Staycation 2014: Five tips from chill-out retreats to gardening courses
No matter what your goal in 2014, these Discover Ireland tips will help you learn new skills from gardening to cookery and if the aim is just to relax, there are plenty of options without having to leave the country.
1. Get green fingers in the garden
Enjoy the wonderful surroundings of Connemara on a residential gardening course at Cashel House Hotel. Learn to plant and prune, grow herbs and fruit or how to design or restore a garden.
Or learn how to grow your own garden from scratch at Dunmore Country School Garden at Durrow, Co Laois.
And if you just want to enjoy the surroundings try Achill Secret Garden, Achill, Co Mayo which has eight chambered gardens.
2. Just chill out
Whether it's a detox you're looking for or simply a relaxing trip, there are lots of Discover Ireland trips to choose from.
Book an eco-lodge at Ard Nahoo, Co Leitrim or sign up at Cloona Health Retreat just outside Westport, Co Mayo which offers a mix of guided walks, yoga, sauna and massage.
3. Country walks
Ireland is not short of countryside and most of it is free.
Forest walks are another alternative. Take Lough Key Forest Park in Roscommon or Ards Forest Park in Donegal which boasts beaches and salt water lakes with a boardwalk and hides for birders.
4. Tap your creative side
Learn to write or paint. Try Anam Cara at Eyries, on the Beara Peninsula in West Cork or a painting holiday at the Avoca Painting School in Co Wicklow.
Combine a break in the capital with a course at Cooks Academy Dublin or spend some time checking out the various food trails around the country.
Alternatively, visit food festivals like a Taste of Dublin or a Taste of West Cork.