Jingle bells will be ringing around the country as more hotels are decking the halls with boughs of holly and opening for Christmas this year.
Ashford Castle, Cong, Co Mayo
Think Downton Abbey and bring your finest clothes and jewels. Guests will be welcomed with afternoon tea, mulled wine and mince pies. Christmas Eve celebrations begin with chamber music and cocktails in the drawing room before dinner in the George V restaurant with Santa appearing at 10pm. Christmas Day will be an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors with a nine-hole golf competition, a cruise on the Corrib and a treasure hunt in the grounds. Dinner will be a black-tie gala affair followed by live music. After a jazz brunch, enjoy Ashford's sporting activities on St Stephen's Day with falconry, clay pigeon shooting, archery, guided walks and the time will fly by until dinner and entertainment in the Dungeon Bar. Three-night package from €1,840 per adult, enquire directly to the hotel about prices for children. See ashfordcastle.com, tel: (094) 9546003.
Adare Manor and Golf Resort, Adare, Co Limerick
Now that Limerick man JP McManus has bought Adare Manor it will open for Christmas for the first time in decades. Arrive early on Christmas Eve to settle in and enjoy afternoon tea. There will be champagne, canapés and carols before dinner. On Christmas morning, Santa will visit on his way back to the North Pole. Music in the minstrel's gallery will welcome you to Christmas lunch. Younger guests can spend the afternoon on a treasure hunt and there will be a family quiz before dinner in the Oakroom. Three-night packages from €1,199pps. See adaremanor.com, tel: (061) 605200.
Sheen Falls Lodge, Kenmare, Co Kerry
Roaring log fires will be the backdrop to a season of fun and festiveness in Kenmare. Families and groups might like to consider the option of taking one of the cottages on the grounds which includes the Christmas festivities in the main hotel. The four-bedroom Bay Villa, sleeps eight, from €8,370 and two-bedroom cottages from €4,260. Two-nights packagages, December 24th-25th, from €840pps, 25th-26th from €985pps, and three nights from €1,335pps. Children, €75 for B&B. See sheenfallslodge.ie, tel: (064) 6641600.
Powerscourt Hotel, Enniskerry, Co Wicklow
Winner of the 2015 AA Hotel of the Year, Powerscourt Hotel has been one of the few hotels to stay open for Christmas in recent years, if only to host an enormous Christmas tree with presents stacked under it. Last year the four-storey atrium was filled by a 7.6m monster.
Carrots and reindeer dust will be available for younger guests to remind Santa Claus where to find them. Christmas Eve dinner will be an atmospheric candlelit experience in the Sika Restaurant.
Enjoy a bracing walk in the Powerscourt Estate after a buffet breakfast before a lavish Christmas lunch. The remainder of the day will pass by in a lovely glow of games, music and a magical evening sharing family time. Two-night packages from €470pps, See powerscourthotel.com, tel: (01) 2748888.
Harvey’s Point Hotel, Co Donegal
Harvey’s Point Hotel on the shores of Lough Eske is where all the family including the dog are welcome. Pets are so welcome that there will be a dog show over Christmas.
In between enjoying the beautiful food that Harvey's Point is famous for, there will be live music, fireside sing-alongs, a treasure hunt, walks in the woods, and wine tastings. For groups and large families, the lodge in the hotel grounds offers accommodation and private sitting rooms with lakeside views including dining in the hotel. Three-night packages, €749pps, arrive on December 23rd, no extra charge. Christmas Day lunch, adults €69, children under 10 €25. Lodge accommodation €449pps including dining in the hotel. See harveyspoint.com, tel: (074) 9722208.
The Malton, Killarney
The marble grand foyer of the Malton Hotel in Killarney will welcome guests to the season with carols on Christmas Eve. After dinner the adults can enjoy mulled wine and mince pies.
Santa will be arriving during lunch on Christmas day in the Garden Room with special gifts for all the young guests. On Christmas evening, if you have space there’s a tempting buffet followed by music in the Punchbowl Bar.
Guests can take a mystery tour of the Kingdom on St Stephen's Day or stroll around Killarney, before enjoying a festive afternoon tea and dinner. Two-night packages from €549pps, three nights from €699pps, discounts for younger guests. See themalton.com, tel: (064) 6638000.
Hayfield Manor, Cork
Cork city’s five-star hotel and former home of the Jameson family will feel like a country mansion in the city when decorated for Christmas. Younger guests will have the fun of decorating a Christmas tree in their own rooms for a special visit. The resident pianist and local choir will provide the atmosphere on Christmas Eve.
A champagne toast at noon will kick off Christmas day lunch and a surprise visit from Santa Claus. There will be a buffet supper in the evening. On St Stephen’s Day relax and enjoy a leisurely breakfast keeping space for a gourmet dinner in Orchids Restaurant.
Work off some of the extra calories in the swimming pool and spa or just enjoy the outdoor jacuzzi. Three-night package from €1,195pps, children under 12 staying with parents are charged for meals only. See hayfieldmanor.ie tel: (021) 4845900.
Dylan Hotel, Dublin
Christmas in the capital city will be a first for the Dylan Hotel off Baggot Street in Dublin 4 and a perfect location for unwinding in style for couples.
On Christmas Eve, festive canapés will be served by the fireside in the library. You can test the skills of the mixologists by exploring the 12 cocktails of Christmas menu. On St Stephen's Day head to the races at Leopardstown or the sales downtown. Two-night package, including breakfast in bed and Christmas dinner from €996 for two. See dylan.ie, tel: (01) 660 300.