a knife and fork in eggs and bacon where to get the best breakfast in Ireland
Photo: Failte Ireland.

Where to Get the Best Breakfast in Ireland

If you've ever wondered where to get the best breakfast in Ireland, you might want to turn first to the results of the annual Georgina Campbell Irish Breakfast Awards.

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This should come in handy as you plan your vacation to Ireland.

In this blog post, you will find a snapshot of of the 2020 and 2022 winners, along with the most popular tourist attractions close to them.

In conjunction with Fáilte Ireland, Ireland's tourism board, the awards recognize the places where you can get the best breakfast and brunch in the country.

Producers of meat, fish, eggs, dairy, bread, as well as fruit products, are also recognized each year.

All of the winners represent the various types of accommodation available in Ireland, many of whom register with Failte Ireland, the country’s tourism body.

Limerick Strand Hotel, Limerick City (2020 Winner)

The culinary team at this city center hotel uses as many local producers as possible to create a delicious Irish breakfast, including McCarren Irish Bacon, Flesk Meats Pork Sausages, Leah’s Traditional Irish Black & White Pudding, and Croom Scrambled Free Range Eggs.

a roadway over a river in a city where to get the best breakfast in Ireland
A view of Limerick from the Strand Hotel. Photo: Donal Moloney Photography for Failte Ireland.

The hotel has stunning views of the River Shannon and other historical attractions in the city.

Nearby Attraction: King John's Castle

King John's Castle located in the King's Island section of the city is considered one of the best-preserved Norman castles in Europe.

Archaeological excavations conducted in 1900 revealed that the Vikings once lived on the site where the castle now stands.

a castle by a river with swans swimming where to get the best breakfast in Ireland
King John's Castle in Limerick City at sunset. Photo: Shannon Development for Failte Ireland.

Construction of the castle was completed in 1210 on the orders of King John, who wanted to protect Limerick from surrounding Gaelic clans.

The castle’s visitor center includes state-of-the-art interpretive activities, as well as 21st-century touch screen technology, 3D models, and more, bringing to life 800 years of local history.

a castle courtyard where to get the best breakfast in Ireland
The castle courtyard at King John's Castle in Limerick. Photo: Nils E. – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8927268

You can even try on costumes and converse with costumed actors.

In the courtyard, you’ll discover a medieval campaign tent, together with a blacksmith’s forge and scenes similar to what the castle and its residents might have experienced during the city’s troubled times.

The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Admission is €13 for adults, €10.50 for students and children ages 4-18, and €9.50 for seniors. Children under 3 are admitted for free.

 

Avalon House Hotel, Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny (2020 Winner)

Established in the spring of 2019 as a 4-star accommodation, the Avalon House Hotel is not only beautiful, its first-floor restaurant called Lil's has earned a great reputation locally and regionally.

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A delicious breakfast is on the menu for guests staying at the Avalon House Hotel in Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny. Photo: Courtesy of Avalon House Hotel.

Campbell noted the many unusual touches go into creating the perfect breakfast for guests, including homemade baked beans, as well as brunch-style dishes like the restaurant's Mexican omelet, with avocado/jalapeno, scallions, chorizo, and cheese.

Nearby Attraction: Castlecomer Discovery Park & Visitor Centre

The Castlecomer Discovery Park & Visitor Centre is an 80-acre park set in what was once the home of the Wandesforde family, who came to Ireland from Yorkshire in the 17th century having been granted land from the Crown.

Indeed, much of Castlecomer and the surrounding area was owned by members of the Wandesforde family until the 21st century.

a sculpture in a park
The old mining wheel at the Castlecomer Discovery Park in Co. Kilkenny, a nod to the region's coal mining industry. Photo: David Bergin Photography. https://www.flickr.com/photos/friend0o/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Christopher Wandesforde was the first one to arrive in Castlecomer and he subsequently recruited 600 people from Yorkshire for their skills in ironwork, weaving, pottery, and forestry. He subsequently laid out the town and also planted a forest on the estate.

According to local tradition, Wandesforde is said to have modeled the layout and architecture of the town on an area in Italy called “Alsinore,” which some say may have been the island of Asinara, off Sardinia.

The Discovery Park is situated on the grounds of what once formed the family's estate. The original house burned down and a second one replaced it. However, that fell into disrepair and it was demolished in 1975.

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An interesting wooden sculpture at Castlecomer Discovery Park. Photo: David Bergin, https://www.flickr.com/photos/friend0o/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The visitor center contains an interesting coal mining exhibition that speaks to the area's rich history of coal mining since the 17th century. The building was once located in what was originally the farmyard and kitchen gardens of the estate.

There is a lot to explore at the Castlecomer Discovery Park, including its mixed woodlands that contain 6 km (3 miles) of themed walks and a number of wooden sculptures.

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Ziplining is a popular activity at Castlecomer Discovery Park. Photo courtesy of Castlecomer Discovery Park.

For the adventure-seeker, there's much to enjoy here too, including the daring Leap of Faith, as well as ziplining, raft and catapult building, ax throwing, and much more.

For younger kids, there's a whole world of discovery to explore that includes a junior woodlands course, and an elf and fairy village, among other fun activities.

The first hour of admission is free, with additional charges of  €4 for up to 3 hours and €5 for all-day parking. An annual pass is available for €50.

Don't leave the park without visiting the nearby Castlecomer Craft Yard, a community of skilled independent fine artists, craft makers, and shops that showcase the best in Irish artisanship.

Pembroke Hotel, Kilkenny (2022 Winner)

Located in the heart of Kilkenny, this 4-star boutique hotel serves up wonderful meals that showcase the region’s local produce, which is also reflected in its breakfast.

Guests can enjoy homemade granola, smoked salmon, Smoked Trout Kedgeree, a selection of breakfast meats as well as organic farm vegetables.

Nearby Attractions: Kilkenny Castle

The main draw for many visitors to Kilkenny, otherwise known as the Marble City, is Kilkenny Castle, which was founded shortly after the Norman conquest of Ireland in 1169.

castle from the air planning a trip to Ireland in 2022
An aerial view of Kilkenny Castle, a popular tourist destination in Ireland. Photo: Failte Ireland.

The castle, the stronghold of the powerful Butler family, has been rebuilt, extended and expanded since then.

Today, it has the look of a 19th-century castellated baronial residence, although it certainly retains traces of its medieval roots.

The focal point of the castle tour is the Long Gallery, an impressive hall showcasing portraits of Butler family members, as well as the Butler Gallery in the castle basement.

The exterior of the castle is public parkland and is free to walk around.

Danny Minnies Country House, Annagry, Co. Donegal (2020 Winner)

Located in the West Donegal Gaeltacht, Danny Minnies Country House includes an award-winning restaurant and bar.

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Carrickfinn Beach is a short distance away from Danny Minnie's Country House. Photo: Martin Fleming, Failte Ireland.

The restaurant was once a sibín, where illegal whiskey was brewed. In the early 1900s, it served as a pub and shop.

Additional modernizations were done in later years, making it the popular bar and restaurant that it has become today for both locals and visitors.

Breakfast and other meals at Danny Minnies come from locally sourced ingredients along the Wild Atlantic Way.

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Nearby Attraction: Glenveigh National Park

Glenveagh National Park is Ireland’s largest national park, covering a total of 40,000 square miles of mountains, lakes, and natural woodlands.

It can be found in the heart of the Derryveagh Mountains.

The park includes Glenveagh Castle, a castellated 19th-century mansion, as well as the castle’s Victorian gardens.

Modeled after Balmoral Castle in Scotland (the British royal family’s summer residence), it once served as a summer retreat for John George Adair and his wife, Cornelia.

Adair was infamous for evicting 244 of his own tenants in what later became known as the “Derryveagh Evictions.”

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The beautiful Glenveagh Castle in Co. Donegal. Photo: John Heaney.

The interior of the house is beautiful, decorated in a flamboyant style. Greta Garbo once visited the castle and requested to be put up in its pink candy-striped room.

Entry to the park is free.

To get a real appreciation for its beauty, drive around the lakes on the R251 and R254. To get to the house, you will need to take a minibus from the visitor center as cars are not allowed close to the castle.

If you want to cycle around the park, you can rent an electric or hybrid bike from a local company called Grass Routes.

E-bike rentals cost €20; hybrid bikes cost €15, tandem bikes cost €25 and a child's bike rental costs €5. All rentals are for 3 hours.

a lake where to get the best breakfast in Ireland
Lough Veagh, with Glenveigh Castle in the distance. Photo: Liam Moloney, https://www.flickr.com/photos/tir_na_nog/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

The rental company is located in the main parking lot from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Glenveagh Castle is open from March through October for guided tours.

Admission for adults is €7 and €5 for seniors, students with valid IDs, as well as children over 6. You can also use your heritage card at this site.

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Kelly's Kitchen, Newport, County Mayo (2022 Winner)

Located beside Kelly’s Butchers, this popular café in Newport near the Great Western Greenway is also owned by the same family and run by Shauna Kelly.

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Kelly's Kitchen in Newport, Co. Mayo. Photo: Kelly's Kitchen Facebook.

Here you’ll find a traditional mixed grill, a full Irish and the house specialty Kelly’s Black Goat, which is a hot open baguette sandwich with black pudding and St. Tola's goat cheese from County Clare.

Ballymaloe House, Ballycotton, County Cork (2022 Winner)

This is undoubtedly Ireland’s most famous country house and not exactly a budget accommodation.

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Ballymaloe House in County Cork. Photo: Chris Hill / Tourism Ireland.

However, if you’re a foodie, you’ll love this place that is surrounded by a working farm and woodland walks.

Breakfast is rather simple at Ballymaloe House and includes eggs, Irish bacon, sausages, homemade breads and freshly roasted Golden Bean coffee.

Fish dishes on the menu come from the nearby Ballycotton Harbour and Frank Hederman’s Smokehouse.

Nearby Attractions: Ballycotton Lighthouse

Located on Ballycotton Island, this historic lighthouse is the perfect attraction to explore while in the East Cork region.

Local company Ballycotton Sea Adventures offers tours of the lighthouse, as well as charters around Ballycotton Bay from April through October.

During the 90-minute lighthouse tour, you will discover what life as a lighthouse keeper was like on this windswept little rustic island.

In addition to visiting the lighthouse,  make sure to check out the island’s rich wildlife, including cormorants, peregrine falcon, seals, and dolphins.

Tours are €27 per adult, €16 for children 3-12, and €80 for a family of 4. Children under 3 are not allowed on this tour.

Stauntons on the Green, Dublin (2020 Winner)

A warm welcome and its central location are two of the major attractions associated with this well-located small Dublin hotel, which has period reception rooms and enjoys views over St Stephen's Green.

The hotel’s convenient city center location along with its wealth of history make it one of Dublin’s best-kept secrets.

cherry blossom tree where to get the best breakfast in Ireland
Dublin’s Stephen’s Green, a stone’s throw away from Staunton’s Green Hotel. photo; gianliguoru for Getty images.

Staunton’s on the Green has been home to some of Ireland’s most famous people, including politician Henry Grattan who stayed at the hotel during his successful fight for Irish parliamentary independence.

His success in 1782 was known as Grattan’s Parliament.

The poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, spent his final years at the hotel, where he wrote many of his most famous sonnets.

John Henry Newman, the cardinal who founded the former Catholic University of Ireland, now known as Newman House and the precursor of University College Dublin, also stayed here.

The breakfast menu includes a full Irish breakfast as well as a continental selection. The hotel’s specialty is its Irish Tea Brack soaked in Earl Grey tea, cranberries, and orange zest.

Even if you are not a guest at the hotel, you can still enjoy breakfast at Stauntons for only €17.50 per person. Breakfast for guests is included in the nightly hotel rate.

 

Nearby Attraction: Museum of Literature Ireland

Dublin's newest museum, the Museum of Literature, opened in 2018. It is located in the Newman House.

The museum, locally known as MoLI, celebrates Ireland's literary culture and heritage and in particular, its favorite literary son, James Joyce, among Ireland's most famous writers.

people in a museum where to get the best breakfast in Ireland
The Museum of Literature in Dublin, otherwise known as MoLI. Photo courtesy of Tourism Ireland.

You'll find a host of treasures on display at MoLI, including the first copy of Joyce’s “Ulysses,” as well as handwritten notebooks that he used as he was writing the novel, in addition to historical letters, like the one from Joyce to William Butler Yeats.

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The Killeen House Hotel & Rozzers Restaurant, Killarney, Co. Kerry (2020 Winner)

This Killarney area hotel is a mere 10 minutes from town.

food on a plate where to get the best breakfast in Ireland
A sampling of the delicious fare you can expect at Rozzer's Restaurant at the Killeen House Hotel in Killarney. Photo courtesy of Killeen House Hotel.

What used to be a 19th-century rectory is now a top choice for tourists and others.

The hotel's drawing room is a popular place for guests to hang out. The open fire and the relaxed furniture give it a homey feel.

Rozzers Restaurant is where you can also avail of a delicious breakfast.

Nearby Attraction: Muckross House, Gardens & Traditional Farms

No visit to Killarney is complete without visiting Muckross House Gardens & Traditional Farms, a 19th-century Victorian mansion that is part of the stunning Killarney National Park.

a building with moss on it where to get the best breakfast in Ireland
Muckross House and Gardens. Photo courtesy of Chris Hill for Tourism Ireland.

The construction of Muckross House, which was built for Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife, the watercolorist Mary Balfour Herbert, began in 1839. It was completed in 1843.

When you visit Muckross House, you’ll see the principal rooms furnished in the Victorian period style that reflect the life of Ireland’s landowning classes as well as the estate's extensive gardens, which include the Sunken Garden, the Rock Garden, and the Stream Garden.

They were all created for Queen Victoria's visit in 1861.

Muxnaw Lodge, Kenmare, Co. Kerry (2022 Winner)

This lovely accommodation, circa 1801, is within easy walking distance of the town of Kenmare.

While dinner is not offered at Muxnaw Lodge, the award-winning breakfast is a special treat. Freshly baked breads are a highlight as well as the hot dishes.

Nearby Attraction: Kenmare Stone Circle

This the largest stone circle in this part of Ireland and is composed of 15 heavy boulders.

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Kenmare Stone Circle. Photo: Brian Morrison, Failte Ireland/Tourism Ireland.

At the centre of the circle is an impressive boulder-dolmen with a giant capstone (2 meters/6.5 feet x 1.8 meters/5.9 feet).

Such a dolmen often marked the burial place of an important person during the Bronze Age. Experts believe that this particular dolmen is unique to this region of Ireland.

Have you eaten a traditional Irish breakfast in a B&B, hotel, or guesthouse in Ireland that is worth sharing? If so, let me know in the comments section below.

colette

Colette is a County Sligo native who created Ireland on a Budget to provide her readers with money-saving tips on how to get to Ireland and then save even more when they're there. She's a professional copywriter who lives in the New York area with her husband and two children.

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