcome prevails. These premises offer all the mandatory services and facilities to a satisfactory standard, necessary for a most enjoyable and relaxed visit. Some great rooms have a private bathroom with a bath and/or shower.

Unclassified Hotels

Hotels and guesthouses may be unclassified with the symbols U, N, R for the following reasons:

  • U. Under the terms of the classification scheme a premises may opt to remain unclassified and will be shown U in guides. These premises will, of course, meet all the mandatory requirements for hotel/guesthouse registration.
  • N. These are premises which have recently registered with Bord Failte. However, they have not been long enough in operation for their standards to be fully accessed.
  • R. These premises were undergoing major refurbishment at the time. Their classification will be assessed when the work is completed.


Guesthouses vary from five-bedroomed family houses, Georgian and Victorian residences to larger professionally-serviced modern premises. The informal atmosphere and personal attention are of features of this category. The availability of meals to non-residents is not a requirement; however, some provide this service. All guesthouses comply with statutory regulations which cover physical requirements and the level of service provided. Restaurant facilities are available in some guesthouses.

Guesthouse classification descriptions

Four Star

This is the top classification for guesthouses in Ireland. Guest accommodation includes half suites and all guest rooms have private bathrooms with bath and/or shower, direct dial telephone, and colour TV and radio controllable from the bed. Room service offers full breakfast. Facilities include car parking, safety deposit boxes, fax, newspapers, and baby-sitting service.

Three Star

All guest rooms have private bathroom with bath and/or shower, and direct dial telephone. Room service offers breakfast. Facilities include a TV lounge; travelers cheques and at least two major credit cards are accepted.

Two Star

Half or more of the guest rooms have private bathroom with bath and/or shower. Facilities include a reading/writing room or lounge area for resident’s use.

One Star

These premises meet all the mandatory requirements for guesthouses and offer simple accommodation, facilities and services to a satisfactory standard.


Guesthouses may be unclassified in the same manner as hotels.


The premises in this category include old-style, period type, and modern farmhouses; the type of farming varies- mixed, tillage, dairy, sheep and poultry- all of interest to visitors, particularly if they come from the city. Evening meals are provided in some houses if notice is given before 12.00 noon each day. A new concept called Green Tourism, i.e. a holiday experience on a working farm, is also included this category of accommodation. 

Town and Country Homes

This category of accommodation covers a variety of house in urban and rural areas, ranging from the modern bungalow of ‘semi-detached’ 2-storey house to the large period-style residence. Their main attraction is their homely atmosphere and the opportunity they provide to meet people in their own homes. Some premises provide evening meals if notice is given before 12.00 noon each day.

Youth Hostels

An Oige (Irish Youth Hostel Association) has a chain of 37 registered Youth Hostels situated in most of the scenic areas of Ireland. These hostels provide simple multi-bedded rooms with comfortable beds and facilities for cooking one’s own meals. Members of An Oige or other youth organisations affiliated to the International Youth Hostel Federation may use the hostels on production of their membership cards and non-members may buy stamps at the hostels entitling them to use the hostels.

The cost of membership per person resident in the Republic of Ireland is IR7.50 for senior (over 18 years) and IR4.00 for junior. For persons resident outside Republic of Ireland, the cost is IR7.50. 

Holiday Hostels

Holiday Hostels provide clean, simple accommodation at a budget price, several with family rooms. They are ideally suited to the holiday-maker seeking a real alternative to conventional accommodation. The kitchen and common room often provide an international setting for socialising and meeting other hostellers from all over the world. 

Caravan and Camping Parks

Caravan and Camping parks are categorised

  • four star parks offer an extensive range of facilities and good management
  • three star parks offer a good range of facilities and good management
  • two star parks offer limited facilities and good management
  • one star parks offer minimum facilities required for registration

Those that meet the minimum requirements are identified by a special sign and listed in the guide which shows the facilities at each park (showers, telephone, shop, communal lounge rooms, indoor recreational facilities, children’s play centre, café/restaurant, laundry room, field game facilities). Firms offering touring caravans, motorhomes, tents and camping equipment may be included in the listing.

There are caravan and camping parks in twenty-two of the twenty-six counties. The majority are open from May to the end of September. Some are open throughout the year. For further details:

Mobile homes are hired fully equipped with crockery, bed-covering and kitchen utensils for the specified number of people.

Self Catering Accommodation

This category of Accommodation covers a variety of premises in urban and rural areas, ranging from modern bungalows, old converted houses, ‘semi-detached’ two-storey houses to group schemes of purpose-designed units. The Irish Cottages and Holiday Homes Association is an organisation whose members all manage a minimum of eight purpose-designed units of self-catering holiday accommodation. 

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Last modified: Thursday February 07, 2013
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