From pilates to painting, canoeing to cycling, it’s time to embrace outdoor life while enjoying the comfort and hospitality of these hotels …
Glin Castle, Co Limerick
There’s still time to book a place on a very special yoga retreat at Glin Castle from June 25 – 27, hosted by Deirdre O’Rourke. What separates this yoga weekend from many others is not just its exclusive location, but also O’Rourke’s 27 years of experience. She is qualified in Alexander technique, movement medicine, dance and reality therapies in addition to yoga. The weekend will include four yoga sessions, organised walks, shopping and pampering (in the local Brides of Glin boutique and salon), as well as a tour of the gardens by GLOSS garden expert Catherine FitzGerald, owner of Glin Castle. The fully-inclusive break, costs €800 includes all meals, to find out more visit www.flow4life.ie.
Longueville House, Co Cork
The Tenth Annual Dawn Chorus Weekend at Longueville House, Co Cork takes place on June 18 – 19, in tandem with the global celebration of birdsong the same weekend. Check in for a two-night stay at Longueville House and you will be welcomed by chef patron William O’Callaghan, who will also host a four-course dinner for participants. Guests will be taken on an early (4am) guided walk the next morning by ornithologist expert, Michael Cobley, before enjoying a hearty breakfast. This special weekend is from €730 based on a two-night stay on two people sharing and includes breakfast and dinner; www.longuevillehouse.ie.
Ice House Hotel, Co Mayo
From cliff walks to spa treatments, a Downpatrick Head adventure to a Connacht Distillery tasting or a paddle boarding adventure on the Moy river, the Ice House offers a destination where travellers can avoid crowds, get some much needed fresh air and enjoy a host of outdoor activities. Its “Wide Open Spaces” experience includes two nights in a deluxe Riverview room, with one evening meal in the newly-refurbished restaurant and €20 spa credit per person, from €499 for two people sharing; www.icehousehotel.ie.
Rathsallagh House, Co Wicklow
Rathsallagh house has teamed up with Rathsallagh Golf Club to offer a one-night special package, which includes dinner, bed and breakfast with a round of golf on the 18-hole championship course. Afterwards relax and enjoy the idyllic surroundings – the hotel is nestled in 200 acres of mature trees and parkland, perfect for forest bathing. From €185 per person; www.rathsallagh.com.
Coopershill House, Co Sligo
For keen kayakers, Coopershill House, Co Sligo is ideally situated to explore Lough Gill and its myriad islands, bays and tranquil forests. A three-hour guided tour, with a picturesque picnic break, is part of the two-night package, which also includes a four-course dinner and breakfast. From €644 total price (based on two people sharing); www.coopershill.com.
Cliff at Lyons, Co Kildare
Explore an historic waterway and spend three hours on a tandem paddleboard. That’s part of the “Picnic and a Paddle” at Cliff at Lyons: a one-night stay with full Irish breakfast, three-hour SUP boarding session, plus a gourmet Pantry Picnic. From €245 per room for two; www.cliffatlyons.ie.
Bishop’s Gate Hotel, Co Derry
For historians, taking a walking tour of the historic 400-year-old city walls of Derry with Martin McCrossan is part of the “Stay, Dine and Explore” package at this boutique hotel, which includes two nights’ accommodation and breakfast, with dinner on one evening in The Gown Restaurant. Expect to find some sweet treats in your room upon arrival too. Other must-visits include the Tower Museum and the new Siege Museum. One of the most popular visits in Derry is to the People’s Gallery, a set of twelve large murals that takes visitors through some of the most historic neighbourhoods in the city. Meanwhile the hotel also has an interesting history; former guests included Winston Churchill and WB Yeats. From £155 per room per night; www.bishopsgatehotelderry.com.
Ashford Castle, Co Mayo
For intrepid foodies, the two-night “Gourmet Getaway” at Ashford Castle includes a fine dining experience in the George V dining room on one evening of choice and a full Irish breakfast on each morning. Guests can also enjoy a complimentary round of golf on the estate’s nine-hole course and access to the relaxation pool and fitness studio. Prices start from €800 per person sharing; www.ashfordcastle.com.
Cliff House Hotel, Co Waterford
For cyclists the Waterford Greenway is a 46km off-road cycling and walking trail along an old railway line between Waterford and Dungarvan. “The Greenway Getaway” at Cliff House Hotel includes a two-night stay with breakfast on each morning, a three-course dinner on one evening in The Bar Restaurant, full day bike hire for two adults (with helmets and a picnic in a hamper backpack). After a day cycling, enjoy a bracing swim in the Irish sea or in the (much warmer) indoor pool, or a dip in the outdoor hot-tub while enjoying stunning views over Ardmore Bay. From €728 for two people sharing in a Deluxe Seaview room, or from €1,108 for a family of two adults and two children in a terrace suite; www.cliffhousehotel.ie.
Redcastle Golf & Spa Hotel, Co Donegal
With its own private nine-hole golf course, outstanding 2 AA Rosette restaurant and thalassotherapy swimming pool, gym and Cara Organic Beauty Spa, Redcastle Oceanfront, Golf & Spa Hotel is an ideal Donegal getaway. A stay is also a chance to explore the twelve blue flag beaches along Donegal’s Wild Atlantic Way. Only ten minutes’ drive from the hotel is Inish Adventures where water activities such as sea kayaking and stand-up paddling are available. Children are sure to enjoy Wild Ireland, the newest visitor attraction in the north west of Ireland. This 23-acre wildlife sanctuary features brown bears, wolves, lynx and much more. Prices start from €240 per room for three nights based on two adults sharing. Stay for two nights and enjoy a third night with the hotel’s compliments; www.redcastlehoteldonegal.com.
The Heritage, Co Laois
The Heritage is offering a new mountain biking package, in partnership with Mid Ireland Adventure. This includes a three-hour self-guided mountain biking tour of Kinnity Pyramid, Kinnity Castle and the Slieve Bloom Mountains. The Heritage will provide cyclists with a takeaway Afternoon Tea too. Afterwards, relax in the Thermal Suite in the hotel’s award-winning spa. The package includes two nights accommodation, full irish breakfast each morning and dinner in Blakes restaurant on one evening. Other activities on site include golf and tennis. From €275 per person sharing; www.theheritage.com.
Experts in walking holidays around Ireland are undoubtedly TDactive Holidays. Its excursions are carefully crafted to uncover wonderful less crowded places and are expertly guided; participants can go solo or in small groups, and safety is a priority. There is a four-night Kerry Walking Holiday, (€639) a three-night Wicklow Walking holiday or a four-night walking tour of Donegal, staying on a bed and breakfast basis in Donegal town. On the latter, there are three days of hiking through the Glencolmcille district, trekking up Mount Errigal, the tallest peak in Donegal, wandering through Glenveagh National Park and taking an old pilgrim route to Slieve League. Packed lunches included each day. Book ahead for departure on August 19 from €649 per person. Customers can change holidays for free or swap deposits for a voucher with no expiry date; www.tdactiveholidays.com.
Pilates with Eva Berg, Co Dublin
“Pilates helps you tone up, increase flexibility, reshape your body and regain a sense of wellbeing. With health and safety as a priority, I employ the most up-to-the-minute techniques. I have Stott Pilates and Balanced Body Reformer Pilates qualifications and 25 years of experience in the health and fitness industry,” says personal trainer and Pilates pro Eva Berg. She is offering a two-night stay, including dinner for two, in a beautifully landscaped, Scandi-style pod located beside her Secret Pilates Studio. Nestled in the countryside, on the Wicklow border, there is ample inspiration for hikes. Included is a personal training session with Berg, as well as use of the Reformer and rowing classes on site. This break for two costs €290; www.thesecretpilates.com.
Irish artist Loreto Reilly once again plans to host her painting holiday in Taormina, Sicily in September this year. The week is all about painting outdoors in lush gardens overlooking the Isola Bella and the blue Mediterranean sea, relaxing by the pool or beach and enjoying the good food and wine of Sicily. Dates are September 18 – 25, flights are via Aer Lingus Dublin-Catania direct. Prices are from €650 for accommodation, tuition, painting equipment and materials. For full details visit www.loretoreilly.com.
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