10 BEST places for a staycation in Ireland (2024)

A staycation in Ireland is a great way to not only support local businesses but also to explore the wonders on our country’s doorstep – of which there are many.

For a lot of us, foreign holidays have always been the norm – and knowing where to start when planning a trip closer to home can be a daunting prospect. But never fear – we’ve put together this list of our ten favourite spots for a staycation in Ireland. You can thank us later!

Ireland Before You Die’s tips for a staycation in Ireland

  • Research and choose a destination in Ireland that offers a variety of activities and attractions.
  • Check the weather forecast and pack accordingly, including both rain gear and suncream, as Irish weather can be unpredictable.
  • Plan an itinerary of local sights, landmarks, and hidden gems.
  • Consider booking accommodation in advance to secure the best deals and ensure availability during peak travel seasons.

10. Clonakilty, West Cork – for families with additional needs

Clonakilty is perfect for families that have children with special needs.

Clonakilty proudly holds the title of Ireland’s first autism-friendly town, and it’s a haven for families of children with autism. You can download visuals introducing all the town has to offer in advance of your trip, allowing that all-important preparation stage.

You can be confident in the specialist training that staff in the local hotels, restaurants, and shops have undergone to support those with additional needs. Truly incredible!

Read about all the best things to do here in our guide: 24 hours in Clonakilty

9. Belfast – something for everyone

Belfast City has something for everyone, a great place to visit.
Credit: Tourism NI

Between the Titanic Museum, Black Cab Tours, the nearby natural wonders (I’m looking at you, Giant’s Causeway), and just the general good vibes on offer, Belfast is an excellent city break that everyone in the family will enjoy.

If you are interested in Belfast, you will find these articles really helpful:

The 20 best things to do in Belfast

The 10 Best hotels in Belfast

8. Tramore, Co Waterford – beaches and good food

Tramore is home to delicious food an great beaches.
Credit: @biaandbrew / Facebook

A long-time holiday destination for Dubliners in need of vitamin sea, Tramore is having a foodie reawakening at the moment. With all this added attention that the Taste Tramore initiative is garnering, the once-secret beaches on the Copper Coast Roads are becoming common knowledge – enjoy them before they get too crowded!

Related: Food Collective, Taste Tramore is changing the culinary world.

7. Kinsale, Co Cork – the foodie capital

Kinsale in Co Cork is a foodie's paradise and a must-visit.
Credit: FishyFishy Seafood Restaurant / Facebook

We’re back in the rebel county for our next pick, and with good reason. This picturesque waterside town is more than a pretty face – it’s a belly-filler, too! You’ll need plenty of nights to sample all the foodie goods that this town has to offer, but we reckon it’s a sacrifice you should make.

If you are interested in Kinsale, you will find these articles really helpful:

Kinsale, when to visit, what to see and things to know.

10 Pubs Kinsale You Need To Visit Before You Die

6. Lough Eske, Co Donegal – outdoor adventures

Lough Eske is home to outdoor adventures you need to try out.
Credit: lougheskecastlehotel.com

If you’re a surfer or a hiker, then a holiday rental in rugged Lough Eske will offer no end of delight for you. The locally caught seafood will sort out your hunger pangs after a long day of adventurous calorie-burning activities!

5. Dingle, Co Kerry – world-famous fun

Dingle in Kerry is another of the top staycation in Ireland destinations.
Credit: @myboybluedingle / Instagram

The pubs, the food, the scenery, the friendliness of the locals – Dingle is a trendy spot, and it’s obvious why. Visit during the Other Voices festival for a tasty dose of culture on top of everything else.

If you are interested in Dingle, you will find these articles really helpful:

The 10 best things to do in Dingle, Ireland

The 5 BEST Pubs in Dingle, According To Locals

48 Hours: The perfect itinerary for two days on The Dingle Peninsula

4. Centre Parcs – for family fun

Centre Parcs is truly one of the top staycation in Ireland destinations, especially for families.
Credit: centerparcs.co.uk

Do you usually pack up your brood and bring them to a caravan park in mainland Europe? If so, you might be wondering how to achieve the same level of activity in Ireland. This is where Centre Parcs comes into play – with a massive swimming paradise complete with slides, a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities, and a very glamorous spa for the bigger kids (You!); you won’t believe you’re in Longford.

Address: Newcastle Road, Newcastle, Ballymahon, Co. Longford.

3. Derry City – one of the top destinations for staycations in Ireland

Derry City is another of the top staycation in Ireland destinations you should visit.

If you’re interested in learning more about Northern Ireland’s fascinating history (and present), then Derry is the spot for you. Go on an intimate tour guided by a local of the famous city murals, and wash it down with a hearty feed at the street-food spot Pykes & Pommes.

A night out in the Walled City is unforgettable!

If you are interested in Derry, you will find these articles really helpful:

Top 10 things to do in Derry, Ireland

Five Bars & Pubs in Derry You Need To Visit Before You Die

2. Galway City – swimming and Shop Street

Another of the top places to have a staycation in Ireland is Galway.

There’s just something about Galway. You can spend a morning nourishing your soul with a dip in Salthill, and within minutes be bundled up in a cosy café on Shop Street, enjoying the most amusing people watching.

The friendliness of locals leaks into the nightlife – you’ll experience the type of trad sessions you’ve only ever seen in the movies. The Galway Arts Festival is always a highlight!

If you are interested in Galway, you will find these articles really helpful:

The 10 best things to do in Galway, Ireland (County Guide)

10 best hotels in Galway City Centre

The 5 best restaurants in Galway for foodies

5 reasons why Galway is the best county in Ireland

5 unique Airbnbs in County Galway

1. Monart Destination Spafor all-out luxury

Monart Destination Spa is one of the top places for that dream staycation in Ireland.
Credit: @monartdestinationspa / Facebook

So you’ve been saving all year for a trip, and you want to put it towards something really spectacular. In this case, we can’t recommend Monart enough. From the second the valet takes your car, and you’re handed your fluffy white robe (which will be your uniform for the stay), you can completely unwind.

This hotel is childfree, and almost eerily quiet – though you might spot a few stray ducks wandering around as you use the outdoor spa facilities. How rad!

Address: Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford.

For more spa hotels in Ireland, check out:

The 10 Best Spa Hotels in Ireland, Ranked

There you have it, our top tips for dream staycations in Ireland.

Your questions answered about the best places for a staycation in Ireland

Are there any family-friendly staycation spots with activities for children in Ireland?

Yes, places like Killarney, Galway, and Westport offer family-friendly activities such as wildlife parks, adventure parks, and interactive museums.

Can you recommend any remote and secluded destinations for a quiet and off-the-grid staycation in Ireland?

Remote and secluded destinations like the Aran Islands, Inishowen Peninsula, and the Beara Peninsula provide a quiet and off-the-grid staycation experience in Ireland.

Are there any historical sites or castles that offer accommodations for a unique staycation experience in Ireland?

Historical sites and castles such as Ashford Castle, Dromoland Castle, and Kilkea Castle offer accommodations that combine luxury with a rich heritage for a unique staycation experience in Ireland.

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