Top 10 best Irish towns for a weekend break (for all travellers)

Travellers of all kinds and experiences will revel in their next trip here, with a stay in any of our top ten best Irish towns for a weekend break, ranked.

Ireland may be well-known for its cities: the buzz of Dublin, the history of Belfast City Centre, and the culture of Galway. But there also lies within the Emerald Isle a series of charming and lively towns that await your visit.

From across its four provinces, the perfect weekend break for whatever your mind or heart desires awaits you. Be it a schedule of walking tours, a few nights of drinking with fellow travellers, or a couple of days of enjoying spa treatments, this iconic European destination has you covered.

With the country ready to welcome more and more visitors, all kinds of travellers will be heading to the edge of Europe. Thankfully, the country will cater for all levels of experience.

Here are the top ten best Irish towns for a weekend break perfect for all travellers, ranked.

10. Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin – for the coastal resort

Dún Laoghaire is a picturesque coastal resort.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

First on our list of the best Irish towns for a weekend break is Dún Laoghaire, a suburban coastal town in County Dublin.

The affluent seaside resort has great walks, sublime swimming spots, and the National Maritime Museum. It also boasts a wealth of stunning restaurants.

9. Clifden, Co. Galway – for a charming Irish stay

Clifden is one of the best Irish towns for a weekend break.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Clifden in County Galway is perhaps one of the most charming towns in all of Ireland. It is a picturesque town nestled within the Twelve Ben Mountains.

Clifden is perfect for a relaxing retreat for the weekend. The breeze of the Atlantic keeps you company, with plenty of locations perfect for watching the sunset.

8. Doolin, Co. Clare – your gateway to the famous Cliffs of Moher

Doolin is your gateway to the Cliffs of Moher.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland

Doolin is one of the country’s top towns and is an easy choice for our list of the best Irish towns for a weekend break.

There’s so much to do, including the Doolin Cliff Walk, Doonagore Castle, Inis Mor ferry, or even the Doolin cave. As is typical of Irish towns, there are plenty of bars that serve delightful pints of Guinness, too.

7. Kinsale, Co. Cork – for a colourful weekend break

Kinsale is one of the best Irish towns for a weekend break.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Next on our list of the best Irish towns for a weekend break is Kinsale. It is arguably the jewel in Cork’s crown and is a must-visit on your next Irish trip.

The colourful town centre is complemented by the Kinsale Museum, traditional bars and restaurants, and Charles Fort. For the adventurers, try the Kinsale Loop walk.

6. Newcastle, Co. Down – for a fun weekend break

Newcastle, County Down, is beautiful.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Just missing out on the top five best Irish towns for a weekend break is Newcastle in County Down. It is a mere 40-minute drive from Belfast city.

Newcastle is a magnificent seaside resort, perfect for all ages, including the arcades. If you are up for it, trek the mighty Mourne Mountains and go for a dip at Murlough. If your budget allows, book a night at the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa.

5. Bray, Co. Wicklow – a perfect escape from the capital

Bray is one of the best Irish towns for a weekend break.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland

Not far from our capital city and the first in our top five best Irish towns for a weekend break is Bray. There are endless walks to do, such as the Bray Cliff Walk, Bray Head, or the Wicklow Mountains.

The kids will be entertained at Sea Life Bray, while the adults may find some refuge in the Harbour Bar,one of the best pubs in Bray! Full of seaside charm, plenty of A-list restaurants mean you won’t go hungry.

4. Gweedore, Co. Donegal – for the Wild Atlantic Way

Gweedore is located along the Wild Atlantic Way.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland

County Donegal is one of the most scenic places in all of Ireland, and Gweedore is the perfect destination to go.

There are great bars with Sean Óg’s and Teach Mhici’s. Incredible beaches surround you, such as Port Arthur, while you have Mount Errigal to climb. There is literally everything you need.  

3. Westport, Co. Mayo – the archetypal Irish town stay

Westport is one of the best Irish towns for a weekend break.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland

Westport is hard to beat and could easily have been crowned king on the list, as it is one of the best towns to visit in Ireland. Need we mention the majestic Croagh Patrick, from which you can enjoy panoramic views of County Mayo?

Furthermore, you have archetypal Irish bars within walking distance of the main attractions, the beautiful Westport House, the Pirate Adventure Park, and a lively town centre. This is the perfect Irish town for a weekend break.

2. Carlingford, Co. Louth – for a Medieval weekend break

Carlingford is a Medieval town.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Carlingford is a superb town and is just waiting for you to visit. There is a range of the best pubs and bars in Carlingford and incredible views in this seaside town. It is also a historic destination with a castle to explore and quaint cobbled streets to traverse.

The Skypark and Carlingford Adventure provide bags of fun, while there are also plenty of hills and mountains to walk in the surrounding areas.

1. Killarney, Co. Kerry – the perfect spot for exploring the Kingdom

Killarney is one of the top Irish towns for a weekend break.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Taking the top spot on our list of the best Irish towns for a weekend break is the eminent town of Killarney. This is the perfect base to explore the natural wonders of Kerry.

Within driving distance, you have Moll’s Gap, Killarney National Park, the Ring of Kerry, and the Gap of Dunloe. Should you visit in the summer months, you may get a Kerry GAA game at the scenic Fitzgerald Stadium.

Notable mentions

Sligo and Bundoran are some of the best Irish towns for a weekend break.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Sligo Town, Co. Sligo: Home to literary heritage and rugged countryside, with plenty of historical artefacts.

Tralee, Co. Kerry: A charming town found along the Dingle Peninsula. It is saturated with activities such as Kerry County Museum, Ardfert Cathedral, and the Banna Strand.

Bundoran, Co. Donegal: A surfer’s paradise. Also home to a Blue Flag Beach, coastal strolls, and a world-class golf course.

Dublin, Co. Dublin: The charming city of Dublin is a must-visit for anyone planning a city break in Ireland. The perfect destination for history buffs, this incredibly walkable city offers plenty of popular destinations in the centre of town, including Trinity College and Temple Bar.

Derry, Co. Derry: The Walled City of Derry in Northern Ireland is an absolute must. Brought to global prominence by the hit show Derry Girls, this beautiful city boasts a rich history entwined in its narrow streets, stunning street art, and great bars and restaurants.

FAQs about the best Irish towns for a weekend break

What is the most beautiful town in Ireland?

The most beautiful towns in Ireland would include Westport, Gweedore, and Carlingford. Other mentions would include Birr, Strandhill, and Lismore.

Where can I go for a staycation in Ireland?

Thankfully Ireland is full of places to staycation. You could choose from any of the above towns or its main cities. We would recommend Belfast, Dublin, Cork, or Galway.

Where should I go in Ireland for the first time?

Your first port of call is usually the cities. But you can travel anywhere, even if you are a solo traveller, for your first time. You could try Dublin, the Rock of Cashel, Galway, Blarney Castle, or the Jameson Distillery.

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