So you are ready to tie the knot and are thinking of doing something special to celebrate the Big Day, why not consider taking the whole thing to Ireland. You will be surprised just how much sense it makes after you read our 8 great reasons to get married in Ireland. You could go to an Irish wedding and make it your own!
Great Flight Connections
It has never been easier or cheaper to get to Ireland from the US. The Irish national carrier, Aer Lingus, offers direct flights to many American cities including, New York, San Francisco, Boston and Chicago. In addition, American carriers, United, American Airlines fly direct to both Dublin and Shannon airport near Limerick, offering plenty of affordable and convenient options. If you are flying all the way to Ireland, you may as well consider visiting another European country en route. Flying from America, you can get great deals to Ireland flying through Amsterdam, Paris or London.
If you are dreaming of the perfect backdrop for our wedding photographs, consider having a whole country to choose from. Regardless of whether you fly into Dublin or Shannon, you are never more than a short drive from spectacular locations. The splendid isolation of Lough Dan of the iconic landscape of Glendalough are just forty minutes drive from Dublin.
Many venues further south or west are found within spectacular surrounds, so you don’t even have to leave the venue to get your perfect shot. Ashford Castle, or Parknasilla Hotel spring to mind.
The Wild Atlantic Way
Are you ready for a road trip. The spectacular west coast of Ireland now has its own coastal drive called the Wild Atlantic Way. Meandering along the west coast from the Inishowen Peninsula in north County Donegal all the way to Kinsale in County Cork on the south coast. The route is over 2,500 km long, so you can drop on or off anywhere you wish. Experience secluded beaches, soaring cliffs, and lively towns and cities along the way. You will not be disappointed.
Hiking in Connemara, a pint in Galway or a secluded getaway on the Ring of Kerry, you can use the route to plan the perfect honeymoon.
Okay, Ireland is not France with haute cuisine, or Italy with pizza and pasta. When we think of great culinary traditions, Ireland does not immediately spring to mind. Don’t let the absence of a tradition of rich cuisine fool you, today’s Ireland is a foodie’s heaven.
Irish grass-fed beef and mountain lamb is the best in the world. And if you happen to be near any of Ireland’s fishing ports, you might be treated to excellent fresh seafood straight off the fishing boats. Cheap foreign travel and a more diverse population has expanded the range of food culture in Ireland and broadened the tastes and expectations of Irish diners.
‘Beef or Salmon’ used to be the common refrain at every wedding reception in Ireland. Until quite recently, overcooked meat or fish with boiled vegetables on the side was the only expectation for a wedding meal. In recent years, the quality and variation in menu options available at Irish weddings has really evolved. Venues cater their offering to suit the style and tastes of the wedding couple. From Michelin-starred fine dining to festival-style buffet. The options are limitless.
Gone are the trays of cocktail sausages at midnight, replaced with woodfired 00 pizza. Many Irish weddings now feature an array of food trucks, on hand to serve up fresh ice cream, fish and chips, or chilled champagne festival style!
Great Country House and Castle Venues
Weddings in Ireland are big business. With Irish couples spending over €23,000 on average on the big day, it is no surprise to find a range of exceptional venues catering to their every need. Of course, there are the famous hotels like Ashford Castle and Dromland Castle that provide a traditional Irish welcome. Most have kept their stars by moving with the times and adding world-class spa facilities.
There are also a host of dedicated wedding venues that have sprung up over the past twenty years. Many are not too far from Dublin in neighboring Meath or Wicklow and with excellent surroundings, accommodation and food, offer a top-notch wedding experience.
Great City Wedding Venues
A wedding in Ireland does not need to be a summer event. Off peak winter weekends offer great value though out the country. There is great romance to a having a wedding in a city venue with the city itself as a backdrop. Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Cork are packed full of pretty churches and charming venues. There is no shortage of instagram-worthy photo opportunities. And you can enjoy exploring the town in search of some live music, a warm fire and a creamy pint.
You can explore some more unusual options like the stunning atmosphere of the crypt under Christchurch Cathedral, or dine on a barge as it travels through the locks of the Grand Canal.
Irish Wedding Tradition
Irish culture takes weddings very seriously indeed. In west coast counties like Donegal and Mayo, It is not unusual to have more than 250 guests invited, after all you just have to invite the local parish hurling team. Brides often find out from their mothers that they have invite obligations to people they have never met.
In recent times, Irish weddings have stretched into two or even three-day affairs. With a get-together on the night before for a few drinks and a barbecue on the day after the big day. Weddings are big commitment for all involved. With all this effort, it is not surprising to find an industry of dedicated venues and an army of professional staff to cater to your every whim.
You can even incorporate some traditional Celtic wedding traditions into your wedding ceremony. Get back to your roots with a Celtic handfasting ceremony or commemorate your wedding with handmade Claddagh wedding rings.
A foreign wedding will be a lot of fun
Of course Ireland is a great place to visit, but to choose it as your wedding destination creates a foreign adventure for you and all your guests to experience. Give your guests plenty of time to plan a holiday around your wedding and enjoy the build up to the big day as the excitement builds. Getting married far from home creates an experience and memories that will last a lifetime and give your guests plenty to chat about too.
Don’t forget, as a foreign destination Ireland is a safe bet. Crime is low, English is spoken and Starbucks are everywhere, so you are not asking your guests to step too far out of their comfort zones. Last but not least, you will be sure to receive a great Irish welcome wherever in the country you decide to go.
Some of Our Favorite Wedding Venues in Ireland
We have been selling Celtic wedding rings for over 20 years so are very familiar with the wedding scene in Ireland. If you are looking for some extra inspiration, we list (in no particular order) some of our favorite wedding venues in Ireland.
Ballinacurra House, Kinsale, Co. Cork
This country manor house is nestled on a hillside just outside the gourmet capital of Ireland, with sweeping views over the Bandon River. Having attended a wedding there, we can attest to the wonderful attention to detail and sumptuous food. The late night rum bar was a real hit! The property offers 22 suites, each uniquely themed.
The Mill House, Slane, Co. Meath
This restored Georgian manor house is a dedicated wedding venue situated along the banks of the river Boyne, just 40 minutes from Dublin. Stylish and intimate, with a focus on locally-sourced food the house has fifteen rooms and can cater for up to 240 guests. Think cut stone, exposed brick and rustic charm on a riverside setting. We have only ever heard superlatives about this place.
Ballyfin Demesne, County Laois
Awarded the Best Hotel in The World award by Condé Nast in 2016, this place is so hot right now that unless private jet is your preferred mode of transport, you can scratch this off your list. Even then, be prepared to wait about three years for an open booking. Restored to perfection, Ballyfin is a luxurious experience. Without leaving the grounds, your guests will enjoy, falconry, boating, fishing and tennis. Relax in the spa and of course have a Michelin star meal served up.
Clonabreany House, Co. Meath
Out in the verdant plains of County Meath, the dedicated wedding venue at Clonabreany House is worthy of consideration. This restored Georgian estate offers tailor-made boutique weddings. Catering for up to 220 guests with accommodation for 90, you can lose yourself at this beautiful venue.
No. 25 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2.
If you want all the romance without the fuss, a city-centre location might just be the perfect spot. A short walk from Stephen’s Green and not far from the Registry Office on Grand Canal Street, 25 Fitzwilliam Place is at the heart of convenience. This lovingly restored Georgian townhouse offers an intimate and elegant environment for up to 60 guests.
Cahernane House Hotel, County Kerry
Nestling in a parkland setting by the Lakes of Killarney, the location of this stunning Manor House is hard to beat. This is a beautiful, intimate venue that can serve seventy guests. With the lake and mountains as a backdrop, there is no shortage of stunning photo opportunities. It is located just outside Killarney, so there is plenty of craic agus ceoil on hand for your guests to enjoy.