Travel News: Wildean walks and wedding plans

Refurbished Carton House reopens, Ashford Castle rolls outs gourmet getaways

Enniskillen, the spot where Oscar Wilde spent his school days, is marking the connection with Wildean events in the pipeline, and kicking off with the installation of 150 little golden swallows around the town – see how many you can spot. Stay at the nearby Knockninny country house and marina, right on the lake, from €81 per person sharing, or pick a boatyard lodge and have your own lakeside chalet from €185 for two, minimum stay two nights.

Extreme weddings

The mind may boggle at the idea of ultimate wedding planning, but if extremes of weddings are your idea of fun, Sara Kennedy, author of The Ultimate Wedding Planning Guide Ireland, will join a small panel of experts for the Farnham Estates virtual vows session on June 10th. It's a Zoom session, and places are limited but free. Email

Or go all in at Leitrim's Ard Nahoo eco retreat, where you can book out the whole place with a wedding package that includes accommodation for 16 in their lovely chalets, flowers, champagne and hot-tub sessions from €5,350. After that it's up to you if you want to lavish your loot on fancy caterers or settle down for pizzas round the firepit.

Midsummer marvels

Cork's Midsummer Festival runs from June 14th to 27th, with a mix of online and live events, including exhibitions, theatre and music. Find your art fix at and stay high above town at the Montenotte Hotel, where you can enjoy a cocktail, have snacks and watch the ships come in at the Panorama bistro. With Victorian gardens, a private cinema, spa and swimming pool there's lots to do without leaving the grounds. A new rooftop bar and terrace is under construction and due to open in mid-July. Packages from €219 per room –


Treasure trove

While there are mutterings about the future of Grafton Street and its aspirations to be like every other major international shopping street in the world, the network of little streets and lanes behind it are a treasure trove of intriguing spots. Dive into Om Diva, find vintage marvels at Jenny Vander and lust over jewellery at The Collective. You can also rove through the George's Street Arcade and Powerscourt Townhouse. Stay at Brooks Hotel on Drury Street and get discounts to many of the neighbourhood stores. The shop-local package includes afternoon tea, pre-dinner prosecco, dinner for two and breakfast, plus shop-and-drop concierge service for your bags, and late checkout too, for €249 per room.

Trip to Tipp

Enjoy golden times in the Golden Vale with a Tipperary adventure. Who needs the Camino when you can walk the Old Ice Road, taking you over the highest of five glacial lakes in the Galtee mountains? Dive into Lough Derg with guided canoe tours via, or get your wetsuits ready for Lough Derg Aquaspash from €15 at Find out more, including how to have horsey adventures, and enjoy other watery craic on the 53km Suir blueway kayaking route that runs all the way from Cahir to Carrick-on-Suir. It's all at Stay at the Parsons Green campsite, with tent pitches from €14, or rent a mobile home from €180 for two nights, sleeping six – but note there's a minimum stay of a week during July and August –

Gourmet getaway

You'll want to work up an appetite ahead of the Ashford Castle gourmet getaway. Mayo's classic hot spot is beloved of film stars, princes and presidents and was restored a couple of years ago to within an inch of its luxurious life. Two- to four-night foodie stays start at €800 per person sharing and include a fine dining session in the George V dining room (where men have to wear jackets, but they don't specify what the frock options are for the ladies). Breakfast at Ashford Castle is a very special experience, they make their porridge with whiskey and even have a juice sommelier. Imagine.

Refurbished Carton House reopens

The carpenters have swept up the shavings and the gilders have packed up their brushes, as the two-year multimillion-euro makeover of Kildare's Carton House is all done and dusted. Now run by the fancy Fairmont group, the 169-bed spot on an 1,100-acre estate (including the obligatory golf, of course) is a hotel of two halves. Pick a room in the main Palladian house from €495 per person sharing, or wander down to the much newer garden wing and enjoy all the amenities at half the cost at €250 per person sharing. The garden wing doesn't quite have the same Bridgerton-style plasterwork, but you can still swan around the salons and pretend you're Ms Elizabeth Bennet (or Mr Darcy – it's entirely up to you).