Let others do the hard work this Christmas and take a festive break at one of Ireland’s top hotels. From mulled wine and mince pies by the fire to cocktails and carols, Vickie Maye takes a look at the what’s on offer
I always associated Christmas with home. Santa had to come down our chimney, the turkey savoured at my own table, or at the very least my mums.
There were a couple of Christmases spent in Sydney, but it always felt wrong eating prawns from a bbq in stifling heat on Christmas Day.
It only cemented more my opinion that Christmas was a time to spend within our own four walls.
And then, a few years ago, I had a pre-Christmas stay at the Park Hotel, Kenmare.
It changed my beliefs entirely. Christmas trees adorned every bedroom.
I could only imagine my children waking to find Santa Claus had found them in Kerry. Open fires, candlelight, flickering fairy lights — and best of all there’d be no Christmas Day cooking.
After soaking up the pre- Christmas atmosphere at the park, experiencing the warmth of the team in the Kenmare five-star, suddenly I got it. I understood why people go away for Christmas.
We still haven’t done it but for those who do want to take a break from the kitchen this Christmas Day, we’ve done the work for you.
The Malton, Killarney
Arrive on Christmas Eve for three days, to Christmas trees in every bedroom, and a surprise turndown gift for the kids each night.
There are warm scones and tea on arrival in the drawing room, followed by Christmas Eve dinner in the garden room.
Later, hear carols in the historic grand foyer with mulled wine and mince pies.
There’s a full breakfast on Christmas Day, and a festive lunch followed by a surprise visit from Santa.
After a buffet dinner there’s inhouse entertainment before the festivities continue on St Stephen’s Day.
There’s a late running brunch, a visit to the drag hunt and afternoon tea.
It costs €699 per person for the three day package, children 5-12 €229 per child, and €399 for teenagers.
Spend Christmas in the capital in the boutique Morrison.
Available from December 24-25 or December 25-26 from €380 per person sharing, it includes two nights b&b, a six course Christmas Day lunch and a supper buffet.
Plus it’s a perfect base for a St Stephen’s Day browse through the sales!
Wake up on Christmas morning with traditional breakfast in your room or in the Saddle Room, followed by a visit from Santa in the Lord Mayors lounge.
A one night stay with breakfast and a five course lunch or dinner starts at €375 per person sharing with two nights costing from €505.
Want to stay close to home?
Arrive at Castlemartyr on Christmas Eve to a festive buffet of mulled wine and mince pies.
Curl up and enjoy a hot drink by the fire in Knights bar before an evening of festive wining and dining.
There’s a cocktail reception in the Manor House and a gourmet dinner in the bell tower, with a local choir on hand later in Knights bar.
On Christmas morning breakfast is served in the Manor House, with a Christmas Day feast in the afternoon followed by traditional board games. There’s a buffet dinner later.
The two-night package is available December 24 and 26 for €750 per person sharing.
The Park Hotel Kenmare
If there’s one hotelier who knows how to look after his guests it’s Francis Brennan.
The three-day package begins Christmas Eve with afternoon tea and Christmas stories in the reading room.
There’s a candlelit four course dinner and a vigil Mass at Holy Cross Church.
Later there’s a classic movie in the Reel Room with mince pies and coffee before bed.
On Christmas Day if you’re brave enough there’s the Park Hotel Kenmare charity plunge — optional, of course!
For those of a more relaxed demeanour there’s breakfast, the option of a woodland guided walk, and a cycle through the Sheen Valley after Christmas lunch.
Later enjoy tea and festive bits by the fire before Santa pays a visit.
The best is for last though — a Tattinger champagne reception and five course dinner will wrap up the day.
There’s more fun on St Stephen’s Day with treasure hunts and a chance to demolish a gingerbread house.
The package is available for €1,395 per person sharing.
Sheen Falls Hotel
The newly decorated Sheen Falls is offering A Magic of Christmas package with the option of two nights from Christmas Eve for €840 per adult sharing, or two nights from Christmas Day for €985 sharing, and three nights from December 26 for €1,335 per person sharing.
Arrive for drinks at the roaring log fire, savour a champagne breakfast, try a treasure hunt on St Stephen’s Day.
Think cosy countryside Christmas at Farnham in Cavan — a soothing world of peace and quiet.
Arrive on Christmas Eve to drinks and dinner at the Botanica.
There’s a super buffet brekkie, and time out to explore the woodland estate and lakes, followed by the health spa. Or simply unwrap your presents at the fireside!
There’s lunch in the afternoon and a light buffet dinner.
Two nights cost from €440 per person, and three nights from €575. www.farnhamestate.com
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