Survey says Donegal is Ireland’s second most popular destination

Kerry remains the most sought-after holiday destination in Ireland this summer, with Donegal second on the list.

A survey of 1,000 Irish holiday-makers found 39 per cent of people want to staycation in Kerry, 28 per cent would prefer Donegal, and 24 per cent would favour Cork.

The Circle K study found the Slieve League Cliffs in Donegal to be the country's most popular Secret Holiday Spot.



Sun, Sea and Staycations! Nearly a third of Irish people have a greater appreciation for the Emerald Isle since the Covid-19 pandemic began

  • Over half (51%) are planning to make a break for it and staycation this summer, with close to a third (29%) having a greater appreciation for Ireland since the Covid-19 pandemic began
  • Kerry (39%) is Ireland’s preferred staycation destination, with Donegal (28%) and Cork (24%) following closely behind
  • Slieve League Cliffs (22%), Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve (19%) and Doon Fort (17%) are the most popular ‘secret holiday spots’ in Ireland
  • Seeing friends and family (27%), getting a haircut (21%) and going to a restaurant (12%) are the public’s top priorities with the easing of restrictions
  • Pubs and restaurants (54%), concerts and music festivals (31%) and attending the All-Ireland GAA Championship (23%) are the activities the public missed the most last summer
  • A quarter (25%) say drinking an iced beverage is their favourite way to cool down – Circle K’s iced drink range now has a new name - K-Freeze, but the same great, refreshing taste

Ireland’s weather has been hotter these past few weeks but it’s not just the temperatures heating up. With several COVID-19 restrictions lifting this week including inter-county travel, the public’s anticipation for the summer has risen. A new study by Circle K1, Ireland’s leading forecourt and convenience retailer, reveals that 27% are more excited for this summer than any other in recent memory and 51% are planning to holiday in Ireland over the next few months.

Returning to Normality

Getting a haircut is top of the priority list for 21% of the Irish public this week, with seeing friends and family (27%) the first thing they plan to do over the weekend. Wining and dining outdoors are also high on the summer agenda for 12% of those polled.

When polled on what summer activities they missed last year, indoor dining in pubs and restaurants came out on top with 54% missing this the most. Concerts, music festivals (31%) and the All-Ireland GAA Championship matches (23%) were also summer days out that were missed by the public last year.

After over a year of working from home for many in Ireland, a quarter (25%) don’t see themselves returning to their offices until September or October. Another 19% don’t see it happening until next year, and 14% don’t expect to ever return.

Staycation Nation

Many are planning to seize the opportunity to travel around Ireland this year with intercounty restrictions now eased. Over a quarter (29%) have a greater appreciation for the Emerald Isle since the Covid-19 pandemic began and just under half (45%) are taking a few weekend breaks to see more of it.

It appears that lots of people are replacing their lockdown blues with feelings of nostalgia, as fond memories of childhood holidays have been flooding the minds of those planning a getaway. The fondest childhood holiday memory for respondents is trips to the beach (42%), followed by weekend drives (12%) and day trips (11%).

Location, Location, Location

Ireland’s ‘Kingdom’ of Kerry was chosen by those polled as their preferred staycation destination. Almost 2 in 5 (39%) say they will take a trip to Ireland’s sunny southwest, with 28% preparing to go the opposite direction to Donegal and another 24% opting to journey down south to Cork.

For those looking to spend their downtime in a lesser known, ‘secret spot’, the Slieve League Cliffs in Donegal (22%), Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve (19%) and another Donegal attraction, the Doon Fort (17%) were voted as the secret staycations spots holidaymakers want to visit most.