Mum’s the word

Make your marcade in Dublin

In the Liberties, behind a shop-front on Thomas Street, is the brilliant Ferocious Mingle Marcade.

The wha’? That’s what I thought. Step through the door and it makes sense. An Aladdin’s Cave unfolds: coffee shops, vintage clothes, jewellery, a Thai nail salon and a silent cinema, where you can drink coffee.

It’s brilliantly bizarre, and a brilliant bazaar. The Victoriana is more elaborate on Sundays, when stallholders wear fancy dress.

The nearby Hilton Kilmainham (below) has a mums’ getaway package, including dinner, a cocktail, a box of chocolates, and a return ticket for the Luas, from €95pps.


Flee the nest to Fota Island Resort, Co, Cork

The mum in your life may be priceless, but €330 is the cost of pampering her at the Fota Island Resort.

The five-star hotel’s Mother’s Day special includes one night’s B&B, a meal for two at the Fota Restaurant, and either a harmony facial or a harmony full body massage in the Fota Island Spa for two, so make sure she invites you. Oh, and there are homemade truffles and sparkling wine on arrival.

Details: 021-488-3700;

Go green in Waterford

Does the mum in your life have green fingers? Here’s an idea that could blossom into a garden treat and raise money for breast cancer, too.

Glanbia runs 12 CountryLife garden centres across the south-east, and it’s recruited former Rose of Tralee (and expectant mother), Orla O’Shea, for a special-gift initiative to raise money for the Irish Cancer Society’s Action Breast Cancer programme.

The Mother’s Day Bloom Bowl — a collection of seasonal primroses, narcissus ‘Tête-à-tête’ and pansies in a pink Roma planter bowl, is on sale for €9.99.

Hotels in Waterford, including the Majestic in Tramore, have Mother’s Day specials too. The Majestic’s close to the stores in Gaultier and Kilmeaden, and has a lunch for €20pp, and overnight rates from €39pp. The Park Hotel, in Dungarvan, near another CountryLife centre, has Mother’s Day lunch from €25pp, with a free box of chocolates.


Bask in the Blue Book

There are many bywords for luxury, but few have the status of the Blue Book, Ireland’s iconic collection of country houses, historic hotels, and restaurants.

Pop that slim little puppy into anybody’s hands, tell them the weekend is on you, and kick back and accumulate the brownie points.

Blue Book properties regularly do occasion-based special offers, and Mother’s Day is no exception. Packages this year range from B&B, with dinner at Aherne’s in Youghal, from €90pp, to a luxury weekend, including two dinners, at Hayfield Manor, from €479.

Hayfield Manor also has a jazz brunch, offering four courses in the Orchids Restaurant for €49pp.


Keep things country in Kerry

If family life is hectic, you could whoosh mom off to a luxury country house on the shores of Caragh Lake.

Set near Killorglin, Carrig House is a 16-bed Victorian country house looking over the water and McGillycuddy’s Reeks, and its AA Rosette restaurant is a cut above the meat-and-two-veg four-star getaway. Georgina Campbell voted this her country house of the year for 2013, and the menu prizes local and seasonal ingredients — from Cromane mussels to Iveragh salmon.

An overnight stay with a four-course dinner costs €250, with accommodation in a lake-view superior room.

Details: 066 976-9100;

Eastern promise in Shanagarry, Co Cork

The cliff walk at Ballycotton is one of the sweetest stretches of Ireland’s south coast — and it’s short (and flat) enough to appeal to mums of all stripes. There’s even a spot along the way known as ‘Paradise’… to which any lady would surely love to be led.

For an overnight stay nearby, check out the Garryvoe Hotel (right). Family-run, it has a ‘mother your mammy’ special, bundling B&B with a glass of wine on arrival, late checkout to 1pm, and full use of the new health club facilities (including a 25m lap pool, hot tub and 1,200-sq-foot gym), from €90pp on Mar 10.

Meanwhile, you could take things up a gear in Ballymaloe House, where dinner and bed and breakfast is available from €160pp on Mother’s Day. On Sunday nights, the hotel serves a traditional Irish buffet inspired by mum herself, Myrtle Allen.


Limerick, you’re a lady

A three-course lunch for €9.99 would be cause for celebration any day. But that’s just what the Southill Area Centre is offering on Mother’s Day, giving fathers and kids in Limerick the ideal opportunity to treat their special lady.

If you’d prefer to splash out, the French Table is open all day on Sunday, Mar 10, in honour of ‘first ladies’ all over Limerick (and beyond).

Overlooking the River Shannon on Steamboat Quay, the restaurant is doing three-course lunches from €28pp (I like the look of the French onion soup, followed by a “seven-hour shoulder of lamb”), and the service is very special.

For a city break, the boutique George Hotel has two nights’ B&B, with dinner one evening — plus a complimentary drink and chocolates — from €99pp. Why not make a weekend of it? Mar 8 is International Women’s Day, after all.


Picnic in the parkin Kilkenny

Sick wading through ‘2B&B+1D’ special offers? To my eyes, they’re starting to read like maths equations rather than desirable weekends away.

Kilkenny’s Pembroke Hotel has come up with a great take on the theme for Mother’s Day — as launched recently by expectant mum, Pippa O’Connor.

The ‘picnic in the park’ includes two nights’ B&B, one dinner, a tour of Kilkenny Castle, and a picnic in the castle grounds, delivered with a flourish by the hotel’s old-school delivery bike, ‘the Pembroke peddler’.

They’re not scrimping on the goodies, either. Inside the basket, you’ll find fresh fruit, sandwiches and terrines, mini-desserts, juice, water and flasks of tea and coffee.

Completing this novel equation are two luxurious blankets to keep off the chill.

Details: 056-778-3500;

PS: A quick gift idea

She’s cooked your meals, washed your clothes and wiped away your tears (and much else), but what gift could you buy your mum in return?

One idea is a One4All gift card … and not just because it’s a lazy man’s fix-all. Throughout March, every purchase of a €15 card sees €1 donated to the Children’s Medical & Research Foundation at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin.



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