Winter Happenings & City Break Escapes
Winter is not just about hibernating and counting down the days to the Christmas holidays. Our cities are bustling, and are just waiting to be discovered.
Taking a city break can be just the tonic you need this time of year. On a whistle-stop tour? We’ve honed in on some fresh ideas for your next city break. Find lots more city break ideas at www.discoverireland.ie
Take in the peaceful environs of the Grand Canal with a romantic meal on La Peniche, the city’s permanent barge restaurant. Afterwards, work off desert by hiring a Dublin Bike nearby and cycle to Grand Canal Square where Dublin’s boldest new architecture is stunningly lit at night. Finish with a night cap in HQ, and enjoy a window seat view of this thriving urban quarter.
Pay a visit to Ringsend, one of Dublin’s oldest districts, and have a bite to eat at Artisan Parlour, a cafe that prides itself on its ability to source local ingredients. Afterwards, take a 10-minute stroll to Shelbourne Park - of the city’s two greyhound racing tracks - and pit your wits against the bookies. Finish the evening with a pint at the cosy Oarsman pub, just over the bridge at the River Dodder.
Corkonians are justly proud of the food heritage of their city. Explore the culinary fare of Leeside with Fab Food Tours, which calls at some of the best cheesemongers and artisanal crafts suppliers in the city. The famed English Market is the centre piece of the itinerary and is nothing short of a food lovers’ paradise. Come back the next day for a leisurely meal at the Farmgate Cafe in the market.
Enjoy the unique experience of rising the celebrated 18th century bells at St Anne’s Church, Shandon. See the intricate workings of the famous clocks, the so-called Four-Faced Liar, and savour the unrivalled 360-degree view of the city from its striking hillside setting. Afterwards, take a 20-minute walk to the tranquil Fitzgerald Park and have a coffee in the Riverside Cafe there.
Take a walking tour of Galway’s medieval treasures, including City Walls and Lynch’s Castle. Sate your appetite with a meal in the acclaimed Ard Bia at Nimmos restaurant, located next to the Spanish Arch, the city’s most emblematic building. Afterwards, enjoy a trad music session in Monroe’s Tavern, a buzzing pub noted for both the quality of its pints and music.
Let your cares fade away at the luxurious spa at the g hotel and experience its vitality pool and thermal suite. Its Pure Indulgence treatment - a facial followed by hot stone massage - brings relaxation to new levels, ideal for those staying in the hotel or for those just stopping by to savour its decadent afternoon tea and pink champagne.
Visit the city’s Milk Market on Mungret Street and sample some of the very best foods Ireland has to offer, including West Cork fish, spelt bread and local handmade chocolates. Those on a budget can enjoy lunch at the outdoor market - which is partly covered by canopies - for just €5 on Fridays.
Explore the Tudor-style Leamy House on Hartstonge Street, which houses the Frank McCourt Museum, featuring memorabilia from the 1930s and ‘40s. It’s the perfect place to experience the late writer’s celebrated account of his Limerick childhood, Angela’s Ashes - 20-odd years after it became a publishing sensation. This building holds a special place in the writer’s life - he went to school here. Squeeze in a sumptuous afternoon team in No. 1 Pery Square before you leave.
Waterford Treasures - three museums in the Viking Triangle - have helped transform the cultural offerings of Ireland’s oldest city. Seasoned museum lovers can comfortably fit all three into a day’s itinerary, but if you’ve time for just one, make it the Treasures of Viking Waterford in the imposing stone fortress of Reginald’s Tower, which documents the city’s long ago past as a viking settlement.
No visit to Waterford city from November 20 is complete without a stop-off at Winterval, the city’s captivating seasonal festival, which has become one of the country’s top festive destinations. With its Christmas markets, crafts fairs and street theatre, there’s something to love for all the family.
Visit Kilkenny Design Centre, the Marble City’s one-stop shop for great Irish craftsmanship, such as Foxford scarves, Cushendale baby blankets and Bunburry chopping boards. Its inviting cafe offers a perfect pitstop for a soup and sandwich and it’s transformed at weekend nights into the award-winning Anocht: think exquisite cooking and marvellous views of Kilkenny Castle across the street.
And speaking of the city’s storied castle, its beautifully manicured park offer three routes for walkers. The pathways, mapped out in association with Waterford Orienteers, are available to download from the Kilkenny Castle website and whether your walk is short, medium or long you will get to enjoy the abundant flora and fauna there.
For more great city breaks ideas, see www.discoverireland.ie #thisisLIVING