11 Irish Escapes That Are Downright Dreamy

Castles, cottages and unbelievably cute homes you can actually stay in.

St. Patrick's Day is typically associated with pints of Guinness, lively folk music and a shared sense of kinship among strangers. But for us, it's Ireland's rolling hills, rocky coastline and country cottages that come to mind when thinking of March 17th. The wanderlust is real. Whether you're in need of an escape from your fast-paced reality or on the hunt for a relaxing retreat for your next big vacay, these 11 dreamy spots across Emerald Island should definitely be in the running.

Irish Cottage

Situated on the edge of the Dingle peninsula, this beautifully restored cottage is the ideal location to set down roots while exploring the county of Kerry. Beautifully manicured gardens, wood fire places, cozy rooms and views of the Sliabh Mish Mountains will make it difficult to stray from the property, even with historic villages, quaint beaches and amazing country walks only minutes away.

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Gate Lodge

Only 30 minutes outside of Dublin, this idyllic country estate feels like a little piece of paradise. The 19th century retreat boasts lush gardens, a lily-pond and views of the Grand Canal that will whisk you off to your happy place, cottages equipped with four-poster beds, wood paneling and country kitchens perfect for enjoying a piping hot cup of tea offer a warm, inviting backdrop for your Irish escape.

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Mill Cottage

This quaint cottage in the heart of Kilkenny feels straight out a story book with its wildflower-filled gardens, charming thatched roof and views of a 12th-century Augustinian Priory. During the summer, a nearby apple orchard fills the air with a sweet scent and guests can camp out in the gardens and sleep under the stars. The village of Kells is only a few minutes away, its historic buildings and lively pubs offering a fun way to immerse in the local culture.

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Castle Ardee

Staying in a castle just seems like the right thing to do during a stint on the Emerald Isle. Winding staircases, stone floors and elegantly carved mantelpieces lend the historic spot plenty of old world charm. Enjoy a drink by the fire after exploring the historic sights and shops of Ardee or stroll through the cobblestone courtyard and gardens before afternoon tea. Anyway you spin it, a stay at Hatch's Castle will be one to remember.

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Fintown Cabin

Outdoors enthusiasts will swoon at the sight of this self-contained cottage in Donegal. The cottage is nestled in a valley in the scenic village of Fintown, whose river is widely known for its salmon and trout fishing. The expansive wood deck looks straight out onto Glenveagh National Park, Ireland's second largest national park. After a day of kayaking, horseback riding or hiking, kick back by the woodstove with a glass of wine.

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Donegal Cottage

Named one of the 'Top 20 Places for the Summer in UK or Ireland' by the Sunday Times, Croaghcullion is a traditional Donegal coastal cottage that that overlooks a tranquil lake and rolling green hills as far as the eye can see. Walk to the beach, where you're unlikely to encounter any other tourists, or take advantage of breathtaking landscape by walking one of the mountain pathways. Experience the local culture with a trip into Glencolmcille village, where you'll find shops, cozy pubs with traditional music and cafés.

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Thatched roof cabin

Located along the world-renown Ring of Kerry, this thatched roof cottage is a haven for nature lovers and a little piece of paradise for the avid walker. With a sunny patio and fieldstone fireplace, the cottage allows you to take advantage of any kind of weather. Panoramic views of Dingle Bay can be seen from the hilltop spot and the home's inviting interiors are laced with quirky, country charm.

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Courtyard Cottage

This pet-friendly address could only be described as dreamy. The remote location makes this sweet spot the perfect place to unplug and get away from it all. Great walks, inviting pubs and a gracious host who is happy to supply you with everything from area suggestions to farm fresh eggs for your breakfast are just a few of the Gatehouse's perks.

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Church Athentry

Old and new fuse in this refined rural retreat. A protected building and national monument, Bookeen Hall is a former Church of Ireland Chapel dating back to 1820. The historic spot was converted into a two-bedroom home several years ago and offers guests a unique mix of Gothic architecture, contemporary elegance and the comforting homey touches. The bell tower has been transformed into a reading room that provides striking views of the surrounding countryside and a private bath with a claw-foot tub is perfect for a long soak after a day of exploring.

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Waterville

Who could say no to this view? Skellig Rest Cottage sits high on the Ring of Kerry overlooking Ballinskelligs Bay and the Skellig rocks. Hiking trails, beaches and some of the best spots in Europe for salmon and sea trout angling are only a few minutes away. Located in the core of Kerry's International Dark Sky Reserve, which makes it a prime location for stargazing, which you can effortlessly do from the comfort of the home's ocean-facing hot tub — the dream.

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Kilanon House

With its picturesque setting and innate sense of 19th-century elegance, you'll walk away from your stay at Kiltanon House feeling refreshed, relaxed and ready to take on the rigours of everyday life. The lovingly restored estate offers luxury in the heart of the countryside, so you can enjoy all that nature has to offer without compromising on comfort (and a bit of self indulgence).

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