Rugged mountains, vast landscapes, breathtaking views and hikes… why wouldn’t you whisk yourselves off to my stunning home country of Ireland to get hitched?
More and more couples are shunning the big fat wedding with hundreds of guests, years of planning and tons of money spent on throwaway items and food for people they barely know, and heading outdoors to elope - it’s cheaper, easier and potentially a lot more romantic too.
The Emerald Isle is the perfect place to do it - it’s scenic, it’s mountainous, and the crumbling old castles are the icing on the fairytale cake. Windswept hair, flowing dresses, warm hugs and passionate embraces will happen. Plus, you can legally get married in most places - as long as it has an address or landmark name then your marriage will be legally binding. Plus, most places allow for a handful of guests (usually standing only) so you don’t have to leave your nearest and dearest behind completely.
Where to elope in Ireland?
In my 13 years (and counting!) as a wedding and elopement photographer, I’ve discovered all the best spots. I love the great outdoors, and I’m guessing you do too. So pull on those hiking boots and check out my top fifteen epic elopement destinations.
The 15 best places to elope in ireland
1. Muckross Abbey
County Kerry (South-West Region)
Perfect if you’re looking for:
Gothic, otherworldly, crumbling ruins
The wedding lowdown: The abbey is roofless, so if you’re worried about rain, bring umbrellas. Part of Killarney National Park, after your ceremony, why not head off to the park’s waterfall, rivers and woodland for romantic photos? Top tip: autumn might be chilly, but the turning red leaves will make a stunning setting for photos. Plus, there will be fewer tourists! You can fit around 20-30 guests in the abbey if you have a large family you’d like to attend.
2. Cliffs of Moher
Location: County Clare (Mid-West Region)
Perfect if you’re looking for: Rugged coastlines with sweeping, epic views
The wedding lowdown: For it to be legally binding, hold your ceremony at O’Brien’s Tower. Consider a spring or autumn elopement, or a sunset ceremony, if you want to beat the tourists. Or go for a full summer ceremony if you want a big cheer from the crowd. You can bring around 20 guests but can’t bring any chairs. Bonus: less stuff to carry!
Star of a ton of music videos and films including The Princess Bride and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
3. Wicklow Mountains
Location: County Wicklow (Mid-East Region)
Perfect if you’re looking for: Craggy peaks, swathes of purple heather… and a feeling of immense satisfaction when you reach the summit
The wedding lowdown:
You can either hike to the summit (you’ll want a similarly adventurous and outdoorsy officiant!) or elope in the foothills at Glendalough valley. There’s also a crumbling old church ruin – St. Ciarán’s (Kieran’s) Church – for a different setting. Wild camping is allowed in the national park (apart from Glendalough), so if you fancy the full outdoors experience, there are worse views you could wake up to.
The mountains have the largest span in Ireland, across four counties – get married in four places at once!
4. Slea Head
Location: County Kerry (South-West Region)
Perfect if you’re looking for: One of Ireland’s most scenic roads, past windswept cliffs overlooking the ocean
The wedding lowdown:
Probably the most picturesque backdrop you could have for your wedding photos. You can bring a handful of guests to stand around you as you tie the knot. Your minimoon can be spent driving the Slea Head Loop and the Dingle Peninsular – 30 miles of dramatic coastlines, vast fields and quaint villages.
Fun fact: Nearby Dunmore Head is the westernmost part of Ireland and final resting place of the enormous container ship Ranga, wrecked in 1982 (now a beautiful sight to behold)
5. Dunlace Castle
Location: County Antrim (Northern Ireland)
Perfect if you’re looking for:
It’s like a fairytale to do your vows on a rugged Irish Clifftop overlooking this awesome ancient castle
The wedding lowdown: Dunluce Castle is a perfect spot to do your vows with a beautiful backdrop for adventure elopements but there’s a farmer, Sean own those land, if you want to do some portraits with the castle in the background it will cost £50, if you want to hire the ground for your elopement ceremony for just £200. Within a few miles of the castle are the Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge, the Giant’s Causeway, Ballintoy Harbour and many other epic locations.
The Dunluce Castle was the Pyke’s Castle, the seat of the house greyjoy in HBO’s epic fantasy series – Game of Thrones. Same for the Ballintoy Harbour.
Here are my other 10 places to elope in Ireland. It's so hard to pick so many unbelievable locations.
- Your custom “build your own elopement” kit
◦ “getting to know you” questionnaire
◦ personalized elopement location idea list
◦ vendor recommendations
◦ tips, tricks, logistics & planning tools
◦ a custom elopement timeline for your best experience & beautiful images
- Full-resolution digital image files with printing rights digital gallery to view, download, print, and share your images worldwide
- Photographer travel fees to anywhere in Ireland *included!* (two locations within 100km)