If you missed our interview on Spin this afternoon then here is a little round up of some ideas and offers for this Valentine's weekend in Ireland.
Dublin Dates on the cheap
Dublin might not have the same romantic connotations as the amorous and atmospheric Paris or Rome. However on a technicality it is THE destination to go to if you want to celebrate Valentine's day properly. And by properly I mean acknowledging the 'saint' part of the holiday. This is because Dublin is home to the relics of the patron saint of lovers. St. Valentine's remains reside at the Whitefriar Street Church, Aungeir St. Couples are welcome to visit the church and pray to the saint year round, but the 14th February in particular is a busy day as there are two special 'blessing of the rings' ceremonies held at 11 AM and 3:15 PM. Many soon to be wed couples have their marital bands blessed here, hoping to start their marriage on a good foot!
There is nothing more romantic than climbing to the top of the world and enjoying the view with your lover. You share a sense of achievement in getting to the top and then pleasure in admiring the world below. This is probably why hilltops are traditionally popular locations for marriage proposals! But don't worry; you don't have to propose just because your on an incline...! For south-siders Killiney hill offers stunning views; for north-siders Howth Head with it's view of the Howth peninsula and beyond is breathtaking. If you are a lazy lover that likes the idea of a view without the climb then take a ride on the Dublin eye. Enjoy the cityscape with zero effort and a glass of champagne in your hand!
View from Killiney Hill
View from Howth Head
If you have worked up a hunger after your hike - or are simply just hungry-there are lots of Dublin restaurants offering romantic meals this year, too many to mention! Like the rest of Ireland, Dublin's restaurant industry is currently a competition of value. 'La carte' is in the hands of the diner, so shop around and you will be sure to get an intimate, tasty Valentine's meal with a price tag that won't break your heart!
Irish hotels love Valentine's. Most put together enticing weekend packages to tempt courting couples. Like restaurants there are many great deals to be had. Invest a bit of time researching what is on offer before you decide and your patience will be rewarded! In saying that there is just ONE WEEK left to Valentine's weekend so get moving!
Here are some of my top picks for Valentine's with an activity twist:
Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa has put together a package that includes a stunning starlit kayak paddle for two through the water. Enjoy a gourmet picnic and marvel at the bio-luminessence in the water as you float along.
WARNING: Not all couples are suited to manning a two-man kayak together (personal experience!). Unless you work well as a team this love boat could turn into the divorce boat!
But even if you have a frustrated lovers tiff on the water you should make up over the rest of your weekend.
Package includes 2 nights bed and breakfast accommodation, 1 gourmet evening meal, access to the spa facilities (including a warm saltwater pool), the starlight kayak experience with picnic basket. €336 pp. Package available throughout February. To book click here.
Clonakilty's Fernhill House Hotel and Gardens has also put together an activity package, this time swapping a kayak for a horse. This package includes 1 night Bed and Brealfast in the newly refurbished bedrooms, gourmet dinner for two, winter picnic and a one hour Horse riding lesson at Kingston's Horse Riding School all for €125 pps.
This next package is gimmick led and extremely corny, but I thought I'd include it anyways for the sickly-sweet hell of it!
Rathmullan House in Donegal has a package especially for couples who are Nuts About Each Other. Guests get to plant a nut tree in the hotel grounds to symbolise that they are madly in love. Not only will they receive a Nuts About Each Other certificate giving details of their tree, couples also but get a complimentary upgrade at the hotel whenever they return to check on its progress (how enterprising!).
A one night package starts at €135 pp.If you are nuts enough to book click here!
Thrifty Tip: If you like this idea, but can't afford the hotel stay then DIY by heading to your local garden centre and buying a packet of seeds for a fiver. You'll have to make your own certificate in Word, but if you're lucky there will be a squirrel nearby who can validate it for you both.......
Bed and Breakfast Country Breaks
Hotel breaks can be expensive, but you can enjoy a romantic getaway for less by sticking with B & B accommodation. There are heaps of lovely Bed and Breakfasts around Ireland, lots with a very high standard -almost like boutique hotels-and almost all with extremely helpful and friendly staff! Expect to pay about €30-€40 pp. p/n for an en-suite room and endless local knowledge! This is a great option for people who love exploring the countryside and village life. Both www.bandbireland.comwww.bandbireland.com and www.bedandbreakfastireland.nethttp://www.bedandbreakfastireland.net/ are good sites for sourcing accommodation.
For people who usually hide under their (single) duvet until the soppy holiday passes and the dessert-sharing lovers go back indoors. there are some single friendly Valentine's weekend options out there!
TullAmoré Matchmaking Festival
If you are looking for love this Valentine's then the TullAmoré Matchmaking Festival may be just the ticket! The inaugural festival takes place between the 11-13th February and is pitched as a celebration of life, friendship and love. Three days of events in the Offally ton centre around the headliner Black tie Valentine's Ball @ the Bridge House Hotel in aid of the Irish Heart Foundation. Ball tickets cost €100, a steal considering professional 4th generation matchmaker, Claire Daly, will be on hand to offer her services. You can't put a price on love! A 2 night B & B stay at the hotel cost €110 pps. Visit the Bridge House Hotel website or the festival site for more details.
Pour Moi @ the Mayrick hotel Galway
The Galway city hotel is running a Pour Moi package with a variety of fun activities laid on for singletons.These include a welcome treat on arrival (strictly not of the heart-shaped variety), a soothing hot stone back massage and a singles cocktail party in the Basement Bar that night. You can choose between 5 dates over the weekend. A single occupancy room is priced at €165, but if you bring a pulling partner or wing man it works out @ €110 pp. To book your place click here!
Hope this has inspired some nice trips for the upcoming weekend! For me it is fingers crossed that my other half reads this and cops on that I would love to be swept away..............likely :(