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Complete Ireland Elopement Guide: Best Places to Elope + More

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I recently went to Ireland for the first time and fell head over heels in love with it—I’m literally ready to pack up my bags and move across the world. Anyone wanna come with?? Or wanna elope in Ireland and bring me with you? 😉 I hope so, cause this is a full Ireland elopement guide to help you plan your magical Emerald Isle adventure! I guarantee you’ll be as obsessed with this breathtaking country as I am by the end of this guide and that you’ll be looking for flights ASAP. *cue Galway Girl by Ed Sheeran*

Where is Ireland?

Before we get into all the deets to help you plan your Ireland elopement, let’s have a quick geography lesson!! Ireland is a western-European island in the North Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of England and Wales. It’s actually separated into two parts: the Republic of Ireland, which takes up about 80% of the island, and then Northern Island, which makes up the northern 20%-ish. Kinda confusing, but there are basically two Irelands on the island of, well, Ireland! 

How to get to Ireland

There are 5 international airports in Ireland: 

Dublin Airport is the most popular and has the most international flights, so I’d recommend flying into Dublin unless you’re eloping somewhere that’s closer to another airport. When I talk about locations a little later in this guide, I’ll make sure to give you the airport that’s best to fly into for each one!

How to travel around Ireland

I recommend traveling via car in Ireland so that you can go anywhere, on your own time, and not have to rely on any sort of public transportation! And you’ll DEFINITELY want the freedom to take your time driving along all the scenic highways as you explore the island. There are pretty much two options for this: either hire a car/private driver, or rent your own car.

If you want to rent a car and drive yourselves around in Ireland, here are the most important things to know:

  • If you have a US, Canada, or EU driver’s license, you can drive in Ireland without getting an International Driver’s Permit!
  • You’ll need to have third-party insurance to rent a car in Ireland; credit card-issued insurance doesn’t count.
  • Ireland drives on the left side of the road!
  • Most rental cars in Ireland are stick shift, so make sure that you and/or your boo are okay with manual driving.
  • The majority of Ireland is very rural, so watch for wildlife as you drive and be prepared for traffic from farm vehicles such as tractors.

Why Elope in Ireland?

Tbh I doubt you’ll need any convincing once you’ve seen all the photos in this guide, but let me just tell you that the landscapes in Ireland are UNREAL. Seriously, they’re unlike anything I’ve ever seen and I am dying to go back already to explore them more. The dramatic seaside cliffs, lush, rolling green hills, bright wildflowers, sparkling lakes, rugged coastlines, and ancient ruins are not only absolutely breathtaking, but also brimming with so many legends and history that makes everything super mystical + magical. You’ve probs seen the epic landscapes of Ireland more than you even know, being that it’s been featured in a TON of popular movies and shows over the years including Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and The Princess Bride!

The Irish government + people do a really good job of conserving and protecting the stunning open landscapes of Ireland and leaving them fairly undeveloped, which is why there is so much incredible nature + rural life to experience. Honestly, it’s impossible to see all the magic of Ireland in just a week or two when you elope, so you’ll have a great excuse to come back for annual anniversary trips or maybe a vow renewal in the future 😉

In addition to its picturesque landscapes literally everywhere you look, Ireland also has amazing cities, culture, and things to do! Whether you wanna explore ancient castles, walk around the vibrant cities and drink Guiness, go hiking through the most remote parts of the country, or all of the above, you will have NO shortage of amazing activities to add to your Ireland elopement itinerary. Since I just visited for the first time, I can give you all my top reccs and our fave things that we did!

6 Most Breathtaking Ireland Elopement Locations

1. Dunluce Castle

Closest airport: Belfast Airport

Best time of year to elope: Open year-round; visit during November-March to avoid crowds

Permits/passes needed: £6 admission fee

Dunluce Castle was one of my favorite spots that we visited on our trip to Ireland, sitting right on the edge of a cliff overlooking the North Country Antrim coast. It’s this super cool medieval castle in Northern Ireland that you can access via a bridge, and it was abandoned back in 1690—so it’s mostly ruins at this point. Since then, it’s become a pretty popular tourist destination, especially since its jagged cliffs and rugged coastline landscapes were featured in Game of Thrones. It’s also only about a 12-minute drive from both the Giant’s Causeway and Dunseverick Castle, so it’s easy to add to your itinerary if you’re already planning to hit up those two hotspots! There’s not much parking at the castle itself, but you can check Magheracross Car Park about a 10 minute walk away.

2. Giant’s Causeway

Closest airport: Belfast Airport

Best time of year to elope: Late spring or early autumn to avoid crowds; summer for the warmest weather/least wind

Permits/passes needed: None, unless you want to park at the visitors center

The Giant’s Causeway is one of the most iconic and well-known places in Ireland, located on the coast of Northern Ireland. Famous for its enormous basalt columns, dramatic coastline scenery, bright green grass, and massive basalt stones, the Giant’s Causeway was formed nearly 60 million years ago, when Ireland was actually still attached to North America. Since then, volcanic eruptions, erosion, and glacial formations have created the epic scenery you see today, producing all sorts of cracks, molten rock, and lava that caused the whopping 40,000 basalt columns to form. It’s honestly one of the most wild places I’ve ever seen, it’s no wonder the Causeway has become such an Instagrammable spot! Definitely try to arrive as early as you can to get a little privacy before all the tours show up from cities like Dublin and Belfast. Dunseverick Castle is another stunning spot just a 6 minute drive from the Causeway that you should def visit!

3. Dark Hedges

Closest airport: Belfast Airport

Best time of year to elope: Spring or fall to avoid crowds

Permits/passes needed: None

Another Game of Thrones film location coming at ya! The Dark Hedges is this crazyyy beautiful avenue of beech trees along Bregagh Road in Northern Ireland, which were planted way back in 1775. They form this really gorgeous tunnel along the road that look super magical + create such an enchanting atmosphere, especially if it’s overcast and foggy out—there’s a legend that the hedges are haunted by a spirit called the Grey Lady, so it can get kinda spooky! 😉 It’s easy to get to the Dark Hedges by car as it’s just a short detour off of the Causeway Coastal Route, and there’s a free parking lot you can park in. 

4. Cliffs of Moher

Closest airport: Shannon Airport

Best time of year to elope: Spring or fall to avoid crowds

Permits/passes needed: €12 parking fee per person

Now onto what’s probably the most well-known location on this list, the Cliffs of Moher! Named one of the top “selfie destinations” in the world, the Cliffs of Moher are these massive limestone sea cliffs located on the West Clare coast of Ireland. They’ve been featured in all sorts of movies, and the view from the top of the cliffs is definitely one of the most recognized in the world. Because sooo many people come to the Cliffs of Moher to experience the scenery for themselves, I recommend arriving early in the morning or later in the evening if you want to avoid the biggest crowds—plus, sunrise and sunset are both magical across the coastal headlands!

5. Kinbane Castle

Closest airport: Belfast Airport

Best time of year to elope: Late spring through early fall

Permits/passes needed: None

Kinbane Castle is a hidden gem in Northern Ireland’s County Antrim, located on a headland just off the Causeway Coastal Route. Because of how isolated and remote the castle ruins are, you typically won’t run into as many crowds here as you would places like the Giant’s Causeway and Cliffs of Moher, and the views of the cliffs + limestone are just as stunning! Kinbane Castle is only accessible by car, with a small parking lot available at the end of the dirt road leading to the castle. Definitely a great spot to visit if you’re looking for peace and quiet and if you’ll be driving by to get to other locations anyway!

6. Doonagore Castle

Closest airport: Shannon Airport

Best time of year to elope: Late spring through early fall

Permits/passes needed: None

Finally, Doonagore Castle is a privately-owned castle that towers over Doolin Point, located on the oceanfront in County Clare about an eight minute drive from the Cliffs of Moher. Because it’s not a public castle you sadly can’t go inside, but you can take in the gorgeous views from around the castle itself! It takes about 20 minutes to walk from Fisher Street to the main viewpoint, which is the best way to go since there’s nowhere to park at the castle. Even though you can’t go inside, the bright green landscapes around it + the ocean views are sooo dreamy!

Best Time of Year to Elope in Ireland

While the best time for you to elope in Ireland will definitely depend on what you want to do + the places you want to visit, generally the best time of year for an Ireland elopement is during the shoulder seasons, between around April-May and September-October! Summer in Ireland is beautiful, with longer days, more light, and stunning scenery, but it gets superrrr crowded since that’s when most tourists visit. If you’re down for slightly chillier temperatures, I’d recommend eloping in the shoulder seasons when there are fewer crowds and there are still plenty of opportunities to explore outdoors! Spring also brings gorgeous wildflowers, and travel costs will be significantly lower during these seasons versus the peak summer season.

How to Legally Get Married in Ireland

Time for the legal stuff! Here’s what you need to know about legally getting married in Ireland as foreigners.

Ireland Marriage FAQ’s

Can US citizens elope in Ireland?

Yes! You can get married in Ireland if you’re a US citizen as long as you follow the proper legal process.

If you’d rather not have to go through the prettycomplex steps to getting a legal marriage license in Ireland, you can opt for a symbolic marriage ceremony instead: this means you’d get your marriage license in your home country before you leave, and then have a purely symbolic ceremony in Ireland instead. It’s a great alternative if you don’t want to have to worry about all the foreign legal stuff, and it honestly just makes things way easier!

What are the marriage laws in Ireland?

Whether you’re and Irish citizen or not, you need to notify the Registrar about your intent to get married at least 3 months before your wedding day. The catch: you have to do this in person. So if you do want to legally get married in Ireland instead of having a symbolic ceremony, you’d have to travel to Ireland at least 3 months before you elope (unless you manage to get an exemption) in order to do so, which is kind of a hassle! Other than that, you need to be at least 18 years old and able to consent to marriage. Same sex marriages ARE allowed in Ireland!

How quickly can you get married in Ireland?

Not very quickly, since you have to give that 3 months notice at a Civil Registration Service in person. So it’s not somewhere you can just choose to elope at the last minute, unless you want to have only a symbolic ceremony and then get legally married later and/or in your home country.

How much does it cost to get married in Ireland?

If you do decide to get legally married in Ireland, the legal and paperwork costs amount to around €220, which you pay directly to the Registrar’s Office.

Ireland Elopement Permits

In addition to having the proper documentation to elope in Ireland (if you want to legally tie the knot there), you’ll need to pay any necessary entrance fees, parking fees, and permit fees at the locations you want to visit! Some of the most popular tourist locations have parking fees or require you to buy tickets in advance, and certain parks (such as Killarney National Park) may require you and/or your photographer to obtain a special permit. Make sure you do your research on this advance so you’re prepared + can add these costs into your budget!

10 Epic Ireland Elopement Activities + Ideas

Looking to check off all the most popular Ireland bucket list items? Here are 10 amazing activities to add to your trip besides the locations I already mentioned earlier in this guide!

1. Explore all the pubs in Dublin

2. Check out the Connemara Peninsula

3. Drive along the Causeway Coast

4. Drink some Guinness!

5. Drive the Ring of Kerry

6. Visit Killarney National Park

7. Go to as many castles as you can

8. Stay at a bed & breakfast for an authentic Irish experience

9. See the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle

10. Wander the charming streets of Galway

Ireland Elopement Photographer

Soooo are you ready to elope in Ireland and go on the most magical, mystical, enchanting adventures through these wild landscapes?! I wanna show you all the amazing places we want! Let’s start dreaming up your trip together!


Want more dreamy international elopement inspo? Here are some blogs I think you’ll love!

How to Elope in the Dolomites | Ultimate Guide

Where to Elope in the Dolomites, Italy: Top 10 Locations

Places in the PNW That Look Like Iceland

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