From the fringes of Mayo to the skies of Derry, head for the heights this Autumn

Travel News: From a walking festival to mushroom hunting to luxurious stays

Walk Tall

Plan ahead for the 25th Ballyhoura Walking Festival, running from October 8th-10th in Kilfinane, Co Limerick. From relaxed rambles to strenuous hikes, it's a great way to shake off some cobwebs and enjoy that lovely autumn landscape. The festival coincides with the Joyce Brothers Music Festival, so that's your evenings taken care of too. Find all the action under Events at The lovely Mustard Seed is already booked out that weekend, so stay nearby at the Deebert House Hotel in Kilmallock, where single rooms start at €57.50, with B&B for two from €95 per night.

On the Fringe

Time was – a Fringe Festival was all about the edgy bits – too risky for the main event. Up in the north west, they've decided location is Fringe enough, so welcome to the Ballina Fringe Festival, running from October 9th-17th. Including a "drag and dinner performance" with Miss Neon Love (I don't think they drag you through dinner), music, talks, art and film, it's bound to be great and fascinating craic, see Stay at the Ice House, at the heart of the action, with B&B from €230 per room.

Nosing for Truffles

Okay, so you may not find truffles (worth their weight in gold), but Longueville House’s annual mushroom hunt is a great way to discover all the fun of fascinating fungi. To those in the know, mushroom experts are mycologists, and on October 15th and 16th, you’ll be guided by some of the best to ferret out these tasty autumn treats – and, vitally, tell your delicious morsel from your toxic poison. Two nights including guides, picnic, dinner, bed and breakfast, from €410 single, €800 double. Wellies essential. Book by phone at 022 47146 or email

Let Off Steam in Louth

Back to school has been a bit of a shock for some (though a surprising delight to many), but with mid-term already on the horizon, get booking for some ways to let off steam for all the family. Including everything from foot golf to aerial adventure, mazes to quazer, Carlingford's Skypark has day passes from €20, and it's a fiver if you only want to watch ( Base yourself in Drogheda, where you can explore the beaches, and add some quieter culture with a visit to the lovely Highlanes Gallery and Five Good Things cafe (, with Halloween Special packages at The D Hotel, including dinner bed and breakfast, and fireworks on the 31st, from €229 per family.


On the Wilde Side

Wilde at the Westbury is one of those restaurants where you feel better looking just by lounging around in its chic interior. The food is yum too. Taking the sting out of darker evenings, the hotel has a couple of splurge-ish offers to help cheer things up. Suite Celebrations gives you a suite, breakfast and prosecco from €440 per night, or add food with the Wilde package, available Tuesday to Sunday, with B&B plus dinner for two in the aforementioned restaurant, from €480 per night.

Ring the Changes

From the giddy highs of hosting Kim Kardashian and Kanye West on their 2014 honeymoon, Cork's Castlemartyr resort has changed hands more than once. Its most recent Singapore-based buyers, who also own the lovely Sheen Falls Lodge, and Dublin's Trinity Townhouse, are planning a major investment, but it's already pretty nice – so you could always do your own "before and after" by booking their latest offer – the Bell Tower Gourmet Getaway. Two nights B&B, afternoon tea, a five-course fine-dining dinner, and spa access comes in at €438pps.

Derry Darling

Winner of a TripAdvisor Best of the Best award earlier this year, Derry's boutique Bishop's Gate is one of those luxuriously lavish little gems that's worth an explore. While you're there, check out the Void Gallery (, where Cevdet Erek is currently blending Turkish music with the sounds of the bodhrán. Or raise the bar with a helicopter sightseeing flight with from £99, where you'll be a more welcome sight in the sky than might once have been the case. Dinner, B&B and cocktails on arrival from £159 per room,