Travel

Monday 10 December 2018

Top 10 Valentine's breaks: Ireland's best sweetheart deals for 2018!

Short breaks in Ireland

Screebe House, Galway
Screebe House, Galway
Barbican Gate Lodge, Co. Antrim
Hunters Yard, Mount Juliet
Dublin's Gibson Hotel: location for RTE's First Dates
The Conrad Hotel
Castle Durrow, Co. Laois
The Armada overlooks Spanish Point
Fitzwilliam Deluxe Premium balcony room (Dublin)
Screebe House, Co. Galway
Ballyvolane House in Co Cork

Nicola Brady

Looking for a sweetheart deal on a short break this V-Day? Nicola Brady has a romantic getaway for every type of lovebird...

Screebe House, Co Galway

Best for… A break from the kids

If you like the old-school country house vibe, then you’ll love Screebe House (above). With a location right on Connemara’s Camus Bay, this adults-only hotel is all about the open fires and candlelight. There’s also a fab spa, with a sauna and swimming pool — and if you’re feeling really brave, you can leap into the Atlantic from a pier right outside. Warm up afterwards with a snifter of their very own triple-distilled Irish whiskey.

Details: The one-night Valentine’s package includes breakfast, candlelit dinner, a glass of champagne and late check-out, from €260 per couple; screebe.com or irishcountryhotels.com.

Barbican, Co Antrim

Best for… Hiding away from the world

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Barbican Gate Lodge, Co. Antrim

If you’ve only got eyes for your lover, this is the break for you. Barbican — a gorgeous miniature castle perched just over a rambling stone bridge — only sleeps two, so you won’t have to cross paths with any other couples during your stay. It’s the perfect romantic hideaway in which to live out your fairytale fantasies (it’s even got a stone turret staircase, for crying out loud). You’ll find it on the Irish Landmark Trust website, which has other similarly gorgeous spots on its books.

Details: Two nights from February 13 from £262 (€297), or £286 (€325) from Friday, February 16; irishlandmark.com.

Conrad Dublin

Best for… Big spenders

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The Conrad Hotel

Do you have €10k to spare? If so, splash the cash on an ‘Over-The-Top Valentine’s Experience’ at the Conrad Dublin. From a mere €5,000 per person, you’ll get three nights in the presidential suite, a personal concierge, a bottle of Dom Pérignon served in Waterford Champagne flutes (yours to keep), a helicopter tour of the city, your own personal photographer and, oddly, a poem written for you by the in-house poet. Let’s face it — there’s more than a hint of gimmickry here. But this newly-refurbished hotel is one of the top five-stars in the city, and The Coburg restaurant is top notch. Don’t worry, there’s a more realistic package (below) for us mere mortals, too…

Details: The Romance Package includes breakfast and a Valentine’s dinner, from €380 per couple; conraddublin.com

More: First Look: Inside the Conrad Dublin’s €13 million makeover

Hunter’s Yard, Co Kilkenny

Best for… Country lovers

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Hunters Yard, Mount Juliet

A brand new offering on the grounds of Mount Juliet, Hunter’s Yard is home to spacious, chic and light-filled rooms just five minutes from the gorgeous Manor House itself. With a premier golf course on the grounds, a fabulous spa and swimming pool, and archery and falconry on offer, this is perfect for the couple that doesn’t like to sit still.

Details: A two-night break over Valentine’s weekend costs from €539 per couple, including breakfast, dinner in The Hound on one night, and a cocktail on arrival; mountjuliet.ie.

Ballyvolane House, Co Cork

Best for… Social butterflies

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Ballyvolane House in Co Cork
 

Are you one of those couples with a knack for making friends while you’re away? Then Justin and Jenny Green’s Ballyvolane House (above) will suit you down to the ground. Dinners here are generally held around a communal table, so you’ll be chatting away to other guests as you dine. The house itself is a beaut, with open log fires, antique furniture and plenty of spots in which to cosy up. Some of the rooms have dreamy roll-top baths, too.

Details: A one-night romantic weekend escape includes breakfast, four-course dinner and half-bottle of champagne from €370 per couple; ballyvolanehouse.ie

Fitzwilliam Hotel, Dublin

Best for… Urban foodies

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Fitzwilliam Deluxe Premium balcony room (Dublin)

Feel like channelling a bit of Hollywood glam? The five-star Fitzwilliam was the hotel of choice for Beyoncé and Jay-Z when they visited Dublin, and is now home to a shiny new restaurant, Glovers Alley. All millennial pink and forest green, this swish spot has Michelin-starred chef Andy McFadden at the helm and, scheduled to open this weekend, is fresh out of the packet. If you want to garner some bragging rights, this is the place to do it.

Details: The one-night Valentine’s break includes breakfast and dinner in Glovers Alley, from €399 per couple; fitzwilliamhoteldublin.com.

Armada Hotel, Co Clare

Best for… Lovebirds on a budget

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The Armada overlooks Spanish Point
 

Nothing beats a mini-break by the sea. And there’s something oh-so romantic about the Wild Atlantic Way in winter — getting blown away by the sea air, returning rosy-cheeked to the hotel ready to warm the cockles (so to say). The Armada overlooks Spanish Point, so there’s no shortage of bracing seaside walks to tempt you away from the fireplace. And their Valentine’s break is quite the bargain, too…

Details: The one-night break includes breakfast, dinner, from €149 per couple midweek; armadahotel.com or irishcountryhotels.com.

Castle Durrow, Co Laois

Best for…  A step back in time

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Castle Durrow, Co. Laois

Many hotel rooms have an identikit modern style, but not Castle Durrow. Here, get ready to be wowed by rooms with a traditional aesthetic, individually decorated with an elegant, olde worlde vibe. Think decorative, chinoiserie wallpaper, four-poster beds and antique writing desks. There’s also a treatment room, and you can avail of a 30pc discount on treatments with this Valentine’s offer. 

Details: The one-night break includes breakfast, bubbles and five-course tasting dinner from €240 per couple; irelands-blue-book.ie or castledurrow.com.

Clayton Hotel, Cork City

Best for…  A city getaway

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Clayton Hotel (bar), Cork

Valentine’s breaks needn’t mean country house hotels. Sometimes you just fancy a spot of city living, and this break in the heart of Cork City fits the bill nicely. Spend the day perusing the English Market, hitting the shops and maybe sneaking a pint in, before heading back to the Clayton for dinner and a romantic night in...

Details: The package includes one night’s B&B, dinner and a glass of Prosecco from €99pp; claytonhotelcorkcity.com.

The Gibson Hotel, Dublin

Best for… First dates

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Dublin's Gibson Hotel: location for RTE's First Dates

You’d be pretty damn brave to have a first date on Valentine’s Day. But paying homage to the TV show, First Dates? That’s a little easier. The restaurant at The Gibson Hotel is the location for the RTÉ series, and you can book dinner at the very same spot (€35pp for two courses). If you want to make a night of it, there’s also a First Dates overnight package…

Details: First Dates package includes breakfast, three-course dinner and a ‘Love Potion’ cocktail each, from €236 per couple; thegibsonhotel.ie.

NB: Prices correct going to press, but subject to change/availability.

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