Upbeat news towards the end of June outlined a shift in the hospitality sector and also brought with it, a shift in nationwide attitude. While the acceptance was reluctant at first, this transcended into a perceptive awakening, our home is now our getaway destination.
Ireland is treasured across the globe for its striking scenery, warm neighborliness and incredible culture. It’s easy to lose sight of those beautiful locations that make Ireland truly exceptional.
It seems as though everyone is riding the staycation wave and we’re here to make the planning process as leisurely as the trip. We’re crafting the ultimate staycation guide, complete with activities, dining spots and cultural attractions to ensure you don’t miss any hidden gems:
Connemara, Co. Galway
The diversity of the landscape in Connemara is almost as endearing as the people who populate it. The striking town has been a landmark destination due to its distinct scenery.
The colourful villages are dotted along the coast with an abundance of hidden gems awaiting discovery. Each town possesses unique character and local culture, including Oughterard, Maam, Recess, Roundstone, Cashel, Carna, Ballyconneely, Clifden, Cleggan, Claddaghduff, Letterfrack, the Renvyle peninsula and Leenane.
Our Beach Pick: Mannin Bay
Connemara offers a range of beaches with unique individuality each coming with their own types of sand, rocks and an array of small shells. The vibrant coastline of Mannin Bay is a visual treat with blonde sands and clear blue water. The Mannin Bay Blueway features kayaking and snorkelling trails nearby at Coral Strand on the main road from Clifden.
Our Dining Pick: Mannions Seafood Bar and Restaurant
While you’re exploring the magical landscape Mannin Bay has to offer, Mannions Seafood Bar and Restaurant offers a taste as natural and authentic as Connemara. Mannion’s Bar is a family-run bar and restaurant, serving food daily from 12 to 9pm and specialising in locally sourced seafood. Try the fresh Seafood Chowder, Connemara Smoked Salmon, Killary Mussels or Traditional Fish & Chips.
Our Cultural Pick: Kylemore Abbey
After some outdoor fun, unwin with a leisurely stroll through Kylemore Abbey. Explore the 6-acre Victorian Walled Garden with its delightfully restored garden buildings, formal flower, vegetable and herb gardens. The woodland and lakeshore walks will take you on a beautiful journey through the 1,000-acre estate.
Dunmore East, Co. Waterford
If you’re looking for a combination of family friendly activities and idyllic serenity, Dunmore East might just be the perfect staycation spot. The picturesque village is a short drive away from quaint villages such as Passage East and Cheekpoint.
The Dunmore East Harbour is one of the five designated National Fishery Harbours, and has the second highest figure for fish landings after Killybegs.
Our Beach Pick: Portally Cove Beach
Within the village of Dunmore East, there are many sheltered coves ideal for a rare snorkelling experience. Portally Cove Beach is a narrow sea inlet with cliffs above covered in thrift and thyme. It is connected to Dunmore East by a scenic cliff walk so you can enjoy a picnic with a view before diving under.
Our Dining Pick: Lighthouse Bar & Restaurant
Enjoy a stunning view of the famous Hook peninsula and the surrounding coastal landscape while you dine at Lighthouse Bar & Restaurant. This spot is renowned for its use of local produce and specialises in European style cuisine.
Our Cultural Pick: Cliff Gallery
Delve into art, ceramics, woodwork, jewellery and fashion at The Cliff. Shop charming gifts and support local Irish businesses while steeped in the very best craftsmanship Ireland has to offer.
Kinsale, Co. Cork
Historically a medieval fishing port, Kinsale is one of the most popular towns in Ireland and acts as a gateway to scenic West Cork. The yacht filled harbour and brightly coloured houses are aesthetically beautiful. It’s rich history and walking tours ensure plenty to see if you’re prone to a full holiday schedule.
Our Beach Pick: Garrylucas Beach
Sandy beach heaven, Garrylucas beach is a popular swimming and surfing beach. Located beside the R604 road and adjacent to Kilcolman Marsh and the Old Head of Kinsale, it is within a short distance of Ballinspittle by car.
Our Cultural Pick: Charles Fort
Charles Fort is the best known historical attraction in Kinsale and is one of the finest surviving examples of a 17th Century star-shaped fort. The fort overlooks the Old Head of Kinsale and the mouth of the Bandon river. It is open year round.
Lahinch, Co. Clare
Situated on Liscannor Bay, Lahinch attracts surf enthusiasts from all around the globe due to the Atlantic breaks. With a one-of-kind energy, this coastal town is a unique Irish getaway. The centre of water sports, this trip can be tailored to those craving some outdoor adventure.
The lively social life and great atmosphere caters for all ages allowing you to absorb the stunning sights around you while having fun!
Our Beach Pick: Lahinch Beach
You don’t have to venture far when it comes to planning a beach day as Lahinch Beach has everything you’re looking for. The beach is over one mile long, stretching from Lahinch resort town to the mouth of the Inagh River.
Our Dining Pick: The Aberdeen Bar & Restaurant
The Aberdeen Restaurant offers seasonal menus and includes produce such as; the freshest of seafood from the boats at Doolin and Carrigaholt, cheese from St Tolas a local goats cheese farm in Inagh and award winning black pudding.
Our Cultural Pick: Kenny’s Lahinch Art Gallery
This art gallery acts as an output for local artists allowing you to explore the very best of Irish talent. It was set up by Carmel Kenny who has been a patron of the arts in North Clare for many years.
Westport, Co. Mayo
Westport is often referred to as the undiscovered riviera of the Wild Atlantic Way with a beach laden coastline. Home to beautiful wildlife and fabulous walking trails, this staycation spot is one that truly welcomes discovery.
Its fascinating history, lively pubs and incredible surroundings make it a shoe in for an Irish getaway.
Our Beach Pick: Lecanvey
Eight miles outside of Westport, Lecanvey is a sheltered cove on the foot of Croagh Patrick. This beach is well suited for families looking for a quiet swimming spot while the pier attracts dare devils for adrenaline filled cliff jumping. The horseshoe shaped beach is undoubtedly a hidden gem.
Our Dining Pick: Cobblers Bar
Cobblers is a top spot for pub grub and offers traditional Irish dishes at reasonable prices. It opens daily from noon and serves food until 9pm. For craft beer lovers, the bar specialises with an extensive range of local and international brands.
Our Cultural Pick: Westport House and Gardens
Surrounded by a splendid parkland setting, Westport House overlooks Clew Bay. The house was designed by the famous architects Richard Cassels and James Wyatt in the 18th century. It was built and is still privately owned by the Browne family, who are direct descendants of the 16th century Pirate Queen, Grace O’Malley.