Dubbed Savills Day at Leopardstown, on Saturday December 28, it is one of the most significant race days in the Irish sporting calendar. And for those wanting to enter the best dressed competition, a total of €6,500 worth of prizes will be available across male and female categories. Designer Helen Steele is one of the judges – her advice “Dress warm and bright.” Prizes include a €3,000 gift card for Dundrum Town Centre, lunch for two and an overnight stay at The Shelbourne Hotel, vouchers from Magee 1866, and a hat designed by milliner Philip Treacy. Additionally, Peter Mark is offering a whole year’s worth of visits. For more information on how to enter, visit: www.leopardstown.com.
Glenlo Abbey Hotel, & Estate, Galway has some “Twixmas” offers for those looking to escape for a day or two. Begin the stay in the comfort of a luxurious room or beside the cosy log fire in one of the elegant lounges. On the afternoon of your choice, take the time to indulge in a traditional cream tea. For a special experience, dine aboard The Pullman Restaurant, formerly from the Orient Express. This package costs from €364 per person sharing and includes two nights of luxury accommodation, full Irish breakfast each morning, dinner on one evening, cream tea and a round of golf on the nine-hole course designed by Ryder Cup legend Christy O’Connor Jr www.glenloabbeyhotel.ie
Ring in 2020 in style with the Dylan Hotel’s New Year’s Eve package. This includes a night in a Deluxe King Room for two, with valet parking on arrival, a three-course meal in The Eddison Restaurant, breakfast the following morning and entertainment later that evening by Sean Boland from 10pm. Priced at €450 for two people sharing, don’t leave without having a cocktail in The Ruby Room, surely one of the chicest bars in town. The Eddison Restaurant at Dylan also offers a seasonal three-course menu priced at €60 per person; www.dylan.ie
Butler House is offering some seasonal twists on their Lady Eleanor Butler Afternoon Tea. Chef Gerard Dunne’s decadent menu of sweet and savoury delights is the perfect treat to warm up with after a walk through the Butler House Christmas Garden and Craft Fair. This seasonal afternoon tea is available until January 6. Priced at €29 per person or €35 per person with a glass of bubbles or pink gin. Pre booking is essential. To book, contact Butler House directly on 056 772 28287; www.butler.ie
Due to popular demand, Wonderlights is back at the Palmerstown House Estate, from December 27 until January 4 at Johnstown, Co Kildare, just 15 minutes from Dublin off exit 8 on the N7. Wonderlights is a two-kilometre track nestled in the woodlands adjacent to the manor which transports guests to a world of enchantment with illuminated figures guiding the way through the forest. The journey culminates with a complimentary funfair, where guests can enjoy hot chocolate or a bite to eat from the outdoor Woodland Cafe. Tickets are priced at €19.50 for Adults, €16.50 for students / OAPs and €16.50 per child with infants under two years going free; www.wonderlights.ie.
The New Year’s Walk/Run in Downings, County Donegal, has raised over €338,000 over the last 19 years in aid of CMRF Crumlin (who raise vital funds for Crumlin Children’s Hospital). The 2020 Walk/Run will kick start from The Singing Pub, Downings at 12pm on January 1 and everyone is welcome. People can walk or run the scenic Wild Atlantic Way route. If you don’t have a sponsorship card, just turn up on the day to register and make a donation.
Conrad Dublin has teamed-up with its neighbour, The National Concert Hall to offer a family package to include tickets to The Wizard of Oz show. This package includes coveted tickets to the show, overnight accommodation in a sumptuous junior suite, a delicious family breakfast plus 20 per cent off dining in the Coburg brasserie, while children under 12 years old dine for free. Costing €359, The Wizard of Oz Package is available December 27-30 and January 2-3 for two adults and two children. For details on The Wizard of Oz visit www.nch.ie.
And not forgetting a trip to the cinema to watch Little Women, written and directed by Greta Gerwig. This is the eighth screen adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic coming-of-age 1868 novel and includes stars Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, Laura Dern, Timothee Chalamet and Meryl Streep. The film is released on St Stephen’s Day and has received critical acclaim. It has received nominations for the Golden Globe Awards, including a Best Actress nomination for Ronan.
An age-old tradition takes place on New Year’s Day at the 800-year-old Hook Lighthouse in County Wexford as archers, both expert and amateur, take part in a traditional “arrow ceremony”. The ancient tradition dates back to 1687 when the Mayor and the corporation of New Ross Town Council claimed their authority over the Tower and waters by travelling to the point of the Hook and shooting an arrow into the sea from Hook Head Lighthouse. On New Year’s Day the Mayor will cast an arrow into the sea symbolising the Port’s authority over the estuary. Visitors can watch the free event at 1 pm on New Year’s Day; www.hookheritage.ie
Ballynahinch Castle Hotel in the heart of Connemara is a gorgeous setting for a mid-Christmas break celebrating the simple pleasures of good food, good company and tradition. A one-night bed and breakfast getaway at Ballynahinch from December 27 to 30 inclusive with dinner in the atmospheric Owenmore Restaurant is available from €395 per couple. Make the most of the day and get some fresh Connemara air, with guides on hand to lead guests on an incredible hike, or explore the many trails and walks of the 700 acres of mature wooded grounds. There are also complimentary bicycles to hire to explore the Connemara Greenway; www.ballynahinchcastle.com
I’ll be tuning into a new documentary beginning on RTÉ on January 2 at 8.30pm – Great Irish Interiors – which follows the challenging restoration of period rooms at Kylemore Abbey. First furnished in the late 1800s, they have been updated by historic interiors consultant Joanne Smyth and designer Samantha Dockrell of Brian S Nolan in Dun Laoghaire. The cameras follow Joanne and Eithne to leading historical interiors expert Matt McNulty in his Dublin warehouse. Viewers will see both Joanne and Eithne meticulously sift through a warehouse which is full of Victorian and antique pieces and treasures, many of which find their way into the best historical houses in the country. Heaven! www.rte.ie
Just 40 minutes from Dublin is the 18th-century manor house that is Tulfarris Hotel and Golf Resort, Co Wicklow. For golfers itching to get outdoors, the hotel has a “Play, Stay and Dine Package” (from €84.50 per person sharing). This offers guests the chance to play the 18-hole championship golf course before being treated to a gourmet three-course meal in the AA Rosette Lime Tree Restaurant. Set across three peninsulas, the stunning 18-hole championship golf course was designed by celebrated course architect Patrick J Merrigan and was home to the PGA EuroPro Tour Irish Masters this year. www.tulfarrishotel.com
Between December 27– 30, indulge in a Twixmas getaway at the gorgeous Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa. A mulled wine Afternoon Tea, fun board games by the fire, your favourite classic Christmas movies, beach walks and more will ensure that the magic of Christmas lingers well into the New Year. The two-night stay also includes breakfast each morning in The Gulfstream Restaurant and access to the thalassotherapy pool and spa. Miles away from overcrowded shops, it’s the perfect retreat to recharge the batteries. €350 per person sharing; www.inchydoneyisland.com
Ring in the new year at The Morgan Hotel’s stylish 10 Fleet Street Restaurant with an 8-course tasting menu, prepared by head chef Brian E Meehan and his team. Begin the evening with a glass of prosecco, before indulging in this special tasting menu, starting with a slow roast tomato and thyme soup. Then, enjoy grilled hake fillet; smoked salmon and king prawn tian, and duck liver and port parfait. Next, is seared sea bass with grilled garlic cauliflower, and slow-cooked pork belly. The tasting menu finishes with mulled wine poached pear, served with dark chocolate sauce and shortbread. Then, dance your way into 2020 with music from The Address in the restaurant bar. The 8-course tasting menu is €65 per person, to book visit www.themorgan.com.
Now in its eighth year, New Year’s Festival Dublin will be bigger and better with four free events taking place over two days at the Custom House Dublin, on December 31 and January 1. There’s a Liffey Lights Midnight Moment – Matinee, the Countdown Concert and the Liffey Lights Midnight Moment. The free New Year’s Day concert, which takes place in Temple Bar’s Meeting House Square from 3pm – 8pm, will be headlined by Kíla and special guests Wyvern Lingo, Brian Deady and Luz. www.nyfdublin.com
There’s always a buzz at the InterContinental Dublin and if you fancy meeting friends for drinks you can toast the New Year in The Lobby Lounge with live music from 10pm to 1.00am, or for the more energetic party goers, dance into the night with a live DJ at the ICE Bar – open from 8pm until late; www.intercontinental.com
If the family have left you feeling frazzled and in need of time out, then an escape to Powerscourt Hotel Resort & Spa is recommended. Their Exquisitely ESPA package is a chance to unwind in a stunning setting. Check in and enjoy Afternoon Tea overlooking the Sugar Loaf Mountain before a pampering treatment – choose from a back massage and mini facial, a Swedish full body massage, an aromatherapy massage or personalised facial. Afterwards unwind in the lounge or dip your toes in the Swarovski crystal-lit pool. End the day with a luxurious overnight stay in a deluxe room with the only question on your mind … To order room service or not… From €205 per person; www.powerscourthotel.com
Bridge House Hotel are inviting women to celebrate the Irish tradition of Nollaig an mBan, also known as Women’s Little Christmas, on Sunday January 5 with a special Think Pink Ladies Luncheon. Beginning at 1pm in the Millenium Suite, which will be decorated in pink for the occasion, pink gin and tonics and pink champagne precede a four-course lunch created by head chef Tony Ryan and his team. After lunch entertainment includes a raffle with fabulous prizes, with all proceeds going to Breast Cancer Ireland. Tickets for the Think Pink Ladies Luncheon are €45 each and are available online and at the hotel reception.www.bridgehousehoteltullamore.ie
The Grade 1 Lawlor’s of Naas Novice Hurdle is the first major race of 2020 on Sunday January 5 and will have a total prize fund of €90,000. Rosanna Davison will be the celebrity judge for the Best Dressed Lady competition on the day, which promises to deliver some amazing prizes to the lucky winner and runner-up. Speaking ahead of the big day, Rosanna said “ I will be keeping an eye out for those who are able to combine comfort and warmth with style. I think people always look best when they are at ease in what they are wearing.”
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