5 Glossy Things To Do This Weekend

We’re planning a night away at the STEP HOUSE HOTEL, visiting Santa at AIRFIELD ESTATE and listening to the sounds of Christmas with the CHAMBER CHOIR OF IRELAND …

WHAT: We can’t think of anywhere more elegant to escape the daily routine than at the Manor House, Mount Juliet Estate, where their Christmas Afternoon Tea is a particular treat. Surrounded by lovely artwork, antiques and in front of a roaring fire, guests can expect mince pies, gâteau opéra, cinnamon and orange madeleines and mini warm apple and raspberry tarts, with plenty of tasty sandwiches. The afternoon tea costs €30 per person and is available from 1pm – 5pm. Booking is required on +353(0)56 777 3000; www.mountjuliet.ie.

WHAT: For traditionalists who love the sounds of Christmas as much as the sights, there’s a chance to hear the Chamber Choir of Ireland perform An Irish Carol, Christmas Trees, and a Rose on December 8 – 9. They will visit Kilkenny’s majestic St Canice’s Church and Dublin’s Christ Church Cathedral, where they will be celebrating carols old and new. The programme includes the Christmas Story by one of Germany’s finest 20th-century composers, Hugo Distler. This work is complemented by a grouping of carols by contemporary Irish composers; Rhona Clarke, Gerald Barry, Frank Corcoran, Eoghan Desmond and Eric Sweeney. www.chamberchoirireland.com.


WHERE: Having just won an award for Ireland’s Best Santa Experience, for an old-fashioned family day out we’re heading to Airfield Estate. Their Christmas Experience, which runs until December 23, is highly recommended. Expect a team of friendly elves to occupy the children with letter writing to Santa, a workshop to create decorations and a special bakery for making edible treats. There’s also a Santa train and the man himself is in attendance. On Saturday December 9, there will be two Santa visits at 10am and 10.30am. Tickets are €21 per child, (which includes a gift) and €11 per adult. www.airfield.ie.

WHY: With colder weather on the way, getting hygge is definitely recommended. And where better than at the gorgeous Georgian Step House Hotel, where their cosy winter package is also a refuge from rising festive fever. Their hygge break includes breakfast in bed, a cosy dinner by chef Alan Foley in the 1808 bar and a hot toddy by the fire. The family-run boutique hotel overlooks the river Barrow and Mount Leinster, and should you venture outdoors the picturesque town of Borris, Co Carlow, will delight.

The Hygge away package costs €139 per person sharing. +353 (0) 599773209; www.stephousehotel.ie.

HOW: If your idea of bliss is browsing some antique stalls of a weekend then the Dublin Christmas Flea market will appeal. It starts today and runs until Sunday at The Point Square and features over 135 stalls with art, books, furniture, clothes and jewellery on offer. It opens on Thursday and Friday from 1 – 8pm, and on Saturday and Sunday from 11 – 6pm. Do bring plenty of cash though as there is no ATM on site. www.dublinchristmasflea.ie.


AND: Food and fine dining are the inspiration for artist Frank Corry’s exhibition Loam Atoms. Using raw materials from several restaurants in Galway, Corry has painstakingly processed and reduced these for the finished artworks which are exhibited at Loam Restaurant, Fairgreen Road, Galway. The exhibition opens this Sunday, December 10.

Penny McCormick

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