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I am a South African working remotely as a software engineer for a US company. My work can be done from anywhere in the world and so I plan on combining it with some travel. Ireland is an obvious candidate as South Africans do not need a visa to enter Ireland for less than 90 days.

However all I see regarding work permits discusses employers in Ireland, not work for foreign companies. Does that mean that what I'm suggesting is completely illegal, or that no permit is required for a short period with foreign employer?

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I would say that no permit is required for a short period with foreign employer - you are still fulfilling your obligations and paying taxes through your current employer. You are simply travelling and logging in from a different location for your work.

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