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Holidays in Ireland

My Top 10 Travel Trends in Ireland For 2021

Sarah Downpatrick Head (1)

Pod travel, cruise holidays, responsible travel, and exploring The Wild Atlantic Way, are just some of the travel trends in Ireland for 2021, check out my top ten below.


There is no doubt that 2020 is a year that we all want to forget. Most of us were unable to travel overseas, and with travel restrictions constantly changing, we had to cancel or defer holidays in Ireland too. Hopefully, 2021 will be a brighter year for all of us, and we will get back travelling regularly again. However, it is likely that some travel restrictions will remain, so it is important to keep an eye on key travel trends, to know what holidays will be the most sought after in 2021.




I hope to be able to travel overseas, and that there is robust testing in place at airports in the near future, but nevertheless, many people may still choose to stay at home next year. With this in mind I thought I would let you know what I believe will be the top travel trends in Ireland, to help you plan a much needed vacation. Watch out for a post on overseas travel trends coming soon.


Top Tip: If you are booking a holiday many months in advance, you should try to book a room with a free cancellation policy. There may be changes to the listed facilities that may not suit you, or you may have to cancel at the last minute. This means you can secure a holiday for 2021 now, but with no risk attached.
Read: My top tips for holidaying in Ireland during Covid-19



Here are my top 10 travel trends in Ireland in 2021


1. Holiday homes on the Wild Atlantic Way

holiday homes on the wild atlantic way will be a top travel trend for 2021

If there is one positive to take from 2020, it is how much we learned to appreciate our home country. I saw some stunning images of Ireland’s dramatic coastline posted on social media throughout the summer, and have a long list of places that I wish to visit as a result. From sea swims to cliff walks, there is no doubt about it, the most sought after accommodation in Ireland is one thats close to the sea.


One of the other key travel trends that emerged during Covid-19 is the popularity of holiday homes and Airbnbs. As well as the extra space that a holiday home brings, it also allows for flexibility with dining, and helps with privacy and social distancing. 


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When you add both of these travel trends together, you get the holy grail of holidays for 2021 – the elusive holiday home beside the sea.

The Wild Atlantic Way is one of the most searched terms for Irish holidays, and I can only assume it will be the same in 2021. And it’s not just natives that want to visit – Lonely Planet rated The Wild Atlantic Way the 21st best experience in the world, on it’s Ultimate Travel List. I discovered some stunning beaches myself in Mayo this summer, and I hope to visit some of Donegal’s hidden gems next year.

Read: The best places to stay on the Wild Atlantic Way



2. Hotels with self catering lodges on site

hotels in Ireland with lodges

Following on from the trend of self catering holiday homes, is there anything better than having the benefits of a self catering lodge, with the facilities of a hotel on site? This is my ideal holiday accommodation.

I like to have a nice bar and restaurant close by, and ideally a swimming pool, but also to have the freedom and space that a lodge brings. I particularly love when breakfast is included in the cost. Not only do I love hotel breakfasts, but it also gives me that extra push I need to ensure I get up early in the morning!

Read: 20 hotels with lodges in Ireland



3. Pod travel

travel trends for 2021 - pod travel

With restrictions on house visits and pubs, an overnight stay or a weekend get-together should prove to be a big travel trend in 2021. Travel pods or quarantine bubbles are a safe way to hang out with extended family or friends, without the worry of mixing with strangers.


The range of holiday experiences are endless. You may decide to book a few rooms in a hotel, but I personally think that a large Airbnb or hotel lodge will be the more popular options. You can also rent an entire castle or a large cabin cruiser.

Read: 20 Airbnbs in Ireland for groups for large family holidays



4. Cruise holidays


Similarly to getting a holiday home on the Wild Atlantic Way, trying to book a cruiser on the River Shannon in July was next to impossible – believe me I tried!

A river cruise is a great way to explore many of Ireland’s towns and villages in one trip. You also get a great sense of achievement by captaining your very own boat.


You don’t need a license to rent a cruiser, and you can enjoy the freedom of deciding where or when to stop. Self-drive River Shannon cruisers range from 2-10 persons and can be hired in Carrick-on-Shannon, Athlone, Lough Ree and Banagher, Portumna and Whitegate on Lough Derg.


You can also enjoy the lakes around Lough Erne, in Co. Fermanagh. They tend to be quieter than the Shannon, so you really get the feeling you are exploring on your own. If you fancy a cruise holiday next summer, I suggest you book it now…

See more here



5. Pet friendly hotels and holiday homes

pet friendly holidays will be one of the popular travel trends for 2021

Covid-19 has seen a massive upsurge in people buying pets. With ‘staying in’ being the new ‘going out’, 2020 seemed like the perfect year to get a pet. I predict that many people will want their pets to come on holidays with them, making pet-friendly holidays a big travel trend in Ireland in 2021. 


The good news is there are so many pet-friendly hotels and holiday homes in Ireland, so it should not prove too difficult to find the right holiday for you and your four-legged friend – but I advise you to book in advance if you wish to travel during school holidays.

Read: 40 hotels in Ireland that allow dogs

Read: 20 Dog-friendly Airbnbs in Ireland



6. Outdoor activity breaks 


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As well as a new found appreciation for nature in 2020, it seems that we have adopted a grá for outdoor activities too. At the beginning of July, it was almost impossible to buy a wet-suit, kayak, or even a surf board, despite the fact that outdoor specialist store, Decathlon recently opened in Dublin.


Sunrise swims and sea kayaking became the norm on Instagram, and I believe trying outdoor activities and experiences will be one of Ireland’s key travel trends in 2021. I tried horse-riding and falconry for the first time this year and loved them both. I would like to try more new experiences next year, it turns out you don’t need to travel overseas to experience something new…

All that being said, if you fancy going surfing or kayaking next summer, get shopping for a wetsuit now!

Read: The best adventure holidays in Ireland



7. Bucket list experiences & unique stays

 luxury hotels in Ireland and unique stays - travel trends

If travel restrictions are still in place, and holidays are kept to a minimum, I predict many will splash out and visit somewhere special next year. The added incentive of claiming 20% back as a tax refund might also encourage people to spend a little more.

Read: How to claim money back with the spend and stay scheme


Did you know that Ashford Castle has an exclusive Hideaway Cottage, or that you can stay in a private Lake Lodge in Lough Eske Castle? The Cliff House Hotel has the beach house of dreams, and the secluded Inis Meáin Suites look like the ultimate luxury retreat.


Airbnb have lighthouses, treehouses as well as luxury cottages with private beaches – you can even rent a castle for a private stay. 2021 might be the year to scratch something off your Irish bucket list.

Read: Ireland’s bucket list, unique stays and luxury hotels in Ireland



8. Glamping

travel trends in Ireland for 2021 - glamping holidays

Our new found love for nature has seen a massive surge in people looking for camping holidays. However, we are also fond of our creature comforts, and with Ireland’s unpredictable weather, glamping is quickly becoming the new camping.


‘Glamping’, or glamorous camping, can really mean anything from a fancy tent with a mattress, to a glass bubble dome in the woods with a waiter service. There are adult-only glamping sites for the ultimate romantic getaway, as well as camp sites with lots of facilities for kids, including kids clubs and aqua parks.


It is important that you choose the right glamping site for you. Some of my favourite memories of glamping in Ireland are cooking on an open fire, and having a private outdoor deck to enjoy the morning chorus. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it…

Read: Top picks for glamping in Ireland

Read: Airbnb glamping sites in Ireland



9. Responsible travel

eco friendly hotels in Ireland

Sustainability is a hot topic in many aspects of life, and travel is no exception. A recent survey from shows that 55% of travellers are more determined to make sustainable travel choices than they were a year ago, and 70% would be more likely to book a property if they know it’s planet friendly.


Eco camps like Pure Camping and Nire Valley Eco Camp are some of my favourites, but it is great to see more and more hotels getting sustainable too.

The Europe Hotel & Resort in Killarney operates entirely on 100% renewable electricity, as well as being heavily focused on food sustainability and seasonality, monitoring and improving recycling, and reducing waste materials and water consumption.


The eco-friendly Gregans Castle Hotel in Co. Clare is a founding member of the Burren Ecotourism Network and The Burren Food Trail, and are members of the Green Hospitality Programme.

Their tree planting has created a new habitat for wildlife, and weed killers or harmful chemicals are not used in their gardens. Most foods are sourced from local producers, and interiors consist of natural fabrics, pigment paints and natural bath products. They also offer a wide selection of eco-tourism experiences for their guests, and offer free bicycles to explore the local area. 



10. Last minute short breaks

last minute hotel deals in Ireland

With travel and dining restrictions likely to continue into 2021, I predict there will be a large increase in last minute hotel breaks. An overnight stay with dinner in a local hotel might become a regular activity, and short last minute breaks should prove popular with people looking for great value hotel deals.


Remember to check my website regularly for the best last minute hotel deals in Ireland. As soon as hotels re-open, I will be promoting lots of hotel deals – watch this space!  


I hope this post travel trends in Ireland will help you plan a trip away in 2021. It is important to note that some of the facilities / activities listed in hotels may not be operating to full capacity – please check with individual hotel for clarification. I always recommend booking a room with free cancellation incase there are any changes to the listed facilities that may not suit you, or you need to cancel due to personal reasons.


Some of the links in this post contain affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made, but at no additional cost to you.  Read more in my privacy policy.




The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery


Ras Al Khaimah, Flights & 5 Star All Inclusive Hotel, €869 or Waldorf Astoria B&B, €889!

RAK3016f (1)

Looking for a sophisticated and relaxing alternative to Dubai? Ras Al Khaimah, or ‘Rak’ might just be what you are looking for. The diverse scenery in the rising Emirate includes white sandy beaches, desert dunes and rugged mountains.


There are a staggering 35 direct flights every week to the Emirates from Dublin airport. Many of you may have travelled to Dubai or stopped there en route to other destinations. Next time why not take the road less travelled and visit the quieter, more unspoilt Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah? You will discover a relaxed atmosphere, lower hotel prices but still the same great beaches and expansive deserts. But it doesn’t have to be completely relaxing…. RAK is home to the world’s longest zipline – Jebel Jais Flight. Thrill-seekers and adrenaline junkies can travel at speeds of up to 120kph to 150kph at a height of 1,680 metres above sea level on top of Jebel Jais mountain, and land on a breath-taking transparent platform completely suspended in air. 

If that sounds a little too adventurous for you, check out the the Al Hamra shopping mall or enjoy a round of golf at the championship Al Hamra Golf Course. If you want to try something completely different, why not explore the ‘Omani Fjords’ on a traditional dhow, visit a Bedouin desert camp or see ‘Rak’ by gyrocopter at nearby Jazirah Aviation Club. If all of this is not enough, let’s not forget the dazzling city of Dubai is only an hour away


Tropical Sky feature many holidays to Ras Al Khaimah but I have hand picked two favourites, the all-inclusive Double Tree by Hilton Marjan Island and arguably the best hotel in Ras Al Khaimah, the luxurious Waldorf Astoria.

Ras Al Khaimah


5* Double Tree by Hilton Resort & Spa, Marjan Island, Flights & 4 Nights, All-Inclusive, €869!

Situated on a private white sandy beach, this five star resort is only an hour from Dubai, yet feels world’s apart. Seven seems to be the lucky number at the hotel with a choice of seven swimming pools, seven spa treatment rooms and seven bars and restaurants, including a roof-top bar. Sports enthusiasts will love the host of water-sports available, fitness centre and tennis courts. The resort is all-inclusive so meals and drinks* are included until midnight each day. For a full list of what is included on the all-inclusive arrangement, click here.

Ras Al Khaimah

Reviewed as one of Ras Al Khaimah’s most popular hotels by tripadvisor, it’s not only adults who love this hotel – kids do too! The aqua zone with water slides, kids club with climbing wall and large outdoor playground, will keep children of all ages entertained throughout the day. And for a limited time kids under 12 go free when sharing a room with parents! The hotel also runs a free shuttle bus every Tuesday and Saturday to the marine and waterpark at Atlantis the Palm, Dubai, when you book an Aqua-venture or tickets to Dolphin Bay.

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Fly from Dublin to Dubai and enjoy a four night all-inclusive stay at the five star Double Tree by Hilton Resort & Spa, Marjan Island from only €869. Price includes flights, accommodation with meals and drinks and return airport transfers.

Click here for more details:


5* Waldorf Astoria, Flights & 5 Nights B&B, €889!

 The Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah was inspired by Arabian palaces and the building is an architectural masterpiece. It’s location is perfect too. Situated on it’s own private beach it also has the luxury of a dramatic mountain backdrop, a golf course and the Arabian Gulf, all visible from the hotel. The interior also has the wow factor. The stylish décor compliments the five star service and facilities on offer. This room is a King Classic Room which this offer is based on.

There is a also wide selection of international restaurants and bars to choose from. The half board deluxe package includes two complimentary drinks with meals and allows you to dine in their main buffet restaurant or use dining credit to eat in any of their 3 a là carte restaurants. Facilities at the hotel include an 18 hole golf course, tennis courts, swimming pool and a luxury spa. This spa has an undersea theme and uses our very own Voya seaweed products, which are produced on the west coast of Ireland. There are plenty of water sports available at the beach, including jet skiing, scuba diving and snorkelling. The chances are you won’t want to leave the hotel! Rated number 1 on tripadvisor and the 2018 travellers choice winner, this is amazing value for such a luxurious hotel.

Prices from €889 for a five night stay include flights, breakfast each day and return airport transfers!

Click here for more details:


Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. This post was sponsored by Tropical Sky but all views, as always, are my own 🙂  *Note Eid Al Adha is the 21st of August for 4 nights, so alcohol restrictions will apply at this time.


The Travel Expert
Long HaulRest of the World

Why You Should Choose the Emirates of Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah Instead of Dubai…


Did you know that Dubai was only one of seven Emirates? Why not get away from the hustle and bustle of Dubai and choose Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah instead.


There are a staggering 39 direct flights every week to the Emirates from Dublin airport. Many of you may have travelled to Dubai or stopped there en route to other destinations. Next time why not take the road less travelled and visit the quieter, more unspoilt Emirates. You will discover a relaxed atmosphere, lower hotel prices but still the same great beaches and expansive deserts. They are both very close to Dubai so you can easily take a day trip if you fancy a change of scene. Tropical Sky feature holidays to Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah, two Emirates that combine sandy beaches and magnificent mountains with the Arabian desert. They are an ideal choice for a relaxing short break with some guaranteed sunshine. There are some amazing offers flying with Emirates direct from Dublin to Dubai until the end of the year, all with airport transfers included. I have hand picked some of their best to showcase why you should get off the beaten track and choose Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah instead of Dubai.


Ras Al Khaimah


4* Cove Rotana, Flights, Transfers & 5 Nights, All Inclusive, €889!

This traditional beachfront hotel is the perfect place to chill out. Choose from two swimming pools and a great choice of bars. Enjoy bottomless drinks and snacks while you watch the sunset in the Sunset Bar or some cocktails at Breakers at the beach. There are plenty of facilities to keep you active like their on site gym or if you want to chill out at the spa, thats cool too. They will also arrange sightseeing tours to the desert or you can enjoy a round of golf at the nearby course! Transfer time from Dubai: 90 minutes.

Click here for more details:



5* Rixos Bab Al Bahr, Flights, Transfers & 5 Nights, All Inclusive, €969

If luxury is what you seek, look no further! This 5* hotel is located on a magnificent private beach in Marjan Island, yet only 5 minutes drive from the large Al Hamra Mall. All rooms have sea views and the amenities on site are second to none. There are seven pools to choose from including a adult-only infinity pool. The all-inclusive arrangement includes dining at one of the Emirates largest buffet restaurants, with live cooking stations and a BBQ as well as six other restaurants where reservations are required. The spa offers Turkish Hammam (self-service), steam room, sauna and an ice fountain and non motorised watersports are also included in the price. The hotel provides an excellent entertainment program for adults and children, as well as an on site kids club and teen zone. Chill out at the end of the day with a cocktail in the Mojito Bar or the fantastic beach bar. Transfer time from Dubai: 1 hour.

Click here for more details:




5* Radisson Blu Resort Fujairah, Flights, Transfers & 5 Nights, All Inclusive €989

The Radisson Blu Resort Fujairah is situated on a private beach in the Indian Ocean. All rooms have sea views, perfect for a romantic drink on the balcony. There are excellent on site facilities including six restaurants and bars, a spa, fitness centre and dive centre. There is a water park for kids as well as a club offering snorkelling, sailing, games and crafts. Make sure to visit the nearby Madhab Park with its healing mineral springs. The hotel also offers a shuttle to Dubai, twice per week at an additional charge. Transfer time from Dubai airport: 90 minutes.

Click here for more details:



5* Le Meridien Al Aqua Beach Resort, Flights, Transfers & 5 Nights, All Inclusive, €1369

This luxury Indian Ocean resort is set on its own private beach with the stunning backdrop of the Hajar Mountains. The Le Meridien Al Aqua Beach Resort is one of the best all-inclusive resorts in Fujairah and is rated number 1 on tripadvisor. The on-site facilities are world class including one of the largest swimming pools in the region, a luxury spa, outstanding international cuisine and lush gardens. There is a dive centre, tennis and squash courts and a health club on site. The hotel offers a complimentary shuttle service to Fujairah City and Dubai, if you fancy a day trip. For a limited time you will receive 30% off stays until the 20th of October, price above includes this discount. Transfer time from Dubai: 90 minutes.

Click here for more details:


Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. This post was sponsored by Tropical Sky but all views, as always, are my own 🙂



Family Holiday to the Algarve, 19th July, 2ad & 2ch, €1535!

holiday, Alvor Portugal

A family holiday in theAlgarve is a great choice for a relaxing beach holiday. I spent many holidays in the pretty resort of Alvor a few times and loved it!


The white sandy beach is four miles long and I think one of the best in the Algarve.  My kids loved it too, they played in the many rock pools and went crab hunting which occupied them for hours! There are great family restaurants along the beach front that cater so well for families as well as the fantastic choice you will find in the old town of Alvor.

Unlike most of its neighbouring resorts, Alvor remains somewhat unspoilt.  If  you are looking for lively nightlife and a big busy resort, its not for you but if you want a quiet relaxing family holiday without all the crowds then look no further than Alvor.  For more information, read my blog post on Alvor by clicking here.

Family Holiday in the Algarve

I found this great deal departing on the 19th of July for seven nights staying at the popular Alvorferrias apartments. These apartments have been a firm favourite with Irish holidaymakers for many years and are highly rated on tripadvisor.

The price for two adults and two children is only €1610 including Aer Lingus flights and transfers.Use code AWHOLIDAYS75 to save a further €75 at the checkout 🙂


Click here for more details:


All prices are correct at time of issue but are subject to availability.



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