7 Awesome HSE-Approved Irish Heritage Sites For A Unique Civil Ceremony

Who needs a church anyway?


If you’ve always had notions (no not those notions; we mean nice ones) of getting hitched somewhere with a bit of impact, history, gravitas even – have you considered one of Ireland’s amazing heritage sites?

The sound lads at the Office of Public Works (OPW) obviously realised loads of its iconic sites would make whopper ceremony venues, so a couple of years ago kindly decided to open up seven gems to couples for the big day.

Finding a HSE-approved civil ceremony venue that packs the same aesthetic punch as a church can be a real struggle – but we reckon these seven gorgeous sites across the country aren’t too shabby

And we have a feeling your wowed guests won’t think so either...

1. Kilkenny Castle, Kilkenny City

Not only is the castle itself unbelievably stunning (she’s in immaculate nick to be fair) but the expansive surrounding grounds are picture-perfect for snaps.

Take it from me, you’ll want your photos done ASAP so you can chill and mingle, so what’s great about the diverse grounds is as soon as the ceremony is over you can get bridal party, family and portraits done in different parts of the venue – to vary your backdrops – in double-quick time.


2. The Casino, Marino, Dublin

This 18th century neo-classical building is just unreal. The combination of its smooth chalky exterior, proud pillars and period design makes it ridiculously drool-worthy.

Located just off the Malahide Road three miles from Dublin city centre, this gem also features 16 beautifully decorated rooms with shiny wood floors, intricate cornices and grand furniture. One to wow.


3. Barryscourt Castle, Carrigtwohill, Co Cork

If you've always dreamed saying your vows like a royal, the restored 16th century Barryscourt Castle – located off the Cork-Youghal Road – is a class option. We’re talking a ‘proper’ castle here.

The Main Hall and Second Floor Great Hall have been beautifully restored to their former glory, while the grounds, orchard and herb garden will give your snapper great scope to create some magical images.

And can you imagine the faces on your guests rolling up to this place?


READ: 18 Genuinely Useful Wedding Budget Tips For Modern Irish Couples

4. Desmond Hall, Newcastlewest, Co Limerick

Aptly, this gorgeous hall was constructed during the 15th century so the Earls of Desmond could kick back and enjoy a bit of banqueting and entertainment, as good ‘ol Earls are wont to do.

And now it’s your turn. What we love about this cute little building it is has the look of small country church – without the whole denominational implications of course.

Unique features in the hall include a restored oak musicians' gallery and a limestone hooded fireplace.

Des 2

5. Blasket Island Visitor Centre, Dunquin, Co Kerry

Christ the views are something else here – and with a prime location on the glorious Wild Atlantic Way, is it any wonder?

If you’re after a modern venue streaming with natural light overlooking the goddamn sea you’re pretty much not going to get a better venue than the Blasket Island Visitor Centre. And just think of the photos.

*Fans ourselves*


6. Céide Fields Visitor Centre, Ballycastle, Co Mayo

With a venue like this no one could accuse you of following the crowd anyway!

The juxtaposition of this amazing, almost futuristic building in the midst of the Céide Field’s vast prehistoric landscape of dramatic cliffs, blanket bog and coastline is just awesome.

We reckon guests from abroad won't believe their luck at attending a wedding characterised by the wonder of Ireland's nature and history. 


7. Castletown House, Celbridge, Co Kildare

This absolute palace is the kind of venue that would have the third cousin you don’t like saying jealously, “Always knew that pair had delusions of grandeur”.

Well the way we see it, if there’s any time you can indulge in a bit of the old grandeur it’s on your wedding day. Built in the 1700s, Celbridge’s Castletown House is Ireland’s earliest and largest Palladian-style house and the façade is said to have been designed by Italian architect Alessandro Galilei (yep, he’s related to Galileo).

Imagine rolling up to this joint in a vintage car for a 1920s style winter wedding? Lush.


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Written By

Cynthia Bifolchi