St Valentine’s Day love nests – the 10 best breaks in Ireland for 2023
We’ve found some of the most romantic places this February 14, for all budgets and hearts’ desires
As Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday, it’s the perfect opportunity to sneak off and avail of a cheeky midweek romantic break with your other half. If leaving behind the kids or taking time off work during the week isn’t doable, we have you covered in our guide to romantic places to stay on February 14 or on the days surrounding it.
1 Have a rare old time in Dublin
Stay: Book overnight and enjoy an afternoon at Velvære spa at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel in Dublin. You’ll have an hour-long facial, a 30-minute head and arm massage, access to the thermal area and a glass of bubbly in the relaxation area. The ‘Date Night in Dublin’ experience starts from €620 per couple, including breakfast, and can be booked by contacting the hotel directly on 01 898 2900.
Do: The hotel is around the corner from Whitefriar Street Church, where you’ll be able to visit a shrine containing the remains of St Valentine himself. After that, take a stroll down Love Lane in Temple Bar and admire the romantic artworks, film quotes and words by playwrights and authors.
2 Be loved-up in Limerick
Stay: The four-star Absolute Hotel’s couple’s package includes a glass of prosecco on arrival, a candlelit four-course evening meal in Harry’s on the River and a late checkout at 1pm. ‘The Perfect Date’ is available from €186 per couple from February 12-14, including breakfast. absolutehotel.com
Do: The hotel is minutes away from the city centre by foot. Take the self-guided walking Limerick Street Art Trail to check out large-scale murals by artists like Maser. Enjoy music and have coffee and crêpes at the Limerick Milk Market (open Friday to Sunday), or try on historic costumes at the 13th-century King John’s Castle.
3 Starry-eyed in Cork
Stay: The five-star Fota Island Resort is offering an overnight stay with breakfast, a glass of prosecco and a ‘Drop of the Celtic Sea’ couples cleansing ritual, warm spiced mud bath and WaveStone back massage. The ‘No Ordinary Love’ package is available from February 10-20 and starts from €409 per couple. fotaisland.ie
Do: Naturally, a trip to see the animals at Fota Wildlife Park will be high on the agenda. Fota is located 10 minutes from Cork city centre, and Cork City Gaol and Blackrock Castle Observatory are well worth a visit. Star-crossed lovers will enjoy the live astronomy show at the 16th-century castle.
4 Live like kings in Kerry
Stay: You’ll be greeted with a bottle of prosecco and chocolate-covered strawberries on arrival for your two-night stay at the four-star Killarney Avenue Hotel. There’s a four-course evening meal on one evening, plus breakfast each morning and an extra-long lie-in with a late check-out of 1pm on the day of departure. ‘Made for Two’ is available from February 9-16 and costs from €390 per couple. killarneyavenue.com
Do: Killarney National Park is located just across the road from the hotel, and you can visit the beautiful Muckross House and have coffee at its café. The town’s main street is within a short walking distance of the hotel.
5 Feelings won’t ‘Wayne’ in Mayo
Stay: Head to the five-star Ashford Castle in Cong, where a bottle of house champers and a dozen red roses will be in your room on arrival. You’ll have a candlelit five-course dinner in the George V Dining Room and breakfast the next morning. The ‘Valentine’s Package’ is available from February 10-19, from €760 per couple.
For those who won’t put a price on love, ‘Ashford’s Lakeshore Romance Package’ costs a rather steeper €5,750. It includes a two-night stay in the Hideaway Cottage, Champagne, a private cinema viewing of a classic romantic movie and a one-hour archery lesson. On one evening, there’ll be a wine tasting in the castle’s wine cellar followed by a five-course dinner. ashfordcastle.com
Do: Stroll to the 13th century Cong Abbey, located a couple of km from the castle. As John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara’s 1952 Oscar-winning movie, The Quiet Man, was filmed in Cong, a visit to the Quiet Man Museum is a must for enthusiasts.
6 Get steamy in Antrim
Stay: You’ll get a bottle of prosecco on arrival at the four-star Dunadry House and Gardens, a three-course meal at the Mill Race Restaurant and breakfast the next morning. You’ll have access to its health and fitness club including the heated indoor pool and thermal areas, hot tub, steam room and sauna. ‘Love is in the Air’ is available from February 10-14 and costs from €284 per couple.dunadry.com
Do: Cross the famous Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge or explore the Giant’s Causeway – which is particularly magical at sunset. If you’re up for a walking challenge, The Gobbins Cliff Path should fit the bill. The hotel is also a 20-minute drive from Belfast.
7 Love’s in style in Kildare
Stay: The four-star Lawlor’s of Naas will give guests a glass of prosecco on arrival and a complimentary room upgrade on February 14. You also get a three-course dinner at Vi’s Restaurant and breakfast the following morning. The ‘Valentine’s Date Night’ starts from €289 per couple. lawlors.ie
Do: A trip to the Museum of Style Icons at Newbridge Silverware is particularly lovely. The free-to-visit museum contains outfits worn by stars like Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Princess Grace, Princess Diana and the Beatles. Take a romantic stroll through the fabulous Japanese Gardens at the Irish National Stud and Gardens, or kit yourself out at the designer outlet centre, Kildare Village.
8 Wax lyrical in Cavan
Stay: You’ll find chocolate-dipped strawberries and macarons in your room at Cabra Castle. A sparkling cocktail infused with chocolate cherries will add fizz to the four-course dinner that evening. The ‘Valentine’s Package’ is available on February 11 or 14 from €318 per couple, including breakfast.
There is also a two-night ‘Romantic February’ package available all month, where you’ll receive a bottle of wine and chocolate-dipped strawberries on arrival, one afternoon tea and breakfast each morning from €428 per couple. cabracastle.com
Do: The castle is set on 100 acres of parkland and gardens and is beside Dún a Rí Forest Park. You could also visit the Patrick Kavanagh Centre 20 minutes away, which celebrates the life and works of one of Ireland’s greatest poets.
9 Cycle into the sunset in Waterford
Stay: The Faithlegg resort in Waterford is offering couples a glass of bubbly on arrival at the 18th-century manor house. You get a four-course dinner at the Roseville Rooms restaurant, Butlers Chocolates in your room and breakfast the following morning. The ‘Valentine’s Break’ is available from February 10-19 from €240 per couple. faithlegg.com
Do: Faithlegg has a golf course and is surrounded by woodland, and walkers and cyclists might like to tackle the Waterford Greenway trail. The Passage East car ferry is five minutes away from the hotel, bringing you to Hook Peninsula, home of the Hook Lighthouse.
10 A recipe for romance in Galway
Stay: Couples staying at the Abbeyglen Castle Hotel in Connemara get one spa treatment each – an Elemis facial or deep tissue back massage – and a five-course meal each evening. There’s a complimentary glass of prosecco beside the fire at 6.30pm each evening with a short informal talk on the history of Abbeyglen and the local area. A two-night ‘Couples Therapy’ stay with breakfast costs from €646 per couple and runs year-round. abbeyglen.ie
Do: Visit Kylemore Abbey & Gardens to see its Gothic church, Victorian walled gardens, craft shop, pottery studio, restaurant and tea rooms. Those interested in farming could take a guided tour of Dan O’ Hara’s Homestead, a heritage centre offering demonstrations of traditional activities such as turf cutting and soda bread-making on the open fire.