Romantic Getaways in Ireland

The Emerald Isle, the land of saints and scholars, the Éire—no matter what you call it, there's no denying Ireland is one of Europe's most romantic destinations. It's filled with rolling hills, craggy mountains, and sparkling waters, and it has a rich Celtic history that can be found in the ancient sites and Medieval castles. But with 32 counties and an array of cities and villages, it can be difficult to choose a spot for your couple's retreat. Check out these most charming locales for your getaway to Ireland:

Kinsale

Kinsale Bed and Breakfast

Situated about 15 miles outside of Cork, Kinsale is among the most beautiful cities in the country. Guests can stay in a Kinsale bed and breakfast with views of this quaint village, speckled with old Georgian and Victorian homes and nestled between green hills and River Bandon. The region is known for its cuisine, and there are a wide variety of traditional eateries to choose from, such as Man Friday, Fishy Fishy Cafe, Bulman Bar & Restaurant, and Muddy Maher's Pub.

Kinsale was originally established as a port town and later became home to two forts to protect it from enemies coming in from the sea. It's the site of the 1601 Siege of Kinsale that led to the end of Gaelic rule in Ireland. Guests can learn about this military heritage at the Charles Fort, which was erected in the 1670s and is now home to ruins and exhibitions that reveal the difficulties of life for soldiers in the 18th and 19th centuries. Other historic sites include the Desmond Castle, Saint Multose Church, and Garden of Remembrance.

Dublin

Dublin Bed and Breakfast

Nearly one-third of the Emerald Isle's population calls this metropolis home, and it's the most visited destination in Ireland. It has a unique Viking and Celtic heritage that's showcased through a multitude of attractions, including the National Museum of Ireland, Kilmainham Gaol, Saint Patrick's Theater, and Old Library. You and your guest can also survey the city's love for fine art at the renowned National Gallery , which contains a stunning collection of Irish masterpieces and works by other Europeans, such as Caravaggio, Titian, and Jack B. Yeats.

Stay at a Dublin inn and take advantage of the exciting local nightlife. Start with dinner at one of the many Irish restaurants. Fade Street Social, for instance, is headed by famed chef Dylan McGrath, and it's divided into two separate eateries—a gastro pub in the front and a more upscale dining room in the rear (reservations are generally required.) Afterward, head to the Abbey or Gaiety theaters for a show, then move on to an authentic Irish pub such as The Celt or Peadar Kearney's. Don't miss the Guinness Storehouse, which offers tours and contains the beloved Gravity Bar, an outdoor pub located on the top of the building and offering striking views.


County Donegal

County Donegal Bed and Breakfast

For a more intimate experience in Ireland, stay in a Donegal bed and breakfast . This county is one of the more remote areas in the nation and is undeniably romantic. The destination is also known for pristine beaches with brilliant waters, as well as the inviting and lovable local people. Many consider their accents to be the most delightful in the nation; residents greet visitors with warm welcomes and a round at the pub.

Many come to visit the two fortresses from the Middle Ages located here. Glenveagh Castle was modeled after the famous Balmoral Castle, and guests can take a guided, 30-minute tour of the site to find an abundance of taxidermy pieces made by previous owner Henry McIlhenny as well as vibrantly decorated rooms such as the pink striped room that Greta Garbo stayed in when she visited. Donegal Castle is the other popular stronghold, dating back to 1474 but rebuilt in 1623 former owner Rory O'Donnell set fire to it when fleeing from the English. Other top attractions include the Diamond Obelisk, Slieve League, Grianán of Aileách, and Dunfanaghy Workhouse.


Galway City

Galway Bed and Breakfast

Often known as the "City of the Tribes," a reference to the 14 elite families who were in charge of the city from the 13th through 16th centuries, Galway City is a lively locale. Galway City B&B guests will notice that many of the landmarks and streets throughout town are named after these "tribes," such as the D'arcy, Skerritt, and Athy families. One romantic aspect of Galway's heritage is the old tradition of the Claddagh Ring—couples wear them with the heart on the inside to show that they are committed to their significant others, while singles wear it with the heart on the outside to signify that they haven't found love yet.

Galway attracts visitors with its picturesque scenery and relics from the Middle Ages. The Hall of the Red Earls, Spanish Arch, and Eyre Square are among some of the many sites that can expose you to the area's history. But you don't have to take a trip to an historic landmark to experience the rustic charm - just take a pleasant stroll to find authentic pubs that serve Guinness the proper way (between 38 and 41 degrees Fahrenheit and poured at a 45-degree angle) and restaurants that cook up traditional Irish fare. You may even see performers playing old Celtic songs in the streets.

Burren

Burren Ireland bed and Breakfast

Located in County Clare, Burren is home to the Cliffs of Moher.In fact, the name "Burren" roughly translates to "stony place." The Cliffs have been around since the ice age and have gone mostly unspoilt by humans, it's easy to see why this is one of the nation's most beloved geological features. But it's also an archaeological site; there's evidence that people lived here nearly 6,000 years ago. Those who hike the peaks get breathtaking views that extend as far as the Galway Bay.

After settling into a County Clare inn and exploring the magnificent Cliffs of Moher, head out for more archeological explorations. Check out the extensive system of caves near Doolin, then take a trip to the Carron to visit Cahercommaun, an 8th-century fort that once belonged to area hunters. After that, grab a bite to eat at one of the local hot spots, such as McGanns (which also hosts live music), Inchiquin Inn, or Linnane's Seafood Bar.

Limerick

Limerick bed and Breakfast

Set in the lovely Shannon region, Limerick is situated along the river bank. The city looks out over the magnificent King John's Castle , which was erected at the beginning of the 13th century but mostly contains remnants that point back to noble life in the 16th century. Limerick bed and breakfast guests can explore this and other historic sites, such as Saint Mary's Cathedral, Treaty Stone, and Bishop's Palace.

You don't have to be a history buff to enjoy your romantic excursion to Limerick. There are plenty of nightlife attractions—sit down for a drink at White House Pub, South's, or Locke Bar before catching a show at Dolan's, a live music venue located on Dock Road, or the University Concert Hall at the University of Limerick. One of the most beloved entertainment spots is Trinity Rooms, a massive night club in the heart of the city that's housed in a riverfront building that dates back three centuries.