With travel changing so much in recent times, a staycation is becoming ever more popular with families. Whether it is a weekend away in a new town with your country, or embarking on your first camping trip as a family, the staycation is here to stay for a while. And if you are based in Ireland, I’m sharing with you some of the best staycation locations in Ireland for you to consider for your next getaway.
Ireland is such a wonderful location, and while some might be familiar with Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland is full of some of the most beautiful locations perfect for you to explore on a staycation this year.
Holidays have changed for many of us over the last twelve months. We have found that we have had no choice but to stay at home or local, which, if looking for a positive out of the situation, has meant that you have rediscovered things hidden that were on your doorstep.
As a result of this, the holiday abroad, while still an option, might not be as appealing to you when it comes to this year’s annual getaway. So if you are considering a staycation, then somewhere new in the Republic of Ireland could be the option to consider.
But why choose Ireland? Here are some of the reasons to consider:
- Breathtaking natural landscapes ready for you to explore.
- Some of the best live music and festivals you will find (although festivals might not be on the agenda this year).
- Amazing Irish castles ready for you to see and experience with the kids. Perfect for all of the family.
- Game of Thrones fans will eagerly spot some of the most iconic backdrops found in the hit TV series.
- The perfect place for a scenic road trip.
- Guinness and whisky for the dads, do we need to say anymore?
- Fabulous cities, rural villages, and bustling market towns. There is something for everyone.
Best staycation locations in Ireland
So, if you find that you are considering a staycation in Ireland, you may be wondering what locations are the best places for you to explore and experience? With that in mind, here are some of the best places in Ireland for a staycation to remember.
If you are hoping to find a city with amazing architectural charm, striking street art, fascinating medieval and historical stories, and plenty to do with kids, Dublin has it all.
While you are in Dublin, you may want to visit St. Patrick’s cathedral, as well as Christ Church Cathedral, two of the best cathedrals in Ireland. Let the kids discover the “cat and the rat” in Christ Church. Another great thing to do with the kids in Dublin is visiting the “Dead Zoo”, the Natural History Museum, and also Dublinia.
For the parents, you could also do the official brewery tour of the Guinness factory if you want something that is typically Irish. Just make sure you are not driving afterwards. Older kids will enjoy the tour, but younger ones might find it a bit boring.
A day outside of the city will enable you to discover some amazing walks and hikes, including the Howth Cliff walk. Bray is also a great place to take the kids outside of the city, to walk Bray Head, visit the aquarium or just enjoy some seaside fun.
Dublin is the ideal place for couples to enjoy a break together or to experience a unique trip away with your children. You are likely to find lots to do and plenty to see in the city or just outside of it.
And don’t worry if the weather isn’t great. There are plenty of things to do in Dublin with kids when it is raining!
County Cork covers most of Ireland’s southern coast and has a capital of the region which is Cork City itself. The city has much to offer, is full of restaurants and bars, and also has a cathedral for you to visit. Kids will love discovering more about the universe at Blackrock Castle with its interactive displays. You can also climb the tower to enjoy views across the River Lee.
Not far from the city you can visit Fota Wildlife Park, an amazing zoo with large enclosures for the many species of animals. Kids will love spotting their favourite animal or the train that runs around the zoo. There is also an amazing playground on-site. Grab a cuppa in the cafe and let the kids run off steam while you take a well-deserved break.
Another great place to take kids is Blarney Castle. While those under 8 years of age cannot kiss the Blarney Stone, the castle is still enjoyable and the extensive gardens even more so. Discover the waterfalls, different gardens, spend time at the playground and find the fairy garden.
In the rest of the Cork region, you will find lovely coastlines as well as rolling countryside ready for you to explore. Some of the best things to do in the area include Spike Island and Charles Fort which have very interesting military histories.
You could also attend the Titanic Experience in Cobh. There are some great walks and hiking options, as well as stunning coast and beaches waiting for you to explore. County Cork has much to offer for your staycation, perfect for families and couples alike.
County Mayo has some of the most unique and breathtaking scenery. You can find cliffs and mountainous areas as well as desert-like coastlines, offering fantastic views across the Atlantic Ocean.
Based in the west of Ireland, you will find plenty to see and do here. Castlebar is the largest town in the region, offering lots of shops, bars, and restaurants. However, outside of the town, there are other things.
Heading to the North of County Mayo you will find Irelands best-kept secret. This is where you will find some of Ireland’s most remote and rugged coastlines with unspoiled beauty. You could explore Achill Island, one of the most beautiful places in the county. Make sure not to miss Keem Bay Beach.
This county has much to offer and you will find that there is a lot of lesser-known locations that are not as touristy as some of the other places in Ireland. It is ideal for a great escape giving you the chance to see Ireland from a different perspective.
Another location on the southwest of Ireland is County Kerry, and it is a fabulous spot, perfect for people who want to be a little more active and adventurous on their staycations.
This spot offers some fabulous beaches to explore as well as rolling countryside with walks suitable for all ages and abilities. In County Kerry, you’ll find one of the best Irish national parks to explore, Killarney National Park. Try make time to visit the Torc Waterfall, Muckross House and Abbey, and also to see the Gap of Dunloe.
County Kerry is also home to one of the best circular driving routes in Ireland, the Ring of Kerry, which runs from Killarney, around the outline of the Iveragh Peninsula, and along the southern part of Dingle Bay, and can give you some of the most breathtaking views.
Other locations to mention would be Banna Strand Beach and Skellig Michael which is a world heritage site. This place gives you all of the scenery and views from every angle. County Kerry is one not to be missed.
Heading to County Galway means you are visiting one of the smaller regions in Ireland but it still delivers in terms of things to see and do. The largest town in the region is Galway City, where you will find lots of lovely shops and other amenities ready for your trip away.
Kids will love Salthill in particular, just a few minutes’ drive from Galway City. There is a long sandy beach backed by a promenade, a brilliant leisure centre and an aquarium.
County Galway is also home to the Connemara National Park, where you can hike any of the twelve peaks, known as the Twelve Bens, visit Kylemore Abbey, or spot some of the Connemara ponies.
You can also drive along part of Ireland’s longest coastal driving routes, the Wild
Atlantic Way, stopping at any number of little coastal village or beaches along the way.
Other places worthy of a trip would be Inishbofin and Ross Errilly Friary which is perfect for any historians on your trip. Or you could take a trip across to visit the Aran Islands. County Galway delivers on attractions as well as perfect scenery and is a great location for a staycation in Ireland.
Read my post about the best things to do in Galway with kids, which is sure to put this staycation location in Ireland at the top of your list for your next family getaway.
Finally, the last place to mention on our Irish escape is County Donegal. The county town is Lifford which will give you all of the amenities you need as well as great entertainment options while you are there. You can also visit Letterkenny, the most populous town, or Donegal itself.
There are also some amazing things to do in County Donegal. It is the most northern county in the Republic of Ireland, so you can expect rugged coastlines as well as mountainous regions. While you are there you need to visit Glenveagh National Park and Malin Head. Both will give you breathtaking scenery.
Donegal is all about landscape and scenery but kids will love the seaside town of Bundoran with its long sandy strand and seaside amusements. There are some animal places to visit including a donkey sanctuary and alpaca venue, as well as plenty of beaches, caves, waterfalls and some of Ireland’s most spectacular cliffs, the Slieve League cliffs. County Donegal is a great place to visit in Ireland for a staycation, whether solo, as a couple or with kids.
There are so many great places in Ireland for a staycation, that choosing where to go will be your hardest decision. I hope this short list has given you plenty of inspiration if you are planning a staycation in Ireland.