The word staycation, as it was originally conceived, meant taking a holiday at home – literally. People would book time off work and do touristy things in their home place during the day while spending the nights in their own homes. As holidays go they weren’t amazing, but they were cheap.
But as time passed, the definition broadened and now, for Irish people, “staycation” has come to mean a leisure break on the island of Ireland – something which would have been known simply as “a holiday” in the 1970s, when only a very well-heeled minority could even dream of travelling in search of the sun or new experiences.
The notion of a staycation was front and centre – up there with social distancing and sanitiser for much of 2020 and 2021 – as international travel was grounded as a result of the Great Unpleasantness. All the jet-setters accustomed to jaunts to the Costas or the Algarve were taken off the menu, and in the early days of the pandemic there was much grumbling about that fact.
But most of us were pleasantly surprised by what dear old Ireland had to offer, and unlike with social distancing and sanitiser, are happy that staycations have stayed with us. While there are always going to be question marks over the prices we pay for holidays close to home and the weather we might get is frequently, um, miserable, there is no question that when it comes to unique and memorable experiences, Ireland can go toe-to-toe with pretty much anywhere else.
From foodie-focused city breaks to outdoor adventures for all the family, via arty weekends for culture vultures to get-away-from-it-all luxury for adults only, we’ve rounded up 20 of the best itineraries for a spring break around Ireland over the coming months.
Just don’t forget your raincoat.