65% rise in people bringing the dog (but not the horse) to France

Check-in: A round-up of this week’s travel news and deals

Lofty lodgings 
Make it your business to visit the recently refurbished Loughcrew Lodge in Co Meath this summer. The small but perfect house became something of a passion project for antiquarian Niall Mullen, whose eponymous store is on Dublin's Francis Street. He spent eight months painstakingly restoring and curating the two-bedroom property near Loughcrew Cairns and Gardens. Expect silk drapes, four-poster beds, roll-top baths, period pieces and original art along with all of the modern amenities you'd need for a break away that feels like stepping back in time. See loughcrewlodge.ie for rates and bookings.

Furry ferries 

Brittany Ferries has reported a whopping 65 per cent surge in pet travel in the past five years, thanks to the company's pet-friendly amenities. The ferry service offers kennels from Cork to Roscoff and a wide range of pet-friendly accommodation in France and there's also a dedicated section for pet owners on the Brittany Ferries website giving hints and tips, information on the pet passport scheme and customers' testimonials. For more on travelling with your pet, see brittanyferries.ie.

On the Q

Qatar Airways has announced a new route from Dublin to Doha starting from June 12th, with connections to Tokyo, Sydneyand Auckland among other cities. This marks Ireland's first ever direct air link to Qatar, and Qatar Airways' first ever service to Ireland. See qatarairways.com for more.


Foodie fancies

Lough Eske: Visit the Donegal 5-star and savour its new tasting menu. Every course has been designed to encourage diners to interact with their meal, celebrating the finest in fare from the northwest of Ireland; solishotels.com.

Florence: Less than a year after the launch of its first food tour in Florence, Eating Italy has launched a second tour. The evening tour takes visitors through the area of Santo Spirito, exploring the food, art and architecture of the city; eatingitalyfoodtours.com.

Pembrokeshire: Visit during the Pembrokeshire Fish Festival, June 24th to July 2nd, where hundreds of foodie events take place from cookery demonstrations to fishing trips. The lobster is not to be missed; pembrokeshirefishweek.co.uk. 

Get appy

Oasis: Choose to stay from a list of luxury apartments and homes in more than 20 destinations. The app also has an excellent built-in concierge service to help with your stay. Available on iTunes and Android; oasiscollections.com. 

Swiss Swoo: For the last word in restorative breaks this summer, look no further than Gstaad Palace's five-night getaway, a combination of yoga, meditation, wellbeing talks and massage. Expect cooking classes in the hotel's kitchen with one of Switzerland's leading chefs, bespoke mountain wellness activities tailored to each guest, from hiking to a cosy hilltop shepherd's hut for a lunch of Swiss delicacies to cycling through the mountain forests and lakes, and a session with Ziggie Bergman, one of the UK's foremost holistic beauty experts and a practitioner in her signature anti-ageing and tension-relieving facial reflexology techniques. From €4,174 per person based on single occupancy on a full board basis, see palace.ch.

Travel deals

by Joan Scales

Rome: Explore the eternal city on a three-day break staying at the Quality Hotel Nova Domus, price from €269pps includes flights, clickandgo.com, (01) 539 7777.

Tomatina: Experience the mad tomato food fight festival in Bunol near Valencia, August 29th-31st, three-day trip with Shandontravel.ie from €349pps, 021 4277094.

Mexico: Put your feet up at the Grand Riviera Princess 5* hotel, direct flights from Dublin, two weeks from June 14th from €1,699pps, falconholidays.ie or your local travel agent.