Loved up? Get a room
The view from the bedroom at Batty Langley Lodge
The view at Harvey's Point
The Eagle's Nest at Castle Leslie Estate
The Red Suite at Belle Isle Castle
Forget your dozen red roses: these 12 bedrooms are some of the island's most romantic, perfect for your Valentine's getaway, writes SANDRA O'CONNELL
Romancing the stone
If you’re a person of a certain age, you’ll enjoy the pun with which Gregan’s Castle, in Co Clare, is promoting short breaks, given that the hotel is located amid the stunning Burren (that’ll be the stones). Two-night romance packages here start at €295 per person sharing, for which you take away a gorgeous Cloon Keen scented candle to rekindle the experience when you get home. The Martyn Suite is the most romantic room in the house, with a four-poster bed and a private rose garden. I kid you not. What do you mean who is Kathleen Turner?
Gregans Castle, Ballyvaughan, Co Clare; gregans.ie, tel: 065 7077005.
Scent of a woman
The Red Suite at Belle Isle in Fermanagh has a dressing room with a sleigh bed once owned by Coco Chanel. Ponder that as you dab on your perfume in readiness for the night of passion ahead. The main bedroom is dramatically dark, with exposed timber ceilings, leaded windows and a canopied four-poster bed.
Belle Isle can accommodate up to 16 people (self-catering or fully catered) but requires a minimum of two couples (each staying a minimum of two nights, at £70-£90 per person, per night), so arrive early with your Valentine and get your hands on the Red Suite first. Dinner costs £46 per person, per night.
Belle Isle Castle, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh; belle-isle.com, tel: 048-66387231
Looking for certified romance? Ardtara, a country-house hotel in Derry, has won the Most Romantic Hotel of the Year award from that well-known arbiter of all things romantic, the AA. The judges must have stayed in its honeymoon suite, the largest room in the house. A pastel blue confection, it has gorgeous garden views from no less than six large bay windows. Romance packages, with chocolate-dipped strawberries, dinner and sinfully late check out, start from £210 per couple.
Ardtara Country House, Upperlands, Co Derry; ardtara.com, tel: 048-79644490
Love nest for two
The Eagle’s Nest at Castle Leslie in Co Monaghan is, as its name suggests, at the highest point of this historic house, with a balcony from which to enjoy views of the lake and gardens way below. It’s where the staff puts people who are going to pop the question and it has a formidable strike rate when it comes to achieving a ‘yes’. Holed up here, with room service on tap and a free-standing copper bath in which to soak up the views, you can see why. The hotel’s romance package costs from €155pps in February, with a small surcharge for the eyrie.
Castle Leslie Estate, Glaslough, Co Monaghan; castleleslie.com, tel: 047-88100
Golden in Gorey
The Stopford Room is one of two state bedrooms at Marlfield House, a luxury country-house hotel in Wexford. The sumptuous Stopford has golden soft furnishings and a king-sized four-poster bed you’ll want to sink into and never leave – unless perhaps to take a turn around the gardens. Then retreat to the warmth of the room’s open fire and a world that feels like it has been dipped in honey. The hotel reopens in March, with weekend romance breaks – including champagne, handmade chocolates and dinner – from €430 pps.
Marlfield House, Gorey, Co Wexford; marlfieldhouse.com, tel: 053 9421124
Cosy up in a cottage
For a gothic twist on the cosy cottage, Batty Langley Lodge at Castletown Demesne, in Leixlip, is super romantic, with bedroom windows shaped like flowers, overlooking parklands that, in spring, are a froth of cherry blossoms. Drift off to sleep to the lullaby of the Liffey as it gurgles under your window. A two-night weekend stay costs €266.
Batty Langley Lodge, Leixlip, Co Kildare; irishlandmark.com, tel: 01 6704733
Capture the castle
What could be more romantic then a castle to keep all to yourself? The Barbican Lodge at Glenarm, in Antrim, gives you all the grandeur of a castle but scaled down to the intimacy of a cottage for two. Situated in a rural idyll, on a bridge over the Glenarm River, it’s a medieval castle in miniature with high gothic windows and a stone turret staircase. About as romantic a hideaway as you’ll get this side of a picture frame in the National Gallery, a two-night weekend costs £195.
The Barbican Lodge, Ballymena, Co Antrim, irishlandmark.com, tel: 01 6704733
Under the eaves in Kerry
For a boutique B&B that lives up to the appellation, try Picin Cottage, near Caherdaniel, in Co Kerry. You get the cottage to yourself – plus breakfast – which features a loft bedroom, a bathroom with a giant, freestanding roll-top bath, a wood-burning stove and a sofa, and is perfect for couples who can’t bear to separate even for a wash. It costs €50pps per night.
Picin Cottage, Caherdaniel, Co Kerry; picincottage.com, tel: 066-9475894
Secure your relationship
To be really secure in your relationship, how about a Martello Tower? The one in Sutton, built to protect Dublin from Napoleonic invasion, has been recommissioned as a fortress of love. If it’s just you and your beloved against the world, then there’s no better place to make your stand than here in its luxurious bedroom, tucked safely behind walls that are 2.5m thick. Two nights midweek from €420.
Martello Tower Sutton, Co Dublin; martellotowersutton.com, tel: 086-1642671
No prizes for guessing what the key feature is in the Mirror Room at the Quay House, Clifden, Co Galway. But the mirror in question is a giant, ornate, gilded one that takes the place of the headboard. When you tire of it, you can always enjoy the view of the Galway hookers on the water below your balcony. And because you can’t live on love alone, Quay House is a national breakfast award-winner. It closes for the winter but reopens in March. From €65pps.
The Quay House, Clifden, Co Galway; thequayhouse.com, tel: 095-21369
Big it up
Does size matter? Absolutely, if you’re getting 58m sq offered by the newly opened Lakeshore Suites at Harvey’s Point, the luxury hotel on Lough Eske, in Donegal. The beds are similarly gargantuan, in an antique style and smothered in cushions. Let the pillow fights begin. Your bedroom has its own separate lakeside sitting room plus a private veranda and viewing deck from which to watch the plump white swans swim by – they mate for life, you know. A two-night stay in April booked online costs from €448.
Harvey’s Point Hotel, Lough Eske, Co Donegal; harveyspoint.com, tel: 074-9722208
Your secret garden
Enjoy a secret garden all of your own at the Magnolia master bedroom at Kilmokea Country Manor, in Campile, Co Wexford. Not only does it offer views over the house’s famous walled and tropical gardens, but is the only bedroom that reveals the property’s secret garden and dovecote, perfect for lovebirds. With a double bath and a double shower, a two-night pamper package for two in spring costs €280 per person.
Kilmokea Country Manor, Campile, Co Wexford; kilmokea.com, tel: 051-388109