Holidays in Ireland: when to visit, what to see, and things to know

Are you thinking of planning your next trip to Ireland or a staycation on the Emerald Isle? Here is all you need to know about holidays in Ireland.

Ireland is a fine country for a holiday. Boasting endless sandy stretches, cultural cities, outdoor activities by the bucket load, and great hospitality, the Emerald Isle is a top destination for both staycations and visitors from abroad.

If you’re starting to look at dates in the diary, here is all you need to know about holidays in Ireland.

Overview – in a nutshell

Holidays in Ireland in a nutshell.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Ireland is a stunning country to visit or explore year-round. With the change of the seasons come vibrant variants of foliage, as well as weather changes.

Small in size, Ireland makes a great place for road trips and weekend breaks, with much to see.

Some of the best bits include UNESCO World Heritage Sites, haunted houses, Celtic ruins, castles, parks, beaches, wildlife parks, country manors, and buildings of architectural merit, to name but a few.

When to visit – the best dates for holidays in Ireland

When to visit the Emerald Isle.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Summer is the busiest and warmest time of the year; winter the opposite.

Spring and autumn offer mild weather and ample opportunities to explore the Emerald Isle with fewer tourists and native travellers to reckon with.

These are the 2021 bank holidays in Ireland worth noting:

  • Saint Patrick’s Day (17 March)
  • Easter Monday (5 April)
  • First Monday in May (3 May)
  • First Monday in June (7 June)
  • First Monday in August (2 August)
  • Last Monday in October (25 October)
  • Christmas Day (25 December)
  • St. Stephen’s Day (26 December)

How long is the experience – we recommend two weeks

How long should you plan for your holidays in Ireland.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

The length of time you have to spend exploring Ireland will define what you get to see and do.

If you have just one weekend, we suggest honing in on one city or region to explore at ease. As always, however, we advise as much time as possible on the Emerald Isle.

Two weeks will offer enough time to make tracks from north to south, east to west.

A road trip is a fantastic way to discover all that this majestic island beholds and offers travellers an opportunity to get off the beaten track – a luxury seldom found when travelling with tour groups.

What to see – if you have enough time

What to see in Ireland.
Credit: Chris Hill for Tourism Ireland

There are endless things to see and do when it comes to holidays in Ireland. In an attempt to break this down, these are some of the top attractions in the north, south, east, and west.

North: Belfast city, the Giant’s Causeway, Causeway Coastal Route Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Titanic Belfast, and the Mourne Mountains.

South: Kilkenny city, Waterford Greenway, the Viking Triangle, Irish National Heritage Park, Hook Head, Fota Wildlife, and Blarney Castle.

East: Dublin city, Guinness Storehouse, Glendalough, the Wicklow Mountains, Powerscourt House, and Newgrange.

West: Dingle, Galway city, the Cliffs of Moher, the Beara Peninsula, the Ring of Kerry, Connemara National Park, and Westport.

Things to know – insider knowledge

Things to know about holidays in Ireland.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland

In Ireland, the weather can be challenging, even at the best of times. During summer, the threat of looming clouds is very much a reality.

One of the top travel tips for exploring the Emerald Isle, always travel with a rain jacket and light layers that can be added for extra warmth. Comfortable walking shoes are also advisable.

Where to eat – the best of the best

Grab a bite to eat at The Happy Pear.
Credit: Facebook / @TheHappyPear

Ireland is home to some epic eateries dotted across the island. Here are some that are worth stopping by when in the area.

North: Muddlers Club, Mourne Seafood Bar, Pyke ‘n’ Pommes, Established Coffee, James St, and Thatch Coffee Shop.

South: Bastion, Fishy Fishy, Green Acres Restaurant, Emiliano’s, McLeary’s Restaurant, Market Lane, and the Cornstore Restaurant.

East: The Happy Pear, Chapter One, Beshoffs, L’Gueleton, Clement & Pekoe, Aisha’s Cafe & Bistro, Avoca, and Bunsen.

West: Out of the Blue, No. 35 Kenmare Restaurant, My Boy Blue, Ard Bia at Nimmos, Cava Bodega, Coffeewerk + Press, and An Port Mór.

Where to stay – the best to rest your head

Where to stay when you're on holidays in Ireland.
Credit: Facebook / @fitzpatrickcastle

When choosing accommodation options for holidays in Ireland, the offering is endless depending on your budget and prefered style of stay.

The Emerald Isle is home to a wealth of charming B&Bs, luxury five-star resorts, camping grounds, and traditional inns, so be sure to shop around; there is accommodation for all types of travellers on the island of Ireland.

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