The genuine, welcoming warmth of Ireland is hard to resist – so why resist it? Eloping in Ireland is a huge draw to those who want to love honestly without the frills, letting your story speak for itself.
Ireland isn’t just a brooding coastline and high country landscapes, as beautiful as they are; it is history found in scattered ruins and colorful murals! Literature and music travel across the country, whether it is traditional tunes in a pub or literary festivals. Likewise, your elopement is built on deep history, adventure, and understanding!
Why you should elope in Ireland
Let me lay out a few incredible reasons for eloping in Ireland! To summarize:
1. Friendly and heartwarming atmosphere
While I don’t want to shove every Irish person under the same umbrella, the country is known for its hospitality and friendliness! Chances are you’ll hear phrases like “céad mile fáilte” – meaning a thousand welcomes. Chat up the people around you and share your story to double the joy of this exciting life chapter
2. Epic (and probably magical) landscapes with deep history
Behind every gallery shot – whether it is the majestic Mourne Mountains or Dublin’s Kilmainham Gaol, or Derry’s political murals – is a piece of Irish history. Not only can you experience the vast country via jeep tours and long hikes, but you can also soak up the legends and truths that make up present-day Ireland!
3. A literal well of culture
No matter where you’re eloping in Ireland, you’ll feel the strength of its culture. Literary festivals take over the streets during summer, well-paged books on sale or carried around by people in period costumes! Plays are weekly entertainment, live music a nightly one! Pubs are livened up with traditional instruments while Belfast clubs pump out EDM. There’s always something happening around town so make the best of it!
4. Diversity of elopement locations
As you’ll see later on in this guide, Ireland is full of elopement locations! Its diversity is almost unreal: rugged cliffs, mountain tops, ancient ruins, estates and manors, opulent castles, cozy beaches, Irish pubs, etc. Your elopement can be as homey or as wild as you make it!
When to elope in Ireland
The Irish luck really shines with its year-round temperate climate! Thanks to mild temperatures without extreme fluctuations, eloping in Ireland can be enjoyed any season. You’ll most likely design your elopement around budget and seasonal activities versus weather – so let’s take a look at what you get in the four quarters!
Spring Elopements in Ireland
Bye-bye, dark woods, and hello, daffodils! As spring erupts into color across the hills, lambs come out to frolic as does the scent of wild garlic. Visitors also slowly trickle in thanks to cheap flights and hotel deals in March and April. These shoulder months are perfect for your elopement; reflecting that tentative but eager chapter in your life!
There’s no better representative holiday for Ireland than St. Patrick’s Day either. Those planning on eloping in Ireland in March will inevitably fall into flower rings and full-day drinks as cities go full out in their excitement! April will send you on an Easter egg hunt and all the eggcellent puns!
Summer Elopements in Ireland
When the valley greens bleed into the coastal cliffs, wildflowers rioting through the country due to long sunlight hours – the summer crowds take over the Irish country. Summer, which runs from June to early September, is the peak travel season in Ireland! Depending on where you are, temperatures range from a balmy 60°F to 80°F during the day while sea temperatures average 59°F. What better weather to lounge on the beach or go on a cruise?
Summer elopements in Ireland produce gorgeous and bright wedding photos, perfectly capturing your excitement! The long hours of daylight from as early as 4:30AM to 11PM mean extra time outdoors, whether to capture that perfect photo or experience more exciting activities. As the Irish like to say, you’ll love the ‘grand stretch in the evenings!
Best yet, literature fans will have a blast at the Bloomsday Festival. If you’re hoping for an Edwardian-themed elopement, Dublin’s fancy dress celebration is the perfect place to be.
Fall Elopements in Ireland
Non-peak season yet exceedingly popular, fall in Ireland is yet another elopement favorite. Dropping into the 50s and 60s range, the chill is offset by just enough sunshine. Apples. Oysters. Wild mushrooms and other harvests make it forage season!
I’ve had plenty of clients dream about the crunch of fallen leaves; the countryside blooming in patches of russets and reds. And do they get the exact scenery they hoped for – an explosion of warm tones across the woodlands and mountains! I find it the best time for longer hikes, especially when you return to your lodgings and a crackling fireplace. Pair this with cheaper fares and it’s a dreamy, low-cost elopement.
Winter Elopements in Ireland
Winter Ireland elopements get the country to themselves! I actually recommend traveling during the winter if you prefer the slow life and an especially intimate elopement. Where live music and pub crawls dominate the weekdays during peak seasons, the winter months are a lot quieter in the week with upticks on the weekends. Heavy snowfall is rare so you can still go tromping through the woods! The moody atmosphere carries its own beauty – a beauty every photographer would love to capture.
Of course, alongside no crowds and cheap prices are much shorter sightseeing hours. You also risk the chilly, dreary weather that the highlands are known for, although the rural charm shines through in the evenings. It’s possible to retain a romantic vibe but we’ll have to plan for contingencies in case the weather takes a sharp turn. If you don’t want to risk your outdoor elopement, avoid the wettest months of December and January.
I tell my clients that eloping in Ireland is like stepping into a fairy ring – you never know what to expect! With relatively consistent weather (meaning random bouts of rainfall and sunshine) year-round, factors like hope-to-see landscapes and to-do’s will influence your date more. If you’re feeling indecisive, I can walk you through Plan Bs and Cs for the date you choose.
Best locations for eloping in Ireland
A country of magic and myths, Ireland is full of mystical spots for a truly unique elopement! Spread across 26 counties (and counting) are fairytale-like locations; many clustered along Northern Ireland’s dramatic coast.
- Dunluce Castle
The sprawling set of cliffs and castle backdrop is indescribably beautiful! Add in a dramatic sunset and it’s no wonder the medieval castle is one of the most popular elopement locations in Ireland. Mermaid’s Cove hidden beneath the castle is another idyllic, vow-worthy spot!
- Kinbane Head
To avoid the crowds and keep it you, your witnesses, and nature only – climb down the steps to the jutting ruins of Kinbane Castle. The rugged coastline contrasts with lush green grass to cast a wild and freeing vibe! There’s also a waterfall nearby for variety.
- Dunserverick Castle
The mossy hills that lead up to Dunserverick Castle ruins form a pocket of tranquility. Don’t worry about messing up your hair as the cliffs shelter you from the wind; it opens up low along the coast for a sense of freedom. A hidden gem that’s easy to access!
- Hamiltons Seat
Sunset elopement has never been more breathtaking than at Hamiltons Seat. I highly recommend this location for adventurous couples, as you’ll hike up to the clifftop at hundreds of feet above Giant’s Causeway. Imagine a romantic embrace with russet, layered cliffs behind you!
- The Dark Hedges
You don’t have to be a Game of Thrones fan to fall in love (again) at this featured ‘King’s Road’. Planted in the 18th century, stalwart beech trees have grown into an arch of tangled branches over the avenue. It’s a wedding arch you don’t have to pay for! Do come early during sunrise to avoid the tourists; Dunluce and Giants Causeway are nearby if you want a varied elopement shoot.
- Robert’s Cove
With so much coastline, surely Ireland offers beach elopements too? Robert’s Cove is a quaint village right by the water! The small, sheltered bay is surrounded by gentle hills for an intensely private ceremony. Once you’ve exchanged your vows, shed the wedding attire and jump straight into the water! You can also hit up the fern-laden Tracton Woods just a few kilometers away.
- Crosshaven House
For a luxurious indoor event, the elegant 18th-century Crosshaven House is perfect! White-washed stone walls, vaulted ceilings, and more Georgian livery make it super aesthetic. You can also head out to nearby Cork Harbor or Currabinny Woods for an outdoor touch. The versatile nature of this location is great for winter elopements in Ireland.
- Glengarriff Woods Nature Reserve
Country charms run strong in the heart of this reserve! The Glengarriff Lodge used to be a hunting lodge, but now the thatched cottage is an ideal rustic elopement location! The glass conservatory is especially stunning in the winter although there are plenty of outdoor options.
- Cliffs of Moher
Anyone eloping in Ireland would have considered Cliffs of Moher at one point! Perhaps the most famous location, this galactic cliff above the roaring Atlantic Ocean is an epic backdrop! Like the lifelong commitment you’re celebrating that day, the cliffs go on forever. But do dress in layers because it gets chilly along the edge.
- Corcomroe Abbey
Since Ireland experiences surprise bouts of rain, a safe and no less beautiful option in Clare County is Corcomroe Abbey. The ancient brick walls, arched altar hall and high country peeking through the windows form an intimate atmosphere. Some of my more risk-averse clients loved the compromise of shelter and outdoor space! Just 45 minutes from the Cliffs of Moher, you can plan for portraits at both places or keep the other as an alternative location!
- Mussenden Temple
Breaking away from the usual dramatic cliffs is the green, green, green of Derry’s Mussenden Temple. Looking down on Downhill Strand and the Atlantic Ocean, the 1785 rounded temple is an unusual lookout point! Do explore the area via the garden paths – there are more 18th-century ruins scattered around. If possible, you may even access the yellow-sanded beach below and dip your feet in cool water!
- The Slieve League Cliffs
You’ll never feel tinier than at Slieve League Cliffs! If you want to add some wilderness (and record-breaking) to your elopement, why not elope on some of Europe’s highest cliffs? You won’t even need background music; the crashing waves got you covered. Check out this Ireland Elopement in Donegal!
- The Howth Cliffs
If convenience is a big priority for you (calling all city-oriented people), then Howth Cliffs is a great compromise! Just 30 minutes from Dublin Airport and a little further from Dublin city center, you don’t have to wait any longer! Step out into nature with a comfortable hike, and be greeted with postcard-perfect views: Ireland’s Eye, Lambay Island, Baily Lighthouse and even Wicklow Mountains in the distance.
- Wicklow Mountains
Okay, Wicklow Mountains is technically part of Wicklow County but it is close enough to Dublin that I’d package them together! Leave the city behind to enter the Garden of Ireland – all the country views you can want when eloping in Ireland. There are countless hiking trails through the mountains, as well as milder treks that lead you to calm lakes like Glendalough or Lough Tay. Lakeside shoots are especially stunning during sunset; you can get some really playful photos out of it too! Check out this Ireland Elopement at the Wicklow Mountains!
- Menlo Castle
Draped in green livery, the open ruins of 16th-century Menlo Castle will fulfill those fairytale-wedding dreams! Nestled on the banks of River Corrib, you have plenty of ceremony locations – inside ivy-wrapped walls or by gentle waters. It’s an accessible 15 minutes trip out of Galway too!
- Killarney National Park
The 26,000-acre expanse of Killarney National Park is a reminder that life is full of possibilities! Hop from elopement to honeymoon adventures with lakes, waterfalls and mountain trails just steps away. From the ancient ruins of Muckross Abbey to a scenic point up high, eloping in Ireland has just gotten extra fun! Check out this Ireland Elopement near Killarney!
- Dingle Peninsula
Dingle Peninsula spoils you with choices – the diverse landscape and lively Dingle town make it the perfect elopement location! Spread out across the Wild Atlantic Way is spectacular views of Slea Head. Dunquin Pier is an alternative photoshoot location thanks to its triangular rocks; Minard Castle’s beautiful ruins will put you right along the coastal edge. All of these offer dynamic photo ops! Make sure to round off your elopement day with some live music at Dingle’s cozy pubs.
- Conor Pass
Whimsical and often buffed with mist, Conor Pass is perhaps the most scenic (and dramatic!) way of crossing into Dingle Peninsula. It’s a tiny gravel road that takes you to the peak – while it might be scary for some; the views are completely worth it! As a photographer, I love it for wider portrait shots!
- Loughcrew Estate
For something a tad more bohemian, Loughcrew Estate offers up a sweet swathe of gardens! Cairns and ancient yews make strong frames for photos; the secluded estate also means utmost privacy. As for the ceremony itself, the St. Oliver Plunkett’s Family Church ruins are perfect! Part open roof and part shade, the little bits of nature peeking into the structure create a homey but elegant vibe.
- Killyon Manor
Following the bohemian theme, Killyon Manor is another enchanted forest setting. The leaf-strewn woodlands around the estate add a rustic touch, as do the ruins within it! You have 60-acres of elopement location to choose from, including an old pigeon house, ballroom, and library full of knick-knacks!
Things to Do for your Ireland Elopement
There are plenty of things to do when eloping in Ireland, catering to both city and outdoorsy couples.
1. Explore national parks – hiking is a must!
Burren National Park, Killarney National Park, Connemara National Park – these are all doorways to another world! Dynamic terrains call out to adventurous spirits; prepare to hike, mountaineer, go camping and explore the wild. Better yet, host your elopement in one of these amazing national parks so you can jump straight into your honeymoon after!
2. Coastal walks
Take advantage of Ireland’s island status and go for a coastal walk! Even if your ceremony isn’t held at the Cliffs of Moher, make it a point to visit these plunging cliffs. The path from Doolin will walk you through farmlands at 214 meters above sea level! Alternatively, Mizen Head leads you around the jagged cliffs to the Fog Signal Station.
3. Experience the major cities like Dublin, Galway, and Belfast
Festivals, pubs, and everything urban; exploring Ireland’s major cities is a must! If you had to choose one, I highly recommend visiting Dublin. From the famous red-framed Temple Bar to Croke Parke and a city-wide Edwardian literary festival, this capital city has it all! And – if you’ve dreamed of libraries where the books act as literal pillars – definitely drop by Trinity College and the Book of Kells.
4. Road tripping through the country
You might not have enough time to visit every Irish county, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try! Rent a car and road trip through Ireland to try and capture as much of its natural beauty as possible.
5. Jeep tours
Alternatively, sign up for jeep tours to drive deep into the country with a knowledgeable guide beside you. Learn about the history behind the green fields and stone walls, the small villages and abandoned castles. Going off-road is the best way to experience Ireland!
6. Do a themed tour
Okay, but which tour should you join? If you’re a fan of notable series such as Game of Thrones or Star Wars, you’re in luck! Ireland’s stunning landscapes offer up boundless film sets – exactly what these iconic titles have maximized on. Visit places that you’ve only seen on TV and vlog your own show!
7. Boat rides
I cannot stress enough the beauty and sheer scale of Ireland’s coast! Hop on a boat to fully experience the coastline!
8. Festival fun
If you time your trip right, you’ll have the honor of enjoying an Irish festival. There’s honestly a festival for everything: Lisdoonvarna (for matchmaking), St. Patrick’s (go green!), Puck Fair (wild goats), Galway Oyster Festival (fresh seafood), The Rose of Tralee (young ladies being crowned), Galway Arts Festival (all about arts) and many more!
What to wear for Eloping in Ireland
With Ireland being perpetually rainy (although it’s rarely heavy or long), you definitely want to be prepared for rain! But don’t worry; you can definitely work the right gear into your elopement outfit.
1. Wedding Attire
As the most beautiful outdoor locations tend to require a hike, brides will want their dresses to be both pretty and practical! Match the fairytale settings with flowing skirts or lightweight styles – lacy materials will add an elegant touch to the picture. You could also opt for shorter skirts instead of long trains, and really let the camera capture that swish and flick!
Likewise, the groom can relax his attire a little. A tweed suit or vest over shirt combination looks smart but relaxed! Too many patterns and you’ll disappear into the backdrop. Sometimes simple outfits are the loudest ones.
Why not embrace the rain and have fun with it? Add a pop of color with wellies under your dress and bring some youthful energy into your photos! You don’t want to be caught out by unpredictable weather after all. Or, if you’ll be hiking a fair distance to the ceremony location, wear comfy sneakers and switch them out for formal shoes at the end. I suggest packing options and letting the weather decide for you.
Ireland isn’t particularly cold but wind chill could be a factor! Do pack the right outerwear, especially if you’re visiting in the winter. Homey items like woolen scarves, shawls or even a knitted blanket could keep to the Irish theme while keeping you toasty!
Ireland Elopement Photographer
Hopefully, this has opened your eyes to why eloping in Ireland is such an anticipated experience! Everything from the incredible scenery to the fun pubs and unique experiences you won’t regret eloping in Ireland!
If you’re looking for someone to guide you through putting together your dream Ireland Elopement I got you covered!! I would be stoked to help you and capture such an incredible day for you! You can >>CONTACT ME<< and let’s get started!! Want more information?! View my Ireland Elopement Packages here!
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