2 weeks ago

The Best Irish Activity Holidays To Book This Summer


The whole country has fallen in love with Ireland’s epic outdoors, and after a period of limited or total inactivity, it’s time to get out and maximise our best assets – the coastline and lush landscape – while supporting our hoteliers, who have invested time and money to provide safe, serene and socially distanced stays. Here’s some staycations to suit every budget and interest, from paddle boarding to picnics and falconry to fishing.

Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa, Clonakilty Co Cork 

The perfect combination of luxury and adventure awaits at Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa this summer with its “Seaside Adventures” – a series of seasonal activity packages. The “Surf n Stay” (from €229 per person sharing) suits those hunting their first big swell or beginners who want to try surfing. As well as expert tuition, all equipment is provided, from the correct wetsuit to the best surf boards to match each participant’s level of experience. Meanwhile, “Starlight Kayaking” (€245 per person) is an idyllic two-night package with an evening kayak session for two and access to The Island Spa. There’s also a “Whale Watching” package (from €239 per person), which explores West Cork’s coastline with a half day trip from Courtmacsherry with Atlantic Whale and Wildlife Tours. You might spot fin, humpbacks or Minke whales, as well as dolphins, basking sharks and porpoise, all while taking in the gorgeous scenery; www.inchydoneyisland.com.

Cahernane House Hotel, Killarney, Co Kerry 

Built in 1877 Cahernane House Hotel, Killarney, Co Kerry is an Irish version of Downton Abbey with mature gardens and elegant interiors. Set on the edge of Killarney National Park and lakes, the country house enjoys a secluded location yet is just a 20-minute stroll into Killarney town while neighbours include the magnificent Muckross Abbey, a 15th century monastery, and Muckross House. Emer Corridan, general manager says, “Traditionally, Killarney is extremely busy all summer with visitors who follow well known tourist trails and who tend to flock to the same places. We want to offer our guests the chance to explore some lesser known, quieter beauty spots and will provide maps to some secret trails, such as The Blue Pool, Governor’s Rock, Reenadrina and Killegy Woods.” The Killarney “Secret Trails” package, (€379.50 per person sharing) includes three-nights’ bed and breakfast accommodation with welcome tea and scones on arrival, dinner on two evenings with a pre-dinner glass of Prosecco. A picnic lunch is also included on two days for guests to enjoy while they explore the trails. With twelve bedrooms in the original Manor House, 28 in the Garden Wing and eight in the former Coach House, original antiques and stunning chandeliers set the tone for this classic country house escape; www.cahernane.com.

The Heritage, Co Laois 

Tennis, cycling and walking are all on offer at The Heritage, set in the countryside just outside the pretty village of Killenard in Co Laois. Its “Reconnect” package, available from August to September from €145, includes an overnight stay for two, with a Prosecco Afternoon Tea picnic hamper and breakfast the next morning. With a picnic hamper in hand, guests can choose to explore the beautiful hotel grounds or venture further – for example to Emo Court, House and Gardens with stunning parklands, lawns and lakes, all within a short distance from the hotel. www.theheritage.com 

Park Hotel Kenmare, Co Kerry

Unapologetic luxury, a waterfront location on the Wild Atlantic Way in the heart of Kenmare, and a warm welcome are all part of the legendary Park Hotel Kenmare experience. The hotel is offering a five night stay, with an additional two nights complimentary, which is about the right amount of time needed to fully enjoy all of the activities on offer. With a 25 metre swimming pool, tennis courts and 18-hole golf course, other activities include croquet, garden tours, a Saturday morning hike, falconry, horse riding with touring bikes available to all residents. Not forgetting the Samas Deluxe Destination spa. Water activities such as kayaking to see the local seals can be arranged, while day trips to Beara Peninsula, Garnish Island, the Ring of Kerry coastal drive, Muckross House and Gardens, Killarney and Gleninchaquin Park are also suggested. Rates are from €550 per room per night.To reserve email [email protected] or phone 00353 64 6642888.

The Ice House Hotel, Co Mayo 

Calling all cyclists! The Ice House Hotel, Co Mayo has a new “Pedal and Pause” break from €235 per person sharing. Enjoy two nights in a luxe room overlooking the River Moy, dinner on one evening and bike hire with a packed lunch for your journey. Pedal your way along the Wild Atlantic Way coastline and explore sites like Enniscrone, Rosserk Abbey, Dun Briste Sea Stack and the Ceide Fields, finding the perfect spot to picnic along the way. After a day of cycling, dinner is served in the elegant Riverview restaurant. To end the day, wrap up in a Foxford Woollen Mills blanket and enjoy a sunset cocktail on the terrace; www.icehousehotel.ie.

The Montenotte Hotel, Cork City

If you developed a passion for gardening during lockdown you may like the “Green-Fingers Getaway” at the Montenotte Hotel in Cork, available Friday and Saturday nights from June 29 – September 30 for €189. This boutique hotel has vast outdoor spaces for a city location, a woodland walk and a newly refurbished, heated Panorama Terrace overlooking the gardens, wild flower meadow, fountain and Cork City. Every Saturday from July to September Montenotte’s head gardener will offer free tours (lasting an hour for up to ten guests) of the sunken Victorian Garden, which were recently rediscovered and pay tribute to the hotel’s heritage. You can also enjoy a Pure Cork Afternoon Tea, on the hotel’s Rooftop Terrace, for an additional €55. Other local attractions include the Fota Wildlife Park, which is only a short drive away. The “Green Fingers Getaway” includes an overnight stay in a king or twin room, breakfast, early check-in and late check out, and the garden tour. www.themontenottehotel.com

Knockranny House Hotel, Co Mayo

Sea air, saltwater and space to explore is plentiful for guests at Knockranny House Hotel, which is offering some discovery packages. “Cycle with Knockranny House Hotel” allows guests to discover the delights of the greenway and the Mayo coastline as well as take a trip to Achill Island. Alternatively guests can book a SUP (stand up paddle) session at Old Head beach. There’s also a gentle sail offer – taking in the sights of the famous Clew Bay islands on a relaxing and informative 90-minute cruise with guided commentary. All experiences include overnight accommodation and breakfast with prices starting from €75 per person, with additional activity add ons from €20. A steal! www.KnockrannyHouseHotel.ie 

Powerscourt Hotel Resort & Spa, Co Wicklow 

Re-opening on Thursday, July 2, Powerscourt offers stunning vistas of “The Garden of Ireland” with scenic river walks, quaint villages and luxurious surroundings to explore. With acres of “free to roam” walking trails, more top class golf courses than you can shake a putter at, miles of beaches nearby and a choice of dining and entertainment options, there are few places that can offer visitors such a wide choice within such a secure location. Mid-week offers are available from €287 for a deluxe room per night to include breakfast. For those looking for an active break, there is a choice of golf courses, the East Course and the West Course.  A “Stay & Play” two night package includes dinner in Sika Restaurant on one night, two rounds of golf and breakfast each morning from €425 per person sharing; www.powerscourthotel.com.

Mount Falcon Hotel, Co Mayo

The 100 acre estate on which Mount Falcon Hotel, Co Mayo is situated is a nature reserve to all intents and purposes with walking trails taking in the abundance of flora and fauna. Salmon fishing, falconry, clay pigeon shooting, archery, a golf driving range and bike hire have always been a part of the Mount Falcon guest experience. There are two options to stay – in the hotel itself, an original baronial manor, or one of the luxury self catering lodges, recently awarded the “Best Self Catering Resort Property of The Year.” The hotel building dates back to 1876, which has rates from €240 per room per night for a Superior room midweek inclusive of breakfast. Owner Alan Maloney has invested €100k in a new outdoor socially distanced dining and entertainment centre adjacent to the main hotel. This includes an outdoor cinema screen for families and children with movie matinees and with the forecasted return of sporting fixtures there will be multiple large screens available on the estate too. www.mountfalcon.ie

Glenlo Abbey Hotel & Estate, Galway

Opening on Monday June 29 the 138-acre lakeside golf estate has a choice of overnight packages to more experiential stays such as the three-night “Wild Atlantic Way” offer, from €345 per room per night with complimentary self-drive map for guests to explore the region with a picnic hamper to enjoy during the adventure. It also comprises a round of golf plus dinner on an evening of choice aboard The Pullman. There’s also a three-night “Stay & Play” package – guests will enjoy a la carte breakfast daily, a two course evening meal in the rustic surrounds of the Oak Cellar Bar, plus a round of golf. There’s also a chance to perfect your swing in the newly extended 21 Bay Driving Range with Digicard for 30 balls included. From €215 per room per night: www.glenloabbeyhotel.ie.

The Reserve at Muckross Park Hotel & Spa, Co Kerry

Reopening on July 2, the self-catering apartments at The Reserve at Muckross Park Hotel & Spa cater for up to five guests sharing, from €249 per night. Featuring a fully-equipped kitchen, dining room, and living room, in addition to two spacious bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, this is your base for a “Great Escape”, which includes complimentary bike hire and walking guides. With 25,000 acres of natural parklands, pick up a “grab & go” lunch from the hotel restaurant, and enjoy a picnic in the park with a backdrop of mountains, lakes and the famous deer, or visit Muckross House and Gardens, Torc Waterfall and Kennedy’s Pet Farm. www.muckrosspark.com

Lyrath Estate, Co Kilkenny

Just five minutes from Kilkenny city, the five-star Lyrath Estate is set on 170 acres of mature parkland, and offers guests outdoor activities such as archery, fishing, and learning how to fly your own bird of prey. There are also skincare talks, yoga classes, whiskey tastings, cocktail making classes and cooking with the chef in the outdoor, covered barbecue pavilion. Other facilities at the luxury resort include a swimming pool and gym, the award-winning Oasis Spa, several restaurants, and a private cinema. The Lyrath Estate “Summer Family Break” costs €210 per adult sharing and includes two nights bed and breakfast and dinner on one evening. Interconnecting rooms are available, while the cost for children, sharing with their parents aged between four and twelve is charged at just €25 per night. Al fresco dining is offered on the terrace, overlooking Lady Charlotte’s Garden, named after the previous resident of Lyrath, Lady Charlotte Isabel Wheeler-Cuffe. Lady Charlotte was an amateur botanical artist, plant collector and avid gardener and spent many years collecting plants and flowers from all over the world. Her botanical collection still blooms at Lyrath today. During the summer guests can also enjoy private dining on their own balconies or in the Pavilion beside the Walled Garden as well as the pretty picnic spots by the lakes. www.lyrath.com

Cliff at Lyons, Co Kildare 

The “Picnic and a Paddle” package gives guests at Cliff at Lyons a picnic to enjoy outdoors by the canal, and a paddle-boarding session (lasting up to three hours) on the nearby canal together with bed and breakfast accommodation, from €295 for two people sharing. One of THE GLOSS team’s favourite spots, Cliff at Lyons makes a lovely base for exploring the extensive estate and its lush country surroundings (an enviable vegetable and herb gardens), including the romance and tranquillity of the towpaths along the Grand Canal. www.cliffatlyons.ie


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