Discover epic staycations in Cork
“Heaven from start to finish, we loved Bere Island from the thrill of the car ferry crossing to its astounding landscape. We couldn't get over the rugged beauty of the hike out to the Ardnakinna Lighthouse.
“On our hosts' recommendation, we visited the island’s Martello Tower at sunset. We enjoyed a picnic with beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean, just us and the mountain sheep.
“Taking a ride in Ireland’s only cable car was an astonishing experience. The journey over open sea to Dursey Island was a highlight of our Cork adventure.
“In Ballylickey near Bantry, Mannings Food Emporium deserves a shout out. We got an incredible tour of their edible garden, and even picked our own eggs for breakfast from the pet chickens. The pizza was delicious too and we left planning our next visit”.
“When in West Cork, make time for a visit to Barry's Cove near Clonakilty. Swim in the beautiful turquoise water cove and admire the views from the Seven Heads Peninsula.
When you're there, make the trip to nearby Inchydoney Beach for a walk along the gorgeous golden strand.
"Another unmissable West Cork recommendation is The Fish Basket on Long Strand Beach in Castlefreke. Order the fish tacos or the open meat crab sandwich and enjoy your meal while looking out at the sea views.
“Continue your trip with a visit to Skibbereen Market. The vibrant farmers market takes place every weekend and it’s an opportunity to meet the friendly locals and try out the tasty produce”.
Explore magical Kerry
Glorious Kerry is staycation heaven with its incredible national park, beautiful beaches and pretty towns and villages.
When in The Kingdom, a spin around the Ring of Kerry is a must. Stop off in picturesque Portmagee and Kenmare along the way or cycle one of the shorter sections. Discover everything you need to plan a trip along the Ring of Kerry with our expert guide.
Plan great staycations in Galway, Mayo and Sligo
Gorgeous Galway is a fantastic place for a home holiday and Paul Kehoe has some expert tips. He enjoyed an epic road trip along the Wild Atlantic Way last summer – starting in Galway City, on to Connemara, over to Mayo for a stay on Achill Island, and finishing off in stunning Sligo.
Paul suggests extending your break in Galway and spinning out to Connemara to explore the national park where the scenery is on another level entirely.
“We could have spent days driving around Connemara finding spectacular views and photo opportunities. If you’re into landscape photography and driving, this is an absolute must do”.
Next up, a trip to Achill Island and then on to Sligo via the Gleniff Horseshoe Drive.
Paul says “Achill Island is a gem of a place. We loved the surf lessons, cycling trails and kayaking. The peacefulness of such a small town made it so relaxing to be in.
“The Gleniff Horseshoe is a beautiful drive with fantastic 360-degree views. There are some fantastic hiking spots including Benwhisken Trail and it’s a great spot for keen photographers to get some shots, one of my favourite spots from our road trip”.
Book a holiday on the Clare coast
Plan a visit to Clare with its golden strands, magnificent sea cliffs and rolling turquoise waves. The folks over at Coastal Ceremonies tell us about their dolphin pal in Milltown Malbay - keep an eye out for Dusty on your next visit.
“We love going for walks with the kids and dogs at White Strand, Miltown Malbay. Amazing views and sometimes Dusty the Dolphin makes an appearance”.
Enjoy family fun on Lough Derg
Explore the Lough Derg Way, 64km of rolling green countryside spread across Clare, Limerick, and Tipperary. If you have time to spare, take on the full route or choose one of the shorter sections. Start from the Killaloe/Ballina trailhead or make the village of Garrykennedy your first stop, walking to the lake port of Dromineer which marks the end of the Lough Derg Way. Trek through rugged terrain and climb boggy hills for some of the best lake views in Ireland.
Or get inspiration from the Leonard Family and see Lough Derg by boat on a leisurely cruise. Book in with Killaloe River Cruises and admire the amazing scenery from the viewing deck. Order a tipple from the bar and sit back to enjoy a scenic spin around the River Shannon.
“The stunning scenery of lovely Lough Derg, divine drinks, and warm welcome from the team, make a boat trip with Killaloe River Cruises incredibly enjoyable and relaxing. It’s definitely an experience we hope to have again”.
The Leonards stayed in Killaloe, choosing a family room at the Lakeside Hotel and Leisure Centre.
“The kids loved the pool and water slide, and we loved the excellent food and the close proximity to shops and restaurants in the town”.
“We loved learning about sustainable farming and beekeeping from Ailbhe at Brookfield Farm. Taste testing her wildflower honey and meeting the adorable lambs up close were two highlights that our kids still talk about”.
You can also hire a boat and spend a few days on the stunning lake. Begin your journey in Portumna, Galway and travel back in time with a visit to Portumna Castle. Tire the kids out on the woodland walking trails in Portumna Forest Park.
Hire your boat from Locaboat or Emerald Star and head north for the picturesque village of Terryglass in Tipperary - the sunsets over the marina are truly magical. Dine on fresh seafood at the Derg Inn or have a hearty meal at 200-year-old Paddy’s Bar, and head back to your boat to bed down for the night.
For fun on the lake, book in with Lough Derg Watersports – they run from several points around the lake including Portumna, Terryglass and Ballinderry. Rent a canoe, take a kayaking lesson, or check out their paddle picnics. For more inspiration on Lough Derg holidays and trips along the River Shannon, have a look at our cruising guide.
Visit Cavan, Leitrim, and Roscommon
“There’s lots of geological features and interesting folklore to discover including a story about lovelorn giants. It’s free to the public all year round. While in Cavan, book a table in the Oak Room Restaurant - you can thank me later.
“Another highlight is stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) with Lough Allen Adventure in Drumshanbo, Leitrim. You can explore all the way to Acres Lough. While in Drumshanbo, check out The Shed Distillery – the home of Gunpowder Irish Gin.
“Whatever your age, there are hours of fun to be had at Lough Key Forest Park in Roscommon. I went to Zipit Forest Adventures and walked all along the lakeshore, but next time I would love to take a boat tour and explore more of the trails by bike”.
Experience a fun staycation in Dublin
Book a break to Dublin and experience our vibrant capital city. Take a walking tour to discover hidden gems and get insider tips from expert guides. Go shopping on Grafton Street and book in for a delicious brunch at The Dean. The rooftop bar has great views of the city so order a cocktail and soak up the buzzing atmosphere.
Make time for a mini food trail around the capital. Breakfast at Brother Hubbard’s (we recommend the homemade granola), light bites at Krewe on Capel Street and in the evening, enjoy the memorable tasting menu at Bastible in Dublin 8.
Plan a family staycation in Dublin and make the zoo your first stop. Always a hit with the little ones, discover the Gorilla Rainforest and take a walk down the Kaziranga Forest Trail to see the elephant herd. Stop by the Sea Lion Cove and don’t forget your phone to snap some family photos.
Extend your break with a visit to one of the charming coastal towns. Head north to bring the kids to the Butterfly Garden at Malahide Castle and spin over to nearby Portmarnock Beach for a stroll along the stunning velvet strand.
Don’t forget the southside either – head for Sandycove in time to catch the sunset and watch the sky break out in pretty pastel shades over the Irish Sea.
If you need more inspiration for things to do in Dublin with kids, Debbie Woodward of Saucepan Kids, shares her recommendations.
“A visit to Croke Park is a must for sports fans. The Skyline tour gives you a bird’s eye view over the capital while learning about the GAA’s history”.
Drive along the Copper Coast
Plan a road trip along the Copper Coast in Waterford for a staycation to remember. Start in the coastal town of Dungarvan, stop off at the seaside in Tramore and end your trip with a couple of days in Dunmore East. Explore the cliff walk, go swimming in the sea coves and see why so many people return to magical Dunmore East year after year.
Extend your break in the Crystal County and discover the Waterford Greenway. Walk or cycle a section of the 46km greenway or challenge yourself to the full length - there’s plenty of places to stop and refuel along the way.
Finish off your road trip with a night in Waterford City. See the giant chess board at Bishop’s Palace, walk around the winding streets of Ireland’s oldest city and dine in one of the welcoming restaurants.
Book beach staycations in Wexford
Continue your beach adventures with a trip to Morriscastle near the village of Kilmuckridge. Stay overnight in one of the cosy pods at Morriscastle Strand Holiday Park and wake up to the roar of the Atlantic Ocean – you’ll want to keep this idyllic place to yourself.
For more inspiration on staycations in Wexford, check out our guide to the best beaches and outdoor activities in the Model County.
Take a home holiday in Kilkenny
Get staycation ideas for Kilkenny from Elizabeth Keaney. Base yourself in the Marble City and explore the nearby countryside. First up is a visit to Graiguenamanagh, a 30 minute drive from Kilkenny City.
“Discover seven generations of knowledge, heritage and craftsmanship at Cushendale Woollen Mills. The mill set in the breathtakingly beautiful village of Graiguenamanagh is a marvel in itself. I don’t want to give too much away here because you really need to experience this true hidden gem in person.
“Not only is the food mouthwatering and beautifully presented, Petronella’s in Kilkenny City is special because of the staff that work there. With options for vegans and vegetarians, you know you’ve found somewhere special when a crisp sandwich is on the menu. The staff here are so knowledgeable they can help with hidden gems to visit during your trip.
“Visit Woodstock Gardens in Inishtioge just outside the city, every path and track leads you somewhere magic. A wonder for nature lovers, botanists and children or anyone chasing a little bit of enchantment – it’s the perfect place to get lost”.
Plan a mini break in Westmeath
Travel to Athlone in Westmeath and plan an epic family day out at Baysports, home to the largest inflatable waterpark in the country. Whizz down the Round Tower Slide or bring the little ones to play in the Junior Park. Stroll around the town, admire the impressive architecture of Athlone Castle and have dinner in the Left Bank Bistro, where there’s an extensive kids’ menu.
If you have a romantic staycation in mind, check into Wineport Lodge on the shores of Lough Ree. Relax with an indulgent Voya massage, chill in the waterfront hot tub and if you really want to treat yourself, the Champagne Suite Experience is the ultimate in luxury.
Enjoy fun days out in Kildare
Check out the top picks for Kildare from Niamh Dillon, who loves to travel around Ireland.
“A must see for anyone interested in horse racing is the National Stud and Japanese Gardens. The grounds of the gardens are breathtaking, perfect for fun family days out.
“Visit the Newbridge Silverware Museum of Style Icons, home to outfits and memorabilia from famous faces including Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe. Admission is free and you can enjoy a cup of tea in the cafe afterwards, making this the perfect afternoon”.
There’s so much to see and do on our incredible island, from amazing outdoor adventures to spectacular coastal getaways. Check out our 2021 picks for summer holidays in Ireland and get even more inspiration for your spectacular staycations in Ireland.