Rolling green hills, beautiful scenery, and little charming towns make Ireland the romantic dream. However, this is not as simple as walking out your door to find the places to go but takes planning and traveling to find. Ireland is a small country–relatively speaking–that many couples would love to spend a two-week journey on or even a long weekend. The possibilities are endless for your romantic getaways in Ireland.
First things first: Useful information about traveling in Ireland
Ireland is on the Euro and is a very expensive country so whatever you can do to save some money–cook at home, take a red-eye, etc–will help you in the long run.
Driving on the other side of the road (for Americans at least) takes some time to get used to. Be sure to try it out before getting on all of the roundabouts on the Irish highways.
Public transportation is an option, you do not need a car to spend a full vacation traveling in Ireland. Buses are your friend. Ireland (only Dublin) does not have a strong subway system, so use the buses if you’re looking to save time. The buses also go all over the country so you can relax on your journey.
There are bus passes available to cut costs for multiple journeys, price out the tickets separately and as a pass to see which is better financially.
The train is a bit limiting in terms of getting around the country, but there is one if that’s a preference.
The Best Romantic Getaways in Ireland
We recommend spending a night or two in Cork before heading down to Kinsale. It is a great little city with surprisingly good restaurants and charming shops. Maybe even get a run in too!
A small little port town less than an hour outside of Cork, Kinsale is quintessential Irish charm. Little boats, charming bed and breakfasts, and colorful little homes, this is the perfect stop on any couples Irish vacation. Take some time to go see Charles Fort, and bask in the beauty of the seemingly endless green on the bay.
How to Get to Kinsale, Ireland:
Take the 226 Bus from Cork Directly to Kinsale
Cliffs of Moher
Ok, this is about as stereotypical as it can get. Are these cliffs really as beautiful and romantic as the social media world tells you? Simply put, yes. These cliffs are gorgeous and give stunning views of Ireland. An incredible feeling of being the only people in the world seems to take over you when on the Cliffs of Moher.
This is an absolute must-do for anyone planning a romantic trip to Ireland. Especially if you are going to be in Galway, there is simply no way to miss these.
How to Get to the Cliffs of Moher:
There are an endless amount of tours, like this Cliffs of Moher tour, from all over Ireland, but if coming from Galway, take the 350 bus and sit back and relax to the Cliffs.
Stay in a Castle
Now, I know what you’re all thinking, how can you put another stereotypical romantic idea on this list? As we have talked about before, it doesn’t matter if you travel like a tourist! If you are in Ireland and want to stay in a romantic castle, do it!
Being a bigger city, there are less romantic things to do in Dublin than other parts of Ireland, though there’s plenty of fun things to do to fill up a couple of days in the city. Adding a castle stay instantly transformed the few days we spent there into a romantic getaway.
We love the Clontarf Castle Hotel just outside of Dublin, it has all the feels of being luxurious but does not break the bank in that way. We thought it was just the right mix for us and gave us that extra special feel.
How To Stay in a Castle in Ireland:
There are castles all over Ireland that are now turned into hotels and charming B&B’s. Find the one that works for you on your budget, and go for it!
Off the beaten path outside of Galway on the West Coast of Ireland, Connemara is a dream for those in need of seclusion on their romantic getaways in Ireland. This is real Ireland, where you will see a large chunk of the locals speaking Irish (Gaelic). We always fantasize and say Ireland is where you go to write a novel, and Connemara epitomizes that perfectly.
For those looking to get outside on their romantic escapade, look to Connemara National Park where you can hike and explore bogs. For us, this is where we would find a small B&B with a fireplace, and curl up enjoying the Irish countryside. We recommend staying in Clifden as it is incredibly charming, yet nice and quiet.
How to Get to Connemara, Ireland:
Take the 419 Bus from Galway directly to Clifden
Way up in the North lies an area of seclusion that most do not venture to in Ireland. However, if the weather is right, there may be no prettier beach than Portsalon Beach in County Donegal.
Ok, first things first, a beach? In Ireland? It’s true! And while the water is incredibly cold, it is still an incredibly long and flat beach that gives some of the best views you can imagine. There are even luxury camping and holiday cottages for rent in the Irish beach town. Get yourself a romantic place to stay, a proper fish and chips, and enjoy the Irish seaside.
How to Get to Portsalon Beach:
Unfortunately, due to its remote nature, the only way to get to this part of Ireland is by car. Totally worth it in our opinion!
BONUS: Romantic Getaway Spot in Northern Ireland
While in Northern Ireland–a different country–the Giants Causeway is one of the most stunning sights throughout Ireland and even in the UK. An incredibly intricate rock formation, visiting the Giants Causeway would be an excellent addition to any romantic Irish getaway.
Northern Ireland, similar to the Republic of Ireland, is littered with Bed and Breakfasts. We recommend getting a B&B close to Belfast–another great city–and taking a day trip up to the causeways. There are many different options, so choose what works best for you!
How to Get to the Giants Causeway:
Take the X1 bus from Dublin to Belfast and pick one of these options to get to the Causeway from Belfast!
Hey Alicia and Joe,
When we were in Ireland in 1998 (?), we rented a car in Dublin and drove directly across the country to the west coast and Donegal. On the way we stayed overnight in a fantastic castle – Markree Castle – in central Ireland. This estate was a trip to hundreds of years past—with manicured formal gardens, ponds, and riding stables. Inside, one entered and ascended a red-carpeted marble staircase (stuffed deer and boars’ heads mounted on the walls) to the main lobby, where a 15-ft. wide fireplace burned a peat log. En route to our room, we ascended another staircase and marveled at 300-year-old stained glass windows depicting the castle’s history. Our room was cozy and full of old furniture, looking out on the gardens. Downstairs, there was a wood-paneled library with ancient tomes, a sun-room, and the most beautiful dining room I’ve ever seen. I ordered pheasant for dinner, which was served by white-gloved waiters. The next morning we visited the riding stables; apparently, this was a popular destination for various riding clubs worldwide. What a find!
Wow, this place sounds amazing! Definitely going on the list for the next trip.