Best Staycations in Ireland
More and more Irish holidaymakers are taking breaks in their home country. These “staycations” offer plenty of advantages. They’re easy to plan, with less travel time and they open your eyes to the wonders available on your own doorstep.
Whether you’re staying at a hotel in Dublin, spending a few nights in a Cork hotel or exploring from the hub of a Belfast hotel, there’s a perfect Irish holiday waiting for you.
To get you ready for the ultimate Staycation, we have outlined some of the benefits of taking a trip at home, top tips, and location suggestions.
Advantages of Staycations in Ireland
When flying internationally, it’s recommended that you’re at the airport about two hours before the departure time. You might make it within an hour, but we wouldn’t recommend taking that risk!
By contrast, the drive from Dublin to Galway is about two hours. And if you’re travelling along the coast (say, Galway to Clare), it’s even less than that.
To put it another way, in the time it would take a Dubliner to get to Dublin airport and board a flight, they could’ve driven to Waterford.
No currency barrier
Euro is accepted in Ireland, and even if you do travel to Northern Ireland, purchases are simple, just tap your debit or credit card.
No baggage fees
Feel like overloading your cases with clothes, toys, books, electronics and whatever else takes your fancy? Go ahead! The only limit is your imagination. And roof rack.
It can be cheaper
Travel in Ireland is relatively cheap, especially if you’re going by bus or car. Then, the only cost is the accommodation, which is also very affordable. As an added bonus, many of Ireland’s best attractions are free, from the beaches to the national parks to the magnificent mountain peaks.
Here’s how to plan and enjoy the best staycation for you…
Look beyond the county you are staying in
With Ireland being so small, you’re never too far from your neighbouring county and what it has to offer. Galway is super, but it’s also a short jaunt from the charms of County Clare (home of the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren); Dublin is appealing in itself but is also a springboard to Wicklow and Kildare.
Plan for good and bad weather
Ireland, as you might have noticed, is coated in lush, gorgeous green grass and countless species of trees. The price for this lush foliage is the odd drop of rain.
We’d recommend looking into indoor and outdoor activities for each day, and also bringing a raincoat just in case.
And if you really can’t stand the rain, there are more than enough indoor activities to keep you going. Check out our guide to indoor activities in Cork, for instance.
Research – Ireland’s improved a lot as a holiday destination!
If you haven’t holidayed in Ireland since you were a kid, you might be surprised to see how the country has changed as a staycation destination.
Relatively recent attractions include the Titanic Museum in Belfast; the exquisite Doneraile Court and Park, which only opened in recent years to the public in Cork; and From Generation to Generation, the new visitors’ experience in Kylemore Abbey, Connemara.
Kids and teens might be pleasantly surprised to find an abundance of mountain bike trails, paintball experiences and surfing spots up and down the country.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, of course, but here’s some destination inspiration if you’re not sure what part of Ireland to visit…
The Rebel Country is a place with just about everything you’d need from a holiday destination. As the locals are more than happy to tell you, its coastline can compare to any in the world, its food scene is internationally renowned, and its city is coming down with fine pubs and restaurants.
Here are some recommended Cork tours.
One of the friendliest cities on this island, Belfast also boasts an incredible history that’s well catered for in tours, museums and more. The Titanic Museum is a must-see and we’d highly recommend taking a black cab tour of this wonderful city. It’s also short jaunt from Belfast to tours of The Giant’s Causeway and Game of Thrones locations.
Here’s our guide to spending 24 hours in Belfast.
Derry Girls put it on the map (and inspired a mural!) but there’s more to the city than the hilarious show. It’s a city bursting with fascinating museums, great shops and some fine pubs. And its scenery is nothing short of spectacular.
Our Derry bucket list is a good starting point.
A mecca for creative people of all walks of life, Galway is the place to go for a gig, a pint or some world-class theatre. It also benefits hugely from being a coastal town, with beautiful beaches and access points to the Aran Islands.
Here’s an ultimate guide to Galway.
Ireland’s capital has been entertaining visitors since the Vikings arrived over 1,000 years ago. Now, it’s not only historically fascinating but a cultured, vibrant, major European city. That means a nightlife that’s the envy of the world, as well as first-class shopping, museums galleries and parks.
Here’s a guide to Dublin’s best historical sites.