Who doesn’t love to be beside the seaside? The resonating clatter of the waves, the monotonous chatter of the seagulls, the holistically serene horizon subtly hinting that you could be anywhere and indeed everywhere all at once. For many of us, the beach reminds us of the purity of nature, the vastness of the earth, and the innocence of a child. For some it brings back memories of crunching on egg salad sandwiches and poking dead jellyfish at the nearby blue flag, or playing keepy-uppies in a two-piece while basking in the glorious Mediterranean sun. Whatever our memories are from days by the sea, it is a place that fills us with warmth and calm.
The beach is the ideal setting for a summer wedding, and there are plenty of stunning venues across the country that provides you with that idyllic backdrop. It is a fresh and natural setting for an on-site ceremony or blessing, and provides a glorious backdrop for wedding photos. But as we are often told, it’s not what’s on the outside that counts (especially when you have a climate like ours!) so the following coastal venues don’t just stand up on that merit alone, these six beautiful Irish seaside spots also pride themselves on top-class service, sumptuous food, and beautiful accommodation.
“It does not belong to any world that you and I have ever worked or lived in. It is part of our dream world” – George Bernard Shaw writing about Parknasilla, Kerry.
Capacity: Up to 150 guests in the Pygmalion Restaurant | Option for marquee for up to 500 guests
Accommodation: 78 Bedrooms | 24 courtyard garden lodges | 38 three bed villas
The Kerry Mountains envelop the private 500-acre grounds of Parknasilla Resort, while the Atlantic Ocean laps against its rugged south facing shores. Parknasilla Resort, five minutes from the romantic town of Sneem, Kerry, offers exclusive access to its dramatic, unspoilt views, award winning restaurant and luxuriously appointed accommodation to couples seeking their own ‘dream world’ on their wedding day.
Whether you choose to entertain up to 150 guests in the Kenmare Bay facing Presidential Suite with its floor to ceiling windows, or up to 500 in a marquee on the magnificently landscaped grounds of the hotel, you are guaranteed spectacular natural beauty and unsurpassed service.
Religious ceremonies are ideally placed with the town of Sneem, including beautiful churches for both Protestant and Catholic ceremonies among its many amenities. A civil ceremony can be held outdoors in lush gardens, or on the sun lit terrace.
Waterside House Hotel, Donabate, Co. Dublin | 4*
Capacity: Up to 50 in the Lambay Suite or Signal Restaurant | 50-240 guests in the Martello Ballroom
Accommodation: 18 standard bedrooms | 15 executive bedrooms | 2 suites
Nestled on the shores of Donabate beach, The Waterside House Hotel is the hidden gem on the sands of the North County Dublin coastline. It is surrounded by breathtaking sea views of Ireland’s Eye, Howth Head and Lambay Island, with each landmark feeling as if it’s on the doorstep.
The Waterside House Hotel is one of the few wedding venues in Ireland which offers wedding ceremonies on the beach. There is private access on to Donabate Beach where you can hold a blessing surrounded by friends and family within the tranquil sights and sounds of the sea. The Lambay Suite converts into the Lambay Chapel for intimate indoor civil ceremonies.
The Waterside House Hotel features 35 beautifully appointed rooms with panoramic views over the Irish Sea. Each room is decorated with a ‘fresh sea breeze’ feel and brings the beauty of the outdoors, in.
Galway Bay Hotel, Salthill, Co. Galway | 4*
Capacity: Up to 400 guests in the Lettermore Suite | Up to 400 guests in the Ballyvaughan Suite
Accommodation: 153 rooms including 4 executive suites
On the popular promenade of Salthill sits the salient Galway Bay Hotel. The established hotel boasts stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean in Galway Bay and the Clare Mountains further afield. This Irish family run hotel prides itself on its first class service and famed hospitality.
The multi-award winning hotel is the perfect point of access to Galway City Centre, Connemara and the Aran Islands so weekend wedding guests are guaranteed plenty to do and see.
The Lettermore and Ballyvaughan Suites cater for up to 400 wedding guests, and both are luxuriously furnished to create warmth and intimacy. The hotel is also an approved location for civil ceremonies.
Carlton Hotel Kinsale, Kinsale, Co. Cork | 4*
Capacity: 150-200 guests in the Rathmore Suite
Accommodation: 70 bedrooms | 20 three-bedroom Garden Suites adjacent
At the Carlton Hotel Kinsale guests are invited to enjoy panoramic views of Oysterhaven Bay from the beautifully appointed Rathmore Banqueting Suite. Kinsale is one of Ireland’s most celebrated coastal towns, renowned for its rugged landscape, fun festivals and its universal hospitality. Its harbour is a hub of maritime activities, and the fabulous gourmet restaurants and historic golf links that line the area ensure that every taste is catered for.
The Carlton Kinsale is set on 90 acre woodland, a natural and tranquil setting that provides a majestic gateway into the venue as well as a perfect backdrop for wedding photos. Within the banqueting suite, an all glass front takes advantage of the magnificent bay views, and provides a contemporary feel to events. This bright and spacious room is the perfect place to entertain guests, and on a warmer day, the amply sized balcony can be utilised for pre-dinner cocktails in the sun.
The Carlton Kinsale is located 5km from the heart of Kinsale Town, 20km from Cork International Airport and 30km from the bustling city centre of Cork.
Portmarnock Hotel, Portmarnock, Co. Dublin | 4*
Capacity: Up to 90 guests in the Links Suite | 80-200 guests in the Moyne Suite
Accommodation: 138 rooms divided between the old Jameson House and new buildings
With over 100 years experience of creating a magical day for couples and their families, The Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links is the safest of hands to be in when planning your own special day. Perfectly located on the Velvet Strand and nestled between the beautiful villages of Malahide and Howth in North County Dublin, the hotel the ideal setting for fabulous photos in magnificent surroundings.
An obvious choice of backdrop for your wedding shoot is of course the postcard-like strand and sea, however the exclusive ‘Secret Garden’, located on the grounds of the original Jameson House, is a place you are guaranteed to get photos that will be cherished for a lifetime.
Recognised for their friendly, helpful staff and relaxed yet professional atmosphere, The Portmarnock Hotel also prides itself on its staff’s ‘can do’ attitude, a characteristic so important in those you have entrusted one of the biggest days of your life to. Their simple wedding packages are designed to take the fuss and the stress out of your day in a straightforward manner, and the hotel has an array of wonderful wedding suppliers which it can recommend for whatever type of event you wish to create.
The maximum number for the Links Suite can accommodate is 90 guests. The minimum number required for the Moyne Suite is 80 guests, and maximum is 200 guests on round tables.
The Maritime Hotel, Bantry, Co. Cork | 4*
Capacity: Up to 250 guests in the Windward Suite
Accommodation: 114 designer rooms including one and two-bedroom and luxury suites
The chic and sophisticated Maritime Hotel, in West Cork, sits on the breathtaking shores of Bantry Bay. It’s hard to imagine a more romantic and serene place to watch the sun set on the Atlantic Ocean than in the bright and spacious Windward Suite. The suite is furnished with dramatic full glass window to take advantage of the unspoilt views of the entire landscape.
The Maritime Hotel is the perfect choice for couples wishing to have a religious ceremony due to its proximity to the world famous Gougane Barra Church. Amazing photographs are also a guarantee with a choice of the exquisite Bantry Bay as a backdrop, or the nearby Bantry House and Gardens. The hotel is renowned for elegant fine dining, elegant style, fantastic ambience and exclusive internal bars as well as first-rate service.
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