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Read our handy guide to staycations this summer

Make sure to read our guide before you head off this summer.

IF YOU’RE LOOKING to head off on holiday in our beautiful country this summer, we have the perfect guide to help you make the most of your holiday.

Many of us experienced and enjoyed a trip within Ireland as a result of travel restrictions that were in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and their popularity has maintained since. A recent poll* conducted by our partners Allianz showed that a massive 42% of Irish people are planning a staycation this summer.

The same poll shows that Galway is the most popular destination amongst those going on holiday in Ireland, with Kerry and Cork in second and third place respectively. No doubt the attraction of the ever-lively Galway city as well as the rugged coastline and gorgeous landscapes of Connemara has convinced holidayers that Galway is the place to be this summer. 

The most popular reason for heading on holidays in Ireland this summer is to visit relatives, with families looking to meet up and chill out together with schools off. It’s no surprise that price was also a factor for many choosing to holiday here, whilst the third most popular reason for staying in Ireland is to visit a specific tourist attraction or attend an event.

Before you head off on a trip up, down, or across the country, a bit of planning will go a long way to ensuring a great time which is why we’ve put together a handy little guide to get you started.

Choosing your Destination

This should be the fun, exciting and straightforward part of the trip. There are so many options to choose from across our beautiful country, all you have to do is pick one.

You could go to Galway, Kerry, Cork, Dublin, Waterford, Donegal, Clare… OK, we see the problem, there’s quite a lot of options and each one of them is better than the last. So we’ll give you some tips from our experiences.

For families

Why not check out Fota Island in Cork, which offers a variety of self-catering lodges to have an unforgettable stay? As part of a lodge stay, guests will have full access to the resort, with golf courses and a spa for the adults. There’s also a really cool adventure centre that is sure to please the kids and potentially give any weary parents a break. Local activities like trips to Spike Island and a visit to the Titanic Experience in Cobh are well worth it too.

fotaislandcorkireland Shutterstock / dleeming69 Shutterstock / dleeming69 / dleeming69

But if Cork isn’t on your list, the Hodson Bay in Athlone is Ireland’s largest lakeside resort and has numerous outdoor activities as well as indoor activities if the weather doesn’t hold up. Supervised kids camps take place during the summer and you’re going to want to check out Bayside Sports, Ireland’s largest inflatable waterpark. Parents can pop into Ireland’s – and Europe’s – oldest pub, Sean’s Bar, while the kids have the time of their lives on the water.

Or take a trip to Center Parcs in Longford, a family-friendly resort surrounded by a fun-filled forest and amazing experiences for kids of all ages and parents. We have yet to hear a negative review of a family’s experience here with a whole host of activities from family-friendly golf to rock climbing and even horse riding. 

For couples

Fancy a bit of rest and relaxation with your partner? There’s some fantastic getaways around including the Ice House Hotel on The Quay in Ballina. We’re aware that many relationships have one person who is eternally cold and another who wears shorts for most of the year, so it’s important to state clearly that this is not an actual ice hotel. But it is a romantic space with views of the water, a lovely spa and a decent restaurant thrown in to boot. 

For something a little different, Cabu Cabins in Cavan (try saying that five times fast) offers a lovely break in the woods of Killykeen Forest Park on the shores of Lough Oughter. Options include a stay in a cosy log cabin or in a lake house with a log-burning stove to snuggle beside. There’s loads of nature, bike rides and water activities including a hot tub, along with a fully licensed bar.

Of course, we have to include a glorious glamping destination on the list and we have the perfect place in mind. Fernwood in Galway is one of the most reputable destinations in Ireland and offers the public a quiet, woodland paradise. It’s the perfect change of pace for a secluded and relaxing break. 

Getting there

Due to Ireland’s size, practically everywhere is accessible within a few hours which is rather useful for staycationers. Getting a train is an option for some people considering a trip. We say “some people” because unless your destination is on a line to/from Dublin, you’re mostly out of luck. Don’t even get us started on Donegal. But, if you’re one of the “some” that this applies to, you can avail of lower fares online on Irish Rail. 

The bus provides better coverage across the country and you can purchase different tickets to suit your needs, such as a ten-journey pass or an open return ticket, both online and from your bus driver.

However, the most popular option will be by car, especially if you’re not planning a city break. If you’re going with a group of friends it’s worth considering splitting up the drive and sharing the burden. Allianz has different cover to suit your needs if you want to temporarily add a driver to your insurance policy. 

womantravelersittingonhatchbackcarwithmountainbackgroundin Travelling by car is an excellent way to get around Ireland. Shutterstock / Tanasan Sungkaew Shutterstock / Tanasan Sungkaew / Tanasan Sungkaew

With driving, the journey to your destination is an adventure in itself. Finding a lovely café off the beaten track or stopping at the side of the road to take in the incredible landscapes, or even sampling some wonderful Wexford strawberries from a roadside stand is all part of the holiday magic.


Now that you’ve worked out where you’re going and how you’re getting there, you can think about doing some ‘things’ while you’re there. If you’re staying somewhere along the Wild Atlantic Way, there’s loads of great surf schools you can check out on your visit. From Inishowen to Inchydoney, there’ll be a surfing expert nearby to help you out.

Or discover the incredible greenways across Ireland where you can enjoy relaxing walks with friends or plan a great cycling adventure. The Waterford Greenway is always a lovely spot for a cycle and the east of the country does tend to get drier weather, although nothing can be guaranteed as you likely know!

Researching fun activities, whether you’re keen to catch a few gigs or visit a new museum, can help give you a solid idea of how to spend your time. Of course, you don’t have to do anything at all on holidays! It’s totally up to you how you enjoy your staycation in Ireland, and with so much to see and do, you’re guaranteed to have the craic this summer.  

Allianz plc is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Standard acceptance criteria, terms & conditions apply.  

*Poll conducted for Allianz & TheJournal.ie by Ireland Thinks. Date of Survey: July 1st, 2023. Sample size: 1413  Margin of Error: +/- 2.7 per cent. 

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