Rekindle that loving feeling
With winter settling in, it’s a perfect time to snuggle up in front of a log fire and reacquaint yourself with the one you love. Whether it’s a short stay in a luxury hotel, a break in an Irish Landmark Trust building, or an opportunity to revive in a spa destination, Ireland offers a wealth of choice for romantics everywhere.
Hunter’s Hotel, Wicklow
The former coach inn dates back to the 18th century and is set on two acres of manicured gardens next to the River Vartry. Family-run and famed for the warmth of its welcome, you won’t want to leave its inviting lounge with fireplace and piano. But if the mood takes you to explore this idyllic part of Wicklow, one of the most spectacular and romantic gardens in Ireland - at Mount Usher - is just a 20-minute walk away.
Castle House Hotel, Galway
One of Connemara’s most elegant properties is located on the sweep of Cashel Bay and with the arresting Cashel Hill rising behind it. Its 50-acre grounds offer plenty of opportunities for gentle walks before afternoon tea while those after more lively pursuits can enjoy horse-riding and lake-fishing. The gorgeous environs of Kylemore Abbey and with its newly reopened old mountain trails and Victorian walled garden is just a short drive away.
Anne’s Grove Miniature Castle, Cork
Dating from 1853, this gate lodge for Annesgrove House and Gardens, was designed to resemble a small version of the main house. Loved-up couples can feel like king and queen for a weekend in this off-the-beaten track part of north Cork. Sensitively restored and featuring modern touches alongside its time-worn charm, there’s a wood-burning stove in its fine old fireplace and you’re welcome to bring your dog too.
The Marker, Dublin
The capital’s newest five-star hotel is an eye-catching design masterpiece in the architecturally striking Grand Canal Square. Although ultra-modern in every detail, the old-world comfort of a fireplace has not been forgotten and it takes pride of place in the striking lobby. Romantics should catch Swan Lake at the adjacent Bord Gáis Energy Theatre and then head to the roof-top bar for magnificent views over the southside of the city.
Termon House, Donegal
Located in the heart of the Gaeltacht, this 18th century land agent’s house offers a romantic sanctuary for those couples looking to get away from it all. Brass beds, wooden floors and period detail evoke a different time and place while the views over the rolling hillsides of Maghrey and the open waters of the Atlantic will revive spirits. A roaring fire is the reward after a long hike on the beach together.
Monart Spa, Wexford
The adult-only hotel near Enniscorthy is a haven for couples keen to unwind together. Its spa is internationally acclaimed thanks to its inventive range of amenities and treatments. Few can resist the lure of the Swedish sauna - set in a log cabin outside the hotel - or its thermal suites. Guests are encouraged to swap clothes for bathrobes although you will want to dress-up for dinner, with food options that lean heavily on the healthy side.
Castle Leslie Estate, Monaghan
The pressures of the outside world are left behind as soon as you enter this 1,000 acre estate. There are no televisions, radios, wi-fi or any other distractions in the castle bedrooms. Instead, guests are encouraged to relax in the stunning drawing room with its grand piano and ornate fireplace. Private cinema screenings are a full-size snooker table are among the attractions which mark the family-owned hotel out from the norm.
Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin
One of Ireland’s best known hotels and with good reason - history echoes in its corridors. Its setting on St Stephen’s Green has wooed romantics for decades and its elaborate afternoon tea ceremony in the elegant Lord Mayor’s Lounge is justly famous. Grafton Street is less than five minutes away, but the hotel’s spa on three floors might ensure you won’t leave the Shelbourne during your stay.
The Mustard Seed, Limerick
As its name suggests, this boutique hotel takes its culinary offerings very seriously indeed and its eight-course tasting menu has won several awards. Located just 10 minutes by car from the pretty village of Adare, the Mustard Seed arranges classic hire care at certain times of the year, ideal for those keen to incorporate a vintage Porsche into a romantic weekend away.
Faithlegg House Hotel, Waterford
If a round of golf together sounds like a your idea of romance, then you’ve come to the right place. This Downton-esque mansion 9km east of Waterford city has its own 72-hole championship course. Those keen for a more sedate and pleasurable pursuit can enjoy the hotel’s Estuary Spa with its organic facial treatments. The nearby Copper Coast Geopark, a UNESCO-recognised site, offers a series of breathtaking walks.
For more ideas on romantic fireside breaks, see www.discoverireland.ie #thisisLIVING