When real life starts to become a bit too much and that holiday itch sets in, you instinctively consider foreign destinations for an escape — but today we're recommending you fight that particular urge.
Why bother with the stress of the airport? Who needs those tourist trap prices? A break in one of Ireland's more scenic spots is a cheaper, more convenient and all-round better experience than your average sun holiday.
But we can see that you're not yet convinced.
We're gonna need the whole team for this one. Each of the Lovin crew has picked their favourite staycation location on this little island of ours.
So pack your wheelies into the car and make sure there's a couple cans of Archway in the coolbag. It's our opinion that a frosty pint of Archway just tastes better on Irish soil.
Here are our top picks:
Lahinch, Co. Clare
by Éadaoin Fitzmaurice
No trip to this picturesque seaside town is complete without going for a surf. It's great craic and something you won't be able to do in many other places in Ireland. The waves in Lahinch are some of the best we've got, so it's a deadly place to try it.
Down the town's main street lies DODI, an amazing and unexpected Middle-Eastern inspired brunch haven. It's a small venue with about six or seven tables but there's a serious buzz in there from the moment you walk in. The menu has about five or six options, but it still caters for whatever you're in the mood for — sweet or savoury, spicy or saucy.
Afterwards, you can head back for a cosy night in with a can of Archway, a newly released lager from Franciscan Well which boasts a clear golden body and an early hop aroma with light pear and malt sweetness.
Need your sightseeing fix? Well, you also have the fricken' incredible Cliffs of Moher mere minutes away from the town.
What more could you want?
Leap, Co. Cork
by Darragh Berry
Leap is an amazing place to go when you just want to get away from it all. It has very little 3G or coverage making it ideal for getting some quiet time. Staying in Ger's BnB for €30 a night is an essential.
For such a small town, it has three pubs, four eateries, a shop/petrol station and the locals treat you as if they've known you all their life.
If you're a music fan, there are no arguments — you're going to Connolly's Of Leap. It's just a couple of feet away from Ger's and it's the countryside version of Whelan's with many famous bands heading to this West Cork heaven to play in the past.
And if you're tempted to leave (you won't be) it's only 10 minutes from Clonakilty, Rosscarbery and Skibbereen.
Dunmore East, Co. Waterford
by James Fenton
When it comes to staycations that aren't a million miles away from Dublin, nothing beats the sunny south-east. One of the jewels in the crown of the region is Dunmore East in Co. Waterford, a small harbour town which is bursting with charm.
There are no shortage of watersports to try out at Dunmore East Adventure Centre and if you pack your tennis rackets you can enjoy a game at the most scenic court in the country. The cliff walk at the top of the hill provides another opportunity for a workout with spectacular views along the way.
The craic doesn't stop once the sun goes down either. Every August, crowds flock to take in the town's famous Bluegrass Festival while there are live music sessions in Dunmore's fine selection of pubs every weekend of the year.
Definitely one to tick off the staycation bucket list.
The Lakelands of Ireland
by Megan Cassidy
The Leitrim/Roscommon area has to be one of the most underrated staycation spots in the country. Let me tell you what you'll be doing for three days in the Lakelands of Ireland.
Water-babies can make the most of the Leitrim coastline at Leitrim Village Waterways Marina for a spot of paddleboarding, or make your way to Carrick Craft for a mini-cruise on the Shannon.
For adventure lovers - this is the home of the OG escape rooms, Boda Borg at Lough Key Park, with Zipit ziplining also available on site.
Strokestown Park and the National Irish Famine Museum will take up an entire day for history buffs. Finish your trip at the Arigna Mines for the most stunning view over your new favourite getaway.
Killarney, Co. Kerry
by Seán Kenehan
Kerry doesn't feel like the rest of Ireland. Everything seems to be on a whole other scale — the mountains, the lakes, the wide open spaces, they're all so much bigger.
Killarney is the best place to base yourself if you're planning a journey to The Kingdom. It's not just because of delish brunch options like Petit Delice, or the fancy dining for reasonable prices at Lord Kenmare's Restaurant, or even the craic to be had at the sweet shop-cum-pub JM Reidy's, but rather the vibrancy of the entire town. When evening rolls in, the streets come to life and it takes on the unmistakeable atmosphere of a real holiday town.
And that's before we even consider the sheer natural beauty right on your doorstep: Killarney National Park. There are so many avenues of adventure it's hard to know where to begin, but you could start by taking a horse and cart to Ross Castle and from there you could board a boat tour of the Lakes of Killarney, which will drop you off for an epic hike of the Gap of Dunloe.
I literally cannot recommend this place enough. Please, for my sake, just go.