When and Where Can Irish Residents Travel This Summer?

Galway has been named the most popular "staycation" destination in Ireland for people to travel within the country once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted
Galway has been named the most popular "staycation" destination in Ireland for people to travel within the country once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted | © Zoonar GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo
As domestic tourism reopens – and, with it, the prospect of international holidays this summer – Culture Trip reports on the latest developments for Irish residents.

When can Irish residents take a domestic holiday?

Under Phase Three of the Irish government’s plan to ease Covid-19 restrictions, the country’s domestic tourism and hospitality sector has resumed as of Monday, 29 June. This means all hotels, hostels, caravan parks and holiday parks, as well as cafés and restaurants providing on-premises food and beverages, and pubs and hotel bars that operate as restaurants, can reopen with sanitary requirements and social-distancing protocols in place.

Museums, galleries, theatres, concert halls and other cultural outlets are also slated for reopening, but must comply with restrictions detailing that indoor gatherings must be limited to 50 people, and outdoor gatherings to 200 people.

Ireland’s caravan and holiday parks will be allowed to reopen from 29 June | © Michael Grubka / Alamy Stock Photo

The ruling on residents “staying local” – being permitted to travel within their own county, or up to 20km (12mi) from home – has been lifted, meaning that travellers within Ireland can move around the country without restriction.

Tourist travel to Ireland’s offshore islands may also resume from 29 June.

Almost nine in 10 hotels across Ireland plan to reopen for guests by mid-July, according to a national industry-wide study, The Irish Sun reports.

The survey of more than 300 hoteliers was carried out by the Irish Hotels Federation, the national body for the hotel, B&B and guesthouse sector.

Tim Fenn, CEO of the Irish Hotels Federation, said: “It is really encouraging to see that 87 percent of hotels now intend to reopen by mid-July. However, for the peak summer month of August, members project an average occupancy of 38 percent this year compared with an average occupancy of 90 percent for the same month last year – representing an enormous drop in projected business levels.”

Galway has been named the most popular “staycation” (domestic) destination in Ireland once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, gaining 24 percent of the vote in a survey conducted by sustainable business SunDrift, IrishCentral reports.

Kerry and Wexford were tied for second place with 16 percent each, while Cork, Donegal and Sligo each received 12 percent of the vote.

Pubs, shops and hotels in Ireland can reopen | © Ian Dagnall / Alamy Stock Photo

For the best outdoor experiences and day trips close to you, check out Culture Trip’s selection of outdoor escapes across Ireland.

Which international destinations can I visit?

Currently, the Department of Foreign Affairs warns against all non-essential travel overseas and stipulates that anyone coming into Ireland, excepting those coming from Northern Ireland, must self-isolate for 14 days.

However, the government announced on June 25 that travel restrictions to some countries will be reduced from July 9, RTE.ie reports.

Leo Varadkar, who was succeeded by Micheál Martin as Taoiseach on June 27, 2020, said that a “green list” of countries will be compiled by July 9, listing countries that can be travelled to and from Ireland and where the 14-day self-quarantine will not apply.

The list of air bridges will be compiled based on epidemiological data at a European Union level and is subject to change every two weeks.

Also known as “travel corridors”, air bridges would allow tourists to travel between two countries with similarly low numbers of Covid-19 cases without the need for a 14-day quarantine.

Meanwhile, Spain and Portugal “are set up” to establish an air bridge with Ireland, according to the head of the Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA), NewsTalk reports.

Portugal and Spain are said to be ready to establish an air bridge with Ireland | © Rawdon Wyatt / Alamy Stock Photo

“The positivity of air bridges which the Taoiseach spoke about over the last couple of weeks, I think this is a very, very good idea,” Pat Dawson, CEO of the Irish Travel Agents Association, said. “Spain and Portugal are already set up for that, and they’re the major countries where we visit.”