Lucinda O'Sullivan: 17 Christmas hotel breaks to spoil yourself this season
Ireland has a fantastic selection of seasonal breaks and festive events to enjoy, says Lucinda O'Sullivan.
If you're lucky enough to be thinking of sitting back with a glass of bubbles and letting someone else 'stuff the turkey's hole with holly' this Christmas, there are lots of fabulous breaks in hotels around the country where you can do just that.
As for me, every October I drop hints that put the 'b' in subtle, but the three men in my house are not for turning. However, let not the thought of your humble food critic toiling over the stove spoil your day.
Instead, check out my instant guide to some of the best seasonal breaks.
You can stay in luxury in the heart of Dublin city at the Shelbourne Hotel where they have a one-night B&B Christmas package on December 24 to 26 from €325pps, to include Christmas lunch or dinner. Stay two nights from €455pps. See theshelbourne.ie.
The historic Wynn's Hotel on Abbey Street has had a €15m refurbishment and has a two-to three-night Christmas package from €299 to €359pps. Close to theatres and shops, transport is provided to the Pro-Cathedral for Mass on Christmas morning. See wynnshotel.ie.
Out at Fitzpatrick's Castle in Killiney, they have a two-night package, which includes dinner on Christmas Eve and lunch on Christmas Day at €395pps or €455 for single occupancy. See fitzpatrickcastle.com.
If you can't get away for Christmas itself, the RadissonBlu St Helen's on the Stillorgan Road has great post-Christmas horse racing breaks from €99pps for overnight packages and race day entrance tickets to the nearby Leopardstown Racecourse. See radissonblu.ie/sthelenshotel-dublin.
Overlooking the water in Wexford, the fantastic Ferrycarrig Hotel pulls out all the stops to make your Christmas perfect. It has two- to three-night all-inclusive packages from €349 to €499pps. Children aged one to three have free accommodation, four-to eight-year-olds stay from €195 on the three-day package. See ferrycarrighotel.ie.
In Kilkenny, at the glorious Mount Juliet Estate in Thomastown, you can enjoy two to three nights B&B, with Christmas Day lunch for the family in Kendal's restaurant and an informal buffet on Christmas night from €595 to €820pps. It also has a one-night B&B Santa Village Experience package from €215 per room for two adults - supplement per child, €25. See mountjuliet.ie.
In Kilkenny city, Hotel Kilkenny has great value on one-, two- and three-night Christmas packages from €115 to €435pps depending on date. Single supplement is €30 per night and children aged four-to 12 stay from €65 per child per day. See hotelkilkenny.ie.
In Tipperary at the Horse & Jockey Hotel, where they have an amazing bakery with in-house pastry chef Jacqueline Lanigan Ryan at the helm, their Christmas bakery night and workshop takes place on Thursday next, December 3. See horseandjockeyhotel.com.
Down at the totally picturesque Waterford Castle, they are expecting Santa Claus to join them on December 6 from 1-5pm for a family day of fun activities. They also have special offers for their family- friendly lodges (which sleep six) from €109 per night. See waterfordcastleresort.com.
In East Cork, at the Castlemartyr Resort, they have a two-night Christmas package, including a cocktail reception and dinner on Christmas Eve, champagne breakfast on Christmas morning, Christmas dinner, after- dinner entertainment and an evening buffet supper, from €710 per night for two people sharing. See castlemartyrresort.ie.
Wish… at Fota Island Resort is an extravaganza for the family involving Santa, Rudolph, the elves and a cute little train. Midweek family packages for 2+2 run from €285 for a family room or from €475 for a two-night stay in a lodge. Tickets for Wish only cost €13/€15 per adult and €20/€24 per child, with children under the age of one free. See fotawish.ie.
Down in Kinsale, the Carlton Hotel & C Spa, have two- and three-night B&B packages over Christmas from €150 to €202.50pps. Alternatively, three-bedroom lodges (which sleep up to six), room-only, start at €300. Christmas Day lunch will be served at €80 per adult, €40 per child (six to 12 years) and children under six dine for free. See carltonkinsalehotel.com.
The Blue Haven Hotel in the centre of Kinsale is a hub of Christmas fun with one-night B&B breaks from €55pps and B&B plus dinner from €80pps. It has an indoor Christmas market next Thursday, 'Breakfast with Santa' on December 6 and 13, and a Christmas Eve welcome home party with food served until 6pm and live music from 8.30pm. See bluehavenkinsale.com.
Over in the Kingdom, The Malton Hotel in Killarney, has two- to five-day Christmas packages from €549pps, kicking off with a pre-drinks reception followed by Christmas Eve dinner in the magnificent Victorian Garden Room. Christmas Day has a surprise visit from Santa and a buffet dinner on Christmas night. See themalton.com.
The splendid five-star Glenlo Abbey Hotel, just outside Galway city, has the perfect ambience for a country house Christmas. With two- and three-night packages from €565 to €725pps, you can stroll the estate or practise your swing with golf professional Gary Madden.
Follow up with pre-dinner canapés and a mulled wine reception in the Ffrench Room, with its open log fires and resident pianist. With lots of good food, festive movies in the Blake Screening Suite, a visit from Santa Claus, a treasure hunt and a quiz, it's bound to be a great Christmas there. See glenloabbeyhotel.ie.
Out in Connemara, at the amazing Renvyle House Hotel and Resort, three-day Christmas breaks from December 24-27 start from €635pps. No single supplement applies. In between Christmas and New Year, they have one-night B&B plus dinner packages from €129pps. See renvyle.com.
Overlooking Lough Eske in Donegal, with views of the Bluestack Mountains, you can have a fabulous Christmas at Harvey's Point, in a palatial suite, from €749pps for three nights' B&B, including dinner on two evenings, Christmas Day lunch and supper, and lots of entertainment and fun. Single occupancy is €1,095. See harveyspoint.ie.
NB: Please note that unless otherwise stated, '2+2' refers to two adults and two children under 12 years old sharing a family room.
NB: All prices subject to availability.