Get your girlie getaway on in style in one of these three standout locations.
There's little more satisfying than catching a fish, cooking
and finally tucking into it... and little more hilarious than watching your squeamish friend attempt to reel in a scaly little swimmer. Howth Castle Cookery School runs a number of private group days (for a minimum of eight people), including Catch and Cook (?150 pp), which is a sea-fishing excursion followed by fish-cooking, fish-eating and wine-drinking. But if this is pushing the boat out a little far among the well-heeled ranks, swap fishing for the Forage and Cook option (?150 pp), which involves a lot less sea-sickness and significantly less fish-gutting (it's based around the edible wild plants on Howth Castle Estate). And if your crew is of the competitive type, a straight cookery class with cookoff to finish (?75 pp), could be the ideal menu option. Nothing wrong with making a hen sing, or indeed sail, for her supper. Howth Castle Cookery School, Howth, Co Dublin, 01 839 6182; howthcastlecookeryschool.ie
If the movie Dirty Dancing means anything to you and your hens, you're going to love Lusty Beg. Remember The Kellerman Resort with its rustic exterior, quaint wooden cabins and big gleaming lake, where Baby almost got left in that corner? Well, Lusty Beg Island Resort has all that but you'll find it in Fermanagh rather than Upstate New York, so a lot cheaper and easier to get to. Rent one of their luxury wooden lodges, where the lake laps up a few feet away from your private deck, then pick any of the adventure activities from the lengthy list offered on the island. We couldn't recommend the off-road driving more - it's simultaneously hair-raising and hilarious. Alternatively you can opt for archery, kayaking, rib-boat riding, clay pigeon shooting... or just a nice walk. There's a spa, with gorgeous Voya treatments and a pool, to wallow in after the adrenaline abates and a very inviting restaurant and bar in which to finish out the evening. Self-catering without actually having to do anything yourself - we love it. A luxury lodge for six costs €595 (two nights with third night free). The Girls Getaway package includes breakfast, mini Voya treatment, full use of pool and spa suite, lunch and speed boat ride, for €80 pps. Lusty Beg Island, Co Fermanagh, BT93 8AD, +44 028686 33300; lustybegisland.com
SURF & SPA
For equal parts action and pamper, Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa couldn't be better placed, on its splendid little peninsula surveying the rugged beauty of the west coast. For a nifty €119 per person sharing, you can nab bed and breakfast, plus surfing lessons on what has to be one of the country's loveliest beaches. After you've got your group Baywatch on (and are well and truly chilly), bundle into the Island Spa to warm your cockles in the thalassotherapy suite, before a beautifying signature treatment such as the delicious Sunshine Experience, for €99. Dine in the hotel's Gulfstream Restaurant or, if you fancy exploring the locale, book dinner in nearby seafood eatery Deasy's Harbour Bar. No evening in Clonakilty would be complete without a few pints in De Barra's Folk Club, where you could catch anything from indie folk to garage rock, jazz or an impromptu trad session, depending on the night. Inchydoney Island, Clonakilty, Co Cork, 023 883 3143; inchydoneyisland.com. De Barra's Folk Club, 55 Pearse Street, Clonakilty, 023 883 3381; debarra.ie. Deasy's Harbour Bar, Ring Village, Clonakilty, 023 883 5741; facebook.com/Deasys-Harbour- Bar-Seafood-Restaurant
Words by Kate O'Dowd and Lizzie Gore-Grimes