- Adare (County Limerick): Literally a picture-postcard town—its image has been reproduced alongside a hundred thousand “Wish You Were Heres”—Adare is hardly a secret, but if you manage to visit when the roads aren’t clogged with tour buses, you’ll leave with a memory card full of photos.
- Athlone (County Westmeath): Sitting at the edge of the River Shannon, its streets curving around a fortress-like castle, Athlone is a charmer with a real spirit of fun. Houses are painted in bright hues, and streets are lined with funky boutiques, good restaurants, and lively pubs.
- Dalkey (County Dublin): The cutest of a string of upscale seaside towns unfurling south from Dublin, Dalkey is both a short drive and a million miles away from the busy city. With a castle, lovely beaches, and some fine restaurants, it tempts you into its affluent embrace.
- Kinsale (County Cork): Kinsale's narrow streets all lead to the sea, dropping steeply from the hills around the harbor. The walk from Kinsale through Scilly to Charles Fort and Frower Point is breathtaking. Bonus: It’s a gourmet hotspot, full of good restaurants.
- Kenmare (County Kerry): It’s easy to fall in love with Kenmare, with its stone cottages, colorful gardens, and flowers overflowing from window boxes. Home to several elegant hotels, it makes an enchanting base when exploring the Ring of Kerry.
- Dingle (An Daingean) (County Kerry): In this charming hilltop medieval town, stone buildings ramble up and down hills, and the small population is relaxed about visitors. You’ll find lots of little diners and picturesque pubs, plus a lovely historic church.
- Ardara (County Donegal): On the southwest coast of Donegal, tiny Ardara looks as if it were carved out of a solid block of granite. Its hilly streets are lined with boutiques and charming arts shops, many selling clothes made of the famed Donegal wool. You can wander its entirety in a few minutes. It’s a bite-sized place.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.