Right now we all need something to look forward to – a date to put in the diary, if only for an overnight change of scene. These autumn breaks range from foraging experiences to restorative rambles, and from pet-friendly hotels to ‘spooktacular’ Halloween stays for families, as well as mother daughter spacations and gourmet breaks for foodies. There’s something for every budget and interest …
Gregans Castle, Co Clare
With breathtaking views across Galway Bay and views overlooking the unique Burren landscape, Gregans Castle is the ultimate luxury gourmet hideaway in the west of Ireland. Antiques, an eclectic art collection, open fires, candles, jugs of flowers and Shelley the cat add to the relaxing atmosphere. Its “Autumn in the Burren” includes: two nights luxury accommodation, award winning breakfast and a gourmet dinner on one evening. From €295 per night; www.gregans.com.
Dromoland Castle, Co Clare
Dromoland Castle’s “Time with Mum” is the perfect mother daughter offer. The two-night midweek break includes accommodation and breakfast each morning in addition to a Wellbeing Spa treatment (duration 75 minutes). There’s a choice of three 25-minute treatments including a back, neck and shoulder massage; an Elemis express facial; a head and scalp massage; brown sugar full body exfoliation followed by a tropical coconut melt application; or a refreshing foot and leg treatment. Guests can also use the Relaxation Suite, while there is dinner in The Earl of Thomond Restaurant on one evening. Guests who book this package before October 1 will also receive a complimentary bottle of prosecco on arrival. The Time with Mum Package is from €800 per person until the end of November; www.dromoland.ie.
Titanic Hotel, Belfast
For history buffs “The Complete Titanic Experience” package at the Titanic Hotel, Belfast offers the chance to enjoy Belfast and includes an entrance ticket to the Titanic Belfast exhibition, which is only 100 metres from the hotel’s door. For £149 / €165 guests can enjoy an overnight stay at the historical hotel, including breakfast as well as a complimentary parking space. Situated in the heart of the docklands, in a building that was once Harland and Wolff’s headquarters, the hotel’s architectural marvels have been restored such as the “Drawing Room” high ceilings. Guest rooms are tastefully decorated with many photographs that depict the Titanic’s building and voyage. www.titanichotelbelfast.com
With a privileged location in the heart of Dublin City, overlooking Trinity College Dublin, the “Capital Delights” offer allows guests to indulge in many of the cultural and retail attractions on its doorstep. From €309 per room, based on two guests sharing, this includes deluxe accommodation, and a three-course dinner. The starter and main course is served in Morelands Grill, overlooking Westmoreland Street, while the elegant Atrium Lounge is the setting for dessert and cocktails, where the resident pianist plays; www.thewestinhoteldublin.com.
Glenlo Abbey Hotel, Co Galway
Nestled on a stunning 138-acre estate on the edge of Ireland’s largest lake, Lough Corrib, the newly-refurbished five-star Glenlo Abbey Hotel has a Hallowe’en “Trick or Treat” offer. This includes two nights’ bed and breakfast, and a three-course family dinner included in the Oak Cellar Lounge on one evening. There’s also a “spooktacular” afternoon tea consisting of all the Glenlo favourites – homemade scones with preserves and clotted cream, savoury wraps and dainty sandwiches served with a selection of creepy treats. From €730 total stay; www.glenloabbeyhotel.ie.
Looking to escape with your favourite four-legged friend? The newly refurbished Hilton Dublin is offering a dedicated “Pet Friendly” floor where they will happily arrange for a cat or dog bed (available in various sizes), food and water bowl, as well as information on walking trails and parks (Iveagh Gardens is less than three minutes from the hotel). The hotel also has a list of pet friendly restaurants too! Once your pooch is installed, guests can relax in the spacious guestrooms, enjoy complimentary hotel parking and dine in Charlemont Bar & Bistro with a terrace overlooking the Grand Canal. This pet package is €175; www.hiltondublin.ie.
Butler House, Co Kilkenny
Butler House has been the Dower House of Kilkenny Castle since 1786 and a stay there unites history and hospitality. The “Autumn Weekend City Staycation” is currently discounted by 15 percent and includes: two nights’ accommodation, artisan breakfast and 20 percent discount on tours at The Medieval Mile Museum, as well as a 10 percent discount shopping voucher for Kilkenny Design Centre. From €360 for the total stay; www.butler.ie.
Muckross Park Hotel & Spa, Co Kerry
The “Fall Into Killarney” experience at Muckross Park Hotel & Spa, (from €199 per room per night), is an overnight stay with breakfast in beautiful surroundings. The concierge service includes bike hire to explore the lakes of Killarney and the spectacular surroundings of Killarney National Park. On hand to make trips extra special there are tailored experiences including luxurious picnic baskets and grab and go lunches. www.muckrosspark.com
Knockranny House Hotel & Spa, Co Mayo
Knockranny House Hotel & Spa has a special foraging weekend on October 9 – 10 October. This begins with a guided foraging session in Old Head Woods, led by Will Williams from Walk on the Wildside, who will show guests how to identify where mushrooms grow in their natural habitat, and tips when collecting them. Guests will then pick and cook the foraged bounty over a campfire. There’s also a mini cooking demonstration and a tutored wine tasting from in-house manager and wine maker, Nick Leroux. On Saturday evening, a tasting menu from chef Seamus Commons comprises the finest game, including venison, mushrooms and other autumnal ingredients. This two night all-inclusive experience is €275 per person sharing; www.knockrannyhousehotel.ie.
The Shelbourne, Dublin
“Dublin Saunter at The Shelbourne” is an overnight stay in a deluxe guest room combined with a private walking tour leaving from the hotel lobby, led by one of the local historians and guides from Pat Liddy’s Walking Tours. This is the ideal way to make a day of it in Dublin and explore all its many layers of history with an expert. Including overnight in a deluxe guest room with breakfast and car parking from €299, or with dinner in the hotel’s stylish Saddle Room from €349; www.TheShelbourne.com.
Dunboyne Castle Hotel & Spa, Co Meath
A sweeping tree lined drive and manicured gardens offers an inspiring approach to this Georgian gem, while inside pretty stucco plasterwork cornices decorate the halls, and chandeliers glitter from ceiling. Guest rooms, meanwhile, blend modern comfort with traditional luxury. “Autumn Calling, Leaves Falling” at Dunboyne Castle Hotel & Spa is available from €182, and includes one night’s bed and breakfast, a signature cocktail and a three-course dinner in The Ivy Restaurant, a €20 retail voucher for Seoid Spa, plus 10 per cent discount in Avoca Dunboyne; www.dunboynecastlehotel.com.
Faithlegg, Co Waterford
Whether it’s a round of golf on the superb golf course, a relaxing hour spent in the Faithlegg Treatment Suites, or reading a book by the roaring fire in the Aylward Lounge, Faithlegg allows guests to be as active or as lazy as they wish. “Make A Break for Faithlegg” is an overnight break with dinner in Roseville Room Restaurant prepared by head chef Jenny Flynn and breakfast the following morning, from €159 per person sharing; www.faithlegg.com.
No.1 Pery Square, Limerick
Overlooking the tree-lined Peoples Park in Limerick’s historic Georgian Quarter, No.1 Pery Square is an elegant boutique townhouse, a mere five minutes walk from the city centre. Its “Autumn Heritage Retreat” includes two nights’ accommodation in one of the Heritage period rooms, breakfast each morning, a three-course a la carte dinner on evening of choice and complimentary tickets to People’s Museum. From €578 for the total stay; www.oneperysquare.com.
Roe Park Resort, Co Antrim
One of Northern Ireland’s best golf and spa resorts on the Causeway Coast, the four-star Roe Park is set in the gorgeous surroundings of the Roe Valley Country Park. It boasts two restaurants and 118 stylish en-suite rooms that blend the charm of a country house estate with modern luxuries and conveniences. From £144 per room bed and breakfast (two adults) with £20 per child from three to twelve, under three’s go free; www.roeparkresort.com.
Bellinter House, Co Meath
Bellinter House offers a unique stay in sumptuously styled rooms in an 18th-century country house, just a 30-minute drive from Dublin. Guests can choose to stay in numerous room types, from the old world decadence in The Main House, to the snug accommodation in The East and West Pavilions, or for pure tranquillity, select a room in The Ruins. For groups and families, The Stables offers two-bedroom dwellings, which are also pet friendly. While there, do try The Bathhouse Spa, where its new lava shell massage (using clam shells) soothes aching muscles and re-energises the body. Currently on offer is an overnight stay with breakfast, plus a lava shell massage from €150 per person sharing; www.bellinterhouse.com.
Cahernane House Hotel, Co Kerry
With its mature gardens, chic interiors and open log fires, this 18th-century country house hotel is the definition of a hideaway. The “Restore and Explore” package (from €285 per person sharing) includes two nights’ bed and breakfast for two people, tea and scones in the elegant drawing room overlooking the gardens, and a glass of bubbles on arrival. There is also a complimentary history tour. Following a great night’s sleep (in the Seventh Heaven Beds), guests can explore Killarney National Park which surrounds the house and is within walking distance. At this time of year it’s particularly stunning, when the ancient trees are at their most vibrant. After your exploration, what could be nicer or more peaceful than sitting in front of a roaring fire with a cuppa or a glass of the black stuff? www.cahernane.com
Limerick Strand Hotel, Co Limerick
In search of an active family adventure? Visitors can look forward to a “hauntingly” good time on the banks of the River Shannon, with attractions including the spooky King John’s Castle a mere five minute walk from the hotel. Stay for two nights in a spacious family air-conditioned room and enjoy a Halloween pack for the children on arrival, including some spooky treats from the chef, a delicious (award winning) family breakfast daily. Children under twelve years can dine for free in the safe and comfortable Terrace Bar & Restaurant. The hotel will be hosting pumpkin carving for kids to enjoy throughout the week, plus complimentary access to Energize Leisure Centre with its 20m pool. They will also extend checkout time to 2pm. Rates are €159 per adult sharing (children under twelve stay free) in a family room; www.strandlimerick.ie.
Hotel Doolin, Co Clare
For foodies, “Doolin on a plate” is a two-night stay with a la carte breakfast each morning, late checkout and a four-course meal at the hotel’s intimate Glas restaurant. Prices start at €310 total. There’s also a more adventurous “Couples Playcation” – this is a three-night break comprising two evening meals, breakfast each morning and a full itinerary of adventures nearby such as yoga, cliff diving and a private guided walk around Doolin and its hidden gems. Prices start at €550 total; www.hoteldoolin.ie.
Kilkea Castle, Co Kildare
Just an hour’s drive from Dublin, once you arrive at the 12th-century Kilkea Castle, you don’t need to leave. There’s an 18-hole championship course within the grounds, which are perfect for autumn rambles, as well as complimentary access to the tennis courts, and a new spa with Elemis treatments for soothing aching muscles. Why not book a “Two-night Lodge Stay” nestled on the grounds. As part of this package, enjoy a three-course dinner in Hermione’s Restaurant or the Clubhouse Bistro on an evening of your choice.This package is priced from €300 per room. www.kilkeacastle.ie
Lough Eske Castle, Co Donegal
Lough Eske Castle has just launched its Lake Lodge, situated on the shores of Lough Eske. The pretty two-bedroom lodge, built circa 1861, is the ideal escape for those who want a lake view, exclusive use of a private getaway and realise that luxury is the sound of lapping waves and birdwatching, while inhaling the views of the Bluestack Mountains. Lake Lodge currently has an introductory offer for long stays: enjoy five nights for the price of seven, sleeping two to four guests. Inside, the lodge retains all of its character with original windows and tiles. Large floor to ceiling windows in the living room allows natural light to flood the cottage. The fully equipped oak kitchen with dark granite finishes allows guests to self cater, and there is an option to enjoy breakfast at the hotel, a one kilometre walk (12 minutes in total) from the lodge’s door. www.lougheskecastlehotel.com
Virginia Park Lodge, Co Cavan
The “Marchioness Weekend Stay” at Virginia Park Lodge is an (upscale) home from home experience, where guests can relax with a good book or take a leisurely walk around the gardens and estate. This is a two-night stay in a luxurious Lodge Suite, with breakfast on both mornings, and a three-course dinner on both nights, created by chef Richard Corrigan. From €380 per room per night.
Farnham Estate Spa & Golf Resort, Co Cavan
Tucked away in the former walled gardens of the estate, Farnham Resort Houses are a blend of stylish two-, three- and four-bedroom houses, perfect for a family break, and a weekend away in the countryside. Set around quiet courtyards just steps from the main hotel, the Resort Houses are thoughtfully designed and are well-equipped. The Houses also benefit from all the hotel facilities, including the various restaurants and bars, the award-winning Farnham Estate Health Spa, the renowned 18-hole Jeff Howes-designed parkland golf course and the estate itself with its expansive woodlands and walking trails. A two bedroom house for two nights is from €419; www.farnhamestate.ie.
Coopershill House, Co Sligo
“I will arise and go now, for always night and day/I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore.” If like me you are in search of Innisfree (either literally or symbolically) poetry lovers will enjoy “Walking in Yeats County”, the autumn offer at the wondrous Coopershill House, Riverstown. This includes three nights bed and breakfast, two evening meals, one picnic for your walk (with maps provided) and an afternoon tea. From €825 total price; www.coopershill.com.
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