THE TOP MOST POPULAR WEDDING VENUES IN IRELAND
Now more than ever, due to the pandemic, couples are opting for a small intimate wedding with their closest family and friends. The current situation has changed the way we look at weddings for the foreseeable future.
If you are planning your wedding here in Ireland and wish to find the perfect venue for your intimate wedding, then this is the guide for you. I have put together a list of my favourite wedding venues in both Ireland and Northern Ireland. I get a lot of inquiries specifically from brides living abroad asking for advice on venues to host their small intimate wedding. If you are hoping to have a destination wedding with 50 or fewer guests here in Ireland, then look no further.
I have been a wedding photographer here in Ireland for over 8 years and I have been all over Ireland shooting in some of the most amazing locations you could dream of. So I wanted to put together a guide that will help you find your perfect wedding venue in Ireland.
BEST VENUES IN IRELAND FOR AN INTIMATE/SMALL WEDDING
1. Belle Isle Castle Estate
If you are searching for a castle to host your small or in other words, micro wedding, then look no further. Belle Isle Castle is located in the North of Ireland in Co Fermanagh. Imagine getting married in a Castle on a charming private island. It’s a magical location. The castle is the embodiment of romantic, old-world charm. You can choose to have your ceremony both indoors and outdoors among the tranquil gardens with the castle as your backdrop.
2. CLIFF AT LYONS
Cliff at Lyons is a privately owned small hotel with a most unusual, yet stunning collection of historic rose-clad buildings, including a mill and former dovecote, which makes for some stunning backdrops for your photos. You can also have your ceremony in the dovecote if you plan to only have a handful of guests as it’s quite small but so pretty. Cliff at Lyons is located in Kildare and it is quite rural, it’s about a 30-minute drive from Dublin which is handy for your guests, especially if any of them are traveling from afar and landing in Dublin. There is plenty of room to accommodate your guests. The ceremony room in the hotel itself is all glass and provides plenty of natural light which is great for us photographers, and it’s a stunning room to exchange your vows in.
3. BANTRY HOUSE AND GARDEN
Bantry House and Garden – This place is insane. It’s an incredible stately home located on the Wild Atlantic Way ( amazing drive by the way ) its overlooking Bantry Bay in the southwest of Ireland. The inside is just as beautiful as the outside. I was blown away when I first saw this place and I can not wait to visit here again. Although it may look mighty large, it’s perfect for small micro weddings of about 30 people. You have a great variation of backdrops to choose from for your wedding portraits and of course for your ceremony.
4. Killeavy Castle
Killeavy Castle Estate is located in Newry, Northern Ireland. Its surrounded by the dense woodland on the Ring on Gullion. This is one of the most stunning venues for your intimate wedding location. Not only do you have a beautiful castle and grounds for your photo opportunities, but you also have the Ring of Gullion to explore for those that would like a little more adventure on their day.
BEST INDOOR WEDDING VENUES IRELAND
1. CASTLE LESLIE, GLASLOUGH
I have lost count on how many times I have photographed a wedding here at Castle Leslie, and I have to say, I always enjoy going back. this is one of the Irelands most beautiful, Irish Castle wedding venues. The photo opportunities are endless, inside, and out. There is a church on site which is perfect for those of you that don’t wish to travel too far in between to their venue. Or you can also get married just outside the castle grounds. Its located about an hour and 20 minutes from Dublin, and an hour from Belfast.
2. MARLFIELD HOUSE
Marlfield is both stunning inside and out. Photo opportunities are endless. Marlfield House is exclusively yours for the day which is perfect. It has 36 acres of lush gardens and woodlands to explore for your photos. The ceremony room is stunning, it leads straight out to the garden where guests can relax especially in the summer time.
3. TANKARDSTOWN HOUSE
Your guests are welcomed into the Main House drawing rooms for pre-dinner drinks & canapés, then following down the winding staircase to the magnificent Orangery were dining, with the views to the stunning garden.
4. VIRGINIA PARK LODGE
Virginia Park Lodge is located in Co Cavan, Virginia, and is an exclusive wedding venue to host your guests. The food is unreal, and the grounds are stunning. A perfect place to host your Irish wedding.
5. HORETOWN HOUSE
Horetown House is an ideal location for those looking for a unique wedding venue in Ireland. Your wedding is an opportunity for you and your guests to get away from it all and enjoy a ‘home from home’ atmosphere in the grand surroundings of a charming country house in rural County Wexford.
Horetown House is available for one-day weddings but there is the option to hire the house for two or three-day weddings which can be the perfect way to spend extend your wedding celebrations with your family and friends. They are a friendly family run business and look after every wedding personally. They host weddings for 20 to 200 guests all year round and on any day of the week. Great for those wanting a small intimate Irish wedding. The light inside is beautiful, which is great for your photos. they also have beautiful gardens to explore for your photos which is a win-win.
BEST WEDDING VENUES FOR AN OUTDOOR CEREMONY
1. Old Killyman Rectory
I absolutely love this venue. The Old Rectory is a private venue located in Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland. A venue that is private and offers complete exclusivity is a win-win in my books. They also offer the opportunity to have your ceremony outdoors if you are just not that into having a church wedding!!
“A hidden gem steeped in history; The Old Rectory is an idyllic, one-of-a-kind destination that offers splendid seclusion alongside complete exclusivity”
2. Gougane Barra
One of my absolute favourite locations in Ireland for a small intimate wedding. This is a perfect location if you are having a small number of guests and wish to use st Finbarr’s oratory for your ceremony. The Oratory is an incredibly beautiful, tiny church that rests in the middle of a small island. The inside of the church is magnificent, as with the outside surrounding area of the mountains and forest. This place is a true gem. St Finbarr’s Oratory can only seat up to 40 people (or 70 with some standing) This can be a legally-binding ceremony or a convalidation ceremony whereby your civil marriage will be recognised by the church.
If you wish not to use the church and have an outdoor wedding, you can certainly do that too. There is an enchanting forest nearby which is perfect for an outdoor wedding setting.
3. Drenagh House and Estate
They are fully licensed to host civil and religious ceremonies in quite a few locations within their Estate. The most memorable and stunning in my opinion would have to be by the Moon garden. The Moon Garden is such a romantic and intimate place to exchange your vows. Check them out in the link below
4. Tinakilly House
Tinakilly House has 14 acres of mature landscaped gardens overlooking the Irish Sea. This stunning Country House Hotel is located in Wicklow is steeped in history and oozes charm and sophistication. It’s only a short drive from Dublin which is perfect for your guests and anyone flying in from outside the country.
You can have your whole wedding day hosted here including the ceremony. You can get ready in the stunning house, a short walk to the aisle, then enjoy the 40 acres of surrounding land to entertain your guests, before heading into the stunning marquee for your reception.
BEST OUTDOOR WEDDING LOCATIONS FOR MICRO WEDDINGS AND ELOPEMENTS
If you are thinking about Eloping instead, check out my GUIDE to Eloping here in Ireland
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