Saturday 24 March 2018

After festive rush, pamper yourself on New Year's Eve

The bubbly is flowing, so don your Stetsons for a Dallas night or climb a mountain to mark 2013, says Lucinda O'Sullivan

It is not too late to come up with that wonderful last-minute surprise pressie for your beloved – something to look forward to after all of the hard work of Christmas – by way of a New Year's Eve outing. It could be to a favourite restaurant for dinner, or a break away in one of our many great hotels around the country. There are lots of things happening and here are a few for consideration.

In Baggot Street, Dublin, the chic Isabel's Wine Bar is looking forward to its first New Year's Eve in biz. There is some seriously sophisticated food coming out of Isabel's kitchen and they will have a three-course set menu at €60, including a glass of Champagne on arrival. Think of pan-fried scallops, duck heart, frozen duck liver parfait with artichoke puree to start.

The Michelin-starred Locks Brasserie overlooks the Grand Canal and is a really romantic location. They will also have a set dinner menu at €70 with a glass of Champagne on arrival.

Dublin's new hip bar and restaurant, 37 Dawson Street, has a "limited release ticket only evening at €10". They also have dinner packages from €60 with Prosecco reception. Information from Amber or Ciara on (01) 9022908

The Tea Room at the Clarence Hotel, Dublin, has a cracking menu at €65 to include an amuse bouche, Galway Bay oysters, panfried scallops, clementine and Champagne granite, and mains of roast goose with chestnut and date stuffing, or beef fillet with foie gras.

If, like me, you fancy some delicious spicy food after all the turkey, Jaipur in Dalkey, south Dublin, has a great four-course menu at €37.95 – think duck tikka and Goan seafood curry.

Samphire@The Waterside, Donabate, north Dublin, has been making foodie waves and it will be serving bubbly on arrival followed by a four-course menu for only €31.95 followed by entertainment in their Tower Bar to ring in the New Year. Complimentary shuttle bus transfer service within 10km of the hotel (pre-booking required).

Want to get out of Dublin, but maybe not too far? The splendid Palladian Bellinter House in Navan, Co Meath, has a 1BB with five-course evening meal, a Champagne toast and dancing in the drawing room overlooking the River Boyne. From €199 pps.

At the glorious Carton House at Maynooth, Co Kildare, from €205 pps you can enjoy 2BB with dinner on one evening in the Linden Tree restaurant. Paul Harrington will be playing in their main bar to ring in the New Year.

Druids Glen Resort at Newtownmountkennedy, Co Wicklow, has a 1BB New Year's Eve package at €170pps with a four-course dinner in Druids Brasserie, and a glass of Champagne in the Thirteenth Bar to the strains of traditional Irish music. Fine fare here includes foie gras terrine with caramelised Wicklow baby apple, port wine jelly, and mains of Kildare beef tenderloin Rossini.

Ristorante Rinuccini, in the shadows of Kilkenny Castle, has an excellent value NYE dinner menu at €90 for two people including a half-litre of house wine, or a glass of Prosecco each. Starters include fresh Wexford mussels, followed by wonderful pastas and other dishes.

There are lots of hotels within two minutes' walking distance of Rinuccini, including the Ormonde Hotel and the Kilkenny Hibernian Hotel

Nearby, Hotel Kilkenny has a 2BB package from €180 pps to include dinner on New Year's Eve in its Taste Restaurant and music by the 'Swinging Bluecats'. Children are welcome in Taste Restaurant until 8pm, and in their Pure Bar until 9pm, after which the Kids' Club is open until 12.30am for four- to 12-year-olds. Check kids' prices with hotel.

In the sunny South East at White's of Wexford you have 2BB and New Year's Eve dinner in the Terrace Restaurant from €219 pps.

Down at Cork's five-star Hayfield Manor they have a two-night package from €379 pps. Their gala event kicks off with a Champagne reception followed by a seven-course gourmet dinner in their signature restaurant, Orchids, followed by live entertainment. On day two you can choose either lunch or dinner in their Perrott's Garden Bistro.

The Blue Haven Hotel in Kinsale, Co Cork and its sister establishment The Old Bank House, have a 2BB package at €180 pps to include a special set menu evening meal on NYE with live music in the Blue Haven Bar by the amazing Sharon Crosbie and band. Tickets for the meal and live music only are €45.

At the Garryvoe Hotel in east Cork they have a 2BB1D package at €159 pps over New Year's Eve, dinner in their Samphire restaurant and live music in the bar. From January 2, they have a two-night family package from €238 per family (2 adults 2 under-12s sharing).

At the gorgeous Castlemartyr Resort you can celebrate elegantly by kicking off with a pre-dinner drinks reception in the Knight's Bar, followed by a five-course dinner created by head chef, Kevin Burke. After dinner the celebrations continue in the Knight's Bar, with entertainment and a Champagne toast at midnight. The NYE package costs from €450 for one night for two adults only.

Following the discovery of oil earlier this year in Barryroe off Cork, Electric Restaurant overlooking the River Lee decided on a Dallas theme for NYE. With Stetsons, neckties and cowboy boots lined up for the staff, Dallas cocktails, a brass band ready to belt out the familiar TV theme tune, and both floors of the restaurant open until 2am for diners, it sounds like fun.

Further down the river at Lapp's Quay, Gately's Boardwalk Bar & Grill have a NYE dinner menu at €45, including a drinks reception, and with entertainment provided by George Patterson and Anth Kaley of The Roaring Forties band.

At the sleek Aghadoe Heights Hotel, overlooking the Lakes of Killarney, Co Kerry, they have 1/2 BB New Year's Eve Breaks starting from €170pps and €255 pps respectively. Both packages include a New Year's Eve gala dinner in The Lake Room restaurant with a glass of bubbly at midnight and New Year's live entertainment. The NYE menu includes black truffle risotto to start followed by organic Irish beef fillet with pan-seared foie gras. Dinner on its own is €65pp. They also have a women's little Christmas break. Just think of chilling with the girls, a bottle of ice-cool Prosecco and chocolate nibbles to hand on arrival, complimentary access to the spa's thermal suite, and a two-course dinner with coffee in the Lake Room Restaurant. From €260 per room.

At the Muckross Park Hotel in Killarney, Co Kerry, they have a New Year adventure package from January 11 to 13 at €249pps. How's about this: Climb Carrantuohill, Ireland's highest mountain – you will, of course, have a guide and transport provided. The package includes 2BB, a packed lunch for the climb, and on Sunday 13, you can also enjoy kayaking on the lakes of Killarney with the Outdoors Ireland team.

No 1 Pery Square in Limerick has women's little Christmas lined up at €169 pps to include a one-hour facial or full-body massage, a pre-dinner Champagne cocktail and a three-course dinner.

At The Old Ground in Ennis, Co Clare, they have a great 2BB, including New Year's Eve dinner followed by dancing. At €145pps, the dinner includes the best of Clare food such as Miltown Malbay crabmeat, festive goose terrine, followed by roast fillet of beef.

The Lodge at Doonbeg, Co Clare, has a two-night package from €260 pps. Dinner created by head chef, Wade Murphy, will be in the beautiful Long Room restaurant, overlooking the crashing waves of the Atlantic. After dinner it's off to the exquisitely decorated marquee for a night of dancing and celebration with the Fitz Gerry Dilemma.

Further up the coast, at Lisdoonvarna, at the wonderful Wild Honey Inn, Aidan McGrath and Kate Sweeney will be serving dinner from 5pm to 8pm with some seasonal game – venison, partridge, and pheasant. They will ring in the New Year with complimentary Champagne and canapes, and a singsong with locals and residents intermingling around the open log fires. The menu is a la carte and B&B is €45pps.

At the hip, luxurious G Hotel in Galway their two- night NYE package is from €300 pps. Here they know how to ease you gently into the New Year so you can relax while indulging in your fab, five-course a la carte dinner on New Year's Eve followed by an evening of dancing and entertainment, knowing that breakfast is available on New Year's Day up to 3pm!

At the Renvyle House Hotel, Co Galway, you can partake of the hospitality extended by Ronnie Counihan and his team to you and your family. The gala dinner here is followed by a live band and disco and there will be plenty of activities over the New Year's break. Rates from €160 per person sharing for 1DBB up to €399 pps for 3BB2D.

Up in Westport, Co Mayo, sister hotels the Westport Plaza and Castlecourt have a black-tie gala ball preceded by a Champagne reception. They promise a sumptuous five-course banquet followed by live music with La Bamba. 2BB & gala ball in the Castlecourt is from €195pps, and the Westport Plaza from €229pps.

Another exquisite place to wake up on New Year's Day is Castle Leslie Estate where you can relax by blazing fires or meander down ancient walks and bridleways. Their two night NYE break staying in The Lodge at Castle Leslie with dinner in Snaffles Restaurant on New Year's Eve is €300 pps. You each also get a 30-minute spa treatment.

Executive chef Nick Woollard has produced a tempting menu at the d Hotel's Gala Ball on New Year's Eve in Drogheda. The four-star Drogheda hotel has seen its original chef return with the opening of its brand new gastropub, Wm Cairnes, which features world whiskies and craft beers within the walls of a refurbished brewery. Gala ball tickets cost €59 per person and a gala ball ticket and overnight stay with breakfast is €119 pps. And, if you've left it late to buy that special New Year's Eve outfit, visit Scotch Hall shopping centre, now connected to the d Hotel complex.

It is important to note that for all of the hotel packages you need to make your dinner reservation at the time of booking – don't wait until you get there.

Festive wishes to all – and by this time next week you'll be glad you made that reservation for New Year's Eve!

Sunday Independent

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