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Friday 1 December 2023 Dublin: -1°C

Stay put - we've found 6 of the best places to 'staycation' in Ireland

You don’t have to go far at all to have a great holiday.

WE MAY BE nearing the end of the summer, but there’s still time to squeeze in a mini-holiday.

‘Staycations’ as they’ve become known, are holidays you take in your own country or even your city. It could be a night away, a weekend or even two glorious weeks somewhere new and yet comfortingly familiar. No worries about working out exchange rates or language barriers here.

Whether it’s one last hurrah before the kids go back to school, a sneaky city-break or a romantic getaway, we’ve rounded up six of the best places to take holidays right here at  home.

1. Dublin

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Our capital city is filled with things to do, so regardless of what type of holiday you’re looking for (cultural, romantic, kid-friendly, not kid-friendly) there’s something for everyone here.

If you’re new to the city or not too sure of your bearings,  you can take a Viking Splash Tour to get you acquainted with the layout as well as a little of the history.

Alternatively there are guided literary pub crawls or you could do a self-guided Rock and Stroll tour and see the places made famous by Irish musicians.

And then the sky’s the limit with what you can fill your days with – there’s the Book of Kells in Trinity College, excellent restaurants, shopping, the Leprechaun Museum, multiple beautiful parks to saunter through, buskers on Grafton street to listen to and historical sites such as the GPO or Christchurch to visit.

You’ll run out of time before you run out of things to do – so you’ll just have to come back for more.

2. Cong, Co Mayo

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If you fancy something a little quieter, but still like to holiday in style, it may be time to check out one of the many castles that Ireland has to offer. Because who doesn’t want to sleep in a four-poster canopy bed, right?

We pick the five-star Ashford Castle, in Cong, Co Mayo. Famous for being where John Wayne filmed ‘The Quiet Man’, there’s all the grounds of the castle to walk, the village to visit and have a pint in, and if you somehow manage to run out of things to do, the castle has a spa, fishing, tennis, golf, clay pigeon shooting and lots of other activities to offer.

3. Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim

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Whether you’ve got a stag or hens’ weekend to organise, or just fancy getting away with a group, Carrick-on-Shannon is a great spot in the Midlands for a guys’ or gals’ getaway weekend.

There’s culture, great pubs, music, golf, adventure sports, water sports, food markets, great restaurants… They’ve got all your options covered.

4. Castlerea, Co Roscommon

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Built in 1878 and the seat of the O’Connor family (descendents of the High Kings of Ireland), this 45 room Clonalis House, Co Roscommon is built in a Victorian Italianate style (we’re not sure what that is either, but it looks gorgeous) is just what you need if you’re planning a romantic getaway.

There’s a library with books from the 16th century,  a drawing room and a chapel to avail of, as well as the beautiful grounds to walk around in.

Very rosemantic altogether.

5. Trabolgan, Co Cork

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If you grew up in the eighties in Ireland, chances are you spent a little time at Trabolgan, Co. Cork and what’s nicer than sharing that experience with your own kids?

With self-catering cottages that keep the cost of family meals down, and activities and entertainment for kids of all ages from toddler to teen, as well as that epic swimming pool with the wavemaker and the super waterslide, the only issue you’ll have is getting everyone to leave at the end of your trip.

6. Donegal (and thirteen other counties)

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If you’ve ever wanted to try clay pigeon shooting, paddle surfing, abseiling, scuba-diving or sea-kayaking, have all your bases covered. With adventure centres in 14 counties you’re bound to find something not too far from you, or if you fancy a bit of a jaunt you can do overnights, family holidays or stag/hen dos. The choice is yours.

May the odds be ever in your favour.

Have we whetted your appetite? Where will you head off to? Let us know in the comments below.

Read: 10 things you absolutely must do every time you stay in a hotel

Also: Opinion: Next year there will be no ‘family holiday’ – there will be a ‘staycation’

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