Holidays in Ireland are a good choice for summer. However, a break to the Emerald Isle during the shoulder seasons can be just as good. Fewer crowds and milder weather allow us to explore Ireland’s colourful landscapes quietly and taste some of its freshest foods when they are in season. Plus, Ireland is not far to venture to!
We’ve gathered some inspiration and ideas to help you plan a holiday in Ireland to appreciate its natural beauty and culture. If you haven’t explored Ireland before, your first thought might be: what are the most picturesque places to visit?
The Best Holiday Destinations in Ireland
- The county of Cork – where you can discover Garnish Island, magical gardens, and fairy trails.
- Galway – a great harbour city on the west coast, known as the “Cultural Heart of Ireland”. Here, you can explore the Connemara National Park.
- Kerry – is situated in the South West and home to Ireland’s highest mountain called Carrantuohill.
- Killarney- a historical town that hosts harvest festivals and Celtic celebrations such as Samhain (Halloween) within Killarney National Park.
- Donegal – where you can breathe in fresh air from the Atlantic Ocean while strolling along some of the best beaches in Ireland.
- Sligo –“Shelly River” where you can walk through bluebell woods.
- Admire the majestic Wicklow Mountains, which flow into the counties of Dublin, Wexford, and Carlow.
Caravan Holidays in Southern Ireland
To immerse yourself in Ireland’s stunning natural scenery, stay at an Irish campsite. For instance, Blarney Caravan and Camping Park. is in a secluded location within good proximity to everything. While there, 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!
Also, this campsite is within easy reach of Rosslare and Cork ferry ports. Plus, there’s a regular bus service that takes you to Cork. Cork is a large city, full of grand gothic and classical architecture. While there chat to its friendly locals who refer to it as “the real capital” and then decide for yourself.
Another place for a caravan holiday is Wexford. Here, you’ll find many camping and caravan parks. Each site comes 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. If you’re 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, where you can find some of the best beaches in Ireland along its 1,235km coastline. This makes it 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 Knockalla Mountain as your backdrop. Or stroll along Ballymastocker Bay at Lough Swilly. It’s 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 “Shelly River” which is a centre of salmon fishing. It’s also 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. This a great benefit if you love taking your new gadgets on holiday – especially if you’ll be using them for an activity…
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 lots of activities to choose from during spring, summer, or a Christmas break.
Where can I find a family adventure holiday in Ireland?
- Westport, County Mayo is a great location along the Great Western Greenway, which you can cycle along at your leisure. If you love the outdoors there are plenty of activity centres to try windsurfing, kite surfing, sailing, stand-up paddle boarding, or kayaking. Also in the area, you can go coasteering along the shores of Clare Island and Clew Bay. To overlook the bay, challenge yourself to climb Croagh Patrick.
- Waterford is a seaport in the southeast and is Ireland’s oldest city. It was once a thriving silver, lead, and copper mining city. Now, it has plenty of active pursuits everyone can try. Here, admire the old Waterford Copper Coast of chimneys and cliffs (today a Unesco global geopark) when kayaking, before paddling past spectacular sea stacks, and sandy coves. Feeling more daring? If you find a sea kayak touring operator, you can book a sea paddling trip.
- Visit the Dingle Peninsula. Another picturesque place to enjoy a range of outdoor activities. Here, you can be as active as you like. Walk or ride horseback along the shore. Then while onshore, take in the area’s breath taking views during a game of golf or bicycle ride. Enjoy boat trips? You can go whale watching to try and spot friendly Fungie – the bottlenose dolphin!
Whether you’re doing an activity on water or land, follow the safety guidelines. Wear and use the safety equipment that’s provided. Also, remember that Free Spirit Travel Insurance includes over 100 activities for free such as golf…
Golf Breaks in Ireland
Ireland has some of the best courses in the world for a golf break. For example, head north to Sligo, which is home to some challenging links courses. Then visit Kinsale, in County Cork for an easier game at The Old Head of Kinsale. This course provides one of the most sought-after golf experiences on earth. Spend a long weekend there to enjoy its excellent, personalised service.
If you’d prefer a golf break within a unique setting, book into The Island Golf Club in Dublin. Here, you can take up the challenge to play on rugged terrain amongst the highest sand dunes on Ireland’s 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’ book a last minute holiday or city break in Dublin which is full of culture and charm. A “Town of the Ford of the Hurdle”, this friendly capital is where to find the historic quarter (Temple Bar). Here, wander around one of Ireland’s best farmer’s markets to taste the local cuisine, before enjoying some live music, at a traditional Irish pub. Supping a pint of Guinness is optional.
For a quieter location, spend time strolling around St Stephen’s Green in the city centre. This is Ireland’s most famous park, and it’s not hard to see why. Here, you can watch waterfalls and rushing water cascade into a striking ornamental lake. Why not spend an afternoon picnicking here? While surrounded by sculptures and flowerbeds and listening to the birds If you’re looking for a blissful break – book into a spa and lap up the health benefits at a wellness retreat.
Spa Breaks In Ireland
Ireland is a beautiful place to focus on your health and wellness. Attend a wellness festival or book into a spa hotel in Dublin, Mayo, Laois, or Donegal. In Donegal, overlook the Atlantic or relax within Ireland’s rural countryside. Either way, here’s a place to escape the hustle and bustle of life.
In mid-west Ireland, discover Country Limerick. Here, you’ll find a five-star luxury stately home, called Adare Manor. Although Limerick isn’t renowned as an Irish holiday destination, this 840-acre estate provides a resort feel. To find an uber-cool Samas spa, with fitness classes and a lap pool, visit Park Hotel Kenmare in County Kerry. Country Kerry is in the South West, where you can admire Ireland’s highest mountain – Carrantuohill. Why not recuperate at the spa after a day exploring it?
Walking Holidays in Ireland
A walking holiday in Ireland can provide you with the opportunity to awaken your senses. Take in scenic views and reap the health benefits of walking. For instance, try The Kerry Way which is a 200-km route that goes through Ireland’s biggest peninsula. Along the route, admire many mountains. Plus, a collection of archaeological and world heritage sites, such as Sceilg Mhichíl within Country Kerry.
You can complete The Kerry Way within a week, or longer if you wish to make new friends and embrace some Irish cheer. The finishing point is the historical town of Killarney. Another place to explore on a walking holiday is the Wicklow Mountains National Park. It’s full of great glens, fast-flowing streams, deep lakes, and wooded valleys. Find The Wicklow Way to follow a trail that includes the Wicklow Mountains. This track starts at Marlay Park in Dublin. Then past upon remarkable archaeological monuments and through glorious green pastures.
Travel Insurance for Holidays in Ireland
We hope we’ve given you some interesting ideas and inspiration to book a holiday in Ireland. 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 -like Coronavirus Cover.