Elopements are fast becoming a popular alternative to the ‘traditional’ way couples get married or do their vow renewal. Since the opening of Peach Perfect Weddings in 2014, over 60% of our couples chose to elope to Ireland over the hassle of executing a big event. The ever-green landscape, rich history, warm culture and a accommodating marriage laws for foreigners makes Ireland an ideal country for eloping… even despite the rainy weather!
With so many stunning locations to get married at, how do you choose just one? To give you some inspiration and ideas for your own elopement in Ireland, we’d love to share with our favourite and most popular places to elope and small wedding venues in Ireland. And yes, we have elopement packages in Ireland or can organise a completely bespoke elopement at any of these locations.
Cliffs of Moher & O’Brien’s Tower
The Cliffs of Moher is undoubtedly the most popular place for elopements and counts to one of the most scenic and unusual wedding venues in Ireland. And why wouldn’t it be? The setting is remarkable and the breathtaking photos speak for themselves. The Cliffs are situated on the west coast of Ireland in County Clare and are suitable for legally binding wedding ceremonies held outside O’Brien’s Tower.
Being one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country, The Cliffs of Moher welcomes over one million tourists each year. Hence, it isn’t be best choice of location for those couples seeking a private elopement ceremony like this one that we handled before. If however, a crowd of curious onlookers doesn’t phase you, then an elopement or intimate wedding on the Cliffs of Moher is truly a unique and magical experience.
The best time to marry in the Cliffs of Moher (in terms of how busy the site will be, as well as weather considerations) is on the cusp of the tourist season, from mid-April to early May and late September to early October. If eloping in the summer time, consider a late afternoon or evening ceremony to avoid the site’s busiest hours.
Tip: Make sure to also check our blog post on 28 Top Picks for Accommodation near the Cliffs of Moher to find the best places to stay for your Cliffs of Moher wedding!
Moher Tower at Hag’s Head
Hag’s Head marks the most southerly point of the Cliff of Moher and is the end of the Cliffs of Moher Walking Trail. However, due to the distance between both locations and the restricted access to Moher Tower (the landmark of Hag’s Head), we have chosen to include it as a separate elopement location of its own.
Access to Moher Tower at Hag’s Head can be gained on foot, by walking 1.1 km from the designated car park. For those not wishing to walk, the tower can be accessed directly by car – via the local farmer’s private road – for a small fee.
So why choose the Hag’s Head location over The Cliffs of Moher? Firstly, it offers closer access to the spectacular cliff edge, making for even more breathtaking wedding photographs. And most importantly, Hag’s Head has a slightly lower footfall than the official Cliffs of Moher visitor’s site. Meaning you will have fewer eyes on you during the ceremony. Similar to the main Cliffs of Moher site, best time of year to elope to Hag’s Head is April-May and September-October.
Muckross Abbey in Killarney National Park
Muckross Abbey is an old abbey ruin located in the heart of Killarney National Park in County Kerry. In it’s inner courtyard surrounded by cloisters, the Abbey houses an ancient yew tree. This elopement location is perfect for couples who wish to get married in a historic monument. And even though the Abbey is not consecrated, it offers a great compromise between a civil and religious wedding.
The park itself spreads out over 25,425 acres of land and contains a variety of awe-inspiring features such as Ross Castle, Muckross House with it’s beautiful gardens, a second castle in ruins, a waterfall, three lakes, mountains and several acres of dense woodland which are home to a variety of wildlife including deer. Without a doubt the park provides plenty of beautiful backdrop opportunities for your wedding photo-shoot!
It is worth noting that Muckross Abbey is a prominent feature of Killarney National Park and attracts visitors throughout the year. In the peak summer months the number of people visiting the Abbey at any one time is around 20-30 people, hence it is not advisable for those couples looking for completely privacy during the elopement ceremony.
Blasket Island Heritage Centre & Slea Head, Dingle
Blasket Island Heritage Centre is a museum which honours the memory of a remote community that used to live on the Blasket Islands until they were forced to evacuate in 1953. The centre is licensed to hold Civil marriage ceremonies and is a great indoor ceremony location for couples wishing to elope to Ireland in the colder months.
The Blasket Island Centre is also only a 10 minute drive from Slea Head, Ireland’s most south-westerly point (the closest you can get to America from the mainland!) which offers stunning views of the ocean and a spectacular rugged coastline. Ceremonies at the Blasket Island Heritage centre require privatisation of a park of the museum for a small fee, meaning it is perfectly suitable for couples looking for a more private ceremony location.
Castle Ruin in Dingle
This small tower castle ruin sits on a hill overlooking an intimate rocky beach. The castle is privately owned by a local resident whose back yard grounds encompass the castle. However, access to the castle for general public is forbidden. Due to the private property element of this elopement venue, it is only suitable for symbolic ceremonies. This is because the Irish law requires that any couple who decides to get married in Ireland must choose a ceremony venue that is accessible to the public, i.e. not a private home. At the same time, this ensures total privacy for your elopement ceremony. Couples seeking to hold a symbolic ceremony at this castle ruin must request prior access from the owner and pay a small usage fee.
This small wedding venue in Ireland – a charming little castle in County Limerick – is ideally equipped for intimate elopements with your nearest and dearest people. The castle is licensed for Civil wedding ceremonies and offers a beautiful backdrop for a romantic outdoor elopement underneath the huge willow tree or using the ornate ivory wrought iron arch. The castle can sleep up to 10 people in 5 bedrooms and can host receptions for up to 20 guests indoors. The highlight of this elopement venue is it’s proximity to Adare village, which has been repeatedly awarded the title of one of Ireland’s most beautiful towns thanks to it’s colourful thatched roof cottages lining the streets.
One of the best hidden gems of County Kerry, Ballycarbery Castle is a beautifully weathered ruin of a former palace. The remains of the castle is still an impressive structure of four storeys tall, with ample greenery covering the walls. It sits on a hill surrounded by acres of green fields and the North Atlantic Ocean is just a stones throw away. It’s proximity to the ocean means ample photographic opportunities, including the Kerry Cliffs of Portmagee . The Kerry Cliffs may not be as famous as the Cliffs of Moher but they are equally picturesque (and less crowded!). Ballycarbery Castle is suitable for an outdoor elopement which can be legally binding Humanist, Spiritual or Secular ceremony.
St Finbarr’s Oratory
Finding an intimate and cosy setting for a Religious elopement ceremony can be challenging. Luckily, St Finbarr’s Oratory is a tiny romantic chapel that can only seat approximately 30-40 people in the most enchanting setting. Situated on an islet at the heart if Gougane Barra Lake, the chapel is enclosed by hills and woodlands. The chapel is fully consecrated and available to hire for Religious wedding ceremonies. However, no resident Priest is available so couples will need to bring in their own Priest.
Plenty of photographic opportunities await you after the ceremony: the lake, the tall pine trees and a couple’s boat ride being just a few of our favourite scenes for your wedding album. Should you wish to continue the celebrations nearby, the Gougane Barra Hotel and Cronin’s Bar & Cafe are just across the road.
Located in the heart of the Glengarriff Woods Nature Reserve in County Cork, the Glengarriff Lodge is a charming thatched roof cottage that was originally a hunting lodge of the Earls of Bantry. It is an ideal venue for rustic and boho elopements with a small group of guests. The former hunting lodge can sleep up to 8 people on site and offers facilities for intimate weddings of up to 20-30 guests.
The lodge is available for rent throughout the whole year. In the summer, vast private grounds of the property provide ample space for an outdoor ceremony and al’ fresco reception. In the winter time, the cosy glass conservatory overlooking the garden is available for an indoor event option. The estate is completely private so the Lodge is a perfect setting for those seeking to be close to nature but without the prying eyes of curious tourists.