Ireland has some wonderfully romantic destinations that are sure to steal your heart and seal your love for its fabulous landscapes and friendly locals. Taking a trip together to the Emerald Isle is a terrific way to strengthen your bond and create long-lasting memories. Want to up the romance factor? Plan the whole trip as a surprise for your loved one. You’ll score extra brownie points! Need some destination inspiration? Here are some of the best romantic getaways in Ireland.
7 of the Best Romantic Getaways in Ireland
1. Glendalough, County Wicklow
Glendalough and its surroundings have been the filming location for many romantic movies, so it is absolutely perfect for a romantic getaway. Here you can be the star of your own love story, whilst falling for this beautiful destination. Explore the monastic settlement that dates from the sixth century before enjoying a hand in hand stroll around the glacial lakes and taking in the colourful views of the area. The movie Leap Year, with Amy Adams, was filmed here. The wedding scene was filmed at the upper lake and the post-wedding scene was filmed in the nearby, postcard-pretty village of Enniskerry. As you can imagine, this is a popular spot to pop the question – hint hint.
2. Killarney National Park, County Kerry
Kerry has just about every landscape you can imagine, including the highest mountains in Ireland. With those come spectacular driving, hiking and cycling routes that take you up sweeping mountain passes, past glistening lakes and into wild forests. One of the best places to go in Kerry for a romantic getaway is the Killarney National Park. If you love history, heritage and nature, this is the place for you. Killarney National Park is huge and covers 10,236 hectares (26,000 acres). It has the most extensive coverage of native forest remaining in Ireland. It is an incredibly peaceful and pretty place to enjoy walks, picnics, and each other’s company. Driving through the park you get sweeping views of Killarney Valley and the lakes which make for a picturesque backdrop for loved-up selfies.
3. Gougane Barra, County Cork
Gougane Barra was Ireland’s first National Park when it opened to the public in 1966. This tranquil forest in the Shehy Mountains was carved out by a glacier during the last Ice Age. The park is an area of outstanding natural beauty with sharp crags and high pine forests surrounding the beautiful Gougane Barra lake – from which the River Lee rises. On this lake is St. Finbarr’s Oratory, a pretty stone church, which is a very popular place to get married. Apart from tying the knot, the park is perfect for picnics, walking, hiking and biking. There are six trails of varying lengths and difficulty that immerse you in the rich flora and fauna of the forest. Gougane Barra is located in the Múscraí Gaeltacht, so listen out for the locals chatting away in Irish.
4. Aran Islands, County Galway
The Aran Islands off the coast of County Galway were recently voted one of the best honeymoon destinations for 2022, and for good reason too, it’s a simply breathtaking part of Ireland. The Aran Islands are three remote islands off Ireland’s west coast – Inis Mór, Inis Meáin and Inis Oírr. The islands are famous for their ancient sites, natural swimming holes, and preservation of Irish traditions and cultures. When you get off the boat and step foot on the islands, it’s like stepping back in time. Oozing rural charm and with jaw-dropping scenery that will take your breath away, you can get around the islands on foot or by bike. Listen out for the locals speaking Gaeilge and stop off at traditional restaurants and pubs to enjoy fresh seafood and delicious Irish cuisine.
5. Glengarriff, West Cork
The waters of the Gulf Stream warm the village of Glengarriff in West Cork. It is one of the sunniest and most sheltered spots in Ireland. Situated at the head of Bantry Bay, tree-filled hills and glacial valleys surround the small village. Glengarriff is a wonderfully romantic destination with its riverside walks and panoramic lookouts from its nearby nature reserve. It also has a lively trad music scene and plenty of places to enjoy the delicious food for which the region is famous. Just offshore from Glengarriff is Garinish Island, a blooming gorgeous garden that is quite possibly the most romantic setting in the whole country. The waters around here are also full of seals, dolphins and whales. So, is a perfect getaway for wildlife lovers too.
6. Connemara, County Galway
Located in northwest County Galway along the Wild Atlantic Way, Connemara captivates with its stark beauty and atmospheric landscape. If you love to embrace the outdoors, as well as each other, then you will love it here, as Connemara has some of the best walking trails in the country. If you prefer to see the scenery from the comfort of your car, there are swathes of empty roads that sweep you through the hills and valleys with seemingly never-ending views. Whilst here, you can indulge in the freshest seafood, and enjoy traditional music in cosy pubs with roaring turf fires and warm welcomes. It is a truly remote and romanticised version of Ireland where traditions are preserved, including the Gaelic language. This is Ireland as you’ve imagined it.
7. Waterford City, County Waterford
Waterford City is full of historic houses and medieval marvels, gorgeous gardens and fabulous food. It is a destination for the culturally and culinary curious, so make sure you pack your appetite. Waterford is a lively city with plenty to do. So, it is therefore perfect for couples who want to fill their days and nights with lots of sights and experiences. But when it comes to romance, you can walk the medieval cobbled stoned streets hand in hand and enjoy candlelit dinners with views of the water. For those who like to keep active, Waterford City is the start point for the Waterford Greenway. This walking and cycling route takes you on a journey through history and heart-stirring scenery.