Coming back from a big international trip should have left our bank accounts in withering destitution, but thanks to Traveler's Joy, our generous friends and family, and our careful budget-conscious planning, we have no reason to stress about bills.
It is safe to say that Traveler's Joy contributed greatly to our marriage by providing us with an avenue to finance our dream honeymoon and make our friends and families feel a part of the incredible first adventure Anne and I had as husband and wife.
Thanks to Traveler's Joy, we had the opportunity to bring our family and friends along with us, in a way. Everyone was really interested in our itinerary and their opportunity to gift us with special activities.
We wholeheartedly recommend Traveler’s Joy as a registry to anyone who wants less stuff to stash and more stories to share.
When planning our honeymoon, my husband tried to create the full fairy tale experience. He did his job well because the places we visited and activities we participated in left me feeling like a real princess.
We took about a thousand pictures (literally) and when we sent out our thank you notes to the people who contributed to the Traveler's Joy web site we included picture of the places they had "given" us. That was a really big hit, everyone was really happy to be able to see what we did with our time in Ireland.
We decided to return to County Kerry and base ourselves in the lovely hamlet of Kenmare, a convenient base to both the rings of Kerry and Beara, and in the shadow of Kilarney National Park. Later in our honeymoon, we would venture on to the stunning Highlands region of northern Scotland.
Our honeymoon was an amazing three and a half weeks, but it couldn't have happened without our friends and family, and of course Traveler's Joy, who made it really easy to organize.
With its rolling green hillsides, majestic castles, quaint villages, and historic attractions, Ireland is a magnet for both adventure and leisure honeymooners. Romantic possibilities abound, from retreats at castle hotels to horse-drawn carriage rides and strolls through well-manicured gardens.
Easy to navigate and always welcoming of visitors, Ireland is perfect for honeymooners who crave new experiences. The capital city of Dublin has a bounty of attractions, many of which are within easy walking distance of one another. Whether you check out historic sites like St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin Castle, and Trinity College, or embrace the city’s cosmopolitan lifestyle at Temple Bar, O'Connell Street, and Grafton Street, Dublin has something for everyone.
In the countryside, couples can go on romantic excursions and explore scenic byways. As soon as you catch sight of Ireland’s rugged shores, undulating mountains, and lush valleys, you’ll understand why it’s nicknamed the “Emerald Isle.” From the Cliffs of Moher to Powerscourt Gardens to Killarney National Park, a trip to Ireland isn’t complete without exploration of its rural attractions and stunning landscapes.
Newlyweds can expect to be enchanted by Ireland’s unique combination of romance, nature, and history. Whether your agenda calls for a week or a month in Ireland, consider this your ultimate cheat-sheet to the most memorable Ireland honeymoon.
The most popular months to visit Ireland are July and August, when the weather is prime (less rain and daytime highs in the mid-60s) and the country comes alive with festivals and events. But with popularity comes crowds: During this time, Dublin is packed with visitors and the top attractions can have long lines. If you’re crowd-averse, consider June or September, which still offer pleasant weather but fewer tourists.
Dublin Airport (DUB) is Ireland's primary international gateway, with direct flights from a number of major U.S. cities. Cork and Shannon are two other major airports in Ireland; Shannon serves the western region, while Cork is a feeder for the south. Though Ireland features an extensive rail network, a rental car is the best way to get around if you plan to explore multiple parts of the country. All of the major car rental agencies are found at the international airports.
A Grand Tour of Dublin - No trip to Ireland is complete without spending time in its enchanting capital city. The list of attractions is seemingly endless, from historical sites like St. Patrick's Cathedral and Trinity College to popular destinations such as Temple Bar and the Guinness Storehouse. Meanwhile, newlyweds will be amazed at the shopping, restaurants and prime people-watching opportunities along Grafton and O'Connell Streets.
Be sure to stop at Brazen Head – officially Ireland's oldest pub – for a pint before embarking on a romantic stroll along the River Liffey at dusk. Or visit the historic Shelbourne Hotel for afternoon tea in the Lord Mayor's lounge. It's a unique experience that shouldn't be missed.
Killarney - The Killarney region is home to Killarney National Park and the country's highest mountain range, making it the perfect destination for couples in love with the outdoors. The landscape offers majestic mountains, pristine lakes, rivers/waterfalls, lush forest, and diverse wildlife. Visitors can explore via car, foot, bike, and boat, or even take horse-drawn carriage rides through the mountains, including the breathtaking Gap of Dunloe.
Galway - Here in the western region of the country, Irish customs carry over well into the 21st century as the area has long been known for its language, music, and dancing traditions. Galway is an appealing city and stands out as the region's cultural hub. Meanwhile, a day trip to the Aran Islands makes for a perfect side excursion. These barren islands offer dramatic coastlines, Iron Age forts, ancient stone walls, and impressive historical sites. Visit the postcard-perfect villages of Clifden and Spiddal before taking another detour north to Connemara National Park, noted for its mountains, wildlife, and nature trails.
Southeastern Ireland - This is Ireland's sunniest region and a popular holiday area for locals. Visit the gardens at Powerscourt with its landscaped terraces, fountains, and historic mansion. This is arguably Ireland's finest garden. Plus, don't miss out on Glendalough, a breathtaking monastic site that dates back to the sixth century. Stroll around the historic structures and admire the landscape as you walk through the picturesque "Valley of the Two Lakes." Then make your way to lovely Kilkenny, one of Ireland's most elegant small cities packed with ample shopping, restaurants, and historic sites like Kilkenny Castle.
Dingle Peninsula, Cork, and Kerry - This region offers dramatic scenery, from colorful fishing villages to lush, green mountains, historic castles, and miles of rock walls. Start with a tour of the Dingle Peninsula. This is some of Ireland's most scenic and remote landscape. The town of Dingle is the "hub" of the region, with its brightly painted shops and restaurants overlooking Dingle Harbour. The Dingle Peninsula offers a winding coastline, steep cliffs, sandy beaches, and colorful seaside villages. It's rugged and rural but still home to a thriving Irish language community. In other words, get ready to practice your Gaelic.
Meanwhile, the Ring of Kerry is also another scenic route worth taking. Take your time and spend the entire day stopping in a friendly village like Kenmare, walking along a sandy beach at Ballinskelligs, or visiting a historic fort such as Staigue.
The city of Cork makes for a great home base. It also has a compact downtown and impressive list of activities and experiences, especially being an artists' town. Stroll along bustling St. Patrick's Street and visit the English Market before visiting Paul Street with its many bars, restaurants, bookshops, and boutiques.
Pubs of Ireland - Ireland is famous for its traditional pubs, colorful places filled with friendly locals, spirited atmosphere, warm ambiance, and impromptu music sessions. For a most authentic experience, be sure to visit the bars in Kilkenny, Cork, Galway, and – of course – Temple Bar in downtown Dublin.
Castles, Cathedrals, and Monasteries - Ireland is known worldwide for its vast array of castles, cathedrals, and monasteries. From Blarney Castle to Cahir Castle to Kilkenny Castle, don't miss out on exploring some of the country's finest and most historic sites. The Rock of Cashel, an impressive Gothic cathedral dating back to the 5th century, is a TJ favorite. Meanwhile, Dublin boasts a number of phenomenal sites, including St. Patrick's Cathedral, Christ Church Cathedral, and Dublin Castle.
The Shelbourne Dublin - This 200-year-old hotel is set in the heart of Dublin, overlooking St. Stephen’s Green. Couples can expect newly renovated suites, decorated with elegant yet comfortable furnishings in a palette or rich green, blue, and lavender. Don’t miss afternoon tea at the iconic (and newly refurbished) Lord Mayor’s Lounge—that cozy lounger has your name on it.
The Morgan Hotel - Couples who prefer more modern digs can check into this boutique hotel near Temple Bar in Dublin. The minimalist-chic rooms are spacious and comfortable. Take advantage of the hotel’s bustling cocktail bar and Parisian-style courtyard.
Killarney Park Hotel - Expect spacious rooms, attentive staff, and top-notch amenities—an on-site spa, a fine dining restaurant, and well-manicured grounds—at this charming five-star hotel in downtown Killarney.
Park House Hotel - Located right in the city center of Galway, this splendid hotel is known for its exceptional service, well-appointed guest rooms, and fine dining. All 84 guest rooms are luxurious and cozy, plus offering great perks like free Wi-Fi and extra large bathrooms.
Adare Manor - Adare is one of those places that seamlessly blends the old and the new. It’s chockfull of aristocratic vibes—just note the gargoyles and cantilever arches—but recently underwent a major refurbishment, adding brighter, more modern furnishings. The result is a comfortable yet still elevated ambiance. It’s also less than 30-minutes from Shannon Airport and an easy two hour drive from Dublin, making it one of the most accessible country manors.
Ashford Castle - It doesn’t get more historic than this 800-year-old castle-turned-hotel, set on 350 acres of land in Western Ireland. You’d never guest the place dates back to the 13th-century—what with the beautiful spa, cinema, billiards room (serving a selection of top Irish whiskey), cozy Prince of Wales cocktail bar, fine-dining George V restaurant, and more. If the castle isn’t in your price range, no sweat: The Lodge at Ashford Castle is a beautiful 4-star hotel also located on the grounds of the Ashford Estate, offering many of the same amenities as well as its own gourmet restaurant.
Ballynahinch Castle Hotel & Estate - If you plan to visit County Galway, in Western Ireland, this is where you should make home base. The 18th-century-era hotel is set on hundreds of acres of grounds and surrounded by the Twelve Bens mountain range of Connemara National Park. Come for the tranquility and natural splendor, stay for the beautifully restored walled garden and locally sourced cuisine (do yourselves a favor and order the Dooncastle oysters).
Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud - This world-renowned restaurant has held two Michelin stars for more than a decade now, and it’s easy to see why with its amazing menu and impressive wine list. Whether you dine in the main dining room or the heated terrace featuring garden views, the atmosphere is wonderfully elegant and a perfect fit for an unforgettable honeymoon meal.
The Winding Stair - A tremendous Irish eatery featuring traditional staples yet with a modern twist. The restaurant, named after a Yeats poem, overlooks the river Liffey and the iconic Ha’penny bridge in central Dublin.
Bricin Restaurant - A Killarney favorite that puts an emphasis on traditional Irish cuisine and old-world ambiance. The restaurant’s Killarney Boxty (or potato pancake) is a house speciality and a must-try item.