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Five exceptional experiences from Ireland’s Blue Book

Give the gift of relaxation this Christmas with a gift voucher from Ireland’s Blue Book

Park Hotel in Kenmare

Take a long, soothing soak in the outdoor, heated infinity pool overlooking the bay in the Park Hotel, Kenmare.

 

Life can be hectic. We’re rushing from the moment we wake up in the morning. At work we jump from task to task, then we arrive home to spend the evening trying to get our inboxes under control. Even a relaxed meet-up with friends often turns into an exchange of anecdotes about how busy and tired we all are. 

So what could be nicer, or more well-deserved than an escape from the daily rush to a relaxed country house hotel, a tranquil spa, or an unforgettable meal with a loved one at an award-winning restaurant?

An Ireland’s Blue Book gift voucher is a fantastic way to show your friends, family, clients and employees that you are grateful and appreciative of all that they do, by giving them an experience they can hold on to and treasure, as well as a chance to relax and escape the bustle of everyday life.

Blue Book vouchers can be used in over 50 historic country houses, castles, manor hotels and restaurants. Some have tranquil spas, some 18-hole golf courses and some pare it all back with cosy sitting rooms, crackling log fires and warm Irish hospitality. There are so many ways to enjoy an Ireland’s Blue Book gift voucher, but here are five of our favourites. 

A sparkling afternoon tea in the Merrion Hotel

Afternoon tea at the Merrion Hotel is the perfect indulgent treat, or a well-deserved pick-me-up after a day spent exploring or shopping in Dublin.

The Art Afternoon Tea at the Merrion Hotel features three tiers of delicate finger sandwiches, buttery homemade scones and beautiful miniature pastries as well as three exquisitely presented mini desserts, each inspired by a different work of art displayed in the Merrion. All of these delicious treats can be enjoyed along with a selection of teas, herbal infusions or coffee or perhaps, a glass of champagne for a proper celebration.  

Over the Christmas season, the Merrion give their afternoon tea a festive twist with seasonal treats such as miniature mince pies and gingerbread, with accompanying Christmas carols to enjoy on selected dates.

With turf fires burning in the drawing rooms, the hotel bedecked with festive decorations and twinkling lights, there could hardly be a lovelier place to unwind after an afternoon of Christmas shopping.

For more information, see The Merrion Hotel

A peaceful spa break in the Park Hotel in Kenmare

For those looking for the ultimate unwind, the five-star Park Hotel Kenmare and its Sámas Spa will sweep you right off your feet. However, before you even reach the spa it is clear that this is a place where people come to relax and get away from it all. Situated on acres of beautiful grounds, with views over Kenmare Bay, crackling fires in the drawing rooms and large comfortable suites, the Park exudes an aura of relaxed luxury.

Don your fluffy robe and visit the award-winning Sámas Spa. Take a long, soothing soak in the outdoor, heated infinity pool overlooking the bay, stimulate your senses in the aroma steam room and sauna, or spoil yourself with the full Sámas Experience, which includes an hour to luxuriate in the thermal suite, a one-hour holistic treatment and then a third hour spent in blissful serenity in the Relaxation room.

Complete your afternoon of indulgence with a delicious Victorian Afternoon Tea, served in the drawing-room.

For more information, see the Park Hotel Kenmare

A cosy night in at The Mustard Seed

The definition of a hidden gem; The Mustard Seed is a charming, old-style country house located in the village of Ballingarry, Co Limerick, and is well worth the deviation from the tourist track. The Mustard Seed has a warm, natural, make-yourself-at-home feel about it. This is due in part to the comfortable furnishings and homely trinkets but, also, to the unrivalled hospitality of the renowned host, John Edward Joyce.

Sink into an armchair in front of a crackling fire before dinner, enjoying a drink, a chat, or a book in the warmth of the drawing-room, before an exceptional meal. The Mustard Seed prides itself on delicious seasonal cuisine served in a relaxed and convivial atmosphere. Indulge in the eight-course tasting menu for the full culinary experience.

The Mustard Seed is ideal for a quick escape to the countryside when all you wish to do is relax, eat delicious food and put your feet up with a nightcap before retiring for a peaceful night’s sleep in the Mustard Seed’s sumptuous rooms.

For more information, see the Mustard Seed

Fine dining in Dublin in Chapter One

Can’t get away for a night? Treat someone special to a decadent dining experience at Chapter One restaurant in Dublin, where the wonderful modern Irish cuisine is inspired by everything from the seasons to the Irish landscape and has earned the restaurant the globally coveted star of recognition from the Michelin guide. The tasting menu features eight carefully designed and well-balanced courses with delicious dishes such as smoked organic salmon, Lambay crab pancake and cherry blossom vinaigrette; and salt marsh duck, with salted caper flower and stuffed white endive.

A visit to Chapter One should be considered an experience rather than merely a meal. The spacious, sleek and elegant restaurant is dotted with gorgeous pieces from Irish designers, which along with the exquisite food and warm, friendly service, creates a multi-sensory experience for the diner.

For more information, see Chapter One

An intimate movie night at The Bushmills Inn

For fans of the silver screen, looking to add an extra touch of luxury to movie night, The Bushmills Inn, Co Antrim, has its very own boutique cinema open to residents as well as the general public on their Thursday movie evenings. With seating for just 30 people, a visit to the Still Room at The Bushmills Inn is perfect for a date night with a difference, or a fun evening out with friends. Thursday movie evenings begin with a delicious two-course dinner before guests take their seats in the intimate screening room for the film. Save a bit of room for popcorn, as the team at Bushmills have this covered as well.

From November 28th onwards, movie nights are given the festive treatment. A sumptuous four-course Christmas banquet is served and guests can enjoy festive favourites such as It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street and Love Actually, all enjoyed in the cosy surrounds of Bushmills.

For more information, see Bushmills Inn


Ireland’s Blue Book is a unique collection of country house hotels, historic houses, castles and restaurants around the island of Ireland.

Ireland’s Blue Book Gift Vouchers can be used in any Blue Book property, for relaxing overnight stays, delicious meals, luxury spa breaks and more. 

For more information and inspiration, visit irelands-blue-book.ie.