IRELAND ELOPEMENT PLANNER // IRELAND ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHER // IRELAND PHOTOGRAPHER // IRELAND WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER // DESTINATION ELOPEMENT PLANNER
It’s totally up to you whether or not you want to believe in the Irish folklore of sirens, fairies, and leprechauns—but the overall beauty of Ireland is 100% irrefutable. The sites, culture, people, and scenery are equally wonderful. The country is steeped in a proud history and the phenomenal landscape has inspired musicians, poets, and artists alike. Trust me when I say the rolling hills are even more green in person, the sounds of the waves below the Cliffs of Moher are louder than you can imagine, and being stuck on a country road due to rouge sheep blocking the way isn’t just some made-up movie scenario. It’s almost as if the rest of the world falls away and you’re transported to another, more tranquil place in time.
If you’re looking for tan lines and warm summer nights Ireland isn’t the place for you. But if you want to wander around quaint little villages, go to distilleries to sample Irish Whiskey, hike through lush green fields to the oceans edge, and to truly slow down and reconnect during your elopement then Ireland couldn’t be more perfect. I can’t wait to tell you all about it! Let’s cover all the bases: where to visit, when to go, what to do, and answers to all of your burning questions.
DISCLAIMER: You will likely fall utterly in love with this place, realize there’s no place you’d rather elope, and have all your expectations exceeded once you actually set foot in Ireland.
There is no shortage of incredible places to elope and explore in Ireland! The people are friendly, the food is delish, the history is endless, and the landscape is incredibly beautiful. Plus, there are highland cows. You know the ones, they look like goldendoodles with horns and they sell big pictures of them at Target. But I digress—the point is there truly is no wrong choice when it comes to picking your elopement destination. Think about how you want to optimize and enjoy your time there. To put it in perspective, it would only take 13 hours to drive all the way around Ireland, so as you can imagine it’s entirely possible to plan a trip where you can enjoy multiple destinations within the country. I’ve compiled a list of incredible places throughout Ireland so you can start imagining what your itinerary could look like!
This expansive mountain country is equal parts rugged and beautiful. The waterfalls, lakes, and forests are accented by stony ruins, medieval castles, and ornate mansions. Elope at Ladies View’s sweeping overlook, around the grounds of Muckross Abbey, or in dense woodlands with moss underfoot. Really this area is FULL of possibilities where you can hike, bike, take a leisurely stroll, or a guided boat tour.
Closest Airport: Kerry Airport (KIR)
Along the 111 mile Ring of Kerry route you’ll experience rolling green hills, quaint villages, historic sites, dramatic cliffs, and serene beaches. The 2.5 hour drive can be spent in countless ways and is an incredible way to explore various parts of Ireland in a short period of time. Imagine saying your vows 1000ft high surrounded by the spectacular views of Kerry Cliffs, then spending the afternoon in a cute town bopping around from pub to pub.
Closest Airport: Kerry Airport (KIR)
The Cliffs of Moher are absolutely iconic and one of Ireland’s most famous sites. The incredible vistas of the Atlantic Ocean atop the towering cliffs will leave you awestruck (and I know from personal experience)—it’s no wonder the landscape has inspired countless poets and artists over the ages. Take a coastal walk near the cliff edge with the waves crashing below, afterwards head to Liscannor to relax with some local cuisine!
Closest Airport: Shannon International Airport (SNN)
There is something magical and otherworldly about the basalt rock-column coastal outcroppings at Giants Causeway. These shiny step-like stones at Grand Causeway is Northern Ireland’s only World Heritage Site. After your commitment ceremony, take a hike to The Wishing Chair, sit upon the natural throne made of perfect columns, and think of your future together!
Closest Airport:Derry Airport (LDY)
Galway is one of the most visited cities in Ireland and for good reason! It’s gorgeous, friendly, and there’s so much to do! Kylemore Abbey & Gardens is straight out of a fairytale, Coole Park nature preserve is endlessly beautiful, and every corner of the city of Galway itself has something worth exploring! Galway is the perfect place to stay if you want to experience the culture AND natural beauty of Ireland.
Closest Airport: Shannon International Airport (SNN)
If you are a history nerd and architecture is your love language Dublin is the perfect place for you. Explore the cobblestone streets, visit the The Irish Emigration Museum, stop at the iconic Temple Bar for a Guinness, and end the day with an intimate ceremony and picnic at Phoenix Park. The next day you can escape the city by going to Northern Dublin to Ardgillan Castle and Gardens to take in the spectacular views and landscape at your leisure as newlyweds.
Closest Airport: Dublin Airport (DUB)
Imagine sealing your marriage by sharing a kiss with each other and then giving the Blarney Stone a peck for good luck! For centuries, people from all around the world have traveled here to kiss the stone. Outside of this magic slab of rock there are countless things to experience in Cork. Visit the gothic St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, take a private boat tour, walk along Cobh Harbor’s candy-colored houses, or enjoy the blooming flowers at Myrtleville Beach during the springtime.
Closest Airport: Cork Airport (ORK)
Things to consider…
In my opinion the best time of year to visit would be May or September, the shoulder months of the busy season. Visiting during this time of year means you’ll get to enjoy longer days and the landscape will be beautifully green. Who wouldn’t want a longer, warmer, and more vibrant day for their elopement?
With Ireland’s temperatures being mild and the weather changing on a dime, layers and waterproof outerwear will be your best friend! My must have packing list was a mixture of short and long sleeve shirts, sweaters, long pants, rain jacket/trench coat, waterproof ankle boots, and tennis shoes. Ireland is known for their wool so if you’re feeling chilly pop into a local shop to grab yourself some wool clothing!
Don’t let the cooler weather stop you from wearing your dream dress! With the cooler climate and chance of rain it’s important you stay comfortable on your wedding day so you can enjoy it to the fullest. Consider wearing leggings under your wedding dress, bring a cute shawl or jacket, wear/bring along some killer boots so you can safely get to your destination, and rock your dream dress. Lastly, don’t forget a wool blanket that you two can cuddle up with to take in the views. The weather is truly a part of the experience when visiting Ireland—so come prepared so you can make the most of it!
To some degree we all associate the sound of church bells with weddings, but there is actually an interesting and deep rooted history behind that! Wedding bells come from an ancient Irish and Celtic tradition where church bells would be rang after the ceremony in the belief that it would ward off evil spirits and as a symbol of prosperity for the couple. Couples nowadays pay homage to that by bringing along their own bell to ring, attaching a little one to their attire, or incorporating the Bells of Ireland flower in their bouquet. After your ceremony you can ring the bell to symbolize the start of your future together!
Handfasting is another amazing Celtic tradition you could incorporate into your wedding or commitment ceremony. This symbol of unity is done by someone placing a cord or ribbon around you and your grasped hands and tying one or many knots to bind your hands together. Couples typically exchange vows during the ceremony or after whilst bound together. You can find a more in depth breakdown of the history and ritual here. Handfasting is an incredibly touching symbol of you two binding your lives together (and truly tying the knot)!
Although it is possible to legally elope in Ireland it is difficult. It takes a lot of extra steps, paperwork, and fees along with needing to hire an officiant and bring along witnesses. Learn more about the legalities of getting married in Ireland here. An alternative would be to legally get married where you’re from and have a commitment ceremony in Ireland!
There is public transportation, but it’s less stressful and you can make the most of your time with a rental car. Car rental costs range from $15-$60 USD daily. It’s well worth the added expense if you’re wanting to explore outside of the area you’re staying in.
It depends on what kind of experience you want to have! Do you want to stay at a countryside B&B, a luxury hotel, a unique Airbnb, or a CASTLE!? The average nightly hotel stay is $99.00 USD and Airbnb’s range from $70-$230 USD nightly.
English is the main language spoken in Ireland, secondly to Irish Gaelic. You shouldn’t run into any language barriers during your visit!
The best resource for finding vendors is social media and local wedding forums on Facebook. Through those two things you can find everything from florists to bakeries, as well as reviews from people in the area! You can also connect with wedding photographers that have experience working in Ireland, they will likely have recommendations for you. (Hey, that’s me!)
Okay, you’ve eloped, now what? There is so much to discover and enjoy during your visit to Ireland, everything from nature, history, and culture. Imagine spending one night of your trip stargazing at one of the best places on this Earth. Standing at the Ring of Kerry cliffs it truly feels like the rest of the world has fallen away. Due to how remote and tranquil this location it is a phenomenal place to stargaze. This area is one of three Gold Tier International Dark Sky Reserves on the planet. Above the Ring of Kerry is an endless sea of stars, galaxies and planets visible, untouched by light pollution.
Maybe stargazing isn’t your jam, but you still want to experience something magical. Luckily, there are countless ancient and medieval castles to explore that will surround you with a sense of wonder. The architectural wonders expand beyond castles with amazing cathedrals, abbey’s, and estates worth visiting throughout the country.
Oh, did I mention there are also castles you can stay in? I’d love to tell you all about it!
Although it’s fun to let our minds wander around the past, the present is even more lively! If you love a good event and want to celebrate with the locals visit during one of Ireland’s annual festivals! The 44th Guinness Cork Jazz happens every year in October where jazz artists from all around the world come to perform big concerts, lowkey gigs, and boat parties. There are pop ups and numerous events going on during the festival. Another amazing October festival is the Kinsale Gourmet Festival and it is every foodie’s dream! Go on a walking food tour and try all kinds of local dishes!
Eloping out of the country is a dream and an undertaking, but hopefully this has helped put into perspective how possible and fun eloping in Ireland is. Although you’d have to try pretty hard to have a bad time in Ireland, if you’re unfamiliar with this country it is truly invaluable to have someone knowledgeable guiding and supporting you during your adventure! After my last elopement in Ireland I am always looking for an excuse to go back and be a part of another person’s dream elopement. If your heart is pulling you towards this magical place, let’s explore what eloping here could look like for you!