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11 incredible Irish summer holidays in 2024
Climb staggering sea cliffs this summer.
Celebrate the brighter evenings and warmer days with an Irish summer holiday filled with memorable experiences. Whether you're into island-hopping, coastal adventures or great music and food, there are plenty of ways to make this summer in Ireland one to remember.

Here's some inspiration to help you start planning your Irish summer.

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1Island retreats

Set sail on the ferry from Cé Dhún Chaoin (Dunquin Pier) in Kerry and admire the scenery as you travel towards An Blascaod Mór (The Blasket Islands). Spend the day on the looped walks and watch the seals on Trá Bán. Settle in for the night in one of the cosy cottages at Great Blasket Island Accommodation and wake up to the sound of the ocean.

Further up the coast are the Árainn (Aran Islands), just off Galway Bay. On Inis Mór (Inishmore), see the impressive ancient stone fort of Dún Aonghasa, visit John Millington Synge's Cottage and Museum on Inis Meáin (Inishmaan) and experience the strong community spirit on Inis Oírr (Inisheer).

Aerial view of Dún Aonghasa in Galway
Enjoy the scenery at Dún Aonghasa.

Or journey to Mayo and marvel at the raw landscape of Acaill (Achill Island). Splash in the sea at Keem Bay or rent a bike and explore the quiet country roads. Feel the salty air hit your lips on the Dooagh Loop Walk, conquer the Croaghaun sea cliffs and learn all about the island at the Achill Experience Aquariam and Visitor Centre.

2Camping and glamping

Tuck yourself into a secluded yurt at Portsalon Glamping in Donegal for an evening of toasting marshmallows and snuggling up by the fire pit.

Visit Connemara and discover Clifden Eco Camping. Make it a holiday to remember with Atlantic views and a private beach sporting a network of sand dunes. With crystal-clear bathing waters nearby, this is a great place for all kinds of sea borne activities.

Head to the midlands for a lakeside retreat at Cabu by the Lakes deep within the woodlands of Killykeen Forest Park. Check into cabins or boathouses perfect for family fun, romantic breaks or solo adventurers.

Signage for Killykeen Forest Park in Co Cavan
Enjoy a getaway in Killykeen Forest Park.

Travel to Leitrim and book into Beirnes of Battlebridge. The craic is always great at the award-winning pub on-site or if you’d rather a more intimate experience, spend a quiet night camping on the banks of the River Shannon.

Escape to another world entirely with a break in the Blackstairs Mountains. Take the foraging workshop and stay overnight at Blackstairs Ecotrails Shepherds Huts. A short walk from your hut, you’ll find the communal barn with a library, fully equipped kitchen and a comfy loft area to enjoy the incredible scenery.

Sheep in front of the Blackstairs Mountains in County Carlow
Spend the night in the Blackstairs Mountains.
3River cruises and barge trips

If you’re looking for a relaxed day out on the water, consider booking a Canal Boat Tour from Kildare to Dublin. Cruise over the Leinster Aqueduct and see the 250-year-old canal lock that still works today.

Further west in Leitrim, weave down the Shannon and Erne waterways with Carrickcraft. Stop at one of the lovely villages on the river banks, cycle around the quiet country roads or break for a scenic picnic.

People on board a barge getting ready to set sail in Sallins, Kildare
Take a wonderful barge trip in Kildare.
4Vibrant city breaks

Head to Cork city and join in on a Cork Fab Food Trail and meet the producers behind some of the country’s best artisan goods. Or hit some of city's unique experiences like that at MTU Blackrock Castle Observatory. Here, you can stargaze using a state of the art robotic telescope which is housed in a 16th century castle. 

Plan a break in Limerick city and include a tour of King John’s Castle. If you find yourself getting hungry, taste test the many flavours on offer at the Milk Market.

St John's Castle in Limerick city
Take a look inside St John's Castle.

In Waterford city, live as a Viking warrior for the day at the King of the Vikings VR experience and walk around the winding streets of the oldest city in Ireland.

Journey to Kilkenny and get an insight into the city’s rich history at the Medieval Mile Museum. Walk around the blossoming rose garden at Kilkenny Castle and later, enjoy the buzzing nightlife with great restaurants and welcoming pubs.

For history buffs, a guided tour of Dublin with Pat Liddy's Walking Tours is always a good shout. If you fancy a bout of retail therapy, explore the variety of shops on offer on Grafton and Henry Street. From there you'll find plenty of ways to fill your evening, whether it be a delicious dinner or a night at the theatre.

Head to Galway city for an evening on Quay Street. Listen as the tunes of local buskers carry on the fresh sea breeze, catch a trad session in Taaffes Bar and feast on fish and chips from McDonagh’s.

A street with brightly painted buildings, greenery and bunting in Galway City, Galway
Spend a few days in Galway.
5Travel the Ring of Kerry

Hit the road and explore the Ring of Kerry. Drive around the circuit of the Kerry coastline and spend a few days in the heart of the Iveragh Peninsula. Stop off in the Gap of Dunloe, see dinosaur footprints on Valentia Island and walk along the golden sand of beautiful Derrynane Beach – you’ll never want to leave.

If you want to take in the beauty of this route without a car, you can even travel along the Ring of Kerry car-free

A boat gliding by a golden beach and rocky coves in the distance
Discover the spectacular Ring of Kerry.
6Walk on the wild side

Explore the countryside with the Irish landscape as your backdrop on a scenic walking holiday. Experienced walkers should plan to take on The Wicklow Way. The six-day trek goes by remote lakes and mountains, but a public road is never too far away.

A person dressed in hiking gear walking down a country laneway lined with trees
Challenge yourself to walk the Wicklow Way.

Travel to the spectacular Suck Valley in Roscommon, part of the Beara Breifne Way. Discover the 105km looped walk which crosses the border into Galway and follows river valleys, bogs and side roads, or plan to take on one of the shorter sections which brings you from one village to the next.

Or test your mettle and walk the entire length of the 700km historic Beara Breifne Way from Cork to Cavan. Mark each milestone of your adventure by collecting stamps at the end of each section for your special passport; a fitting souvenir of the 14-day hike across the spectacular Beara Peninsula, the banks of the River Shannon and the lakelands of Leitrim and Roscommon.

Discover the Slieve Bloom Way in Offaly. The 75km waymarked trail starts and ends at the Glenbarrow trailhead in Laois. Trek through scenic foothills and forests, making your way into Offaly. You can tackle this hike in three days or choose a smaller section by starting in the village of Kinnitty.

For shorter walks to suit the little ones, visit the Rock of Dunamase in Laois. It’s a popular place for family strolls and the views from the summit are worth the effort. Take a short spin to Emo Court after and explore the woodland walking trails, feed the ducks at the lake or let the kids play in the gardens.

A family in the Emo Court Gardens in Co Laois.
Explore the gorgeous gardens at Emo Court.
7Cycle away

Whether you want to rent a bike or plan to bring your own, get ready to discover Ireland’s network of greenways. Wind around the Comeragh Mountains and pedal along the River Suir on the Waterford Greenway.

See what Mayo’s Great Western Greenway has to offer, from the Nephin Beg Mountains to Clew Bay. Stop off at Newport Harbour for a spot of fishing before enjoying a well-deserved lunch.

Uncover the ancient ruins and green fields of the south west on the Limerick Greenway. Following the 19th century railway line, the greenway spans 40km from Limerick to Tralee in County Kerry.

For those looking to go the distance, there's always the Royal Canal Greenway. Stretching 130km, the mostly flat route travels through waterside villages and showcases the native wildlife of Maynooth in County Kildare, all the way to charming Cloondara in Longford.

A cyclist admiring the incredible coastal views on the Waterford Greenway
Marvel at the amazing scenery on the Waterford Greenway.
8Romantic castle nights

Live like royalty with a luxury overnight stay in one of Ireland’s castles. Set on its own private island, take the ferry to the beautiful Waterford Castle Hotel and Golf Resort. Play a round of golf on their course and if you really want to treat yourself, book into one of the five impressive suites.

Further north is the splendid Castle Leslie Estate in Monaghan. Unplug and unwind in the castle rooms free from distraction and get cosy by the open hearth. Enjoy a screening in the private cinema room or book a relaxing massage in the Victorian Treatment Rooms.

Bask in panoramic views at Ballynahinch Castle Hotel in Galway. This 700-acre estate has looped walking trails and riverside suites with king-sized four-poster beds. Plan a hike to nearby Diamond Hill and soak up the stunning Connemara scenery with glass-like lakes and imposing mountains.

A castle reflected in a lake with a backdrop of mountains in Connemara, Galway
Catch up on your beauty sleep at Ballynahinch Castle Hotel.
9Beach breaks

Pack a picnic and plenty of sun cream for days on the beach. Whether you're planning a family holiday or a surfing trip, Brittas Bay in Wicklow is worth adding to your list.

Brittas Bay in Co Wicklow
Surf some waves at Brittas Bay.

The sheltered cove of Dunmore East in Waterford is also a local favourite. Snorkel, swim and explore the hidden coves and sea caves.

Make your way to the expansive strand of Inchydoney Beach in Cork where the nearby Inchydoney Island Lodge and Spa has easy access to the beach. Popular with windsurfers and bathers, spare some time to float in the sea or take a brisk stroll.

Head further north to Enniscrone Beach for a walk on the beach, which is backed by sand dunes, and go for a soak in one of the beach's seaweed baths.

A view of the golden beach and blue waters of Inchydoney Beach
Marvel at Cork's spectacular coastline from Inchydoney Beach.
10Lighthouse life

Built in 1806 by the Marquis of Sligo, Clare Island Lighthouse is the most northerly point of the island. Stay overnight and experience an evening to remember in this historic, adults-only accommodation. With incredible island views and historical landmarks, don’t forget to bring your camera on a visit to Clare Island.

You can also book a break in Fanad Lighthouse’s cottages at the tip of Donegal. With views of Lough Swilly, serve up a barbeque on the patio while admiring the coastal views around you.

On the south-east coast, find Wicklow Head Lighthouse which has been safeguarding the coast since 1781. It sleeps four, is dog-friendly and there’s 109 steps to the kitchen where the views are simply breathtaking. 

Two people taking photos of Fanad Head Lighthouse
Wake up to the sound of the ocean.
11Active family breaks

If you want an active break away, book into the Killary Adventure Centre in Connemara. Take part in cool activities like laser combat, water skiing and cliff jumps, and stay overnight in their hostel or family accommodation.

People SUPing at Killary Adventure Centre in Leenaun, Co Galway
Take part in water activities at Killary Adventure Centre.

The Eclipse Activity and Adventure Centre in Kerry has self-catering cottages and fun activities like bog runs, mud surfing and fly fishing. This 90-acre estate boasts incredible views of the MacGillycuddy Reeks mountains.

For a more lavish short break, the four-star Delphi Resort, with its outdoor adventure centre, has not only 300 acres of land but also an on-site bar, restaurant and luxury spa.

If camping is more your style, head to Lough Key Forest and Activity Park in Roscommon. Kids love the canopy tree trail and thrilling ziplines while families can team up for the Boda Borg challenge.

Travel to Louth and discover epic outdoor activities at the Carlingford Adventure Centre. Challenge yourself to the high ropes course, bounce on the water trampoline or go canoeing on Carlingford Lough. Later, book into the on-site hostel or check out one of the self-catering style holiday homes.

People wearing safety gear walking across ropes at Lough Key Forest and Activity Park, Roscommon
Get your adrenalin pumping at Lough Key.
Plan your summer holiday

Take your pick from these amazing experiences across Ireland and start planning your big summer holiday in 2024. Check out our great Irish bucket list and get even more inspiration for your next staycation.

More to discover
Family funHave car-free fun in Limerick city

For a small city, Limerick packs a punch. There’s the Georgian district, with grand redbrick townhouses overlooking People’s Park. There’s a thriving market scene, with colourful stalls and food trucks set up in centuries-old market halls. And on King’s Island in the centre of the city, there’s an 800-year-old castle, its ancient walls rising up from the River Shannon.

Houses and gardens14 sustainable activities in Ireland

A growing number of us are taking steps towards a more sustainable future, and activity options count when it comes to preserving our natural world. By prioritising greener choices you’re helping biodiversity, ecosystems and local communities to remain protected and unspoiled. From exploring the great outdoors to indoor experiences in smokehouses and stadiums, lots of Irish activity providers have heard the sustainability call, making it easier than ever to find bucket list-worthy eco-friendly things to do. 

The great outdoorsPlan a car-free trip of the Great Western Greenway

When a bike ride includes epic mountain views, oceanside trails and some excellent pubs for refuelling along the way, you know you’re onto a winner. And that’s just what you get on the Great Western Greenway. This 49km off-road cycle and foot path follows the route of the old trainline from Westport to Achill Island, through some of Mayo’s most picturesque scenery. There’s even a brand-new 5km extension, stretching out over the bogland in Achill, so now is the perfect time for a revisit if you’ve cycled it before. And the best news? You don’t need a car to transport your bike back to the start point – you can make use of the local bus or the shuttles provided by the bike hire companies.

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