Holidays in Ireland by Sawday's
Holidays in Ireland are diverse and thrilling. You can go from hiking the eerie limestone landscape of The Burren, to whale-watching in the Atlantic and tasting your way along a food trail in the course of a single day.
On a trip with so much character, you should stay somewhere special too. We’ve personally inspected every one of our hotels, inns, B&Bs and holiday homes in Ireland, making sure you’ll find a place that gives you a genuine experience of the country’s unique warmth and charm.
Places to stay in Ireland
Explore Ireland your way. Our collection includes self-catering cottages on the shores of lakes, grand country house B&Bs on forested estates, and friendly hotels in the heart of lively towns. You’ll get a warm welcome, along with local tips, whether from guide books or friendly staff, that will set you up well for a memorable experience.
Our favourite destinations in Ireland
Ireland is bigger than you think and the winding roads can eat up your holiday time. As with many trips, it’s better to pick a couple of regions and explore more fully than to try and cover a whole country in one go. Here are some of our favourite spots.
Boardwalks and trails wind through the soft hills of the Connemara National Park and there are tiny places on the Aran islands where you can sample the local cuisine and meet the resident dolphins. Roundstone village has the legendary pub O’Dowd’s.
Dublin is one of the world’s liveliest cities, but the surrounding county is also lovely to explore. Visit the Brú na Bóinne tombs, that predate Stonehenge, the Wicklow mountains just over the border or the pier at DunLaoghaire, where you can catch a boat across the bay to Howth.
Stunning drives along the Dingle Peninsula, the famous Ring of Kerry or over Healey Pass, and hiking in Macgillycuddy’s Reeks, Ireland’s highest mountains. Superb seafood is a speciality too, with fresh catch served all down the coast in front of dramatic Atlantic views.
Some of the best whale watching in Europe, Blue Flag beaches and the chance to walk the Sheep’s Head Way all down the jagged peninsula of the same name. There are world famous Chamber Music and Literary festivals in Bantry too, for more relaxed adventurers.
Hike in the incredible peace of the Glenveagh National Park, or take the famous coast road to the lonely sight of the Fanad Lighthouse. Take in the drama of Slieve League, the highest sea cliffs in Europe or make a day trip over to the Giant’s Causeway.
Sea kayaking, paddle boarding and hiking all down the Hook Peninsula. Cycling across viaducts on the 46km of the off-road Waterford Greenway and visits to beautiful gardens, the Kennedy Homestead or Loftus Hall, Ireland’s most haunted house.
Boat trips around Clew Bay to catch fresh mackerel or just take in the scenery, the Mulrany Greenway running along the old railway from Westport to Achill Island and a scramble up to the views from holy mountain Croagh Patrick.
You can’t really go wrong in Ireland. The landscape runs from mountains and forested National Parks inland to stunning coastal cliffs via the eerie karst of Co. Clare’s Burren. The food is amazing everywhere and the people are delighted to show you around.
Our favourite holidays in Ireland
If you only have a couple of days, are desperate to be by the sea or need to make sure the kids or the dog will have plenty of space to run around and things to chew on, take a look at our special collections.
- There’s so much space. A few more famous locations are crowded, but ask around and you’ll find some secluded spots with very few tourists
- They’ve perfected the art of the pub – simple, warm and full of character
- The seafood is superb and often served within sight of where it was caught, so you can eat as fresh as it gets
- Music flows through its culture, getting into your head and your heart wherever you go
- It has everything: adventure, culture, history, wildlife. It can be several holidays at once.
- Travel the Wild Atlantic Way, the long route linking hundreds of stunning spots all down the west coast
- Explore the Greenways – cycle routes picked out along old railway lines, crossing viaducts and valleys on car free paths
- Take to the sea for some of the best whale watching in Europe or hang out with the local dolphins in Inisheer and Dingle
- Visit The Burren, a unique limestone karst landscape that bursts into wildflower colour in spring
- Eat and drink! There are numerous food trails and festivals, hundreds of local rivals to Guinness and a wealth of salty, earthy specialities to savour.
After a visit to Ireland earlier this year we got to explore the beautiful Wild Atlantic Way, a 2,500km coastal and cultural adventure split into six sections. This is our guide to our favourite places, so you can start planning your next road trip!