ELOPING IN IRELAND 2023
A mini-guide to the best places to Elope in Ireland
If you are thinking of eloping in Ireland or Northern Ireland, then have a look at some of my absolute favourite locations. I have narrowed these down just for you as it can be overwhelming if you have way too many choices to choose from. With all the craziness that has happened over the past year, it has changed the way many couples are getting married. More and more couples like you are planning to married a little differently, and what better way to do that and elope here in Ireland. I am a small wedding and elopement photographer based here in Northern Ireland, I also help plan your elopement, from finding you the perfect location to curating your timeline and just making sure you have an incredible experience you will never forget.
ELOPE IN IRELAND. THERE’S NO BETTER PLACE IN THE WORLD TO ELOPE!
WHY AN IRELAND ELOPEMENT?
An Ireland elopement is without a doubt, one of the top places you could elope to. I am not just saying that because I am from here……well, maybe I am! That’s because it’s true 🙂 If you are up for having an adventure, exploring the rugged coastlines, ancient castle ruins, strolling through the colorful little towns, grabbing a pint of Guinness, exchanging your vows amongst the rolling green hills, with possibly some sheep as your witness. Then Ireland is waiting for you. Ditching the big traditional wedding and eloping in Ireland, will be the best decision you will make.
I am so excited that Elopements are fast becoming a popular alternative to the “traditional big wedding”. For the past five years I am have been shooting elopements here in Ireland, and each year it’s getting more and more popular. The Forty shades of green, the rich history, warm culture, and friendly people make Ireland an amazing place to elope… even with rainy weather, in fact, the rainy weather can make for some epic photos if you are willing. With so many stunning locations to say your vows at, how do you choose just one? Well, why choose one when you don’t have to? Ireland is pretty small but big in locations that are not too far from one another.
Eloping in Ireland, you will have access to some of the most incredible views. From Irish castle ruins, stunning mountain views, rolling hills of green, beautiful sandy beaches and much much more. There is a reason why Ireland has become one of the top destinations in the world to Elope.
YOUR IRELAND ELOPEMENT AWAITS
Just imagine walking through the lush green fields, or hiking magical clifftops overlooking the Atlantic ocean with castle ruins on the horizon to your dream location to exchange your wedding vows. Then having a picnic while watching your first sunset together as a married couple. Does that seem like a dream to you? Then let’s make it happen!!
Here are only a few of my favourite places to elope in Ireland. There are so so many, but this will help you decide if you would like to elope in Ireland.
WHERE TO ELOPE IN IRELAND AND NORTHERN IRELAND? MY TOP BEST PLACES TO ELOPE IN IRELAND FOR 2021
As an Elopement photographer and guide over the last 7 years, I have had the privilege of helping couples create and plan the perfect elopement day here in Ireland. So I have put together a list of incredible locations that are some of my favourites that will hopefully help you with your decision on eloping in Ireland.
- Dunluce Castle
- Causeway Coastline
- Loughcrew Cairns
- Kinbane Castle
- Dunseverick Castle
- The Mourne Mountains
- Gougane Barra
- Slieve League, Donegal
- Ballintoy Harbour, North Coast
- Mussenden Temple and Downhill Demesne, CastleRock Beach
- Murlough Bay and Fair Head
- WhiteRocks Beach, Portrush
- The Giants Causeway
BEST LOCATIONS FOR YOUR IRELAND ELOPEMENT
Situated in the North Coast sits the stunning castle ruin on the edge of a cliff in Co Antrim, Northern Ireland. It was built in the 1500s this medieval ruin casts a dramatic background to say your vows too. I love it there.
The castle ruins offer a unique and picturesque setting for an elopement ceremony. With its dramatic location, the castle offers breathtaking views of the sea and the surrounding landscape.
The best part is it’s so close to other epic locations, like Ballintoy Harbour, Giants Causeway coastline only to name a few. As well as a secret location nearby not too many people know about, which has some epic views. It’s so easy to see why people fall in Love with Dunluce Castle. It’s a dream location for your Ireland elopement. Click here to see an elopement shot at Dunluce castle for an idea.
The field is owned by a farmer, for a fee, he will give you access to it. This is something I will arrange for you. The best part about booking this field in advance is you will have this view all to yourselves. How perfect is that?
One of Ireland’s most stunning and dramatic coasts is the Causeway Coast. It is the ideal setting for a private and romantic elopement with its rocky cliffs, white sand beaches, and beautiful waterways. The Giants Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a breathtaking natural marvel that you simply must visit.
Along the coastline on the North Coast, there is a stunning cliff-top walk with the most incredible scenery. Starting at Dunseverick Castle you can hike for just under two hours to reach the Giants Causeway and see some incredible views along the way. You don’t need to walk the full two hours, the epic views start almost immediately which means you can have plenty of time to explore other areas nearby. This is an incredible location for your Ireland Elopement if you are feeling a bit more adventurous. CAUSEWAY COAST ELOPEMENT
The Loughcrew Cairns, also known as the Hills of the Witch, is a complex of ancient burial tombs dating back to the Neolithic period. The cairns are set in a beautiful and peaceful countryside and offer a unique and mystical setting for an elopement ceremony.
Loughcrew Cairns is one of County Meath’s best-kept secrets. The monuments date back to 3.500BC. If you are looking for a very Irish scenic backdrop, then LoughCrew Cairns may be the place for you. It is incredibly easy to access, it takes only a short 15-minute walk from the car park. This is a great option if you are not interested in hiking or walking too much on your elopement day. To see more from LoughCrew Cairns, check out an elopement I shot here recently LOUGHCREW CAIRNS ELOPEMENT
What can I say, this place is incredible with its rugged cliffs lines, another ancient Castle ruin, and stunning views. Kinbane Head is the first place where I shot my first adventure Ireland elopement, this place has my heart. Situated amongst the Causeway Coastline of Northern Ireland. Kinbane is not yet well known, even to the locals, it’s always so quiet therefrom tourists which means you will most likely have the place to yourself. Have a look here at the first elopement I shot there and see what you think.
Kinbane Castle is the perfect location for an intimate and romantic elopement. It has quite a few steps, which is pretty easy to get down, but it isn’t easy for busloads of tourists to access, which in my opinion, is perfect. This is one of the most beautiful locations on the North Coast. It is guaranteed to take your breath away.
This place is absolutely stunning, The best part about Dunseverick Castle is you don’t have to walk too far. It’s such a perfect location for your Ireland Elopement, as it showcases so much of Ireland in one location. Castle ruin, the Atlantic views, sheep and of course the famous green colours. It’s situated just off the road in County Antrim, near the small village of Dunseverick Castle and the Giant’s Causeway. There is a walkway you can do from here to the giant’s causeway and see some more stunning views and have more options for your photos. This is a perfect location and of course another Irish castle ruin, what’s not to love. Click here to see some more
The Mourne Mountains
If you are up to exploring longer in your elopement day, The Mourne Mountains is the place to be. It’s one of Northern Ireland’s most popular destinations, and it’s not hard to see why. There are many places you can park, get out and explore and see the most beautiful views within 5 mins. But I would encourage you to go deeper and explore for the day, as the beauty is so vast in this area. You could explore these mountains all day. If you are looking to have a full day of adventuring on your elopement day, you could have a sunrise ceremony, then spend the rest of the day adventuring, even have a picnic, and soak in the views. The Mourne Mountains for your Ireland Elopement would be perfect for those of you that love to explore, hike, and camp in the great outdoors.
Gougane Barra – St Finbarr’s Oratory
Gougane Barra is located in Cork, Ireland, and had everything you could possibly need for your Ireland Elopement. This is a perfect place to elope if you are hoping to bring along a few guests as there is a hotel on site. There is also a cute little church surrounded by the Sheehy mountains. There is a beautiful forest nearby which makes for a beautiful place to exchange your vows. If you would like to see more from Gougane Barra, check out this Elopement I shot here a while back. GOUGANE BARRA ELOPEMENT
Slieve League – Donegal
Slieve League is a beautiful mountain on the Atlantic coast of Donegal, Ireland. It has some of the highest sea cliffs In Ireland. The Slieve league reached almost three times hight than the cliff of Moher, it is less popular than the cliffs of Moher but it’s just as epic. In fact, it will be way less touristy than the cliffs at Moher, so if you don’t want too much of an Audience and would love some epic cliffs, this may be a better option for you. It is a breathtaking location for your Ireland elopement.
Ballintoy Harbour – North Coast
Ballintoy Harbour is another incredible location to elope in Ireland. Its location in the town of Ballintoy on the North Coast of Ireland and is known as ” Raised Beach” With easy access down a steep, winding road, you will see upon your arrival rocky islands, sea stacks, pools, and a busy harbor leading to one of Europe’s great cliff-top and wild beach walks. There is so much variety and photo opportunity here at Ballintoy Harbour. I will guarantee you will fall in love with this place. It is so close to so many other beautiful locations that you can explore before or after.
Mussenden Temple and Downhill Demesne, Castle Rock Beach
Mussenden Temple is a great option for your Ireland Elopement. You can hire out the temple for your ceremony which is great if you are worried about the weather. It’s one of the few locations where you can have your ceremony legally, indoors, or out. Its located on the North Coast which is perfect as there are so many more locations you can explore for photos afterward. This is a perfect location if you plan to bring along quite a few guests.
Murlough Bay & Fair Head
Murlough Bay is an incredible location for your Elopement. It has views for days! This location is always perfectly quiet, which is perfect for those of you that wish to have a private ceremony. It’s a good forty minutes away from locations such as Dunluce Castle and the Causeway Coast. If you are planning to elope in Ireland, this place has it all. For all of you Game of Thrones fans out there, you might recognise this location which they used for filming some of their scenes. This is honestly a huge favourite of mine.
Whiterocks Beach, Portrush
Whiterocks beach is situated just on the causeway coastal route. This is one of my favourite beaches in Northern Ireland. With limestone cliffs stretching from Curran Strand to Dunluce Castle, its easy to see why. Its a beautiful location for your Ireland Elopement and again, it’s located on the north coast of Northern Ireland, so there is a variety of amazing locations nearby to explore for more photo opportunities.
The Giants Causeway, Bushmills
The Giants Causeway is one of the UK’s iconic world heritage sites. it s an incredible place to go for your elopement portraits. The photo opportunities here are endless. It is located in Bushmills on the North Coast, you would be crazy to miss this beautiful location 🙂
DO YOU LOVE AN ADVENTURE?
If you are an avid hiker, then is a list of my favorite places to explore in all of Ireland and Northern Ireland. I have broken them down into categories
HIKES WITH A LAKE VIEW FOR YOUR IRELAND ELOPEMENT
The Spinc, Glendalough, Wicklow
This is a tough climb, but you are rewarded with the most incredible views of the valley. If you are an avid hiker and completely up for an adventure on your elopement day, this could be a great option for you both. It’s just over a three-hour hike, so depending on the time of day you would like to elope here you would need to get walking pretty early. My advice here would be to camp out the night before and have a sunrise ceremony. How incredible would that be?
Check out this link for more info Visit Wicklow
Lough Bray Loop, Wicklow
This is a relatively easy hike. The trail isn’t too long, but long enough to make you feel like you have achieved something 🙂 It takes about an hour and 30 minutes to complete with a few short breaks in between. It will be much quicker if you don’t take a break. As with any hiking trail, you really need good hiking boots as there are a few rocky parts. I recommend approaching the loop counter-clockwise, so if you’re looking at the Lough, from the car park, right head, it will make finishing the route and walking back down a lot easier.
Check out this page for some reviews, trails, and more All Trails
The Mourne Mountains is quite possibly the most stunning area in Northern Ireland. The weather changes so much while you are walking through the trails. It’s just magical. There are so many trails you can take, but all of them lead to views of the lake. This is another location I would say you could camp out the night before and elope at sunrise. It would be just magical and completely unique. The Mourne Mountains offer true escapism at its very best. Again, it has a wide range of hikes to choose from which include everything from challenging multi-day adventures, to punchy day-long treks, you will never tire of the routes on offer. It’s only an hour and a half from Dublin and an hour from Belfast. If camping isn’t for you, there are great local accommodation options nearby and arguably some of the best food in Ireland!
Check out Walk NI for walk listings and more
Enjoy 360-degree views of Connemara.
The trails on Diamond Hill are some of the most popular walks in Connemara. When you visit it, you will know why. These trails are very easily accessible, they are well marked and the views are just incredible. if it is a clear day you will get to see some of the best views the country has to offer.
Diamond Hill is located in Connemara National Park, it is one of six national parks in Ireland. You can access these trails from the visitor center, and it’s just a few minute’s drive from the village of Letterfrack in County Galway. There is plenty of parking available, in saying that, it still gets overloaded at times. My advice would be to elope here in midweek and not during public holidays as it’s very popular with the locals.
MY TOP FOREST PICKS FOR YOUR IRELAND ELOPEMENT
Gougane Barra Forest Park, Cork
This is the second time I have mentioned Gougane Barra in this article. Can you tell I love it here? Not only like mentioned do they have a cute little mini church where you can have your ceremony, but they have a stunning forest walk which is perfect for an Elopement.
There are six walking trails to suit all levels of fitness, each one with its own unique story to tell. The Slí na Sléibhe is 2.5kms, which is a 2hr, strenuous walk. This is the most majestic of all the trails in the park – it is high into the mountains with spectacular views;
for those pressed for time, and thinking they would like to spend some time with guests at the hotel surrounded by those views, there is a much simpler walk, about a mile or so in, and you will find a few beautiful spots for your elopement ceremony.
For more info on Gougane Barra forest walks
This example below is from an elopement here!
Tollymore Forest park
There are 10 walks and hikes around Tollymore forest park. One of which is Stepstones Loop from Bryansford Road, it’s an easy hike, great for any fitness level, and has easily accessible paths. It is Suitable for all skill levels. The starting point of the walk is right next to a parking lot.
For more info visit NIDirect
Avondale Forest Park, Wicklow
You can walk down the ride from the car park to the cairn and then joined the trail. There is a leisurely walk along by the river that provides plenty of leaf cover when/if the rain comes. It is a peaceful walk, listening to the sounds of the running river. There is a Steep ascent at the end to a picnic table and outdoor picnic.
Visit Coillte for more info
Lough Navar, Co Fermanagh
Lough Navar Forest is without a doubt one of the Co Fermanagh’s beauty spots. Located approximately 5km outside the village of Derrygonnelly, this Incredible forest extends across 2,600 hectares of bog; heath; open water; native woodland; and coniferous forest. The forest has quite a few walking trails of varying lengths and a 10km scenic drive leading to one of the best views in Ireland. It is hardly surprising that this forest is a mecca for walkers, fishermen, and outdoor enthusiasts. This is actually where my husband and I got engaged and had our engagement photos taken. It is one of my absolute favourite places in Co Fermanagh
For more info check out Marble Arch Caves Geopark
Gorten Glens Forest Park, Omagh
Gortin Glen Forest Park is located just six miles from Omagh, Co Tyrone at the western gateway to the Sperrin mountains. This is one of my favourite forest parks in Northern Ireland. If you get here on a sunny day or evening, the light through the trees can be spectacular. There are 5 waymarked trails of varying lengths that start from the Trailhead close to the main car park. All trails are colour coded and return back to the car park. Each of the trails gives you the opportunity to enjoy the woodland, nestled nicely in the Sperrin Mountains.
The Forest Park can also be explored via a five-mile scenic drive which has a number of vista parks that vehicles can pull in to enjoy the magnificent scenery. This is a great way to enjoy the forest for those who are less mobile or on a rainy day!
For more info check out Discover Northern Ireland
TRAVELLING TO IRELAND
There are two main airports in Ireland, is Dublin International Airport and Belfast international airport. Most people fly into Dublin Airport the travel to their destination. Ireland is pretty small so most places from Dublin airport really aren’t too far. If you plan to Elope in Northern Ireland, it’s only just over 2 hours of travel time.
WHY I ADORE ELOPEMENTS?
My husband and I eloped in Yosemite on a warm evening with only our photographers and videographer as our witnesses back in the summer of 2015. We then spent the next month traveling over South America. Our day was uniquely us—relaxed, fun, and intimate. as anyone. It was ours, we read our vows to each other without the embarrassment of three hundred people listening ( I couldn’t do that, that’s just me ) It was our dream day, and I cannot wait to help you create yours. Let’s make it happen.
If you thinking of eloping and not sure where to begin or if it’s even for you, please do get in touch, I would love to chat with you about this and help you along the way. Even if you are thinking of eloping elsewhere I can help you find those dream locations and everything you need to know about eloping.