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Ireland Elopement Guide

How to, and the Best Places to Elope in Ireland
04.11.24

Your wedding day should be about starting your marriage in a way that feels right to you – and if that feeling includes jetting off to a different country, where you’ll find jaw dropping cliffs, towering mountains, lush valleys, and an idyllic countryside, consider an Ireland Elopement!

As a local in this gorgeous, scenic country, I’ve got all the tips for how to elope in Ireland – so keep reading to learn about the best places to tie the knot, getting legally married, and anything else you’ll need to know for your once in a lifetime Ireland elopement!

Eloping gives you the opportunity to design your wedding day, exactly how you want it! It’s intentional, meaningful, and focused on you. Check out this guide  to learn more about what it means to elope.

Ireland Elopement Inspiration, Connors Pass, Kerry

Why You Should Elope in Ireland

Before we talk about how to plan your elopement, you’ll need to decide if eloping in Ireland is right for you! Here are just a few of the reasons why Ireland is an incredible place to elope.

Incredible Scenery

Of course, the best reason to elope in Ireland is the insane natural beauty! The rolling green hills, oceanside cliffs, rocky formations, mountain summits, and more make for an incredible backdrop – just imagine looking into your partner’s eyes as they read their vows, with your hair blowing in the wind and no one around. I can’t think of anything more magical!

Couple Elopement in Ireland, Kerry, Wild Atlantic Way, Cliff View

Bustling Cities

While the natural beauty of Ireland is unbelievable, its cities are also great for couples who want to take some time to explore the architecture, food, music, pubs, and culture of Ireland. The capital city of Dublin combines modern and historic sites, Galway is amazing for food and music, and Cork is a cultural center! Explore these cities and more to get a taste of life in Ireland.

Beer and Whiskey

For those who want to sample the spirits of Ireland, there are tons of breweries, pubs, and distilleries where you can try the local creations. Guinness is the most famous brewery, and Ireland’s most popular attraction, so whether you visit and see where the booze is made, or just order a pint at the local pub, Ireland is where the craic (local slang for a good time!) is.

Tips for Eloping in Ireland

When you elope in Ireland, there are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind!

Wear Layers

We’ll talk about the best time to elope in Ireland, but no matter when you tie the knot it’s best to be prepared for all weather, as it’s notoriously unpredictable! The country gets a lot of rain, but the temperatures usually aren’t too extreme – so bring layers, extra socks, and some waterproof gear.

With outdoor elopements, going with the flow is key! Things don’t always go exactly as planned, and rain does happen – but the truth is that photos look absolutely epic in the rain, and there will be less people out and about. Embrace it, and enjoy your elopement day!

Having a Plan B is important, so hiring an experienced elopement photographer to help you navigate any hiccups can help! If you have family or friends attending your elopement, you can also book a small venue just in case you need a rain plan.

Consider Getting a Heritage Card

If you plan to visit a lot of Ireland’s cultural and historical sites, consider a Heritage Card! It’s €40 (about $47 USD) per adult, and you’ll get admission to the 45 Heritage sites, good for an entire year. For more info, and to buy a card, click here!

Talk to a Local

The locals in Ireland are known for being friendly and welcoming, and most will love to show you the best their country has to offer! While you’re in Ireland, chat with some locals if you visit a pub or wander around the city – they’ll give you some tips, and tell you the best, lesser known places to check out.

Windy day outdoors Elopement in Ireland

The Best Places to Elope in Ireland

One of the first things you’ll do when you plan your Ireland elopement is decide where you’ll have the ceremony! There are tons of gorgeous places all around, but here are a few of the best places to elope in Ireland.

  • 01

    Dunluce Castle and Dunseverick Castle, Co Antrim, Northern Ireland

    Both castles are located in County Antrim, and both make a stunning, romantic backdrop for your elopement. These old castle ruins date back to the medieval age in Northern Ireland, and are located on the Causeway Coast. Elope here and you can explore the ruins, and wander along the coast! The North Antrim Cliff Path is a trail along the coastal cliffs with gorgeous views of the Giant’s Causeway – legend has it, this area was formed when a giant who resided in Northern Ireland threw chunks of the coastline into the sea to defend the country from a Scottish giant.

  • 02

    The Mourne Mountains, Co Down, Northern Ireland

    The Mourne Mountains are the highest and most dramatic mountain range in Northern Ireland, making them the perfect place to elope! C.S. Lewis visited these mountains and used them as inspiration, and the gorgeous peaks are the site of many fairy tales! You can explore Saint Patrick’s Stream, a river that runs through the mountains and is said to be where Saint Patrick banished the snakes from Irlenad. It’s said to mark the Kingdom of Mourne, and legend has it that there’s a rock in the water imprinted with Saint Patrick’s handprint.

  • 03

    The Cliffs of Moher, Co Clare, Ireland

    The Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland’s most famous scenic attractions. The sudden, vertical cliff edges plunge into the ocean, and the landscape has been featured in several movies – from Harry Potter to The Princess Bride. It’s one of the best places to elope in Ireland for incredible natural beauty, but it is popular – so plan ahead!

  • 04

    Corcomroe Abbey, Co Clare, Ireland

    Corcomroe Abbey was built in the early 13th century, and is a Cistercian monastery whose stone ruins feature stone carvings and centuries old effigies. The ruins are romantic and unique, and were once featured in W.B. Yeats play, The Dreaming of the Bones. The church is largely intact, and the carvings are well preserved, so this historic site is one of the best spots if you want to explore some history.

  • 05

    Menlo Castle, Co Galway, Ireland

    Ireland is sprinkled with castle ruins and gorgeous historic sites – and Menlo Castle is located right on the bank of the River Corrib, close to the campus of the National University of Ireland. Also called Blake’s castle (as it was home to the Blake Family before it was destroyed in a fire), these ruins are covered in greenery and vegetation, almost blending into the riverside path. The circular towers and exposed stone distinguishes the old structure, making it one of the best places to elope in Ireland for its connection to both history and nature.

  • 06

    Gap of Dunloe, Co Kerry, Ireland

    The Gap of Dunloe is a narrow mountain pass that runs through County Kerry, separating the McGillycuddy’s Reeks and Purple Mountain Group mountain rangers. The scenery makes this a popular destination in Kerry, and if you hike your way to the “Wishing Bridge” and cast a wish as you stand on the stone, your dreams might just come true! This is a gorgeous place to explore, with some magic surrounding the natural beauty.

    The Gap of Dunloe is located in Killarney National Park, so there are plenty of winding trails with boulders, river views, and valleys to explore! The mountains surrounding the valley and the distant peaks make for a breathtaking backdrop for your elopement.

  • 07

    Conor Pass , Co Kerry, Ireland

    The Conor Pass offers some of the most incredible mountain views. The narrow, windy road twists between the town of Dingle in the south and Kilmore Cross in the north, and the scenic drive offers mountain, lake, and valley views. The entire Dingle Peninsula is surrounded by sandy beaches and dramatic cliffs, with tons of scenic spots, including Conor Pass.

    The Ring of Kerry is a scenic drive where you’ll see some of Ireland’s most stunning landscapes, and is a great drive to add onto your elopement day, if you’re eloping near Dingle or near Killarney National Park. If you take the scenic drive, the Skellig Islands, made popular by Star Wars, are a great place to visit – they’re difficult to get to, but can be a great adventure after your ceremony!

  • 08

    The Slieve League Cliffs, Co Donegal, Ireland

    The Slieve League Cliffs are the highest accessible sea cliffs in Ireland, and standing on the towering cliffs as the ocean crashes below is an experience you’ll never forget! You can drive up to the viewpoint or walk through the gorgeous landscape, and from there, you can hike the difficult One Man’s Pass trail to reach the summit of the cliffs.

  • 09

    The Wicklow Mountains, Co Wicklow, Ireland

    The Wicklow Mountains are one of the best places to elope in Ireland as the wide open vistas, idyllic streams, deep lakes, wooded valleys, and rounded mountain peaks are a stunning landscape! Glendalough is a fairytale-esque valley in County Wicklow, and Lough Tay is a small, scenic lake perfect for couples who want to hike. The county is also known as the Garden of Ireland, and was the setting of Disney’s Disenchanted, so it’s a true fairytale place!

  • 10

    Glenveagh National Park, Co Donegal, Ireland

    Glenveagh National Park is remote and gorgeous, and home to Mount Errigal, the tallest peak in the country. The tallest peak in the country makes for a pretty great place to elope! Whether you hike to the top or find a viewpoint, this gorgeous peak is breathtaking – especially when the sun hits the quartzite rocks, causing the mountain to glow pink. At the base of the mountain, there’s the Old Dunlewey Church – an old marble structure that makes for a unique spot to say your vows.

  • 11

    Malin Head, County Donegal, Ireland

    On the Inishowen Peninsula of County Donegal you’ll find Malin Head, with rugged, rocky beaches and cliffs over the ocean. The area is remote and wild, making for one of the best

    places to elope in Ireland when it comes to privacy to say your vows. The scenic bluffs and ocean views are just jaw dropping! It’s the northernmost point of mainland Ireland, and you can also check out the watchtower at Banba’s Crown – a lookout tower built in 1805 to keep watch for Napoleon. The tower is named after Banba, the patron goddess of Ireland.

    Malin Head is also a great place to begin an epic road trip down the Wild Atlantic Way, a scenic drive along Ireland’s coastline. You can order a Wild Atlantic Way passport and get stamps at the landmarks you see!

  • 12

    Gougane Barra, County Cork, Ireland

    Gougane Barra is a settlement named by Saint Finbarr, who is thought to have built a monastery on an island in the lake. This is a beautiful forested location, perfect for couples who love woodsy scenery. The forest park features 20 different species of trees, and there are walks, hikes, and vistas all around!

When to Elope in Ireland

Before you set a date for your elopement in Ireland, it’s important to know about the climate, and the tourist season!

Summer in Ireland

Summer is the most popular time to visit Ireland, so you can expect higher prices and more tourists. The weather is warm and though July and August are the driest months, you should still expect some rain! Temperatures hover in the 60s (around 20° C) throughout the country.

Fall in Ireland

In the fall, you can spot the changing foliage from mid to late September, and enjoy less crowds! This can be a great time to elope in Ireland and avoid crowds, and the temperatures are cooler, but still mild.

Winter in Ireland

Winters in Ireland rarely get too cold, with temperatures usually staying in the 40s  (around 5° C). Coastal areas tend to be a little warmer than inland regions, but ocean winds can make for a blustery day! If you elope during the winter, you’re likely to get some of the scenery all to yourself – but be prepared with jackets and hand warmers, and some rain gear!

Spring in Ireland

Temperatures get warmer, wildflowers bloom, and Ireland comes to life with visitors! My favorite times to elope in Ireland are early fall and late spring, when the weather is ideal and rain is (somewhat) light, but the crowds aren’t as dense as they are in the summer.

Couple kiss, Ireland Elopement, rain and fog romantic day in the wild countryside.

How to Get Legally Married in Ireland

Getting legally married in Ireland is a little complicated – and the rules differ for Northern Ireland and the republic of Ireland. For couples having a destination elopement, it’s often easier to do the paperwork at home – that way, you can have a symbolic ceremony and exchange vows, without worrying about the legalities and logistics of getting married in a different country. Marriage laws can be complicated, and your elopement should be about having a blast! Paperwork isn’t what makes you married, so don’t hesitate to make things easier on yourself by doing the legal part at home.

For both locations, you’ll need to decide what kind of ceremony you’re having, so these are the three options:

  • Civil Ceremony – a civil ceremony is the most common type of wedding ceremony. It can only be performed by a Registrar, which means you have to get married in one of the Civil Registration Offices. This can work if you want to get legally married in the office, then go somewhere scenic for photos and to explore! Click here to find an office for a no-fuss, legally recognized elopement.
  • Religious Ceremony – a religious ceremony must follow the rules of that religion. This can vary, but usually requires a letter from your local priest, rabbi, or other leader and can only take place in a church or other religious center.
  • Secular Ceremony – a secular ceremony is not connected to any religion, and can be performed by a celebrant. There are less rules and restrictions, so this is the best ceremony option for eloping couples! You’ll be able to get married (almost) anywhere, perfect for outdoor elopements.

How to Get Legally Married in Northern Ireland

The first thing you’ll need to do to elope in Northern Ireland is submit your notice of intent to the registry office – this notifies the Irish government that you plan to get married. In Northern Ireland, the minimum is 28 days, and the maximum is 12 months. For couples who are traveling internationally to elope in Ireland, you can do this over the phone! You will also need to apply for a UK marriage visa.

At least 5 days before your wedding date, you’ll both need to appear at the registry office in person – so if you aren’t a local, work this into your travel plans! At this meeting, you’ll need to pay €200 to get a Marriage Registration Form – which is similar to a marriage license in the US.

Here’s what you’ll need to bring with you when you go to the registry office:

  • passport
  • the original and photocopy of your birth certificates
  • proof of address – original and photocopy dated within last 3 months
  • original or certified copy of your divorce decree, if relevant
  • former spouse’s death certificate, if relevant

Click here for a complete, up to date list!

Religious weddings need to be performed by an officiant, and a registrar or humanist celebrant for secular weddings. You’ll also need two witnesses who are at least 18 years old – you can ask your vendors if you aren’t inviting guests!

At the ceremony, your celebrant (officiant) and two witnesses will sign the Marriage Registration Form, and after this is sent back to the office, you’re legally married!

Click here for more information about getting legally married in Northern Ireland.

How to Get Legally Married in the Republic of Ireland

The requirements are a little different in the Republic of Ireland. You’ll still need to submit your notice of intent, but this needs to be done a minimum of three months before your ceremony, and a maximum of 12. You will also need to apply for a UK marriage visa.

Then you’ll need your Marriage Registration Form, which needs to be obtained in person from the registry office at least 5 days before the ceremony. This costs €200.

Here’s what you’ll need to bring with you when you go to the registry office:

  • passport
  • the original and photocopy of your birth certificates
  • proof of address – original and photocopy dated within last 3 months
  • original or certified copy of your divorce decree, if relevant
  • former spouse’s death certificate, if relevant

Click here for a complete, up to date list!

A religious or civil ceremony needs to be performed by a registered solemniser, and a secular (or humanist) ceremony requires an accredited celebrant. It also must take place somewhere with a postal address, or identifiable landmark, and can’t be on private property. You will need two witnesses who are at least 18 – your vendors can do this!

So, if you want to elope outdoors, I recommend Northern Ireland, because you can choose an epic elopement location, and aren’t limited in your options.

Mountain Portrait married couple Ireland Elopement

How Much Does It Cost to Elope in Ireland

Every elopement is different, and so is every elopement budget! Keep in mind that the value of your elopement comes from what you do, how you feel, and the fact that you’re starting your marriage in a way that’s authentic and true to you – it doesn’t come from how much money you spend.

Elopements are typically much less expensive than a traditional wedding, even factoring in travel and lodging! You get to have incredible experiences and adventures, and invest in the things that matter to you – for less than the cost of a big wedding, you can elope and have an epic honeymoon too!

But, this is your wedding day, and it’s worth investing in! When you’re creating a budget for your elopement in Ireland, think about the things that matter to you, and the things that would make this day absolutely incredible.

Here are some costs to think about!

Traveling to Ireland

If you’re traveling from the US to elope in Ireland, this is likely going to be a pretty big chunk of your elopement budget! The cost of flights can depend on the time of year and where you’re flying from, but I’d recommend budgeting about $1,000 for flights if you elope in the summer.

You’ll likely need to rent a car once you get here, so be sure to consider that in your budget as well! You can rent anything from a small sedan to a camper van, so costs will range from about $50 – $200 per day.

Accomodations in Ireland

You’ll need a place to stay – and the cost of accommodations can vary a ton. I recommend finding a cute bed and breakfast, as these cozy stays are the best way to experience Ireland. Find a comfortable place that will feel like home after a day of adventures!

You can find Airbnbs for as low as $50 per night, Bed and Breakfasts are around $100 per night, and high end hotels and resorts range from $200 to $400 per night.

Food

Everybody’s gotta eat! You can find meals for any budget – from a picnic on your elopement day to a private chef. If you’re a big foodie, consider allocating part of your budget to trying the local food, and don’t forget about the pubs and breweries too!

Wedding Attire

For your adventure elopement, there will be some standard wedding costs as well, like what you’ll wear to the ceremony! The cost of your elopement attire will depend on where you get it, as you can find more traditional dresses for upwards of $1,000 and suits in the $500s, or look somewhere like Lulus for more affordable options. Be sure to budget for jewelry, shoes, and any other accessories too!

Rings

If you plan to exchange rings, consider the cost in your elopement budget! Think about anything else you’ll need for the ceremony, like vow books or decorations.

Location Permit

Some spots require a permit to have a wedding ceremony – this depends on where you elope, as some places are free. If a permit is required, the cost is usually $0-$400. Be sure to research after you choose your elopement location!

Ireland Elopement Photographer

A photographer is going to be one of the best investments for your elopement day. Along with capturing and documenting the memories from the most important day of your life, I’ll be there to help you plan, and give you tips and advice along the way! Ireland elopement packages start at €1600, or $1900 USD.

Other Elopement Vendors

Some couples just hire an elopement photographer, while others hire a team of vendors – it’s entirely up to you, but great vendors can make a huge difference! They’ll help ensure your day goes smoothly and that you don’t have to worry about a thing.

Here are some of the vendors that can help with your Ireland elopement, and some price ranges:

Hair and makeup artist: $300 – $600

Videographer: $3,000 – $6,000

Florist: $300 – $1,000

Elopement Planner: $3,000 – $6,000. Hiring a wedding or elopement planned can take so much of the stress off of you! They’ll be the expert on eloping in Ireland, and can help you design the perfect day. A planner handles bookings, and takes care of every detail, so all you have to worry about is getting married!

Baker: $50 – $200

Celebrant: $0 – $900. Most of my couples get the legal stuff done at home before coming to Ireland, so that they don’t have to worry about the paperwork and about finding a celebrant.

Adventure Ireland Elopement Inspiration, Connors Pass, Kerry

Frequently Asked Questions About Eloping in Ireland

A lot of couples have no idea where to start when it comes to planning their elopement – because you’re breaking the mold and doing something outside the box! Here are some frequently asked questions about eloping in Ireland, and eloping in general.

Which airport do we travel to?

Most people fly into Dublin, as it’s the biggest airport, and typically has the most options. You can also connect to airports in Kerry and Belfast!

Can we invite guests?

Some couples want their elopement to be just them, while others invite a few loved ones! You can definitely invite some guests – eloping is all about doing what’s right for you, and if having some friends or family around would make your day the best it can be, I’m all for it.

Elopements are best with under 20 guests, as some outdoor locations can’t accommodate big groups. Keep in mind that you likely won’t be able to set up chairs or decorations – but nature is beautiful enough!

What do we wear to elope in Ireland?

When it comes to your attire, you’ll have some extra considerations! The most important thing to remember is that you should be comfortable – you’ll likely be outside, and moving around a lot, maybe hiking, or whatever other adventures you’ve got planned. So opt for comfortable attire that lets you move freely, and be prepared for rain too! You don’t want to spend your elopement day miserable because you’re cold, so bring layers and waterproof gear.

When you choose an elopement wedding dress, be sure to consider weather, comfort, and the durability of your dress. You’ll be walking around a lot, and possibly hiking and having other adventures – so opt for loose skirts that let you move! When it comes to weather, consider adding a jacket, cape, or shawl to keep you warm and to shield you from potential rain. You can also wear base layers, like thermal leggings.

When packing your dress, I recommend putting it in your carry-on just in case, and when you’re shopping, think about fabrics that won’t wrinkle easily, like lace, tulle, and crepe. This is especially important if you’ll be putting your dress in your hiking bag or packing it when you travel to your elopement location.

Reclamation has some incredible dresses – not only are they one of a kind and absolutely stunning, they specialize in boho styles that are perfect for any adventure. BHLDN offers tons of options as well, and you can even get creative and shop in the bridesmaids section for a unique color or a more laid back vibe for your day.

Sunset Ireland Elopement couple portrait

What day should we elope?

When choosing an elopement date, most couples have a time frame in mind, and staying flexible can be great because you can coordinate with your favorite photographer to find a date that works! I always recommend eloping on a weekday – especially Monday through Thursday. Weekends are always busier, so by eloping during the work/school week, you’ll have a much easier time finding some privacy.

Should we elope at sunrise or sunset?

As most people know, sunrise and sunset offer the best lighting! I recommend planning your ceremony for one of these times, and when choosing between the two, keep in mind that sunrise is your best bet for a private, crowd free elopement. If you aren’t an early bird, sunset is always quieter than the middle of the day too! I promise that once you say your vows to your best friend, with the sky lighting up the scenery behind you, you’ll forget all about the early morning alarm. You can look up sunrise and sunset times here to help you plan.

What do we do on our elopement day?

A lot of people think of elopements as just a quick ceremony, but they’re so much more! The entire day should be spent celebrating the two of you and your story, and the beginning of your marriage. You can do absolutely anything – just think of what would make this day incredible! Here are some ideas for things to do when you elope in Ireland:

  • Go for a hike
  • Go camping or glamping
  • Try local restaurants
  • Relax at a pub
  • Take a scenic drive
  • Explore historic castles
  • Fly in a hot air balloon
  • Rent a kayak
  • Incorporate some Irish traditions:
    • ​​carrying a porcelain horseshoes down the aisle
    • handfasting
    • giving bells as wedding favors
    • the bride wearing her hair braided with ribbon entwined

Dream big, and plan something amazing! For more tips and things to do in Ireland, check out these sources:

This is Ireland

Ireland Before You Die

The Irish Road Trip

Ireland Family Vacations

Do we have to hike when we elope?

You’ve probably seen those photos of couples on mountain tops – but don’t worry, if you don’t want to hike on your elopement day, you definitely don’t have to. There are plenty of adventures to have in Ireland that don’t require hiking, and plenty of beautiful places to elope that are easily accessible.

Elopement Photographer Ireland

Are you inspired by the windy cliffs, ocean views, and rolling hills of Ireland? Itching to get away from the traditional wedding stuff and tie the knot in a unique, wild, totally adventurous way?

The photos are important, but my job is so much more than that – it’s about capturing the heart fluttering moments, the loud laughter, and the quiet memories that happen on your elopement day.

Star Wars portrait, Ireland Elopement Photo Shoot in Kerry

If you’re ready to start planning, I’m ready to help!

I offer tailored proposals and elopement packages in Ireland, designed to support your unique vision. If you feel a connection with my photography style and would like me to photograph your Irish Elopement story then I would love to hear from you. Get in touch to learn more about how to make your your dream elopement come to life.

Contact me