Holidays at home for all the family
Be it the Sunny South East or the Wild Atlantic Way, head off for a great break in our fab hotels, says Lucinda O'Sullivan
August is a wicked month, they say, when the cities of the world empty out on to the beaches - be it Antibes or Alghero, Baltimore or Roundstone. If you haven't planned your break, you need to get dialling fairly smartly because the holiday season in Ireland looks very good this summer.
Here are some of the deals on offer over the bank holiday weekend to inspire you.
Please note that in all cases, unless otherwise stated, family rates are for two adults and two children under 12 years old sharing their parents' room. BB means Bed & Breakfast and D means dinner.
There is so much to do in Dublin for all the family. The Gibson Hotel, at the Point Village, has a family room offer at €120 per night with breakfast. www.thegibsonhotel.com
Fitzpatrick's Castle, in Killiney, is a lovely place for a break with sea views and plenty of space. It has a 3BB1D family package at €500. The rate includes children's dinner on one evening and a zoo pass or Dublin Bay Cruise.
Bellinter House, near Navan, Co Meath, has a 'Shakespearian Experience at Bellinter', which includes an outdoor production of A Midsummer Night's Dream in the gardens on Sunday, August 3. Prices for 1BBD start from €129pps.
In Maynooth, Co Kildare, the fabulous Carton House & Spa, with two championship golf courses, cycling trails, 4x4 off-road driving and tennis has 2BB1D from €230pps. www.cartonhouse.com
In the Garden of Ireland, the Druids Glen Resort, Wicklow, there are two championship golf courses, a spa, a driving range and golf tuition available. Take a Druids Glen picnic and visit the nearby Glenroe Farm or Powerscourt Waterfall.
A 2BB1D family room is available from €234 per night.
Coolanowle Country House & Organic Farm in Co Carlow offers 2BB1D at €125pps, or three nights self-catering in Coolanowle log cabin for €300.
The ever-popular Hotel Kilkenny has a 2BB1D family package at €225 per adult sharing. They also have a Kids' Club.
Also in Kilkenny, the Lyrath Hotel's Weekend Relaxer 2BB1D break for the Saturday and Sunday night of the Bank Holiday weekend is available from €197pps.
In the heart of lush Tipperary, the Horse & Jockey Hotel has a 21-metre swimming pool, spa and hair salon, as well as an awesome bakery. It has 1BB1D offers from €79pps, or 2BB1D from €109pps.
Nearby, Inch House at Thurles is a wonderful Georgian country house on lush parklands with great food and a famous black pudding. It has a fantastic two-night deal with breakfast on both days and a five-course dinner on August Bank Holiday Saturday night at a total cost of €260 for two. www.inchhouse.ie
In East Cork, at the fab Fota Island Resort and golf course, there is a 1BB1D family room package from €328.50; or kids can be in a separate connecting/adjoining classic room at an additional €140 BB per night.
There is a great kid's camp and it's right beside Fota Wildlife Park.
In Kinsale, Maeve Coakley's Blindgate House is the perfect getaway for "couples young or old" to try Kinsale's many restaurants, with 1BB at €120.
Moving along the Wild Atlantic Way, in Killarney the fantastic Europe Hotel & Resort offers 2BB1D from €285pps or a 'Two Night Europe Experience' including 2BB1D plus a 50-minute spa treatment from €385pps. www.theeurope.com
At The Brehon Hotel & Angsana Spa, 1BB runs from €169/€189 pps.
The Gleneagle Hotel has family rooms from €169 per night, including breakfast. www.gleneaglehotel.com
The Muckross Park Hotel & Spa has 'Gourmet Packages' to include 2BB1D, afternoon tea and pre-dinner cocktails, from €285pps.
At the fabulous away-from-it-all Arts & Crafts-style Ard na Sidhe Country House, overlooking Caragh Lake at Killorglin, you can have 2BB1D from €285pps.
Dromquinna Manor is luxury camping in a stunning location outside Kenmare. Family tents with double and twin bedrooms have proper beds and duck down duvets and one night for €165. It also has a 'Gin Menu' at the Boathouse Restaurant!
Close by, the amazing Parknasilla Resort & Spa is in a spectacular location. Onsite activities include eco-kayaking around the islands and inlets of Parknasilla to see the seals and sea eagles, and a 12-hole golf course.
August Bank Holiday rates are €229 per room per night with children under-12 sharing at €30 each B&B. Under 3s are free. They also have a 2BB1D package at €249pps.
Further around the Ring of Kerry, the Butler Arms Hotel, at Waterville, has various packages including a 'Paddle Boarding Weekend' with 2BB and one evening meal in the Chaplin Conservatory and a paddle boarding lesson with Skellig's Surf School. This costs €164pps and €84 per child sharing.
There are plenty of packages available in Limerick, City of Culture 2014.
The Savoy Hotel has a 'Medieval Stay' from €109pps, which includes 1BBD and complimentary passes to King John's Castle and Bunratty Castle & Folk Park.
The Castletroy Park Hotel has a great value offer for August with family rooms available at €70 on a room-only basis.
The chic No 1 Pery Square Hotel has a Wild Atlantic Way two-night package from €189pps with breakfast from the chef's table each morning, full a la carte dinner in the Brasserie One restaurant on one evening, use of the thermal suite and a packed lunch for sightseeing.
The Absolute Hotel has a cool 'Date Night' package, where you can earn some brownie points with your loved one!
For €90pps you can have 1BB and a four-course evening meal for two.
Rates include a shampoo and blow dry for her and a pint for him while he waits.
In Oranmore Village, Co Galway, The Coach House Hotel & Basilico Restaurant has a two-night rate over the bank holiday weekend at €82pps per night, including breakfast.
It is child-friendly and the Bistro opens all day with great pizzas and pastas.
Mount Falcon Estate in Ballina, Co Mayo, is quite fabulous with superb food. It now has real falcons in situ, so for €279pps you can have 2BB1D and a 'hawk walk' through the forest with 'master falconers'.
Also in Ballina, the Ice House has a 'Go Wild in Mayo' offer to include 2BB1D at €254 pps with a one-hour face or body treatment in the Chill spa.