* Start planning your costume now for the Carnavale di Venezia. Five days of masked fun, from January 31st, with flights, hotels and transfers from €829pps. See, tel: 021-4976293

* Work up an appetite in the autumn air of the Burren on a two-night midweek break at Gregan’s Castle in Ballyvaughan, and an eight-course tasting dinner from chef David Hurley from €239pps, tel: 065-707 7005,

* The young fun crowd will be skiing with Contiki in Austria this season, with a week in the Ski Welt region, January 5th, from €870, no single supplement. Tel: 01-775 3805 and

* The Belfast Festival at Queens is 50 this year and has an amazing variety of events, from a dinner concert with Van Morrison to Polyphony and Buena Vista Social Club. See Book stays in the Europa Hotel from £81 (about €102) per night or two nights BB and one dinner from £215 (about €270) for two. See

* Grab a European break before the Christmas markets rush with ebookers.ieand Berlin will cost from €192pps, Paris from €251pps and Rome from €271pps, including flights and accommodation

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