Christmas staycations: Brave an icy dip or make for the festive markets

Travel news: Take a trip to Galway, Mayo, Belfast and more this month

Luttrellstown Castle’s Great Gatsby Afternoon Tea Afternoon Tea

Luttrellstown Castle’s Great Gatsby Afternoon Tea Afternoon Tea

 

Tea for Two (or more)

It’s unlikely that Jay Gatsby ate St Tola goat’s cheese but let’s not quibble, because while Luttrellstown Castle’s Great Gatsby Afternoon Tea may not be novelistically accurate, it certainly looks delicious. And I’m sure Jay and Daisy would have been all over the macarons.

Available on selected dates from now until December 23rd, it comes in at €55pp, and €70 for the champagne version. You have to book out all 20 suites if you want to stay over (luttrellstowncastle.com), so why not spend the night down the road instead? The Castleknock Hotel’s Time for Two package gives you two nights’ B&B, dinner on one night and an in-room hamper on the other, which includes prosecco, nachos and dip, popcorn and chocolates. Sounds like great fun. From €310 total stay, castleknockhotel.com.

The Galmont Hotel, Galway city
The Galmont Hotel, Galway city

Wrapped up in Galway

Christmas hotel sleepovers are getting ever more popular, and it’s definitely a way of avoiding arguments over the washing up. Galway’s Galmont has two nights including dinner on Christmas Eve, lunch on the day itself and a light supper on Christmas night if you can fit any more grub. Santa will be there and carrots are promised for the reindeer; €420pps, or make it three nights at €555pps, thegalmont.com.

Can’t wait until December 24th for your Galway gallivant? As the Christmas Markets pop up in Eyre Square from this weekend, stay in the heart of the square at the Hardiman. The market includes a ferris wheel, carousel and all manner of other twinkly delights, plus stalls selling crafts and gifts from tat to terrific. Two nights B&B, plus one dinner from €376 for two, thehardiman.ie

The Hardiman, Eyre Square, Galway city
The Hardiman, Eyre Square, Galway city

Puntastic

It just goes to show how times have changed. Fancy a hotel in Belfast called the Bullitt? The chic boutique spot is a hot contender for pun of the year with its Sleighcation package, offering an overnight stay from €127 per room including a £25 voucher to spend in the hotel bars or restaurants. As they say, yule be mad to miss it; bullitthotel.com.

Or try the Bullitt’s swanky sister, the Merchant, where you will be cocooned in heavy drapery and luxurious lavishness in this former Victorian bank. Its “Five-Star Festivities” package includes dinner, B&B from €174 pps and is available from December 3rd-23rd, themerchanthotel.com.

Ballina’s Ice House outdoor tubs
Ballina’s Ice House outdoor tubs

Chill Out on Ice

There’s nothing quite like an outdoor hot tub on a chilly day. Something about the difference in temperature makes the warm soak invigorating. Ballina’s Ice House just had a super swanky spa makeover and now boasts a lovely riverside deck with the aforementioned tubs. Indoors find super new quartz beds for a spot of psammotherapy (that’s hot sand to the uninitiated) all backed up by yummy Voya seaweed treatments. There’s also an ice water shower but I believe they don’t insist on it. The Chill Spa Escape package includes two nights for two, a treatment each plus dinner on one night, from €720 total stay. Or ditch the extras and stay from €150 B&B, icehousehotel.ie.

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