Whether you plan a short getaway months in advance, or whether it’s all about last-minute deals, there’s no denying that there’s always a great reason for a city break or a weekend break in Ireland. Staycation or vacation, whatever you choose to call it – Ireland is overflowing when it comes to places to visit. Chill in the capital of Dublin, or laze lakeside in Killarney. Ramble romantically in Galway or flourish in family fun in Westport. This guide to City Breaks and Weekend Breaks Ireland 2019 is sure to inspire you!
|City Breaks & Weekend Breaks||Cities and Towns/Villages|
|Chill in the Capital||Dublin City|
|Sit by the Sea||Ardmore, Co. Waterford|
|Relax by the River||Limerick City|
|Laze Lakeside||Killarney, Co. Kerry|
|Ramble Romantically||Galway City|
|Flourish in Family Fun||Westport, Co. Mayo|
Chill in the Capital
When it comes to weekend breaks in Ireland, Ireland’s capital is one of the hottest spots to visit. Become a tourist for a couple of days and enjoy some of the best things to do in Dublin, from the city’s culture to its nature. Take in the views of the River Liffey from Ha’Penny Bridge or book an evening performance at the Abbey Theatre to get a taste of what the Irish capital has to offer. Or, if your city break is a family affair, then explore the many things to do in Dublin with kids, from visiting Dublin Zoo to learning more about Ireland’s Viking and medieval past at Dublinia.
When it comes to dining out, Dublin has you fed, and fed well, from street food trucks to Michelin-starred restaurants. As for your hotel stay, the only question you need to ask yourself is how many stars you’d like to see behind the establishments name. Fancy a pamper? We’ve picked the 10 best spa hotels in Dublin for 2019 – just put up your feet and let us guide you.
To help tickle your tastebuds try one of our favourite places for a full Irish breakfast in Dublin, or, if you’re planning a weekend away with your other half, one of the best romantic restaurants in Dublin City for 2019.
Ardmore, Co. Waterford
Sit by the Sea
County Waterford is home to Dunmore East, considered one of the best beaches in Ireland, and Dungarvan, a harbour town that is among the prettiest in the country. Ardmore in County Waterford may lie down the sunny coast from both these gorgeous towns, but it, too, sets a beautiful scene with a sandy beach that looks out to the Celtic Sea.
When visiting Ardmore, you not only visit the sunny South-East and Ireland’s Ancient East but you are visiting the oldest Christian settlement in Ireland. And with that comes history, from its Round Tower and cathedral to its hilltop castle known as McKenna’s Castle. Sit by the sea at Ardmore Beach, or take a cliff walk. Stay in the Round Tower Hotel, or the five star Cliff House Hotel complete with its own Michelin-starred restaurant, The House Restaurant.
Read more: 10 of the Best Castles in Ireland
Relax by the River
There’s a very good reason Limerick City was once awarded the title of National City of Culture. It’s a city rich in history, literature, culture, as well as The Arts and music. Home to the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, the Irish Chamber Orchestra, and two important performance arts centres, University Concert Hall and The Lime Tree Theatre, the city is cemented in culture. And it shares it widely through a number of festivals and events throughout the year – from its Limerick Fringe Festival to its RiverFest.
Set on the majestic River Shannon, with its own castle, King John’s Castle, Limerick City makes for an ideal weekend break. Shop till you drop – the Milk Market is a must -, wine and dine the evening away, or just relax by the river. And if you fancy getting out of the city, why not visit the nearby Lough Gur, only a 35-minute drive away. Or go mountain biking in Ballyhoura, one of the best mountains in Ireland for activities.
Read more: Best Festivals in Ireland
Killarney, Co. Kerry
Killarney in County Kerry is a stunningly beautiful area. The town itself is picturesque and full of culture, from the traditional Irish music that flows from its pubs to Ross Castle, a five-minute walk from the town centre on the edge of Killarney’s Lower Lake. Outside of the town you have the glory of the Lakes of Killarney and Killarney National Park, famous for its rugged mountainous terrain, waterfalls and forests, and Muckross House and Gardens.
The only problem with visiting Killarney is deciding where to stay, because of the 10 of the best 5-star hotels in Ireland, three could be found here! But if it’s a laze by the lakeside you fancy, then my bet is on The Europe Hotel and Resort. Breathtaking! And a highlight of weekend breaks in Ireland!
Galway City, the city of tribes, is a bustling but romantic city. Home to some of the best seafood restaurants, the Galway Races – a 15-minute drive away -, the Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival and the Galway International Arts Festival, Galway is full of culture, old world charm and winding streets. It’s the perfect choice for couples to ramble romantically and a definite highlight when it comes to weekend breaks in Ireland.
Have a drink at Tig Choili, or visit Dunguaire Castle, only a 30-minute drive from the city. And to keep the romance going stay at the award-winning The Twelve, one of the ‘10 Best Spa Hotels in Ireland‘ and only a 10-minute drive from the city centre.
Read more: Ireland’s Best Irish Pubs
Westport, Co. Mayo
Flourish in Family Fun
Westport in County Mayo is a great choice when it comes to family-friendly weekend breaks in Ireland. Highlights of the town include the beautiful Westport House and Gardens. It comes with its own lake – swan pedalo boats included, and a Pirate Adventure Park that’s perfect for young children. For more outdoors activity, and to keep older children entertained, Westport is home to the Great Western Greenway, one of the region’s most scenic attractions with plenty of walking and cycling trails.
The town has views of Croagh Patrick, should you feel like a rocky hike. And if the sea is calling then you’ll be delighted to know that it’s near to a number of Blue Flag Beaches – including Old Head Beach, which is only a scenic 20-minute drive away. There are plenty of shops, restaurants and cafes. And the family-friendly Hotel Westport, complete with Leisure Centre and a Kids Club, is a great choice when deciding on weekend breaks in Ireland.
More Ireland Travel Inspiration? Try these:
Ireland is home to thousands of castles, scattered the length and breadth of the country. And for inspiration this guide features the most luxurious castle hotels the country has to offer.
Ireland is one of the best countries in Europe for fishing, from river and lake fishing to sea fishing. This guide features some of the best Irish rivers and lakes for pike, salmon and trout fishing.
Climbing a peak is a great adventure and wonderful way of seeing a country from a different angle. So, if you are looking for some of the best ranges to explore, have a read of our guide to the best mountains in Ireland for activities.