Love is in the Eyre - and everywhere you look
Leap Year love is in the air this Valentine's Day, says Lucinda O'Sullivan, so why not treat your better half to a luxurious leap?
If you don't want to be caught with your pants down on Valentine's Day, now is the time to get organised. As it falls on a Sunday, why not make a weekend break of it and, to make it easy for you, here's my ultimate snappy guide to the best Valentine's Breaks. Book early, or you'll miss the best deals.
Fancy waking up on Valentine's Day in the heart of Dublin's urban cool Docklands? You can do so at the Gibson Hotel having had an overnight stay and dinner for two from €259. thegibsonhotel.ie. Alternatively, how about looking down at Dublin Bay from Fitzpatrick's Castle Hotel in Killiney, where you can have 1BB1D with wine and chocolates in-room on arrival from €115pps, fitzpatrickcastle.com. Trim Castle Hotel in Co Meath has a Valentine's Night package of 1BB with a romantic five-course dinner in Jules Restaurant from €130 per couple, trimcastlehotel.com. Meanwhile, at the amazing Castle Leslie in Co Monaghan, it has a Roses & Romance 1/2 night break with a candlelit dinner in its Snaffles restaurant, a glass of bubbly, choccies and a red rose. 1/2 nights from €160/€225pps staying at The Lodge and €175/€239pps at The Castle, castleleslie.com.
In Kilkenny, the Lyrath Hotel has 1/2 night breaks from €120pps to include a special Valentine's dinner menu on one evening in La Perla restaurant, lyrath.com. Hotel Kilkenny also has a 1BBD package from €119pps to include a 60-minute 'Couples' Full Body Massage' at the Orchard Day Spa, hotelkilkenny.ie. Escape to the amazing adults-only five-Star Monart Destination Spa on 100 acres of lush countryside in Enniscorthy; it has a luxurious 1BBD Valentine's break from €185pps, monart.ie. Skipping over to the Faithlegg House Hotel in Co Waterford, you can have 2BB and one dinner prepared by chef Jenny Flynn in the Roseville Rooms from €175pps, faithlegg.com.
In the Rebel County, at the splendiferous Castlemartyr Resort, you can have 1BB and a five-course meal for two in its Bell Tower Restaurant at €340 over the Valentine's weekend, Castlemartyrresort.ie.
Hayfield Manor in Cork has a five-Star Valentine One Night Break from €145pps to include a romantic dinner in either Orchids Restaurant or its Perrotts Garden Bistro, hayfieldmanor.ie. Nearby at the fantastic River Lee Hotel, voted No. 5 in Ireland on TripAdvisors Travellers' Choice, they have a two-night Romantic Valentine's Weekend break from €185pps with a five-course dinner on one evening, a bottle of wine and choccies, doylecollection.com.
Who doesn't love Kinsale? The Blue Haven Hotel and its sister establishment the Old Bank Townhouse have Valentine's packages starting from €112.50pps to include 2BB and one evening meal to the value of €25pps in any of their four eateries - Aperitif Wine & Tapas Bar, their new Seafood Café, Hamlet's Gastro Bar or their Blue Haven Bar & Bistro, bluehavenkinsale.com.
In Killarney, The Malton has a 2BB1D package from €189pps, themalton.com, while the Muckross Park Hotel has a special romantic overnight stay on Valentine's Eve, the 13th, with a six-course dinner, and access to its amazing spa from €175pps, muckrosspark.com. The superb Aghadoe Heights has a 2BB1D L is for Love package in lake-side rooms from €275pps to include bubbly and chocs, and a memorable dinner in its Lake Room Restaurant, aghadoeheights.com. Down in Dingle at Castlewood House, voted yet again TripAdvisor No. 1 Best Small Hotel plus Best Bargain Hotel in Ireland, they have a midweek offer from the 14th onwards of 2BB at €95pps with a glass of Buck's Fizz on arrival and romantic surprises, castlewooddingle.com.
At the Limerick Strand, the Curl Up and Cuddle package from €125pps on Saturday, February 13th gives you 1BB with bubbles, dinner created by the talented chef Tom Flavin in its Rosette River Restaurant and a late checkout, strandlimerick.ie. Out in Ennis, The Old Ground Hotel has a great 2BB romantic break from €135pps to include a candlelit dinner in its O'Regan Room restaurant. With in-room choccies, breakfast in bed and a late checkout, flynnhotels.com.
At the brilliant Inch House in Thurles, home to Nora Egan's famous Inch House black pudding, from €200 per couple you can have 1BBD with a glass of Prosecco aperitif over Valentine's weekend and during the mid-term break, inchhouse.ie. Also in Tipperary, at the sublime lakeshore spa, Coolbawn Quay, their Romantic Package runs from €159/€209 in a Village Room or Village Suite to include 2BB and a candlelit dinner with a bubbly aperitif, coolbawnquay.com.
Standing proud over Eyre Square, the historic Hotel Meyrick has a Romantic Rendezvous package from €99pps applicable on Friday 12 or Sunday 14 February to include dinner in No. 15 Restaurant on the Square followed by a Rossini cocktail in the Gaslight Bar & Brasserie. It also has a Love is in the Eyre 2-night package in a luxurious suite over the weekend from €194pps with dinner for two in No. 15 on the night of your choice, hotelmeyrick.ie. Also in Galway, at the Menlo Park, you can have 2BB, including a bottle of Prosecco, chocolates in room and a late check out from €109pps, menloparkhotel.com. In magical Connemara, at the fabulous Ballinalacken Castle, you can indulge in a 2-night romantic break in a riverside room with a four-poster bed from €270pps.
The package includes dinner on one night in the Owenmore Restaurant, breakfast in bed and Champagne and chocolates on arrival, ballynahinch-castle.com.
At the foot of the Blue Stack Mountains, on the edge of Lough Eske, and voted TripAdvisor's Travellers' Choice No 1 Hotel in Ireland, is Harvey's Point. Here you can have one night in a palatial suite and four-course dinner in its Lakeside Restaurant, on the 12th/13th from €169pps and from €149pps on the 14th, harveyspoint.com.
Don't forget guys, it's a Leap Year and you might get lucky, lucky, lucky...