covid 19 – Travelling from England to Northern Ireland via Ireland

Our trip to Northern Ireland got cancelled last year due to lockdowns but we have a credit for the ferry crossing that I’m tentatively looking at rebooking.

Our journey plan is this:

  • Leave home in England (my partner and I are both British)
  • Drive through Wales
  • Get the ferry from Holyhead to Dublin
  • Drive up to Northern Ireland immediately from the ferry to stay in a holiday cottage
  • Stay from Thursday and leave on Monday
  • Drive back from NI to Dublin ferry port
  • Get the ferry back from Dublin to Holyhead
  • Drive home from Holyhead

This would be our first ever trip to NI. I can get my head around all the stuff about only meeting friends outside, etc. etc., and I know under current rules that we’re allowed to travel anywhere in the UK, but what I can’t get my head around is how the trip would be affected by the couple of hours in Ireland.

Edit: to address some comments, our booking credit is with Irish Ferries so unfortunately Holyhead->Dublin or Pembroke->Rosslare are our only choices of route.

The IE government website has information about entering Ireland during the pandemic: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/b4020-travelling-to-ireland-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/

The NI government website also has information about travelling during the pandemic: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-travelling-within-common-travel-area

The UK government website has this information: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-coronavirus-restrictions-what-you-can-and-cannot-do

But despite reading all of these pages, I still can’t work out:

  • If our trip is viable (it’s not possible to do a long weekend in NI if we’d have to quarantine for 10 days in an Irish hotel beforehand!)
  • What paperwork / tests we have to do and when (it’s not possible to take a test 2 days before entering the UK if we’ve only been out of the UK for 3 hours)

We wouldn’t be stopping in Ireland, purely transiting through in our car. The total length of the trip would be 5 days, with only a couple of hours driving in Ireland on day 1 and day 5.

So my question is, what are the practicalities of taking a long weekend trip to Northern Ireland from England, via Wales/Ireland?

Thanks in advance.