July in Ireland: The return of destination dining and a festival feel

Travel News: Mini-festivals, art in gardens and fabulous feasts on the menu

New sensations

A couple of years ago, Danni Barry wowed diners at the West Waterford Festival of Food, where she served up wonders at the Woodhouse Estate. Only the second Irish woman ever to win a Michelin star (while at Michael Deane's Eipic in Belfast), she's now feeding lucky residents at the ow Escape, a full-on foodie destination run by Lisa Wilkinson (of Elbowroom) with a focus on local, fresh and foraged. Their all-in rates get you two nights including cocktails, a wood-fired feast with beer pairing, breakfast, a picnic and a five-course tasting menu with wine pairing. Oh, and a walk or two to make room for brunch. From €543pps. thewicklowescape.com

Summer days, soft nights

Gently does it as we get back to having fun. SoFFT Nights is a series of mini festivals – or festival-lets if you like – taking place over weekends all summer long at Dunderry Park, Co Meath. First up, on July 16th and 17th, is the fabulous Cormac Begley, with Bunoscionn and Lemoncello. Future gigs include Soda Blonde, Pillow Queens and Art of Algebra. It's booze-free, and they're also suggesting you might enjoy shamanic journeying, astronomy and forest gong baths. Sure why wouldn't you? €67, sofftproductions.com. Sleepover not included, so stay at Trim Castle, which is beside rather than actually in the castle, for €150 B&B per room. trimcastlehotel.com

Art trails

Belfast's five-star Culloden Estate and Spa has gorgeous gardens, and sometimes in the summer they team up with Gormleys to stuff them full of art. So wander the hotel and the 12 acres of grounds and spot FE McWilliam, Dalí, Banksy, Picasso, Lynn Chadwick, Andy Warhol, Patrick O'Reilly, Orla de Brí and more. The art is all for sale, there are guided tours, and other treats include a Bolli Bus (for Bollinger Champagne, dahling), a Bridgerton-inspired afternoon tea, or an arty one for £35. Room only from £125pps. Exhibition ends July 18. hastingshotels.com

Perfect pitch

Summer Glamp offers fun in a field just outside Wexford town. Stay in a bell tent and enjoy outdoor bars, wood -fired hot tubs, food trucks, bars, an outdoor cinema and more nice, safe, socially distanced things. There are two three-night packages available: Tuesdays to Fridays are calm, family-friendly events, while weekends are for adults to kick back. Live music is also promised, as soon as we're all let, with Jenny Greene on the cards for August and more announcements along the way. Bell tents sleep up to six, from €399.95 for two people for three nights midweek. summerglamp.ie