Forget the years of B.Y.O.B. (bring your own bread!) — Ireland’s hospitality sector has today become a world leader when it comes to accommodating gluten-free travellers. But who does it best? From charming B&Bs to opulent five-star retreats, travel writer Thomas Breathnach has put together this list of the properties to consider for your dream gluten-free getaway.
Harvey’s Point, Donegal
Known for its warm Donegal welcome, Harvey’s Point on the shores of Lough Eske extends a céad míle fáilteto their gluten-free guests. The restaurant’s fine dining lakeside restaurant offers numerous coeliac-friendly triumphs, while their kitchen has thankfully embraced the movement too, with all sauces, gravies, soups and chowders blissfully gluten-free. Come morning, ramble down for breakfast where every final touch is considered, from gluten-free bread and scones to a specially designated toaster.
Muckross Park Hotel, Killarney
Set in the switch-off surrounds of Killarney National Park, the luxury Muckross Park Hotel offers a gluten-free foodie refuge with a certain Downton Abbey flair. The ceremonious breakfast still ranks as the best I’ve had in Ireland, with tiers of gluten-free breads, scones and pastries as well as coeliac-friendly sausages and puddings. Staying for dinner? The restaurant’s Wild Atlantic Way menu features sublime gluten-free options from Kerry beef fillet with porcini mushrooms to halibut with black bacon. Divine!
Coolanowle Country House, Laois
Nowadays, travel trends are leaning towards lesser-visited locations with few tourists and even fewer Instagrammers. That’s why the bucolic beauty of Laois makes for such an attractive retreat. The rustic manor of Coolanowle is just one of the many stellar country houses in the county, but what really sets it apart are its gluten-free credentials. It helps that it’s set upon a glorious organic farm producing a bounty of coeliac-friendly food from gluten-free soda bread to sausages. Expect to leave feeling highly satisfied.
The Olde Post Inn, Cavan
Some hotels cater to gluten-free diets due to fads, trends or public demand. But for The Olde Post Inn in County Cavan, there’s more of a personal story behind the menu. Owner and head chef Gearóid Lynch is himself a coeliac, and he has created a gluten-free dining heaven in Ireland’s hidden heartlands. If you’re inspired by the delicious fare, you can even enrol in one of his cooking courses.
The Adelphi, North Antrim
Located in Portrush along the spectacular Causeway Coastal Route, the boutique Adelphi hotel is well worth the road trip north. Park up alongside its Victorian seaside townhouse façade and you’re quickly lulled into getaway mode — and the menus help, too! The Adelphi’s on-site bistro tempts with garlic ciabatta, chicken goujons and freshly battered cod and chips (yes, all gluten-free), while the kitchen also offers gluten-free breads, baps and pitta pockets. They freshly bake their own soda breads, pancakes and muffins, too.
Garryvoe Hotel, East Cork
East Cork seems to be challenging West Cork as the nation’s foodie capital of late. It’s the home of Ballymaloe House, Ballycotton Seafood, Jameson whiskey and Castlemartyr Resort. Bedding down doesn’t have to cost a fortune: Garryvoe Hotel — a freshly refurbished four-star overlooking the Celtic Sea — offers excellent value, particularly for an off-season spring break. At breakfast, the panoramic Samphire restaurant has a designated gluten-free zone, too.
The Shelbourne, Dublin
Looking to tick off your accommodation bucket list this year? Alongside the likes of Ashford Castle and Adare Manor, The Shelbourne is one of Ireland’s most iconic five-star properties. It does come at a price, but the hotel’s fine dining is worth the indulgence if budget allows. If staying overnight isn’t on the cards, the hotel’s gluten-free afternoon tea served in the chandelier-lit Lord Mayor’s lounge is a masterclass in baking!
The Twelve, Galway
Looking for a gluten-free getaway with a side of romance? The Twelve in Galway, voted Ireland’s best hotel in 2018, is full of swipe-left appeal. Known for its gluten-free hospitality, the hotel features its own fine-dining West Restaurant, the bustling Pins Gastro Bar and its acclaimed pizzeria Dozzina’s which tempts with gluten-free pizzas. Buonissima! Plus, if you fancy bringing your dog along, the hotel is pet-friendly, too!
Faithlegg House Hotel, Waterford
It’s always a good sign when you’re staying in a four-star hotel wondering if it’s a five-star. That’s the feeling you have at Faithlegg House, the recently made-over manor hotel located along a stunning stretch of countryside on Waterford’s Suir Valley. At night, you can hit the eiderdown in affordable period rooms — and why not treat yourself to a delicious gluten-free breakfast in bed?