Lonely Planet Writer

A bubble dome, a treehouse and a train - check out the shortlist of the most innovative places to stay in Ireland

The nominees for the most innovative place to stay category at the 2017 Irish Tourism Industry Awards have been revealed, and they include bubble domes, a treehouse and a train. The winner of this category will have successfully developed and promoted an innovative, creative and exciting experience within overnight accommodation. The awards take place in Dublin on 3 February, and they recognise the people, companies and organisations that have made significant contributions to visitor experiences in Ireland and have helped to increase the number of visitors from overseas.

Here are the six nominees for the ‘Best Innovative Place to Stay’ award.

Belmond Grand Hibernian train

The Belmond Grand Hibernian is a finalist in the Irish Tourism Awards. Image: Belmond Grand Hibernian
The Belmond Grand Hibernian is a finalist in the Irish Tourism Awards. Image: Belmond Grand Hibernian

The Belmond Grand Hibernian launched in 2016 and is the first luxury rail experience of its kind in Ireland. Guests embark on two to six-day rail trips across Ireland and Northern Ireland, experiencing the highlights and scenery of the country and cities visited. The train accommodates up to 40 guests in en-suite cabins, and has two restaurants and an observation car.

Irish Landmark Trust properties

The Barbican is one of the properties offered by the Irish Landmark Trust, is a finalist in the Irish Tourism Awards. Image: Irish Landmark Trust
The Barbican is one of the properties offered by the Irish Landmark Trust, is a finalist in the Irish Tourism Awards. Image: Irish Landmark Trust

The Irish Landmark Trust is a non-profit organisation that turns historic buildings into special self-catering holiday accommodation. They have conserved 25 properties across Ireland since 1992, ranging from lighthouses and schoolhouses to castles and gate lodges. All are available for guests to stay in, and while their character and historic elegance has been preserved, they offer guests comfort and modern convenience.

Shannon Princess barge

The Shannon Princess is a finalist in the Irish Tourism Awards. Image: Shannon Princess
The Shannon Princess is a finalist in the Irish Tourism Awards. Image: MV Shannon Princess

MV Shannon Princess is a luxury hotel barge that cruises exclusively on the river Shannon in Ireland. It can be booked on an individual cabin basis or on a charter basis for private parties of up to 10 guests. It is run by husband and wife team, Ruairi & Olivia Gibbons, who have combined their love of boating and delicious food to create a unique cruise experience.

Clare Island Lighthouse

Clare Island Lighthouse is a finalist in the Irish Tourism Awards. Image: Clare Island Lighthousse
Clare Island Lighthouse is a finalist in the Irish Tourism Awards. Image: Clare Island Lighthouse

Clare Island Lighthouse stands at the entrance to Clew Bay, off Ireland’s western Atlantic coast. This Mayo lighthouse has been lovingly transformed into fully catered, luxury accommodation, complemented by magnificent sea views and an inspiring, natural environment. It has six guest rooms, and you can even tinkle on the piano, if you feel like it.

River Valley Holiday Park treehouse

The treehouse at River Valley Holiday Park is a finalist in the Irish Tourism Awards. Image: River Valley Holiday Park
The treehouse at River Valley Holiday Park is a finalist in the Irish Tourism Awards. Image: River Valley Holiday Park

The tree house at River Valley Holiday Park in Wicklow is located eight feet in the air, taking in spectacular views of the surrounding golf course. It sleeps six people with separate bedrooms and living room. and it has an outdoor barbecue table.

Bubble Dome Experience, Fermanagh

The bubble domes at Finn Lough in Fermanagh are a finalist in the Irish Tourism Awards. Image: Finn Lough
The bubble domes at Finn Lough in Fermanagh are a finalist in the Irish Tourism Awards. Image: Image: Finn Lough

Finn Lough in Fermanagh offers accommodation in unique bubble domes that are set within a 50-acre forest. They have 180 degree transparent walls allowing full view of the night sky and the forest. You can enjoy stargazing from your luxurious four poster bed, surrounded by the ancient woodland.

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