Top Spots for You and Your Dog

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Over a third of Ireland’s households have dogs – and we like nothing better than including our furriest family members on days out. With the country becoming increasingly dog-friendly, Ireland’s Ancient East is no exception.

From wide-open outdoor spaces to explore, to cosy luxury accommodation for comfy nights in – there are endless possibilities for pets and their people to enjoy the region together. There's natural beauty, city fun, and a lot more to experience. Here we show that there is truly something for everyone… four-legged or otherwise.

Fitzgerald Park in Cork City
An evening walk with the dog
Left: Fitzgerald Park in Cork City | Right: Best friends on an evening walk

Cork

In canine-friendly County Cork, you and your pampered pooch can stay together in the lap of five-star luxury at Castlemartyr Resort, where dogs are allowed in the hotel’s private garden suites or self-catering lodges. Meanwhile, not far down the road beautiful Ballymaloe House offers selected self-catering options – ask about their Ballymaloe Farm Cottages (featuring their own walled gardens for secure scampering).

When in Cork City, take yourselves for a brisk walk in tranquil Fitzgerald Park to work up a thirst – then make your way to quirky Alchemy Coffee and Books, where you can caffeinate and enjoy a sweet treat while your pal can relax with you (and also grab a well-earned drink). If you'd like something a bit stronger, and don't mind a walk that's a bit longer, St. Luke's Wine Tavern hosts both you and your faithful companion and serves soup, sandwiches, teas/coffees, tapas and (of course) wine.

For even more animal-themed enjoyment, take a quick trip north of the city to The Donkey Sanctuary in Mallow – which welcomes dogs on leads, and offers places for picnicking and strolling through the countryside (along with donkeys that will melt your creature-loving heart). Or head south to the coast, where the Ballycotton Looped Walk along the cliffs provides plenty of fresh air and exercise.

Kite surfers in Tramore
The Waterford Greenway
Left: Kite surfers in Tramore | Right: The Waterford Greenway

Waterford

When visiting County Waterford, you'll find plenty of dog-friendly options in the Déise. In Ardmore, the magnificent Cliff House Hotel has carefully considered the needs of canine clients. They've thought of everything, with a dog-friendly room available; a kennel service; and togetherness at mealtimes is even on the menu, as doggy can dine with you on the outdoor terrace area or in your room.

Speaking of dining, dog-friendly Loko Restaurant on Dunmore Road in Waterford City offers fresh, locally-sourced dishes for lunch and dinner, and they have even hosted birthday celebrations for partying pooches (and their owners). Along the coast in Dungarvan, 360 Cookhouse makes a point of welcoming four-legged guests, happily providing treats from their Canine Menu and bowls of cool water.
 
Make the most of the stunning outdoor charms of the area with a stroll along the prom on Tramore Beach; where you can watch the waves (and kite surfers) rolling in. Alternatively, the wonderful Waterford Greenway provides excellent walking – being both dog-friendly and car-free.

The Japanese Gardens at the National Stud in Kildare
Walking in Naas on a Self Guided Historic Walk trail
Left: The Japanese Gardens at the National Stud in Kildare | Right: Walking in Naas on a Self Guided Historic Walk trail

Kildare

Ireland’s equestrian country isn't just for horses. If you and your little buddy are looking for a place to hitch up for the night, The Cliff at Lyons offers a home-from-home – and they do love their doggy visitors! Dogs are allowed in bedrooms; and if your pet gets peckish, there are goodies available to buy (along with a range of accessories).

The Irish National Stud and Japanese Gardens allows you to walk your dog across its gorgeous grounds, with sights ranging from pastoral backdrops to exotic Japanese gardens. These serene County Kildare experiences, devised by the Stud's eccentric founder Colonel William Walker, are perfect for a relaxing day out – and as a bonus there's a lovely café with outdoor seating when it's time for some nosebag.

In Naas, the Self Guided Historic Walk offers a variety of paths radiating from the town centre, encompassing pleasant neighbourhoods, heritage structures and plenty of green space. Heading north from there, Donadea Forest Park also provides lots of trails for exploring, with lovely forest treks including the 5km Aylmer Loop, the lake walk and nature trails. And if you'd rather hike through the shops, though dogs aren't allowed at Kildare Village, you can park your pooch in a comfortable kennel on site – while you browse and buy to your heart's content.

Boats in Bray Harbour
A trail on the Wicklow Way with panoramic mountain views
Left: Boats in Bray Harbour | Right: A trail on the Wicklow Way with panoramic mountain views

Wicklow

Unsurprisingly, the Garden County is a veritable paradise for your pup. Four-star boutique BrookLodge & Macreddin Village doesn’t just welcome dogs, it employs them – friendly in-house retrievers Oscar and George will be on hand to greet you (and believe it or not, they’re on the payroll).
 
When you're ready for adventure, head for Bray where Bray Harbour beckons – it's a brilliant place for a refreshing walk along the beach. Then when it's time to eat, nearby Dockyard No. 8 is so dog-accessible, the outdoor area has not just dog bowls and a tap to keep them filled with fresh water, but also astroturf under the tables – for your best friend to lounge upon in comfort. Or make your way to Brittas Bay where you can pop into The Bay Café for breakfast or lunch, and enjoy a snack with your pet al fresco.
 
When it comes to epic strolls, the Wicklow Way – Ireland’s oldest marked hiking route – is hard to beat. It provides a wealth of walking opportunities for four-legged explorers, and stunning scenery for their two-legged friends to enjoy. In fact, with so many treats for dogs and their owners alike, it really is a dog's life in Ireland's Ancient East!

More To Discover


And that’s just a sampling of the ways that you and your best friend can enjoy Ireland’s Ancient East together!
 

For more attractions and activities
 check out the See & Do section