Festivals are ideal break

IRISH Festivals used to revolve almost solely around music and drink, not necessarily in that order.

Well, no doubt both will be present during the Nire Valley Walking Festival on October 10 and 11, but it’s really more about fitness. The festival is based in the Nire Valley and Ballymacarbry areas with the scheduled walks in and around the Comeragh Mountains. The area boasts outstanding natural beauty with an abundance of lakes, rivers and hills. The natural landscape offers serious challenges for the seasoned hiker, but also caters for those who want to meander in and out among the beautiful scenery at a more relaxed pace.

Foodies will be headed around the same time (October 9 and 10) to Kinsale for the annual 33rd International Gourmet Festival hosted by Kinsale Good Food Circle, a group of 12 hotels recognised for their high standards of cuisine.

During the weekend, visitors can sample fresh seafood, world cuisine and traditional Irish cooking or enjoy a pint in one of the local pubs overlooking the beautiful harbour.

In the west, the Westport Arts Festival starts on October 2 and runs right through to October 11. This is a celebration of dance, recital, theatre, and of course great music and is set in the very scenic and beautiful surroundings of a town that yet again scooped a top award in the 2009 Tidy Towns competition.

To find out more about upcoming Irish festivals and associated hotel/guesthouse deals, look up www.discoverireland.ie.

- TOPFLIGHT have launched their new Winter Sun brochure, offering a greater choice to Irish travellers this season and introducing the Portuguese island of Madeira to their programme for the first time.

Lanzarote, Gran Canaria and a wide variety of luxury cruises departing from ports around the world also feature this season. Specialist tailor-made golf holidays are available to the Algarve as well as stay and explore options to Italy’s Lake Garda, Rome and Sorrento.

Those booking by September 30 can avail of the company’s early booking offer of €150 off, per couple, in selected hotels on Lanzarote.

Order Topflight’s Winter Sun 2009/2010 brochure from 01 240 1700, www.topflight.ie or any travel agent.

- INGHAMS will offer weekly departures from Dublin and Cork to facilitate those booking breaks from the company’s Winter Ski and Snowboard programme.

Dublin passengers can fly to Andorra, Austria, Bulgaria, France, Italy, Slovakia and Switzerland, while Cork flights operate to France, Italy and Switzerland.

The company offers all-inclusive ski packages to Slovakia which include lift pass, ski equipment hire, tuition and daily two-course lunch in a mountain restaurant along with half board accommodation and drinks with dinner from €799 per person in the four star Grand Hotel Smokovec, Slovakia. For details of all packages and offers, visit your local travel agent or see www.inghams.ie.


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