If you’re thinking of going somewhere truly wild to elope, you should definitely elope in Ireland. As your ultimate Ireland travel and elopement guides, we are here to show you the best of what Ireland has to offer, what it costs to travel to Ireland, how to get married in Ireland, and even a fully planned elopement (with vendors!) for a northern Ireland Elopement. Let’s do this!
Of all the places we’ve been, Ireland will always hold a special place in our hearts. We loved the dramatic cliffs that just set our souls on fire. The green countryside with rolling hills and ancient stone fences, the people, and of course – the sheep. Yep, sheep everywhere, and we love them.
why elope in ireland?
The iconic cliffs alone are reason to elope here. Still, we have a few others: it’s a fantastic honeymoon spot, people are so damn nice, the scenery is endless, and there are ample adventure elopement opportunities! If you’re interested in incorporating some Irish wedding traditions, we’d love to help you. Because Ireland is one of our favorite places, we have LOTS of recommendations off the beaten path and can help make your elopement adventure unique and special – perfect just for you two!
making it legal
There are two ways to go about eloping in Ireland as a US citizen: 1. Being legally recognized as married in Ireland, or 2. Making it official in the US, then exchanging vows+rings/celebrating in Ireland.
1. eloping in Ireland:
If you want to elope in Ireland and have your ceremony recognized in the states, your ceremony must:
- Be done by a solemnizer or humanist associate of Ireland accredited celebrant. Marry me in Ireland has celebrants that can make your wedding ceremony legit.
- Take place in a location with an address or an identifiable landmark that the public can access. Heads up: if you are married on private property in Ireland, it will not be valid in the US.
- Have two people present who can be witnesses (we volunteer as tribute).
- Give notice of your marriage at least three months before your ceremony and apply for a marriage visa.
Additionally: You’ll need to meet with the county registrar (in the county your ceremony will be) 4-5 days before your ceremony and provide a Civil Letter of Freedom to Marry during a 20-minute meeting. Make sure to have your US Birth Certificate with you! Not sure where yours is? You can contact your State’s Secretary of State office.
2. eloping in Northern Ireland:
To elope in Northern Ireland, you will need to ensure you have the following:
- Your elopement needs to be officiated by an officiant for religious weddings, or a registrar or humanist celebrant for secular weddings. (See our list of vendors below for some options!)
- You must have two witnesses over the age of 18 (again: loved ones or your favorite photographers/videographers!)
- Within 12 months of your wedding, you must give notice – plan for about eight weeks out from your ceremony. Here’s the form you’ll fill out, and you can read about timing here, as well as which documents you’ll need to provide.
- Apply for a UK marriage visa
Pro tip: If the thought of marriage visas and specific types of ceremonies are a bit stressful for you, have no fear – we’ve got you.
We recommend either a) let us do the heavy lifting for you, or b) getting legally hitched in your state, then exchanging vows and rings in Ireland! The great thing about getting married in the states is it removes the need to have a physical address for your elopement celebration, making your elopement options just about limitless!
Okay, we know legal info is always super helpful, but you’re here for the LOCATIONS! Here are our favorite places to elope in Ireland:
WHERE TO ELOPE IN NORTHERN IRELAND
Nestled along the Northern Irish coast, Dunluce Castle offers gorgeous views of the ocean and of course the castle’s ruins. You can either take photos post-ceremony or get married in the field overlooking the medieval castle! You’ll need a small permit to do so, which we would definitely make happen for you. Pro tip: it closes at 5pm and visiting the castle costs roughly $8 per person, or you can walk the grounds for free.
If you’re looking for where to elope in Ireland with an incredible AirBnB location (think: getting ready shots! Your first look! Dreamy pre or post-ceremony photos!), we can’t get enough of this Georgian House. It’s especially perfect if you plan to have a few of your loved ones join you for your Irish elopement. If you’re more of a cozy kind of AirBnBer, there are plenty of cottages in the area like this one!
the dark hedges
Any GOT fans here? The Dark Hedges are featured in season 2, episode 1: ‘The North Remembers.’ Now, if you’re not a Game of Thrones fan, fear not – this romantic, tunnel-like avenue of intertwined beech trees planted in the 18th century will not disappoint. Imagine having a ceremony nearby at Dunluce Castle or overlooking the coast, then taking gorgeous photos on the avenue of trees – you can even have an intimate vow reading with just the two of you surrounded by the magnificence of the trees!
Get ready for this wicked-cool area: Giant’s Causeway and the Causeway Coast. This World Heritage Site is so unique, we couldn’t believe our eyes when we first saw it. The roughly 40,000 massive black basalt columns, or hexagon-shaped rocks, and surrounding coastline looks like an area found at the edge of the world.
This area is truly unique and shouldn’t be missed whether you take photos after the ceremony, have an intimate ceremony-for-two, or visit on your honeymoon. If you’re planning a visit after your ceremony in Ireland, you can walk around and soak in the views on your own or take the audio tour to hear how the Irish legend of how the rocks were formed.
dunseverick castle and kinbane castle
Offering rugged cliffs and breathtaking views, Kinbane Castle and Dunserverick Castle offer exquisite elopement options near Irish ruins. Both castles provide opportunities to elope overlooking the castle and coastline, then explore the Causeway Coast! If hiking is your jam (can you tell it’s ours?!), you won’t want to miss the North Antrim Cliff Path, which offers 5 miles of hiking along the coast, farmland, and Dunseverick Castle.
WHERE TO ELOPE IN IRELAND
cliffs of moher
Undoubtedly one of the most famous locations in Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher offer breathtaking views of sweeping cliffs, the Aran Islands, and 16 km of walking along the coast – perfect for an epic coastline elopement! Definitely plan a morning or evening elopement as you’ll be sharing space with others visiting the site. Sunrise and sunsets are especially remarkable – did somebody say golden hour elopement photos?!
To marry on the cliffs, purchase an admissions ticket (ranging $12 – $20 for two), park in the main parking lot and walk over, and truly – plan to have a later afternoon elopement. Because anyone can marry there without needing a permit, you have a chance of sharing the space with other couples. If you want to be legally married in Ireland, plan to be married near O’Brien’s Tower to fulfill the need for a landmark, otherwise enjoy exploring the path to find the right spot for you. Try to stay in Doolin or Lahinch so you can be near the cliffs, as there are plenty of B&B and AirBnB options.
There are ample spots for grabbing a celebratory drink after you’re married (YOU’RE MARRIED!!) – check out Gus O’Connors Pub, McDermotts Pub for drinks, and The Ivy Cottage for your first meal together as life partners.
glenveagh national park
For more of a remote, adventurous elopement in County Donegal, Glenveagh National Park offers a plethora of hikes and walking trails, fauna and flora, and of course, your elopement and romantic photos for days. Admission is free, and we have a few fun adventure hikes you could go on before/during/after your elopement:
- Lakeside Walk: this roughly 2-mile trail brings you from the visitor center and the bus stop to Glenveagh Castle and Gardens. The path ends in the beautiful castle gardens, a “botanical contrast to the wilder surrounding landscape.”
- View PointTrail: a .62 mile looped walk starting and ending at the Castle. This trail leads to a high viewpoint overlooking the National Park.
- Mt. Errigal: 2.5 miles of moderately trafficked out and back trail that features a river and an epic view of the valley below. It’s a challenging trail but manageable. Good boots are a must to get through the unmarked path and bogs near the beginning of the trail.
You can glamp in style at the Portsalon Luxury Camping, just 40 minutes from Glenveagh. Put your feet up, get cozy with your honey – this yurt is a perfect way to end your day of adventure!
slieve league cliffs
Less crowded and nearly three times the height of the Cliffs of Moher, Slieve League Cliffs offer incredible views, a 3-mile hiking path pilgrimage (called, you guessed it: Pilgrim’s Path), and did we mention the views? Make sure to pack your hiking shoes for this adventure elopement as the path does become rocky – but it’s absolutely worth it. That being said, you can take a shorter route to a viewpoint if that’s more your speed!
Incorporate the hikes and views at Slieve into your elopement through your ceremony overlooking the ocean, an adventure hike in your wedding outfits, a hike before the ceremony, or even a hike the following day with a picnic at the end. On your way to your next adventure, stop at John Molley, where you can snag a keepsake AND your 7th-anniversary gift (wool) to each other early!
Check out adventure elopement example timelines here!
If you’re looking for an easily accessible (just outside of Dublin) ceremony site with captivating views, a lighthouse in the background, walking trails overlooking the ocean, and seafood restaurants nearby, Howth Head is the dream elopement location for you. For a full view of this area, consider hiking the coastal Howth Circle Loop in the morning to scout out the perfect spot for your ceremony. Note: in wet weather, the path can be a bit slippery.
After your two to three-hour hike, enjoy local seafood at restaurants like Aqua Restaurant before you head back to Dublin for a celebration in the city with a pint (or two) with your SPOUSE! Pop the champagne (or Guinness)!
One word: Magical. The area surrounding Horn Head is adorned with stone circles, stone tombs, and markings etched by ancient Celts in the Stone Age. An elopement at Horn Head could mean a sandy beach with the ocean and cliffs in the background or a ceremony overlooking the waves – the options are endless, and the views from the lookouts are breathtaking. You can even take an adventure drive to see the area! Scroll down a few clicks for an example Horn Head elopement timeline – we really could go on and on about this location – we can’t wait to help plan your big day at Horn Head!
This is a really great day trip to enjoy after your elopement, or if you want to elope ON the Aran Islands, we can definitely make that happen! You can ride bikes that you can rent at the ferry port or hire a horse-drawn carriage – there are no cars allowed on the islands. Enjoy the Croaghaun Sea Cliffs bike ride, which is 4.5 miles away from the ferry terminal on Achill Island. The Dun Aenghus Fort is on the other side of the island, where the old stone walls of the fort are still intact.
How to get to the Aran Islands. Take the ferry from Rossaveel or Galway City to one of the three islands, depending on where you’re starting. Of the three islands: Inis Oirr (Inisheer), Inis Meáin (Inishmaan), and Inis Mór (Inishmore), Inis Mór is the largest and most popular. It also offers the most adventure opportunities! Remember – no cars are allowed, so pack your activewear and enjoy the beauty of the past on these islands.
how much it costs to elope in ireland
No matter where you elope in Ireland, pricing fluctuates given the time of year, how long you stay, and where you’re traveling from. However, there are a few costs you can estimate. For example, a roundtrip plane ticket from JFK to Ireland will run around $1,200 per person, and one week for two people could average approximately $2,100. You can plan on spending about $120/day for a hotel or $160-$490/day for an entire home vacation rental.
If you want to travel via Irish Rail, it’ll be $48 for two train tickets. Traveling by car, you can expect to spend about $100/day on a rental car and gas if you’re traveling to a new town every day or so. Note: you can save $ on a rental car if you choose a manual vs. an automatic! Food can be your largest variable expense so make sure you plan ahead to save on cost or stick to a budget.
So – when should you visit Ireland? If you’re looking to cut costs, plan a trip from Jan 1 – April 1 or September 17 – December 16. The absolute cheapest time to visit Ireland is late January and early February. Make sure to check out Ireland weather trends to help you decide when to visit! Summertime can be absolutely beautiful, but you’ll be sharing many of the same spaces with tourists. Don’t worry – we can help navigate unique, private spots in some of the most frequently visited locations if it’s important to you to elope in busier months!
fully planned ireland elopement at horn head
Here’s what your magical, romantic, absolutely memorable day could look like in Horn Head, Ireland:
8:00 am: Morning hike adventure at Slieve League. Take in the sights together to start your special day off right while we follow behind, far enough to make sure you soak in the adventure but just close enough to take epic photos you’ll look at for years to come!
11:00 am: Couple starts getting ready; Honeybee Weddings arrives to capture sweet, intimate moments and details.
1:00 pm: Couple has their first look, pops a bottle of champagne, we take photos of you at your AirBnB while you swoon over each other. (I mean, check these out: Earth House, Treehouse, Seal Cottage & Private Beach. Hellooooooo!!)
2:00 pm: We head to Horn Head for your epic, romantic, adventurous ceremony. Be it a traditional Irish Handfasting Ceremony, an exchange of rings, or something unique to the couple, we can make it happen. Marry Me In Donegal offers a plethora of celebrant options!
5:30 pm: Time for a pint! There are a few really great pubs in the Head Horn area (Molly’s Bar and Patsy Dan’s, to name two) to duck inside, warm up with a Guinness, or grab a bite for dinner. We’ll capture your first cheers as a MARRIED COUPLE and enjoy the night away – maybe we’ll even have some live entertainment at the pub!
8:00 pm: The sun is setting and we adventure outside for some more timeless newlywed photos as the sun sets.
9:00 pm: The stars come out and we get some epic star photos of the two of you as you soak in the last remaining hours of your wedding day
vendors for your special horn head elopement:
Photography & Videography. You’re in luck: we (Honeybee Weddings) specialize in both photography AND videography while becoming your BFFs at the same time! Plus – you’ll get one helluva discount for getting hitched in Ireland – heyyyyy!
Wedding Planner & Stylist. Again – you’re in the right place for support for your ideal adventure elopement. We spend literally hours pouring over your questionnaire to get you custom location ideas, permit info, local vendor recommendations, and activities that are fun for you. We’ll send you all the resources, guides, and checklists so you can dream while we work on the details. Looking for someone local to help plan your special day? We recommend This Old Home & Eloping in Ireland.
Catering. You want to elope AND have a fancy celebration? We’re here for it. Check out The Red Door Country House and Yes Chef Catering – let’s talk; we can help you envision how this could work! Planning food is especially helpful if friends and family join you for your special day or part of it.
Hair. Perfect for having your hair done on your big day, Angel Hair & Beauty has you covered.
Make-Up & Spa. Couples massage post-hike? Sign us up. That said, Enhance Beauty Specialists are fantastic make-up artists and can’t wait to help you on your wedding day.
Bakery. Is it important to you to have a cake to cut? Drool over Selena’s Creations. We can’t wait to capture that special moment of you two celebrating over your special cake!
Whether you want to hike Slieve League, canoe or kayak out on the water with Inish Adventures, or take a water cruise with history while you sail at Donegal Bay Waterbus. There are so many fun ways to add adventure to your elopement plans.
ireland elopement packages
We would be absolutely thrilled and honored to help plan and capture your magical Ireland Elopement. If you’re wondering where to elope in Ireland, there are so many amazing places! Right now, two-day we offer a HUGE discount on photography and videography for the right couple in the right location. Sooo… Ireland anyone?! Message us and let’s set up a time to chat over coffee (or Irish Whiskey!) – we can’t wait to hear what your elopement dreams are. We’ll help you choose the perfect place for where to elope in Ireland!