Ask Joan

Bhutan land of the Thunder Dragon, rural romance, and Legoland Billund

I would like a weekend break in Ireland this winter with my boyfriend. I was thinking more along the lines of a "get away from it all" trip rather than a city break, but neither of us drives. Can you recommend hotels accessible by public transport or a combination of public
transport and a short taxi ride?
– COM, Dublin

The following suggestions involve short taxi rides from bus or rail stations. releases discounted seats online a month before travel, so watch for offers.

Brooklodge, outside Aughrim, Wicklow, has an organic food restaurant, an Italian restaurant, a pub and spa. They can arrange a taxi from Arklow. Weekend packages with dinner are from €590 for two (

In the north west, Cromleach Lodge, overlooking Lough Arrow in Sligo is a peaceful retreat just 15 minutes from Boyle train station. It is well known for its food and a two-night break with dinner one evening will cost from €169pps in a lakeview room (


In Cork, Hayfield Manor may be in the city but feels like the countryside. This five-star hotel has beautiful gardens, a spa and the nightlife of Cork is on your doorstep. Gourmet weekends from €239pps in November

The Dunraven Arms in the pretty village of Adare is 20 minutes by bus or taxi from Limerick city. Winter weekends are from €155pps with dinner one evening (

Newport House overlooking Clew Bay in Mayo is known for the quality of its food. It is near Westport and winter weekends cost from €235pps with dinner one evening (