It’s beginning to look a lot like…
Now that the skeletons are firmly back in their closets and that ghastly fake cobwebby stuff put away, hopefully forever: is it too soon to start thinking about Christmas? Probably not, if Ireland's hotels are anything to go by. You'll find packages and offers galore at the moment, from Glenlo Abbey's Galway Christmas Markets package, from €240 including mulled wine and mince pies, glenloabbeyhotel.ie; to the adults only Christmas Escape at Hotel Kilkenny, from €449 for two nights including Christmas lunch and dinner, plus resident magician (and if he can make the kids disappear…) hotelkilkenny.ie.
Or what about Christmas shopping in Dublin, with the Fitzwilliam Hotel's package that includes B&B and afternoon tea for two from €299 per night, right at the top of Grafton Street, fitzwilliamhoteldublin.com
Watch a particular episode of Sex and the City and you may wonder about a hotel called The Rabbit, but the stylish little sister of the Galgorm is more about hopping to it for chi chi R&R. Including a disco ball above the swimming pool and other lop-eared treats, the new Co Antrim spot is worth burrowing into. Its festive packages start at €150pps, including dinner, cocktails and use of the relaxation room. therabbithotel.com
Not quite ready for all that tinsel? Killarney's Castlerosse Park has been thinking up ways to distract you from the darker nights – or get you in the mood for them. On the shores of the lower lake in Killarney National Park, the hotel offers access to 25,000 acres of ecology as the leaves turn gold, and the resident red deer get into all the craic of their rutting season. Seriously, the hotel team says it's a must. Two nights' B&B during November including dinner on one night from €135pps. Or ditch the dinner, stay two nights and get the third night free, also from €135pps. castlerosse.ie
Make beautiful music
Head to Wicklow for the West Wicklow Festival's Winter Weekend of music at Russborough House. Including violin by the likes of Brahms and Debussy, Latvia's Balanas sisters playing a programme including Bach, Ravel and Vivaldi (they're playing Summer from the Four Seasons, but we can dream), and Kildare mezzo-soprano Sharon Carty singing pieces by Grieg, Schubert and more. Tickets €38 /€19 concession at westwicklowfestival.com.
The programme runs from November 12th to 14th. Hotels in the vicinity are booking up fast, but see if you can bag a spot in Bardon's in nearby Kilcullen, where they have just seven rooms, traditional pub food, and overnight prices from €110, bardons.ie; or go to the castle at Killashee, with rooms from €180, killasheehotel.com.