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destination-wedding-ireland

Getting Married In Ireland

Home to rolling green hills and vibrant meadows, the Emerald Isle is an idyllic wedding destination. From enchanting castles and rugged coastlines to cosy pubs, lively traditional music and ancient folklore, Ireland has all the romance and magic needed for the perfect ceremony. It is famously known as “Ireland of the Welcomes” because of the friendly hospitality and relaxed atmosphere visitors encounter on their travels. One of the most endearing things about the country is its pure rural beauty and because of that, it has been a tourist haven during the past couple of decades. If you’re planning a lavish fairy-tale wedding or a charming, intimate ceremony, then this could be the ultimate wedding destination for you.

Fact File Highlights
Weather & Climate Culture & Etiquette
Food & Drink Money & Wedding Costs
Legal Requirements Counties

Fact File

  • Size: 84,421 km2 (32,595 miles2)
  • Population: Approximately 4.58 million
  • Capital City: Dublin
  • Currency: Euro (EUR)
  • Languages Spoken: English and Gaelic (Irish)
  • Main Religions: Predominantly Christian, especially Catholic and Protestant
  • Major Holidays and Festivals:
    • New Year’s Day - January 1
    • Saint Patrick’s Day - March 17
    • Good Friday - April
    • Easter - April
    • Christmas Day - December 25
    • Saint Stephen’s Day - December 26

Highlights

There are endless things to do and see in Ireland, a country steeped in rich history and traditions, including scenic walking trails, rivers, lakes and beaches and heritage attractions.

Weddings are traditionally held in churches, but it is becoming more common for people to say their vows in charming old castles or beautiful gardens. Here are some options to help you get a feel for what’s available on the island.

Castle Oliver, Limerick: Built in 1843, this stunning Irish castle is surrounded by 15 acres of gardens, a lake and woodlands, creating an ideal fairy-tale setting. The castle is available to hire privately for weddings so you have exclusive use of the castle and grounds. For more information, visit www.castleoliver.ie.

Fernhill House Hotel, Cork: Set in one of the most beautiful regions of Ireland, this West Cork hotel has beautifully landscaped gardens offering perfect backdrops including a rose garden, gazebo and water features. It has a dedicated wedding co-ordinator and luxury accommodation. You can find out more on their website – www.fernhillhousehotel.com.

Solis Lough Eske Castle, Donegal: If you’re feeling adventurous and would like to travel to one of the most rugged and stunning parts of the country, you could plan your wedding in the wilds of Donegal in the far north-west of Ireland. But you wouldn’t have to rough it because this castle hotel and spa prides itself on luxury and high standards of service. Find out more at www.solishotels.com/lougheskecastle.

Aran Islands Hotel, Galway: For a truly charming Irish wedding, couples can step back in time on Inis Mor - a tiny island off the coast of Galway where you will find fields filled with stone walls, horse-drawn carriages and locals speaking in the traditional Irish language of Gaelic. This hotel offers both intimate and extravagant ceremonies in a tranquil setting with the breath-taking landscape as a backdrop. Visit www.aranislandshotel.com for more information.

While visiting Ireland, there are endless attractions to visit and sights to see. Here are some to try and put on your list.

Hiking: This might not be your idea of a wedding holiday but if you’re an outdoors couple then Ireland is one of the greatest places in the world to hike or cycle, taking in the breath-taking scenery. No matter what part of the country you’re in, you will find beautiful forest trails, stunning sea cliffs or quiet country roads to stroll along. To find a great place to walk near your destination, visit www.irishtrails.ie.

Ring of Kerry: This unspoilt peninsula in the south-west of Ireland is another perfect destination for lovers of the outdoors. As well as the beautiful unspoiled scenery, there is golf, water-sports, cycling, walking, horse riding and fishing opportunities along the way. Visit www.ringofkerrytourism.com  to find out more.

Voya Seaweed Baths: For a more relaxed and luxurious activity in Ireland, treat yourselves to a couple’s seaweed bath to rid any wedding jitters. The steaming baths are filled with fresh seawater and wild, organic seaweed, which smooths and rejuvenates the skin. For more information, visit www.voyaseaweedbaths.com.

The Brazen Head Pub: Ireland’s oldest pub has live traditional music every night and is one of the best places to enjoy old-fashioned Irish customs, food and craic. Diners enjoy a candlelit dinner of traditional Irish food with an evening of storytelling, local folklore, music and ballads. Find out more at www.brazenhead.com.

MacNean House: This multi-award winning restaurant at the foothills of the Cuilcagh Mountains in County Cavan serves up some of the best food Ireland has to offer, showcasing local Irish produce. It is owned by celebrity chef Neven Maguire and will give you a taste of Ireland, but be aware, it doesn’t come cheap. For more information, visit www.macneanrestaurant.com.

Weather and Climate

Ireland’s weather is mild but variable and can be unpredictable. It is a wet island with plenty of rain so it’s a good idea to have a backup if you have planned an outdoor wedding. The annual average temperature is 9 degrees Celsius, or 48.2 degrees Farenheit. The best time of year to visit is during late spring, summer and early autumn, between May and September, when temperatures average 15 to 20 degrees Celcius (59 to 68 degrees Farenheit).

Culture and Etiquette

Ireland’s unofficial motto of ‘Ceade Míle Fáilte’, which literally translates to ‘a hundred thousand welcomes’, and the most globally well-known Irish slang word ‘craic’, meaning ‘fun’, gives a clear indication of the kind of greeting you will get in the country. Irish people are generally laidback and relaxed, and the tourism industry prides itself on its friendly hospitality.

Marriage traditions in Ireland are steeped in history and if you’d like a bit of Irish culture included in your wedding, there are endless customs you can incorporate into the ceremony. Some include the bride wearing a wreath of wildflowers in her hair, traditional Irish dancing, carrying a horseshoe for good luck and eating salt and oatmeal at the beginning of the reception for protection against the evil eye.

English is the main language spoken in Ireland and you are not expected to know Gaelic when you visit! However, there are pockets around the west of Ireland called a ‘Gaeltacht’, where Gaelic is the first language spoken. You will find that sign posts in those regions are only written in Irish with no English translation, but most people living in the areas, especially in shops or restaurants, will have no problem chatting to you in English and giving you directions.

Food and Drink

Ireland is a very fertile country with a large agricultural industry, so local produce and food is usually fresh and good quality. However, the island is far better known for its alcohol than for its food – mainly Guinness and whiskey – and you will find nice, cosy pubs and bars in every village, town and city to enjoy a few pints.

Or if you’d like to mix the food and drink together, you could try an Irish favourite – steak and Guinness pie – which is often found on pub menus. Another local classic, especially out in the countryside, is soda bread, which is a moist homemade brown bread. It goes very well with butter and jam at breakfast time or with a bowl of soup for lunch.

There are plenty of cuisine choices from British and Irish to Asian, Italian or fast food when you’re looking to dine. Eating out in Ireland is not cheap but it’s not overly expensive either. Meals can range from €10 to €40 for a main meal and it is not custom to tip, but it is not completely uncommon either.

Money and Wedding Costs

The currency used in Ireland is the Euro.

The average wedding in Ireland costs just over €21,000 and prices vary in different counties and at different venues. With careful planning, it is possible to organise a budget wedding for under €10,000, and of course, if you would like to have an ultra-luxurious wedding, there is no limit to what you could spend!

Credit cards are accepted just about everywhere in Ireland, but you will find in some small towns and villages that little shops will only take cash. It is fairly easy to find an ATM though, especially in towns where a number of businesses do not accept cards.

Wedding suppliers around the country usually accept all major credit cards and electronic fund transfers, so it’s not too complicated to sort out payment from overseas. However, again in the more rural areas, it’s best to check first what payment methods suppliers will accept.

Legal Requirements for Marrying in Ireland

Warning The following notes are not comprehensive and are intended as a guide only. Before planning your wedding in India we strongly advise you to contact the Indian embassy in your home country or your country's embassy in India to obtain up-to-date legal requirements.

Getting married in Ireland has become less complicated for non-residents in recent years, however there are still legal requirements leading up to the wedding that need to be met. You should also note that it can be difficult to find a priest who would be willing to marry you in a church, compared to the relatively simple procedure of organising a marriage celebrant in another venue. However, there are ways around this and individual couples would need to discuss their situation with the parish priest of their choice if they would like to marry in a church.

In order to legally marry in Ireland, both the bride and groom must give three months’ notice of their intention to marry by making an appointment with the Registrar’s Office and attending an appointment together. You need to bring with you:

  • Your passport
  • Original full birth certificate with an Apostille Stamp from the Embassy of origin or a letter from the Embassy confirming the authenticity of the certificate (some countries are exempt from this).
  • The registrar might also request additional documents before the appointment.

If you are unable to attend in person, you need to contact the HSE to find out if another method can be arranged. The cost of registering the wedding is 200 EUROS. Couples also need to be resident in Ireland for eight days in the district they intend to get married in before the wedding. That period is then followed by a further delay of up to three weeks depending on the county.

For more information and a full list of requirements, visit www.hse.ie/go/marriage.

Counties of the Republic of Ireland

Ireland is divided into four provinces, which incorporates Northern Ireland as well as the Republic.  The Republic of Ireland is further divided into 26 counties. Each of them have their own rich history and local attractions, but all of them have that postcard green Irish scenery that makes Ireland an ideal wedding destination.

Find out more about the Counties of the Republic of Ireland or browse our Irish Wedding Directory to start planning your dream wedding.

For more information about Northern Ireland see our United Kingdom Wedding Guide and Counties of Northern Ireland.