The big dilemma. You want to go away for a night or two but don’t want to leave your beloved pooch behind. You know they’d enjoy it just as much as you.

It’s Dogs Trust’s Dog-Friendly Ireland Day and it’s only right that we give our best friends all the special treatment they deserve.

We at can't get enough of them, check out our video at the end of this article. (We brought dogs into the office!)

Research shows that one-third of us are dog owners. Why not show them some love by packing up the car and going on a dog-friendly adventure? Bring along your outdoor gear, collars, leashes and some doggy treats for the way.

Lucky enough, there are actually many places in Ireland you can bring your dog. Here’s a list of great locations in every corner of the country that caters to our four-legged friends.


The Wild Atlantic Way


1. Donegal

A haven of beaches and untouched scenery, Donegal is an idyllic location for a doggy Holiday

Lough Eske Castle, just outside Donegal Town, is open to dogs and cats alike. The literal castle is a luxury stay not only for you, but for any pet. They have courtyard and garden suites for pampering pups and pet services on the grounds including a bed basket and water tray. You can also avail of dog grooming, walking and sitting for a fee if you wish.

Glenveagh Park, the second largest national park in Ireland is a brilliant spot for a long walk. Here, a bit further north in the county, you will find beautiful gardens and a 19th-century castle that looks over Lough Veagh. It’s open all day long.

The Olde Castle Bar, situated back in the heart of Donegal Town, is the best-known bar and restaurant for greeting people with pups. The bar serves gorgeous fresh fish and dogs are kept hydrated by staff.


2. Mayo

Mulranny Suites is a self-catering accommodation located at the gateway to the Corraun Peninsula on the road to Achill Island overlooking Mulranny beach. Mayo is home to more beautiful scenery and perfect for families and dog owners.

You can go for a long walk in Ballycroy National Park and let your dog off to splash around in the large lake. There’s not only this but 15,000 hectares of Atlantic blanket bog waiting to be explored.

A great place to pop in on your travels to Mayo is the Ginger and Wild Café. It’s situated in Ballycroy park. You can grab some homemade treats and enjoy views of Nephin Beg Mountains, Achill Island, and the stunning wild Atlantic Coast.


3. Sligo

Markree Castle is a hidden gem in the heart of Sligo’s countryside. This stunning location is a favourite for weddings because of the scenery, its classical luxurious style and top-class service.

A bonus is that it’s (of course) dog-friendly with lots of activities to choose from. On the grounds, there is Stand Up Paddling at Markree downstream and a trail running up to Union Wood.

The Draft House Gastropub in Strandhill is an absolute local favourite. While humans are filling up with food and drinks, dogs can chill in snug kennels.

Every dog owner is given a tablet PC linked to their dog’s kennel which is locked for security and safety. The cherry on top is that this service is free and no booking is required.

We're a fan of this dog-friendly eatery and also love that it's so close to the beach. Perfect for a post-dinner stroll for you and your dog.


4. Galway

The Twelve hotel, situated in beautiful Barna, is a well-known pet-friendly hotel. They have so many things to look forward to like toys, doggie bowls and a luxury pet suite.

Barna Woods is only a 5-minute drive from the hotel and Silverstrand Beach even closer. Enclosed on one side by a rocky area and by a cliff on the other, it’s ideal for an Atlantic swim and run but make sure to bring some towels and a flask to warm up after!

While you’re out that direction, pop into The Secret Garden in Galway. There, you and your doggy can take in some art exhibitions, gigs, workshops and finish it off with some tea and a slice of cake. Does that not sound ideal?


5. Clare

The Armada Hotel in Spanish Point is another location that welcomes dog lovers from far and wide. It’s located on a must see, stunning location on the Wild Atlantic Way.

Spanish Point beach is just a stone’s throw away for morning walks and if you like a bit of trad, you’ll love the live traditional music filling the streets of Doolin. If you plan your trip for July you’ll catch the Willy Clancy Festival in Miltown.

Coast Lodge Hotel, Spanish Point, is definitely the spot to finish up your doggy day (complete with benches and brollies). Treat yourself to an ice-cream or soft drink while watching the beautiful sunset across the Atlantic.


The Midlands


6. Leitrim

Take a trip to a fairy-tale in the Old Rectory Self Catering Apartments situated in the heart of Ballinamore, Co Leitrim. The building is nearly 200 years old and overlooks Fenagh Lake. The grounds are totally dog-friendly with loads to do. From canoeing, fishing and walking trails, you and your dog won’t be stuck for a place to explore.

Lough Key Forest Park and lake are not too far away. You can take a boat trip, have a walk around the scenic routes, zip line or play an escape room! There is so much to do, and you can also camp here.

Cryan’s Hotel in Carrick-on-Shannon also welcomes furry friends so you can pop in on your way home for a cool beverage looking over the river.


7. Westmeath

Another gorgeous place to stay is Woodlands Farm nestled closely to Streamstown in County Westmeath.

It’s pet-friendly and situated right next to the monastic settlement of Clonmacnoise overlooking the River Shannon. The house is part of a 120-acre farm and has pet donkeys on site. It also sits close to some beautiful walkways like the Mullingar to Athlone Greenway.

Grab the lead or bike with a basket for your pooch to be popped into (size dependent) and off you go.  There are loads of entry and exit points, you can hop on and off as you please. To round off the day you can pop into the Creggan Court Hotel for some refreshments.


The East


8. Kildare

The Cliff at Lyons sits in a rural setting and invites you and your dog to unwind in the tranquil environment. Dogs are allowed in the bedrooms and doggie goodies are also on sale if your dog gets a little hungry.

You can go for a lovely long walk in Donadea Forest Park. It is situated northwest of Kildare and offers lots of lovely trails through the forest, including the 5km Aylmer loop, the lake walk and nature trails.

Grab a cup of hot coffee in Baobab coffee roasters in Celbridge. It’s a gorgeous space for a coffee, snack or sweet treat.


9. Waterford

The Cliff Townhouse in Ardmore loves to see dogs coming. The hotel offers a dog-friendly room, and puppers can dine with their owners in the outdoor terrace area or in your room.

There is so much to discover in this stunning area. You can walk the prom on the top holiday spot, Tramore Beach, have a coffee in Moe’s, or take a trip down to the fisherman’s town of Dungarvan for a lazy stroll on Clonea beach.

Loko Restaurant on Dunmore Road serves fresh and locally sourced dishes and is definitely worth a visit for lunch, brunch and dinner.


10. Tipperary

Ballyboy Farm Guesthouse and Gardens are nestled in South Tipperary under the Knockmealdown Mountains. It has stunning views of the Galty, Comeragh and Slievenamon mountain ranges all waiting to be discovered.

Twenty minutes up the road is the Dun Ui Faolain loop, a woodland 5km walking trail. You and your furry pal can take in the long arched trees and scents of nature.

Dog-friendly restaurants in the area include Larkins Bar and Restaurant in Nenagh and Mikey Ryan’s Bar and Kitchen in Cashel.

Now you have no excuse! There are plenty of places in Ireland where you can treat yourself and your dog. We wish all owners and pets a happy Dog Friendly Ireland day.