Eight Great Christmas Hotel Breaks
We've got the pick of the seasonal specials...
Why not leave the cooking to someone else this year, and treat yourself to Christmas in a fabulous hotel? Here are eight packages that fit the bill...
Parknasilla Resort & Spa
Where: Sneem, Co. Kerry
Why: Surrounded by the Kerry mountains and the dazzling waters of Kenmare Bay, the beauty of Parknasilla Resort & Spa is a gift in itself. The festivities are in full force from Christmas Eve, when you'll indulge in mince pies and mulled wine with carol singers. Wake up on Christmas morning to an impressive view, or take in the vista from one of the outdoor hot tubs, to kick off the day in style. You'll be treated to an endless array of meals and festive treats, but will also have plenty of time to get out and explore. Pick up a map for a bracing walk, or try your hand at a spot of archery to clear out the cobwebs.
How: The two-night Christmas Package, from December 24-26, costs €545pps, with children costing €199pps. The three-night package is €645pps, with children costing €219pps.
See: 064 667 5600; parknasillaresort.com
Where: Connemara, Co. Galway
Why: If you're looking for a truly special Christmas getaway, it would be tough to beat the picturesque Ballynahinch Castle. This year marks the first time the hotel has opened for Christmas in 20 years, and they're celebrating with a wonderfully intimate festive package. Local carol singers will kick off proceedings on Christmas Eve, and you can look forward to nightcaps in front of the roaring fire. In between days of sumptuous feasts, afternoon teas and Christmas movies, wrap up warm for a stomp around the private 450-acre estate.
How: Christmas at Ballynahinch Castle costs from €795pps for three nights in a Classic room, including meals. Children can share with two adults in a Superior or Luxury room, from €245 per child.
See: 095 31006; ballynahinch-castle.com
Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa Sligo
Where: Rosses Point, Sligo
Why: Try as we might, Christmas is a time that revolves around food (and lots of it). But an afternoon walk is a lot more tempting when the beauty of Sligo Bay is right around the corner. After Christmas lunch at the Radisson Blu Sligo, you can nip up the road to Rosses Point for a long stroll on the sand, before heading back for a restorative swim in the hotel pool.
How: The two-night package is €299pps, with three nights costing €399pps.
See: 071 914 0008; radissonblu.ie/hotel-sligo
Where: Cork City, Co. Cork
Why: Christmas decorations are a serious business at Hayfield Manor, and not just for the public areas. As well as the sparkling lights and twisting wreaths adorning the 5* hotel, each room has its own Christmas tree, and a turndown gift each night. You'll arrive on Christmas Eve to an Afternoon Tea, before being serenaded by a local choir at the mulled wine reception.
How: Christmas packages start from €995pps, from December 24-27, including meals.
See: 021 484 5900; hayfieldmanor.ie
The K Club
Where: Straffan, Co. Kildare
Why: While there are plenty of places to take it easy at the stylish K Club, there's also a multitude of activities for those with a more restless disposition. Golfers, of course, are spoilt with two championship courses, and you can also go fly-fishing with the resident ghillee, or have a bash at falconry. Kids will be kept happy with family treasure hunts and a duck race on the River Liffey, and rumour has it Santa may pay an additional visit on Christmas morning. Then you can unwind by the open fire and explore the elegant drawing rooms.
How: The K Club has two- and three-night Christmas offers to choose from, starting from €775pps, including meals.
See: 01 601 7200; kclub.ie
Lough Eske Castle
Where: Donegal, Co. Donegal
Why: The grounds of Lough Eske are fiercely romantic and made for exploring. So it makes sense that they're utilised over Christmas, with outdoor activities organised on Stephen's Day. But the prime spot will be one of the leather sofas around a fireplace, curled up with a Martini.
How: The Christmas Festive Package costs from €699pps from December 23-27, including meals.
See: 074 972 5100; solishotels.com/lougheskecastle
Where: Ballyfarnon, Co. Roscommon
Why: If you find yourself wanting to sneak away come Christmas day, there are plenty of places to hide at Kilronan Castle. Head out and explore the rolling greens and forests that surround the castle, or take yourself away to the impeccable spa to unwind in the thermal suite, or indulge in a treatment.
How: The two-night Christmas package costs €358pps, including meals. The three-night luxury package includes a spa treatment, additional meals and a bottle of champagne in your room, for €609pps.
See: 071 961 8000; kilronancastle.ie
Sheen Falls Lodge
Where: Kenmare, Co. Kerry
Why: There's no better way to bring in Christmas day than with a chilled glass of champagne. And that's just what will await you in the luxurious Sheen Falls Lodge on the morning itself. After a champagne breakfast, you can amble through the grounds, unwrap your presents by the log fire, or be virtuous with a swim in the pool. Lunch is served in La Cascade, where the food is exemplary and panoramic windows overlook the Sheen Waterfalls.
How: The two-night package costs from €725pps, from December 24-26. Children sharing with their parents will be charged a nightly rate of €75 inclusive of breakfast.
See: 064 664 1600; sheenfallslodge.ie
NB: All prices subject to availability