Travel Insider: Forget Christmas - 'Twixmas' offers the best hotel deals of the season
Ireland's Travel Journalist of the Year advises you to snap up some tasty travel deals between Christmas and New Year.
Did you know Twixmas is a thing?
And no, it's got nothing to do with a certain twin-fingered chocolate biscuit bar. Twixmas is a makey-uppy term for the time between Stephen's Day and New Year's Eve, a niche that throws up some surprisingly tasty travel deals.
Take Sheen Falls Lodge (sheenfallslodge.ie). Overlooking the snow-capped Kerry Mountains outside Kenmare, it has two-night Christmas packages from €840pp, including slap-up meals and entertainment. But the real savings come at Twixmas, with a '3-for-2' getaway offering two nights and two dinners from €395pp.
The Malton in Killarney (themalton.com) has one-night Twixmas breaks including dinner from €115pp; Trident Holiday Homes (tridentholidayhomes.ie) has 20pc off weekly rates from December 29, while Limerick Strand Hotel (strandlimerick.ie) has B&B and a family ticket to Sleeping Beauty from just €88.50 per adult (kids go free).
For many of us, of course, travelling to spend time with family is a break. But spare a thought for the hosts. Couldn't Twixmas offer parents and grandparents a well-deserved dose of downtime too?
Sure, it's gimmicky. But who cares when the customer benefits?
Twixmas is a sweet spot - a time when people have time off, families are often still together, nobody wants to cook, and prices have dropped considerably from Christmas peaks. It's also crammed with holiday sales and horse races, pantos and inter-provincial rugby clashes... the perfect excuse for a seasonal break.
Dublin's Merrion Hotel (merrionhotel.com) has 'Yuletide Twixmas' rates from €200pp, with two top-level tickets for the Leopardstown Races thrown in.
Post-Christmas pampering getaways, available from December 26 to February 27, include a treatment at the Tethra Spa from €215pp.
Meanwhile in Cork, Hayfield Manor (hayfieldmanor.ie, pictured) - celebrating 20 years in 2016 - has two nights' B&B with one dinner and an activity (choices include afternoon tea, ice-skating or lunch at the Farm Gate Café) from €328pp, starting December 27.
Fitzpatrick's Castle (fitzpatrickcastle.com) has a Christmas racing package bundling B&B with tickets and transfers to the Leopardstown Races from €105pp.
Galway's four-star Connemara Coast Hotel (connemaracoasthotel.ie) has a three-night Twixmas special priced from €199pp. It includes B&B with two table d'hôte meals, and a family version is available from €649.
Finally, Dunboyne Castle Hotel (dunboynecastlehotel.com) has B&B plus dinner from €90pp over the Twixmas period.
NB: All prices subject to availability.