27+ Best Weekend Breaks in Ireland in 2024

In this blog post, we will explore the 28 best weekend breaks in Ireland! Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or simply seeking some fun and relaxation, we’ve got you covered.

Get ready to discover charming villages, stunning coastal cliffs, and various exciting activities in Ireland!

Small Town Weekend Breaks In Ireland for Couples

1. Howth, Ireland (County Dublin)

Howth, located in Dublin County, is a charming seaside village that perfectly escapes the busy capital city. Known for its picturesque landscapes, rich history, and delicious seafood, Howth is one of the most delightful weekend breaks in Ireland or even a quick, half-day trip from Dublin.

The village’s bustling harbor is filled with colorful fishing boats and lined with delicious seafood restaurants. Watch the fishermen unload their catch of the day, then head to one of the local eateries to indulge in some of the freshest seafood you’ll ever taste.

Make sure to stop into the Howth Weekend Market, where you can wander through the stalls full of organic produce, freshly baked goods, jewelry, clothing, antiques, and more.

Breathtaking cliffs, rugged hills, and scenic walking trails surround Howth. A can’t-miss activity is to explore the Howth Cliff Walk, a trail that offers panoramic views of the Irish Sea and Dublin Bay. The hike has four different versions, each offering a different difficulty level, depending on your interest and fitness level.

No matter which trail you pick, you will have excellent views of the coastal scenery, spot seabirds, and view some of the area’s famous landmarks.

Howth’s famous landmarks include St. Mary’s Abbey (ruins that date back to the late 14th century), the Howth Castle, and the Baily Lighthouse. Spend some time exploring the popular sites, or lay out on one of the beautiful, natural beaches on a warm day.

For accommodation in Howth, a unique place to stay is the King Sitric Hotel. This comfortable hotel features eight nautically styled rooms that face Balscadden Bay.

Recommended by Janelle Axton of Make the Trip Matter

A large number of fishing boats docked in the Howth harbor. The clouds in the sky are dark and ominous and the water is a beautiful blue-grey color.

2. Westport, Ireland (County Mayo)

The town of Westport on Ireland’s west coast may look like a small town – and it is! But with lots of charm, historical sites, and outdoor adventures nearby in County Mayo, Westport still makes for one of the most excellent weekend breaks in Ireland.

One of the best things to do in Westport is to wander around the town center, admiring the colorful Georgian buildings and strolling along the Carrowbeg River.

Make your base at the cozy Wyatt Hotel in the middle of town, and explore Westport from there.

You can also visit Westport House, an impressive estate built on the ruins of the O’Malley clan castle, which the Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley once owned. You can tour the house (for a fee) and wander around the grounds open to the public for free.

Westport is an excellent place for live music, too. Get cozy in an Irish pub and listen to live tunes at a Westport spot like Matt Molloy’s, Porterhouse, or JJ O’Malley’s.

For your second day in Westport, you can try several outdoor activities, including cycling on the Great Western Greenway. This 26-mile rail trail connects Westport to nearby Achill Island (which makes for another great day trip!). The route offers excellent views of Clew Bay to Croagh Patrick and the Nephin Beg Mountains.

And speaking of Croagh Patrick, climbing the 764 meters (2506 feet) to the top is popular with outdoor enthusiasts and religious pilgrims. People have been climbing this peak above Clew Bay for thousands of years.

Recommended by Amanda of A Dangerous Business Travel Blog

The bridge going to a town in Westport, Ireland. The bridge is stone with two archways underneath and flower boxes on the sides. The town is visible in the distance, with colorful houses lining the road.

3. Trim, Ireland (County Meath)

Trim, Ireland, is a perfect getaway from nearby Dublin. The town is located in County Meath, just 45 kilometers northwest of Dublin.

The most prominent landmark in town is Trim Castle, which was famously featured in the movie Braveheart. The castle dates back to the 12th century and is Ireland’s largest and best-preserved Anglo-Norman castle.

Visitors can take guided tours of the castle and grounds, which includes walking through its cavernous stone halls and narrow staircases. The tour culminates at the castle’s rooftop, which features sweeping, gorgeous views of the surrounding town and countryside.

Trim is also home to numerous other stunning historic sites, including St. Mary’s Abbey, which is preserved as a large tower in the middle of a field, as well as the Bective Abbey.

St. Patrick’s Church is also worth visiting in town. Trim also features lovely outdoor spaces, including the Boyne Riverside Walking Path, leading you along the River Boyne. The trail passes by expansive fields and ruins.

Several excellent hotel options exist in town, including the aptly named Trim Castle Hotel, right across the street from Trim Castle. The Knightsbrooke Hotel Spa & Golf Resort is a little further down the road, but it is only about a 6-minute drive to the city center.

The hotel features spacious, well-appointed rooms, elegant decor, and excellent amenities, including a golf course, spa, and indoor pool. It is a perfect weekend retreat with all the comforts you might need.

Recommended by Merry Allison from Virginia Vacation Guide

The stone ruins of Trim Castle in Trim Ireland. The castle ruins are grey and run down with a keep flying two flags visible in the background.

4. Bray, Ireland (County Wicklow)

The seaside town of Bray in County Wicklow is one of the most ideal weekend breaks in Ireland. It offers good hiking trails, scenic mountain and coastal views, great food, water sports, historic houses, and fresh sea air. 

One of the most popular things to do in Bray is the one-hour hiking trail to the top of Bray Head. At 218 meters high, the 360-degree view from the top of Bray Head is worth the climb.

If your legs aren’t too tired at the end, you could continue along the coastal path to neighboring Greystones. 

The 7-kilometer-long path hugs the cliff side and follows the 19th-century rail track route built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. You can return to Bray along the same route or catch the DART back to Bray from Greystones. 

If the weather is poor during your weekend break, visit the Bray Sea Life Centre to learn about Irish marine life and habitats or visit nearby Kilruddery House or the famous Powerscourt House. 

Make sure you eat dinner in one of the atmospheric restaurants on Bray Promenade or pop into the Harbour Bar for a drink. This pub was voted ‘Best Pub in the World’ by Lonely Planet in 2010.

Bray Seafront has the best selection of Bray hotels. For something a little different, stay at the 19th-century Strand Hotel, once home to the legendary Oscar Wilde. 

Recommended by Sinead of Map Made Memories

A high view of Bray, Ireland, from a vantage point. The town is far below along the edge of the ocean, with a sandy beach separating them.

5. Cobh, Ireland (County Cork)

Cobh is a fantastic seaside village for your weekend break as it is just a short train 30-minute ride from Cork. Its location makes it a wonderful day trip or weekend getaway from Cork. 

The town is best known as the last port of the RMS Titanic before her fateful end. Today, the Titanic Experience is a small museum built steps away from the port where the Titanic docked.

As a part of the experience, you will get a ticket with the name of an actual passenger from the ship. At the end of the tour, you will find out the fate of your passenger, which makes this historic event all the more relatable. 

If history is not your thing, Cobh has so many amazing things to see and do; many of them are free. One of the best is a simple stroll down the harbor to take in the beautiful views. There are several traditional Irish pubs right along the boardwalk. 

No visit to Cobh can ignore St. Coleman’s Church. High above the waterfront, the 19th-century Gothic church is the tallest in all of Ireland, and its carillon is the largest in all of the British Isles. These bells will undoubtedly make their way into your memories and many of your photos of Cobh.

If you want a unique place to stay, why not rent one of the famous Deck of Cards houses? The brightly colored houses have become iconic to Cobh; you just need to get used to people stopping by to take photographs. 

Recommended by Faith of 3 Tickets Please

The famous Deck of Cards houses in Cobh, Ireland. It is a row of houses that are the same size but different colors going down the hill.

6. Killarney, Ireland (County Kerry)

Nestled in the heart of County Kerry, the charming town of Killarney is perfect for your Irish weekend break. Celebrated for its captivating landscapes, Killarney offers a fantastic blend of cultural experiences, outdoor activities, and undisturbed tranquillity.

On your first day in Killarney, you should take a leisurely stroll in nature around the Killarney National Park, which leaves you very much feeling as if you’ve stepped into an Irish fairytale before spending an hour in the afternoon taking a traditional jaunting car tour.

This horse-drawn cart experience offers an authentic journey through Killarney’s heritage, as you’re guided by a local ‘jarvey’ who will no doubt share enchanting tales of folklore.

Then on your second day, explore the historic Muckross House and Gardens, an ornate Victorian mansion set amidst a stunning landscape that reflects the opulence and elegance of a bygone era.

There, you can wander through meticulously curated rooms filled with antique furniture and art, offering a unique window into 19th-century Ireland.

In terms of accommodation, Killarney benefits from several independently owned options. Consider Ross Castle Lodge, a delightful, family-run guesthouse that sits in the shadow of the historic Ross Castle.

Alternatively, immerse yourself in a dash of luxury at Muckross Park Hotel & Spa, a stunning establishment set within the grounds of Killarney National Park, giving you direct access to the beauty of nature right from your doorstep.

Recommended by Cora of Inside Our Suitcase

A distant view of Ross Castle in Killarney, Ireland. The castle is a square tower with shorter castle walls surrounding it and green gardens around the base.

Big City Weekend Breaks In Ireland for Couples

7. Waterford, Ireland (County Waterford)

A great location for a weekend break in Ireland is Waterford City. Located in the county of the same name, Waterford is Ireland’s oldest city, established decades before Dublin. 

Waterford is easy to reach and ideal if you are wondering how to travel in Ireland without a car and are coming from the Irish capital. There are plenty of public transport buses that travel between the two cities.

Visitors to the city will have plenty to see and do. You’ll find plenty of pubs for a drink over some food, and there are other cafés and restaurants if pubs aren’t your thing. 

Waterford is where Waterford Crystal was founded and is home to the House of Waterford Crystal. Here, visitors can learn how the famous glass is made and pick up a piece as a souvenir.

Close to Waterford City, you will find the Viking Triangle, one of the city’s oldest parts. Pop into Reginald’s Tower to learn more about Waterford’s Viking past, wander the exhibitions in the Medieval Museum, or take a Viking tour of the city. 

And if you are looking for somewhere to stay, why not splash out and stay at Waterford Castle, a short 20-minute drive from the city center. Located on its own private island, Waterford Castle Hotel is a great place to visit, even if you are not staying there.

Recommended by Cath of Travel Around Ireland

An outside view of Waterford Castle Hotel in Ireland. The castle is made of brown and grey stones with lots of windows, and gardens and bright green grass surround the castle.

8. Cork, Ireland (County Cork)

Ireland’s second city is the perfect destination for a weekend break. Cork is known as the Rebel City and the Food Capital of Ireland, so expect lively, opinionated locals and great restaurants. 

After you arrive, get an overview of the city by taking a walking tour of Cork and familiarize yourself with the local history. Then, visit one of the city’s fabulous restaurants for brunch, like the Good Day Deli. This little cafe sources many of its ingredients from local farms, and you can enjoy your breakfast in the beautiful gardens of Nano Nagle Place. 

Check out Sin é, a local pub, for live music and a pint later in the evening. You can also catch a play at the Everyman, a show at the Cork Opera House, or wander through the pubs on Oliver Plunkett Street. 

On your second day, catch a bus or drive to Blarney Town, home of the infamous Blarney Castle and Blarney Stone, which Ireland is famous for. Your entry ticket includes access to the castle gardens, including the Poison Garden, full of assorted toxic plants and little plaques describing their use.

After you kiss the stone, grab lunch in the cafe and enjoy it sitting in a private spot in the gardens, preferably with a view of the castle. 

You can then spend a lazy afternoon shopping in the Marina Market, reading on a blanket at Fitzgerald Park, or enjoying one of the pubs on MacCurtain Street. 

Recommended by Amber from Amber Everywhere

A view of the city of Cork in Ireland. There are houses and small buildings, as well as a tall cathedral with spires. Trees and shrubs surround the area.

9. Dublin, Ireland (County Dublin)

When planning your next weekend break in Ireland, consider spending a long weekend in Dublin. The Irish capital is full of history and culture and perfect for a two or three-day city break.

Dublin is a dream city for history lovers, with a history dating back thousands of years. From its Celtic origins, Viking heritage, and as the focal point of Ireland’s not-too-distant struggle for independence, it’s the perfect place to learn about Irish history. To do this, begin your Dublin city break with a historic walking tour.

Dublin is also home to some of Ireland’s top art museums. The National Gallery is the premier art museum in the country and houses the best collection of Irish artists in the world.

There are a ton of great Instagrammable spots in Dublin, so be sure to bring your camera along.

The Hugh Lane Gallery, while smaller in scale, offers a more intimate experience and an eclectic mix of art ranging from impressionists to modern and beyond.

Finally, don’t leave Dublin without experiencing the local pub scene. Popular spots like Kehoes and Darkey Kelley’s offer an intimate pub atmosphere, while O’Donoghue’s on Merrion Row has live music every evening.

The best time to visit Dublin is in summer when the weather is best and the days are longest. However, winter in Dublin can be incredibly magical as the city lights up with Christmas decorations and locals are filled with holiday cheer.

Recommended by Tamar of World by Weekend

Standing inside the courtyard of Dublin Castle during our weekend break in Ireland. The castle walls are red and white and there is a round turret with a blue/green spire at the top. The sky is bright blue with whipsy white clouds.

10. Galway, Ireland (County Galway)

Galway, located on the west coast of Ireland, is a vibrant city known for its rich history, lively atmosphere, and stunning natural beauty. Spending two days in Galway offers a perfect blend of cultural experiences, scenic landscapes, and memorable moments.

Start your weekend by exploring the charming streets of Galway’s city center. Stroll along Shop Street and Quay Street, filled with colorful shops, traditional pubs, and lively street performers. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere and browse through local crafts and artwork.

Be sure to visit Galway Cathedral, a magnificent Gothic-style church that offers breathtaking views of the city from its observation deck. Also, watch for Lynch’s Castle. It’s easy to miss, but it dates back to the 14th century! There are many great castles in County Galway.

Take a leisurely walk along the River Corrib and enjoy the serene surroundings, including the colorful houses on The Long Walk. 

Galway is a food lover’s paradise, offering a diverse culinary scene. The city boasts numerous award-winning restaurants, cozy cafes, and bustling food markets where you can sample local specialties. Take advantage of the opportunity to savor a tasty seafood chowder or a traditional Irish stew.

For accommodations, the Petra House B&B is a quaint bed and breakfast that provides that quintessential Irish experience – friendly locals, a warm welcome, and great company! 

Recommended by Pamela of The Directionally Challenged Traveler

A view of the city of Galway, Ireland, from the sea. There are fishing boats on the water, houses, and colorful buildings on the edge of the shore.

Another one of the best castles in County Galway is the Clifden Castle ruins! Read our complete guide to visiting Clifden Castle in Ireland here.


11. Kilkenny, Ireland (County Kilkenny)

Kilkenny is the perfect choice for a weekend getaway in Ireland. Located in southeastern Ireland, it’s the seat of County Kilkenny. And since it’s less than a two-hour drive from Dublin, it’s an excellent weekend break.  

At the top of your list should be a visit to Kilkenny Castle – definitely one of the top things to do in Kilkenny, Ireland! Tour the castle’s interior to glimpse life in centuries past. Plan to spend some time admiring the artwork and tapestries in the picture gallery.

You’ll find many gorgeous cathedrals in Kilkenny, but St. Canice’s Cathedral is the most impressive. For 360-degree panoramic views of the city and the beautiful Irish countryside, climb the Round Tower, which dates from the 9th century.

Stay at the Kilkenny River Court Hotel for a room with an incredible view. It’s just across the Nore River from the castle, and the river-facing rooms have fantastic views of the castle.

Enjoy an al fresco dinner on the riverside terrace if the weather’s nice. Plan to spend two days here so that you can see all the incredible historical sites and have time for a visit to a pub or two.

Recommended by Lisa of Waves and Cobblestones

A beautiful view of Kilkenny Castle in Kilkenny, Ireland. The castle is surrounded by gorgeous gardens with a water fountain.

Countryside Weekend Breaks In Ireland for Couples

12. The Dingle Peninsula (County Kerry)

Undoubtedly, the Dingle Peninsula is one of Ireland’s absolute best weekend breaks. This little gem is quintessential Ireland; all rolled up in a perfect package.

One of the most charming things about this area of Ireland is that Irish Gaeilge (or just Irish) is still frequently spoken here. 

Dingle Town is a cute harbor village with colorful buildings that house shops, restaurants, and cozy pubs. Visitors to Dingle are treated to live Irish folk music and dancers, and if you’re lucky, you may catch a performance from a champion step dancer. 

Take a boat to Dingle Harbor and beyond for deep-sea fishing or sightseeing. No trip to the Dingle Peninsula is complete without a trip around the famous Sleigh Head Drive, sometimes known as the Dingle Peninsula Drive.

This scenic driving route hugs the rugged coastline and offers stunning views, sandy beaches, and prehistoric sites. 

To truly enjoy this area, allow two days minimum, but three is better to really soak up the feel of this amazing little corner of the planet. The Dingle Harbour Lodge, which has lovely views of the Harbor, is a great home base for enjoying both Dingle Town and the Slea Head drive.

Recommended by Angie of We’re Not in Kansas Anymore 

A boat on the water near Dingle, Ireland. The Irish countryside in the background is dotted with houses and farms. There are green mountains in the distance and the sky is dark and cloudy.

13. Inishmore, Aran Islands (County Galway)

Inishmore, the largest and most popular among the three Aran Islands in County Galway, is an ideal destination for a weekend break in Ireland. With its stunning landscapes, historical sites, turquoise beaches, and vertiginous cliffs, Inishmore offers an unforgettable experience.

One of the highlights of visiting Inishmore Island is the opportunity to rent a bike and explore the island at your own pace. This freedom allows you to take in the breathtaking scenery while immersing yourself in the island’s vibrant and rich culture.

Your visit to Inishmore will start in Kilronan, the main village where the ferry docks. While you may spend little time there during the day, it is the best place to stay overnight with several hotels and camping options, such as Inis Mor Glamping which offers incredible views and even a private beach.

One of the most visited places on Inishmore is Dun Aengus, a ring fort that dates back over 3,000 years. Although bikes are not allowed on-site, you can leave them at the bottom of the hill and take a short scenic walk to the fort.

As you explore the island, stop by the St. Kieran’s church ruins, where you can spot seals basking in the sun or swimming around the bay. And for a chance to dip into clear blue waters, head to Kilmurvey Beach.

Inishmore offers a delightful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Its scenic beauty, rich history, and warm hospitality make it the perfect destination for a weekend getaway in Ireland. 

Recommended by Jenny of Tales From The Lens

A path through Inishmore in the Aran Islands of Ireland. The path is lined with short stone walls winding through the Irish countryside.

14. The Ring of Kerry (County Kerry)

The Ring of Kerry in County Kerry, Ireland, is an iconic 179-kilometer (111-mile) loop around the scenic Iveragh Peninsula. This captivating route showcases an extraordinary blend of mountains, lakes, and coastline. Its natural beauty is truly awe-inspiring. 

Driving the Ring of Kerry is a must for anyone exploring the region. While the drive typically takes 4-5 hours, allocating extra time to fully appreciate the breathtaking views and make stops along the way is advisable. Highlights include the enchanting Killarney National Park, the historic Ross Castle, and the panoramic vistas at Ladies View. 

You’ll find activities like hopping in Irish fishing boats, riding luxurious yachts, jaunting cart tours, and taking a submarine ride. Spending a minimum of 2-3 days in the Ring of Kerry allows ample time to complete the scenic loop.

For optimal weather conditions, plan your visit between June and August. If you do not wish to drive yourself, you could book an Ireland tour around the Ring of Kerry.  

A highly recommended place to stay during your visit is the Parknasilla Resort & Spa, a luxurious 5-star retreat on a cliffside overlooking Kenmare Bay. They offer an exceptional experience with their golf course, spa, and dining options.

Recommended by Ruma of The Holiday Story

A beautiful view of the Ring of Kerry in Ireland during a weekend break in Ireland. The sea is visible in the distance, surrounded by mountains, islands, and Irish countryside.

15. The Cliffs of Moher (County Claire)

No trip to Ireland would be complete without experiencing the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher on a weekend break! Located in County Clare on the west coast, these iconic cliffs offer stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and a chance to immerse yourself in Ireland’s natural beauty. 

During your stay, embark on a leisurely cliff walk along the rugged coastline, taking in the dramatic cliffs that rise majestically above the crashing waves. Take advantage of the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Center, where interactive exhibits reveal the area’s geological wonders, wildlife, and rich history.

Or opt for a different perspective by taking a boat cruise from Doolin or Lahinch and witnessing the cliffs’ grandeur from the sea! 

While here, consider venturing further to explore the captivating Burren region, with its unique karst limestone landscape, where you can immerse yourself in the mystical atmosphere as you wander through ancient archaeological sites and encounter rare plant species that thrive in this extraordinary environment.

To make the most of your visit, consider staying in the charming village of Doolin, known for its traditional Irish music scene. Choose a unique bed and breakfast or a cozy guesthouse for an authentic and memorable experience. Or consider turning this into a day trip from the bustling city of Galway, just a 1 & 1/2-hour drive away!

While all of this can technically be seen on a one-day trip from Dublin, to truly appreciate the beauty of it all, a weekend break allowing time to experience the awe-inspiring Cliffs of Moher and venture into the enchanting Burren is a must.

Whether you stay in Doolin, Galway, or a combination of both, this getaway promises an unforgettable blend of natural beauty and lively city charm, and is one of the most Instagrammable places in all of Ireland.

Recommended by Goya of Goya Galeotta

A stunning view of The Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. The cliffside is dramatic and steep going down to the beautiful blue/green water.

16. Sligo, Ireland (County Sligo)

Sligo is situated in the Northwest region of Ireland, in the province of Connacht. It is known for its stunning natural landscapes, rich history, vibrant arts scene, and strong connection to renowned poet W.B. Yeats who drew inspiration from the region’s landscapes and folklore.

If you want a short break in Ireland, Sligo is an excellent choice for a weekend getaway. There’s so much to discover in this beautiful county.

One of the best things to do in Sligo is to visit the Sligo Abbey. This 12th-century, Romanesque-style ruins was an old Dominican convent founded in 1253. Its Renaissance and Gothic carvings are very impressive.

Visit one of the famous landmarks in Sligo, the Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery. It is one of the largest megalithic cemeteries in Ireland at Carrowmore. Explore the ancient burial grounds and marvel at the stone circles and dolmens that date back thousands of years.

Your weekend getaway will only be complete if you include Lough Gill in your itinerary. You can take a boat trip and explore the picturesque Lough Gill, surrounded by a breathtaking landscape and the spectacular view of rolling hills, home of the famous Isle of Innisfree. 

If you are looking for a unique place to stay In Sligo, Teapot Lane Glamping is a perfect choice. It is an exclusive glamping destination that offers a unique and immersive experience for adults seeking a memorable getaway in nature.

Recommended by Imee of Ireland Travel Guides

Inside the courtyard of Sligo Abbey in Ireland. There are headstones in the graveyard, surrounded by stone walls with many small archways.

17. The Wild Atlantic Way

A fantastic way to spend a weekend in Ireland is to take a road trip along the Wild Atlantic Way. You’ll witness stunning scenery, visit delightful coastal towns, and make unforgettable memories. 

You can choose your route without driving the entire 1,600 miles if you’re short on time. The coastal route has two main starting points: the Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal and Kinsale in County Cork. You can begin and end the route at either point.

The first section of the Wild Atlantic Way Out takes you from Muff to Letterkenny. One of the main highlights is that Malin Head is the most Northern point of Ireland, and plenty of great hiking trails are nearby. Also, watch for marine life swimming in the waters below. 

Check out the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher, where the cliffs drop off into the Atlantic Ocean. You’ll also have the chance to visit charming coastal villages such as Doolin and Lahinch.

You can also enjoy plenty of opportunities to indulge in fresh seafood, listen to traditional Irish music, and relax along the rugged coastline. 

If you’re only driving a portion of the route, it’s best to choose one destination to base yourself from. The location should be relatively central, like the Clew Bay Hotel in Westport, County Mayo.

Recommended by Paula of Paula Pins the Planet

The Wild Atlantic Way coastline in Ireland on a rainy day. There is fog in the distance, with a green and brown shoreline being splashed with bright blue water.

Romantic Weekend Breaks in Ireland for Couples

18. Ashford Castle Hotel (County Mayo)

If you’re looking for one of the best romantic weekend breaks in Ireland, consider a stay at Ashford Castle Hotel. Ashford Castle is a 5-star luxury castle hotel and resort located just north of Galway in County Mayo. This beautiful castle was once home to the Guinness family and has a vibrant history.

Situated on an expansive 350-acre estate, you’ll find no shortage of things to do during your stay. There are plenty of outdoor activities on the property. Some highlights include horseback riding, clay pigeon shooting, falconry, and even cruises on Lough Corrib.

Inside the castle, you’ll find stunning guest rooms with giant luxurious beds, elegant furnishings, and breathtaking views of the castle grounds. Another good reason to stay here is that there are seven restaurants to choose from, including dining in the castle’s dungeon. Afternoon tea at Ashford Castle is also a must for anyone visiting!

In 1951, the film “The Quiet Man” starring John Wayne was filmed here at Ashford Castle. Today, you can rewatch the movie in Ashford Castle’s private and luxurious theatre. After your film, consider stopping by the Billiards Room for a quick round of billiards. Or if that’s not something you enjoy, head down to the Drawing Room to enjoy live music and entertainment.

As you can see, there is plenty to see and do here. Ashford Castle Hotel is one of the most romantic weekend breaks in Ireland and should be on everyone’s Ireland bucket list. Plan to spend 2-3 days if you can. You won’t regret it!

The view from the gardens outside of the Ashford Castle Hotel in Ireland. There is a fountain and shrubs on the lawn in front of the beautiful castle hotel.

19. Ballyfin Demesne (County Laois)

Amidst the Slieve Bloom Mountains in County Laois, you’ll find a romantic Irish adults-only country manor like no other. Ballyfin, a meticulously restored house, is just 110 kilometers from Dublin Airport and one of Ireland’s best weekend breaks.

From the moment you arrive in this hidden gem, you’ll find yourself enveloped in the best Irish hospitality, and the level of luxury is unrivaled. A range of heavenly rooms and elegant suites, each with its own unique design, await. The Trellis Room has commissioned wall paintings reminiscent of an Irish garden, and the fully mirrored bathroom is pure opulence.

If you can tear yourselves away from the house, there is a range of activities, from horse riding, horse-drawn carriage rides, falconry, fishing, and mountain biking.

To explore the vast estate, hop aboard a buggy and let curiosity guide you. Take a boat trip on the picturesque lake and finish with a lakeside picnic. Finish with an afternoon at the exquisite spa.

At Ballyfin, culinary delights take center stage, with much of the produce sourced from within the demesne. Begin your day with a copy of the Irish Times and a delectable breakfast in the restaurant.

The attention to detail from start to finish is impeccable. It’s easy to see why Condé Nast Traveler names this as the best hotel in Ireland.

Recommended by Kaz of The Honeymoon Guide

A view of the Ballyfin House Hotel in Ireland from across the lake. The picture is framed with trees and there are reeds sticking up out of the water.

20. Breaffy House Resort (County Mayo)

For a weekend break in Ireland, consider staying at the Breaffy House Resort in County Mayo. It’s just over an hour’s drive from Galway and under three from Dublin

As a popular romantic destination for couples, Breaffy House Resort covers over 100 acres of green Irish countryside. On-site, you’ll find a spa, an award-winning gym, a swimming pool with a jacuzzi and sauna, landscaped gardens, and a fairy garden outside. 

There are also a few different dining options. Make a reservation at the Mulberry Restaurant if you’re looking for an elegant, fine dining experience. Or, head to Healy Mac’s Bar for a more casual affair.

Besides the activities at Breaffy House Resort, you’ll find some exciting attractions nearby. Consider visiting The Museum of Country Life, just a 5-minute drive from the resort. Through interesting visual exhibits, this museum documents how ancestors lived in Mayo from the 1850s to the 1950s, a period of substantial change in Ireland.

To get outdoors and enjoy the natural beauty of the Mayo countryside, head to the Great Western Greenway, which is 20 minutes from the resort. Here you can take a leisurely walk or cycle through the 42 km (26 miles) paved pathway, which will take you through Irish farms, bogs, untouched greenspace, and two small towns.

You can rent bikes from Westport Bike Hire and do as much or as little as you’d like.

Recommended by Kristin of Tiny Footsteps Travel

Outside of the Breaffy House Resort in Ireland. There are people eating at tables in front of the house, and three flags are flying on flag poles. The house resembles a small castle.

21. Dromoland Castle Hotel (County Clare)

For an all-inclusive feel, staying at Dromoland Castle in County Clare will give you accommodations of five-star hotels and a host of activities. Activities range from romantic to adventurous to relaxing.

For the most unique activity, try the Falconry Walk. You can catch a falcon on your arm, learn about these majestic birds, and watch them fly. It is just incredible. 

Are you looking for something romantic? Try a horse-drawn carriage ride on the expansive property. Relax at their world-class spa, or check out the many other activities at Dromoland. 

The 18-hole golf course and country club allow you to get in a round without going more than a few hundred steps from the castle. Throw in archery, clay pigeon shooting, tennis, boating, and more, and you’ll never get bored at Dromoland Castle.

You cannot match the accommodations at Dromoland Castle. Every amenity is available, and the staff genuinely does everything possible to ensure a relaxing and enjoyable stay. There are seven incredible dining options on-site, so there is no need to leave to eat.

It would be best to spend at least four days with a mix of exciting activities and blissful relaxation. Note – no public transportation options are nearby, so you’ll need a car to get there.

Recommended by Larry of Our French Travels

Standing below Dromoland Castle Hotel during a weekend break in Ireland. The castle is up on a hill. There are steps leading up to the castle which has multiple round and square turrets.

22. Burrenmore Nest, Northern Ireland (County Derry)

When it comes to weekend breaks in Ireland, there is nothing better than a romantic treehouse like Burrenmore Nest. Escape to an enchanting treetop lodge and be captivated by the forest views as you gaze out panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows. 

Burrenmore Nest in Castlerock, County Derry, is the perfect hideaway for couples enjoying a unique yet romantic break. Enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the woodland as you take in the sights and sounds of nature. Nothing could be more romantic than sinking into your very own outdoor hot tub under the night sky.

Each lodge is unique and stylishly decorated. The lodges are raised on stilts, so you are at one with the forest. This stunning boutique accommodation in the heart of the forest is just moments from the North Coast of Ireland.

You can easily explore all of the hidden gems of Antrim’s coastal route. Also, Lion’s Gate entrance to Mussenden Temple is just a 7-minute walk away from this romantic hideaway. 

Explore the broader 100 acres of National Trust estate, free to public access, including the Downhill Demesne, the Black Glen, and the gardens at Bishop’s Gate. 

Another activity for your romantic getaway is walking nearby Downhill and Benone strand to enjoy miles of sweeping sandy beach.

Cozy up back at Burrenmore Nest by the campfire, enjoy a movie night with your in-room projector, or grab a good book and unwind with nothing but you and the surrounding forest.

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Burrenmore Nest in Northern Ireland during a Romantic Weekend Break in Ireland. The house is on stilts with tall steps to reach it. There are two wooden rockers and a hot tub to enjoy as well.

Glamping in Ireland should definitely be on your Ireland bucket list!


Weekend Breaks In Northern Ireland for Couples

23. The Causeway Coast

One of the best weekend getaways in Northern Ireland is the Causeway Coast. This tourist route is about 130 miles long, and you should spend three days enjoying everything along the way. 

Leaving Belfast, head towards the coast, making short stops in Cushendun and Torr Head. Walk across the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, and explore the ruins of Kinbane and Dunluce Castles. 

One of the best places to visit is the Giant’s Causeway – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It can’t be missed on a Causeway Coast or Northern Ireland trip. Visit at sunrise to beat the crowds and watch the sky lighten as you wander around the hexagonal basalt columns. 

Stop at Bushmills Distillery, and enjoy the spectacular coastal views near Magheracross. Then, end your journey in Derry/Londonderry.

A visit to the Museum of Free Derry is an eye-opening look into the Troubles in Northern Ireland. And don’t miss walking the City Walls. 

Budget travelers wanting to visit the Giant’s Causeway should stay at Finn McCool’s Hostel – you can literally walk to the stones from here (and save money on parking fees!).

If you want a more luxurious stay, the Bushmills Inn Hotel is a boutique property conveniently located in the heart of Bushmills. 

While you could spend a whole week road-tripping this part of the Northern Irish coast, it’s absolutely doable as a long weekend break.

Recommended by Maja of Away With Maja

The rock formations at Giant's Causeway as seen during a short break in Ireland. There are tall green mountains in the background.

24. Portstewert (County Londonderry)

Portstewart is a small coastal town along the Causeway Coastal Route in Northern Ireland. Thanks to its location, you can spot marine life, such as porpoises, right from the shore. You’ll also find plenty of things to do here.

Portstewart Strand is one of the most beautiful beaches in the area. There’s also a lovely restaurant here called Harry’s Shack. You’ll find a fantastic golf club with stunning sea views just a short walk from town. 

During your time in town, you’ll also want to walk part of the Causeway Coast Way. Not to mention, there are plenty of places to grab a tasty ice cream in Portstewart. 

This town is the perfect base for exploring the local area, as there are many incredible places to visit nearby. The iconic Giant’s Causeway is just a 20-minute drive from town, and there are several spots to see along the way, including Dunluce Castle and Portrush.

To ensure you see the best of Portstewart and the surrounding area, allow at least 2-3 days here. That way, you can relax, explore the town and drive part of the Causeway Coastal Route.

Me & Mrs. Jones is a gorgeous property just a short walk from the beach. The rooms here are beautiful, and you’ll have a superb breakfast included with your stay. 

Recommended by Jack & Abbie of A Couple’s Calling

The coastal town of Portstewert. There are small waves drifting towards the beach while the town is visible in the background.

25. The Mourne Mountains (County Down)

One of the best weekend breaks in Ireland is to head up north to County Down in Northern Ireland. Here you can find the Mourne Mountains, a beautiful mountain range that makes for a perfect getaway. 

What is so special about the Mournes is that the mountains are right by the sea. And there are some great beaches in the area too. Combining a relaxing countryside retreat with a fun seaside town creates an unbeatable combo. 

You can get active in the Mournes, hiking Slieve Donard, the tallest mountain in Northern Ireland. Or you can chase the waterfalls of Tollymore Forest Park, where you can find some of the best waterfalls in Northern Ireland. The park was also a filming site for Game of Thrones. You might even walk alpacas through the Mournes! 

The best place to stay is the town at the bottom of the mountains, Newcastle. It’s your typical seaside town with many arcades, amusements, fish and chips shops, and colored houses. And don’t forget Newcastle Beach, which has some of the best views you will ever see.

A good accommodation option is “Rooms At Mourne,” which offers flexible check-in, check-out, and comfortable rooms. And as the name suggests, amazing views of the mountains.

You can’t go wrong with a weekend in the Mournes; it’s the perfect amount of time. 2-3 days here, and you’ll leave with some fantastic memories to last a lifetime. 

Recommended by Josh of A Backpacker’s World

A view of the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland. The sky is bright blue with large white clouds. There is a pond with a dam on the edge.

26. Belfast (County Antrim/County Down)

Belfast is a vibrant city with plenty to offer, from historical landmarks to cultural attractions. It makes for one of the best weekend breaks in Ireland. 

Start your trip by visiting the iconic Titanic Belfast. Located on the site where the RMS Titanic was built, this huge, comprehensive, and interactive museum tells the story of the doomed ship through multimedia exhibits and artifacts. 

One of the highlights in the city is Belfast City Hall, an elegant Edwardian building in Donegall Square. And as beautiful as the building is from the outside, the inside is just as grand. Take a guided tour to learn about its history and admire its stunning architecture, including beautiful stained glass windows and grand marble staircases. 

Also, if you want to learn about Belfast’s dark past, take a Black Cab Tour around the city’s political murals and peace walls that reflect Northern Ireland’s troubled history.

You can also take a guided tour through the eerie corridors of Crumlin Road Gaol (jail). Its haunting history as a Victorian-era prison through political segregation tells the tale of the strife that plagued Belfast.

Book a room at the Merchant Hotel, one of the best boutique hotels in Belfast in the Cathedral Quarter. This is the perfect location to immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere. This area has charming cobblestone streets lined with pubs, restaurants, theaters, galleries, street art, and buzzing nightlife. 

Recommended by Jenifer of The Evolista

The outside of Belfast City Hall in Northern Ireland. The building is large with pillars, turrets, and decorative elements, and there is a gated entry.

27. Derry/Londonderry (County Londonderry)

Many towns in Northern Ireland have two names. Derry is the name Catholics generally use, while Protestants use Londonderry. Most locals use Derry, but be conscious of the person you are talking to. Sometimes “the city” or “this city” is better.

Derry has an interesting old town and well-preserved city walls to explore. But the main reason to visit is the history of the conflict between the Catholics and Protestants which lasted for nearly 30 years until 1998. It is often referred to as The Troubles.

You might have heard about Bloody Sunday, a tragic day when British troops killed 13 civilians. This is where it happened. A short walk from the old town is a monument to remember the dead and injured.

Close by is where you will find the other must-visit sites, the Bogside murals, which are paintings on the sides of houses depicting the conflict.

To see all the city offers, expect to spend a day here. The best place to stay is a little outside the city at Larchmont House Bed and Breakfast. Bishop’s Gate Hotel is an excellent option if you want to be right in the city center.

Recommended by Kristin of Scotland Less Explored

An art mural in Derry/Londonderry in Northern Ireland. The mural shows a war scene from the Civil Rights Association and is painted on the side of a building.

28. The Antrim Coast

Next up, the Antrim Coast in Northern Ireland is a slice of paradise with stunning landscapes and captivating cultural heritage. It is an ideal destination for an adventurous weekend getaway in Ireland. Ireland in spring is characterized by a burst of vibrant hues and pleasant weather, making it the perfect time to explore this stunning coastal region.

Please plan to spend at least two days exploring the Antrim Coast to appreciate its beauty fully. Devote one day to the Giant’s Causeway, allowing plenty of time to marvel at the unique formations and take plenty of Instagram-worthy photos.

You’ll see the 40,000 interlocking basalt columns as you walk along the well-marked trails, a sight of a fairy tale. 

Then, on the second day, visit Carrick-a-Rede and other nearby attractions, taking in the rugged charm of the coast. The Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, suspended high above the crashing waves, provides panoramic views that will take your breath away. Gather your courage and cross the swaying bridge to the peaceful island on the other side.  

Remember to stop at local pubs to sample traditional Irish cuisine. In Ireland, spring brings a delightful explosion of flavors, from hearty stews to freshly caught seafood. Book a room at the Bushmills Inn for an enchanting stay. This charming hotel combines traditional Irish hospitality with modern conveniences.

Recommended by Lavina D’Souza of Continent Hop

A photo of the Antrim Coast during a weekend break in Northern Ireland. The coast has a pathway leading through the mountains next to the water.

And there you have it! Which one of these weekend breaks in Ireland are you most excited about?

I hope you’ve enjoyed this list of the best short breaks Ireland has to offer!

Safe travels!

Much Love, Janae xoxo
Photo of author
Janae, alongside her husband, Tucker, has turned the world into her playground. Having lived and traveled in an RV for over four years, she has trekked through 22 US national parks, ventured across 28 states, and explored the natural beauty of 12 countries. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been when she witnessed Iceland's shimmering Northern Lights, explored the rugged terrains of Southern Utah, and traveled across Ireland for almost two months. A lover of adventure and couple travel, Janae's writings have been featured in notable travel websites and magazines, and she has collected an online community of over 30,000 passionate fellow travelers.

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