Holidays in Ireland for UK tourists will be allowed in time for the summer holidays, from Monday 19th July. Depending on the current public health situation, Ireland will operate the EU Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) for travel, which originates within the EU/EEA.
Also, the removal of quarantine and tests, to allow restriction-free travel between the UK mainland and Ireland will go ahead. If you’re fully vaccinated and have the documents to prove it.
You won’t be required to provide a passenger locator form or further documentation either. Just bring your passport or driving licence to cross the border.
So, with restrictions removed to and from the Republic of Ireland, we thought we’d share some inspiration and ideas to help you plan a holiday to remember. If you haven’t explored the emerald isle before, your first thought might be – what’s the best area to visit?
The 10 Best Holiday Destinations in Ireland
- Cork – the second-largest city, in the southwest full of grand gothic and classical architecture.
- Galway – a great harbour city on the west coast, known as the “Cultural Heart of Ireland”.
- Kerry – situated within the South West, home to Ireland’s highest mountain Carrantuohill.
- Dingle – the most westerly point in Europe where you can enjoy many outdoor activities.
- Killarney- a historical town, which is the finishing point of the 200-km Kerry Way.
- Dublin – “Town of the Ford of the Hurdle” Ireland’s friendly capital and key port.
- Waterford – a seaport in southeast Ireland, which is the country’s oldest city.
- Westford – which sits on the edge of an Atlantic inlet, on the Wild Atlantic Way.
- Donegal – where you can find some of the best beaches in Ireland.
- Sligo –“Shelly River” which is a centre of salmon fishing.
Family Breaks and Holidays in Ireland
Caravan Holidays in Southern Ireland
To immerse yourself in Ireland’s stunning natural scenery, hire a cosy caravan at an Irish campsite like Blarney Caravan and Camping Park. It’s situated within a secluded location but in good proximity to everything. You can sit back and relax, with views of mountainous scenery, after a game of pitch and putt on-site. Or spend the day visiting Blarney Castle, home to the mystical Blarney Stone!
This campsite is easily reached from Cork and Rosslare ferry ports and there’s a regular bus service that takes you to Cork. Cork is famous for its friendly locals who refer to it as “the real capital”. Why not pay it a visit and decide for yourself?
You could also stay at Wexford, where you’ll find four-star camping and caravan parks, complete with onsite activities, evening entertainment, and even a swimming pool. Take a dip after a day of building sandcastles on Morriscastle’s Blue Flag beach. Happy spending your days at the seaside? A caravan holiday by the seaside in Donegal could be for you!
Beach Holidays in Ireland
Visit County Donegal, which has a 1,235km coastline, a top location for a beach holiday in Ireland. While you’re there, capture the waves crashing against the rugged coastline. Go for a walk with the Knockalla Mountain as your backdrop. Or stroll along Ballymastocker Bay at Lough Swilly, voted the second best beach on the planet.
You could also visit Dog’s Bay and Gurteen Bay in Connemara, to enjoy their pure white sands. Or Easkey in Co. Sligo, where you’ll find the headquarters of the Irish Surfing Association.
Whichever location you choose, you’ll notice the number of picture-postcard opportunities to capture! So, if you enjoy photography, capture some of the best with your favourite gadget.
With Free Spirit, gadget cover is standard on every policy and is included on all levels of cover. A great benefit if you love taking your new gadgets on holiday.
Family Activity Holidays in Ireland
A family activity holiday is a great idea if you’re away with young travel companions who have lots of energy! On the other hand, you might want to try something a little bit different than just soaking up the sun. Luckily, Ireland has a lot of activities to choose from.
Also, with a Free Spirit Policy, we have three additional activity packs, which can be added to both Super and Super Duper levels of cover. Medical cover is provided with each cover level as well.
Where can I find a family adventure holiday in Ireland?
Westport, County Mayo Adventure Centre, is a great location if you love being outdoors. Try windsurfing, kite surfing, sailing, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking and coasteering along the shores of Clew Bay. To overlook the bay, you can climb to the top of Croagh Patrick or cycle part of the Great Western Greenway.
Waterford, which was once a thriving copper mining industry, has plenty of active pursuits too. Here, you can admire the port’s copper coastline of chimneys and cliffs while kayaking. During a day on the kayak, paddle past spectacular sea stacks, sandy coves, and deep-water caves along the cliffs. If you can find a sea kayak touring operator, take the opportunity to book a sea paddling trip, fit for beginners and experienced paddlers.
Try the Dingle Peninsula, where you can be as active as you like! Walk, climb or ride a horse along the shore. When onshore, play a game of golf or cycle to experience the area’s breath taking views. Enjoy boat trips? Go whale watching, before spotting resident Fungie the friendly bottlenose dolphin!
Whether you’re doing an activity on water or land, follow the safety guidelines and wear/use the safety equipment that’s provided. Also, remember that Free Spirit Travel Insurance includes over 100 activities for free.
Holidays in Ireland for Couples
Golf Breaks in Ireland
Ireland is said to have some of the best courses in the world for a golf break. Head north to Sligo, which is home to some of the most challenging links courses in the country, such as the par 73 Dunes Championship Links Course. Or head to Cork to have a game at The Old Head of Kinsale, which is one of the most sought-after golf experiences on earth, with an excellent personalised service.
Or for a unique setting, try The Island Golf Club in Dublin. Give yourself a challenge on rugged terrain amongst the highest sand dunes along the east coast!
Not into golf? Spend a weekend away in Dublin’s city centre instead…
A City Break in Dublin
For a slice of ‘the Craic’ fly to Dublin for a unique city break full of rich culture and charm. Visit the historic quarter (Temple Bar), to try the local cuisine at a market. Then chat with the locals, in a trendy café or bar, before spending the evening enjoying some live music, at a traditional Irish pub. Supping a pint of Guinness is optional.
For a quieter location, stroll around St Stephen’s Green. This is Ireland’s most famous park, and it’s not hard to see why. Watch waterfalls and rushing water cascade into the striking ornamental lake. Spend an afternoon picnicking, while surrounded by sculptures and flowerbeds, while listening to a concert.
Spa Breaks In Ireland
In recent years, Ireland has been keen to support the wellness sector. You can find spa hotels in Dublin, Mayo, Laois, and Donegal while overlooking the ocean’s edge. You could also book one within Ireland’s rural countryside. Either way, escape the hustle and bustle of life and lap up the health benefits of a wellness retreat throughout a long weekend away.
In Country Limerick on the west coast, discover a five-star luxury stately home, called Adare Manor. Although Limerick isn’t renowned as an Irish holiday destination, this 842-acre estate provides a resort feel. For a visit to an uber-cool Samas spa, with a tropical shower and thermal eternity pool, visit Park Hotel Kenmare in County Kerry. With the mountains of Kerry nearby, this could be the perfect place to recuperate after a long walk…
Walking Holidays in Ireland
A walking holiday in Ireland can provide you with the opportunity to awaken your senses. While you stumble across its hidden corners, take in scenic views and reap the health benefits of walking.
The Kerry Way is one route that follows Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. With mountainous peninsulas and a collection of historical and archaeological sites, (including world heritage site Sceilg Mhichíl), complete it within a week. Or longer, if you wish to make new friends and embrace some Irish cheer!
For a chance to explore Wicklow Mountains National Park with its great glens fast-flowing streams, deep lakes, and wooded valleys follow The Wicklow Way. This starts at Marlay Park, Dublin. Stumble upon remarkable archaeological monuments, glorious green pastures and herds of sheep and goats when you take a hiking tour around the Dingle Peninsula.
How to get to Ireland
There are many ways to reach and explore the Republic of Ireland by ferry, coach, and air.
Holidays to Ireland by ferry
Book a holiday to Ireland by ferry and cross to Dublin or Rosslare from Holyhead and Pembroke with Irish Ferries. The shortest ferry crossing to Ireland is the “Dublin Swift”, which will take you there in two hours.
If you book a package holiday to Ireland, which includes your return ferry, and accommodation, take your car to travel further!
On the other hand, if you book each element of your holiday separately and have a Free Spirit Super Duper policy, we’ll cover you for end supplier failure. This is useful to have if your travel or accommodation provider suffers from financial failure.
Holidays to Ireland by air
Reach Ireland by air by flying into Dublin or Cork, from London Gatwick or any major UK airport. You could also book a package holiday to Ireland by air that includes daily excursions.
The rainiest month in Ireland is December and the best time to visit is between March-May and September – November. However, whatever the weather, when you’ve finished a day of exploring make sure you have some comfortable accommodation to relax in…
Ireland’s Holiday Accommodation
- Self-catering accommodation, from beachside beauty, in Donegal to hide-away havens in Galway and Killarney. You can find a holiday cottage in Ireland to suit you and your extended family. Or, pet-friendly accommodation for you and your furry friend.
- An Irish farm – try Annaharvey Farm at Tullamore, Co Offaly famous for Tullamore Dew – an Irish whiskey. This restored barn is in the middle of rural, central Ireland. Enjoy the countryside by bike or foot and go wildlife watching.
- Holiday cottages and cabins. For a remote holiday cabin in Ireland stay in Ballyshannon, County Donegal. The oldest town in Ireland (and also the most peaceful). Perfect for couples, with estuary views and walks with llamas are available.
- Hotels, like the Westport Woods Hotel Westport, on the coast. This hotel has its own stables where you can book horse tuition and go riding.
Travel Insurance for Holidays in Ireland
We hope we’ve given you some interesting ideas and inspiration to book a holiday in Ireland in the future. Or a last-minute holiday if you wish to visit family and friends very soon.
You could also give yourself the freedom to plan, create and book your own holiday in Ireland the way you want. There are a range of holiday packages to choose from. Just remember Free Spirit Travel Insurance and all the benefits we can offer you.