Tom Breathnach counts down ten budget-friendly boltholes to see in 2011
The uber-cool Dylan (above) is straight out of design school with its black velvet lobby and chic guestrooms. Their five-star package includes a sophisticated room, which features an Italian marble bathroom and an iPod sound-system to kick off the party. Bubbly will be served downstairs, where an eight-course tasting menu of Jerusalem artichoke soup, Wicklow venison, and lemon panna cotta with pomegranate awaits.
Afterwards, grab a festive cocktail at the Art Deco bar and settle down for a night of live jazz.
You can sleep in the next day on their blissful memory foam mattresses thanks to the 2pm check-out
Details: Dylan (01-660 3000; dylan.ie) has a one-night stay for €399 per double room, including breakfast, eight-course tasting menu and Champagne at midnight for two.
The Twelve, Co Galway
Fancy ringing in the athbhliain in Connemara? The Twelve in Barna is brimming with gaeltacht glamour. A New Year's escape here includes a six-course meal in West Restaurant with the likes of wild mallard duck, Atlantic scallops or buckwheat crèpes. You can tip back a glass of Veuve at the Champagne bar and ring in 2011 with the Pins Bar dance party. And the room? Chunky wooden furnishings and natural hardwood floors, spruced with retro floral wallpaper. Oh, and the views across the bay to the Burren aren't bad either.
Details: The Twelve also has a fantastic pet programme (including concierge!) if you can't find a sitter for the madra. The Twelve (091 597000; thetwelvehotel.ie) has a two-night stay for €225pps, including breakfast and a New Year's Eve dinner.
Castlemartyr Resort, Co Cork
Since joining the Dromoland group in 2009, ratings at the Castlemartyr Resort have been going through its rococo ceilings. Rates have been lowered, and while the term 'gala' seems to get bandied about this time of year, Castlemartyr's New Year package seems to offer the real deal.
So, what to expect? After the initial jaw-drop on arrival at the stunning grounds, settle in with afternoon high tea. Later, Champagne and canapés will be served in Knight's Bar, before a five-course supper in the Capel Suite. You can dance to the music of the 1940s all evening and, come midnight, gather on the lawn for a dazzling fireworks display.
On New's Year Day, horse-drawn carriages will take guests through the woods of the estate.
Details: Castlemartyr Resort (021 421 9000; castlemartyrresort.ie) has a one-night New Year's Eve stay from €590 per room for up to two adults and one child, including dinner and New Year's Day brunch.
Coolbawn Quay Lakeshore Spa, Co Tipperary
Recline on a marina as herons glide over lapping waters and golden reeds shuffle in the breeze.Welcome to Lough Derg rush hour.
A boutique retreat with lakeshore cottages, Coolbawn Quay's New Year's Eve is perfect for lovers of nature and solitude. Festivities begin at sunset with Champagne on the deck, before a candlelit feast in the Clubhouse restaurant. No fireworks here so as to not upset Mother Nature, but turf bonfires will light up the harbour throughout the evening.
The next morning,, wellies are on hand for guests to explore the waterside trails, but get some pancakes with crispy bacon and maple syrup down you first.
Details: Coolbawn Quay Lakeshore Spa (067 28158; coolbawnquay.com) has a two-night stay from €225pps, including breakfasts and one dinner.
Slieve Russell, Co Cavan
If it's a family package you're after, ring in the New Year at Slieve Russell, near the Cavan village of Ballyconnell.
Their all-day supervised Kids Club will entertain the little ones with a line-up of arts and crafts, a cookery course and, oh no, an 'X Factor' sing-off.
The package itself combines welcome bevvies at the Cranaghan Suite, a five-course dinner and tickets to the New Year's Eve ball -- headliners are the Navan Swing Band followed by a live DJ. The bash culminates in a fireworks display to mark both 2011 and the hotel's 21st year in business.
On January 1 you can play a round on the championship golf course, take a dip in the pool or simply pop up the 'do not disturb sign' for a cosy lie-in.
Details: Slieve Russell Hotel (049 952 6444; slieverussell.ie) has a two-night package from €305pps, including breakfasts, dinners, and tickets to the gala ball and disco.
Named after the former home of Napoleon Bonaparte, Malmaison, with its elegant pillars and gargoyles, gushes with Parisienne panache. The four-star boutique hotel located in Belfast's vibey Cathedral Quarter has decided to offer room-only rates this year to allow guests to spread their wings Laganside.
There are treats in store though: Malmaison Bar, one of Belfast's hotspots, will be providing free bubbly and there'll be a wee touch of Hogmanay at midnight, with a live bag-pipes performance.
Then sink into a smooth room with a glamour even Le Petit Corporal would approve of.
Details: Malmaison Belfast (0044 289 022 0200; mal maison-belfast.com) has a one-night stay from £125/€146 per room. Malmaison Brasserie offers an á la carte menu with mains averaging €20.
Pembroke Hotel, Kilkenny
The Marble city is synonymous with partying and always draws the masses for New Year's.
The four-star Pembroke, recent HQ for the Kilkenomics festival, is our pick for revelry with its one-night package available for €144pps.
A 'chillaxed' continental vibe complete with bistro awnings and manicured topiary trees welcomes you -- along with a glass of champers, of course.
Then the Statham Grill, which has been keeping tantalised tongues wagging since its opening, is the scene for a five-course candlelit dinner.
Live jazz is the musical genre of choice here, while chart classics will usher in the New Year.
The cool bedrooms with king-size beds and views of Kilkenny Castle should soothe your head the next morning along with a hearty full-Irish.
Details: The Pembroke Hotel (0567 783 500; kilkennypembroke hotel.com) has a one-night stay for €288 for two people, including breakfast and dinner.
Islander's Rest, Sherkin Island, Co Cork
Cross Roaring Water Bay off Baltimore and you land at Horseshoe Harbour for the start of a Famous Five adventure.
The Islander's Rest offers budget revellers a getaway in the true sense. After watching the sunset from Silver Strand, tuck into a four-course meal. Then for the countdown! All roads in Sherkin -- or at least the only one -- lead to Murphy's pub for the islanders' New Year's Eve session.
This package also includes a thrilling New Year's Day rib-ride around the island aboard the hotel's Sea Dragon. Watch out for whales at this time of year.
Details: The Islander's Rest, Sherkin (028 20116; islanders rest.ie) has a one-night stay for €109pps, including breakfast, dinner, complimentary bottle of wine, and boat trip.
Ballymascanlon House Hotel, Co Louth
Pass the gatekeeper's lodge and follow a silver birch-lined driveway before the Victorian splendour of Ballymascanlon is revealed. This is ' Falcon Crest', Cooley Peninsula style.
Start the night off with a long drink on the terrace before the four-course New Year's Eve dinner in the hotel restaurant. You've the option of sharing a table or keeping things more intimate, while resident pianist Jim tinkles the ivories. Then it's a clearing of the tables to make way for live music acts, set to keep you going until the early hours. Then your Victorian bedroom awaits.
Don't forget Ballymascanlon lies just 20 minutes south of Newry, if you fancy checking out the New Year's sales up north.
Details: Ballymascanlon House Hotel (042 935 8200; ballymas canlon.com) has a two-night stay for €265, including breakfast and evening meals.
Lisloughrey Lodge, Co Mayo
Now for a real stomper. Secluded Lisloughrey, set amid acres of woodland on the banks of Lough Corrib, will kick off 2011 by throwing a high-octane private house party this year.
Relax in your relaxing deluxe room before a reception of cocktails and canapés in the main house.
Foodies will love the six-course dinner in the Harbour Room overlooking the lake (local organic fare from artisan suppliers is the order here). And then it's chart music and dance anthems with a live DJ until dawn.
Luckily for you, there'll be 'recovery' breakfasts served until late the following morning.
Details: Lisloughrey Lodge (094 954 5400; lisloughrey.ie) has a one-night stay from €145pps, including breakfast and dinner.