10 fun boat trips to do in Ireland


Take in the sights on these brilliant boat trips in Ireland. Explore the majestic coastline or captain your own cruiser for a holiday to remember

Image: Doolin Ferries

There really are endless options for fun days out and staycations around Ireland, but one way to make your getaway feel special is to set sail! Tour an island, spot wildlife or simply enjoy a relaxing cruise. Here, check out some of the brilliant boat trips available around Ireland. Have a favourite that’s not mentioned here? Let us know!

The Saltee Islands

A boat trip to the Saltee will give you the chance to see the island’s puffins up close. Located 5km off the Wexford coastline, the islands are not only home to puffins but also razorbills, gannets, gulls and more. The island is covered in bluebells in the summer months, and you can see old stone walls dotted along the island, a nod to the inhabitants who once farmed the land. To book a trip, text Declan at 087 252 9736 or find out more at salteeferry.com. Adults €30 and children U12 €15.


Dublin Bay Cruises

Dublin Bay Cruises have multiple sailings and sightseeing tours each day including Dún Laoghaire, the City Centre and Howth, which gives you a unique way to experience the capital’s coastline. Each cruise takes a variety of scenery and landmarks along the way. On board you can enjoy a commentary while you drink a beverage of your choice, relax and enjoy the beautiful views. Find out more about the various routes at dublinbaycruises.com

Whale watch in Cork

See some of the world’s largest creatures in the flesh with this fun trip run by Cork Whale Watch. West Cork attracts minke whales, fin whales, and humpback whales to feed in its rich waters every year. Skipper Colin Barnes has added significantly to the body of knowledge of whale activity in this part Ireland with diligent reporting of sightings. Find out more at corkwhalewatch.com. Due to the unpredictability of the weather and risk of cancellations, Colin asks that you pay at the end of your trip in cash. Trips cost €50 for adults and €40 for children.

Aran Islands & Cliffs of Moher

Sail to Inis Oirr and explore the island before cruising back by the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher with this fun day trip. You will have time to explore the island, including its beautiful beach and the charming cafés, before your return journey, where the cliffs will tower 700ft over you.

Skellig Michael

You can sail around the island and take in its incredible history, wildlife and scenery. This is a must for Star Wars fans, after the huge part the island played in the plot of the later movies. Landing tours, where you get to explore the island, are not currently available. Find out more at skelligmichaelboattrips.com. Eco tours cost €40pp

Doolin Ferry Co 

Doolin Ferry has been named the ‘Boat Tour of the Year 2021so why not set sail with them this summer as the family-run business offers four unique sailing routes departing from Doolin Pier on a daily basis. Doolin is a beautiful seaside village in Co Clare with scenery in all directions from the Cliffs of Moher and Aran Islands. It’s a must see on the Wild Atlantic Way. For details see doolinferry.com 

Galway Bay to Inis Mór 

From June 4th 2021, the Aran Island ferries are set to launch their new 90-minute route from Galway City Docks to Inis Mór. The trip will you the contrasting beauty and scenery of the spectacular Wild Atlantic Way coastline of Connemara and Clare along with all three of the Aran Islands, Inis Oirr and Inis and Inis Inis Mór. Ticket’s cost €49.00 for adults €44.00 for senior/students and €25.00 for children. Find out more at aranislandferries.com  

Donegal Waterbus  

Explore Donegal Bay on a 75-minute open deck cruise. Look out for approximately 200 Atlantic and Harbour seals that can be seen along the way as well as many historical sites such as the burial place of the great Gaelic Chieftain Red Hugh O’DonnellOn the way back relax and let an onboard sing-along music cabaret keep you entertained as the waterbus glides back to the Harbour. See details at donegalwaterbus.com  

The Killlary Fjord  

Start your sail from Nancy’s point just West of the small village of Leenane in Co. Galway. Take in the panoramic views of the surrounding landscape-from peaks and valleys of green hills, to the sheltered blue waters of the fjord. Don’t miss the mussel and salmon farms and dolphins along the way. Kids (0-10) go free while an adult ticket is 21.00 online. Find out more at killaryfjord.com.  


Photo: Connemara Ireland

Sail the Shannon

Aside from all of those boat trips in Ireland, there is always the option to the captain of your own boat for a holiday to remember sailing along the Shannon. Discover all the wonderful town and villages along the way and explore completely at your leisure. Hiring a boat for a few days is a fantastic way to explore the region and make your own adventure. Pricing and boats vary, and you also have several route options. Try discovertheshannon.com.