Feel like you didn't get the summer holiday you deserved? We look at some of the best getaways?and escapes this fair, and mostly chilly, island has to offer. Roaring atmospheric fireplaces guaranteed. Marshmallows optional.
Waterford Castle (above)
Close to Waterford city, this one is ideal if you're based in the south because no one likes a long Friday evening drive. However, the castle is accessible via a two minute car ferry so there's your getting-there adventure. And what is there to do once you're settled in? Good old-fashioned foraging and wildlife spotting. Just imagine the envy when pals see you instagramming real life deer. www.waterfordcastleresort.com
Cabra Castle outside Kingscourt in Co. Cavan is one for the history buffs. Dating from 1760, the castle might retains its ancient aesthetic but houses a super spa, a nine hole golf course and tennis courts. All the rooms are uniquely decorated with quaint eyries, private balconies, open fires, and four poster beds all on offer. www.cabracastle.com
One for lovers of golf, and beautiful lake views. This five star hotel is old world elegance meets modern luxury - that means an indoor heated pool and spa. When you're both done ascribing to gender stereotypes while mini-breaking, reunite in front of a crackling fire. www.dromoland.ie
If you're in the mood for a Christmas that solves the problem of which house to avoid for dinner, put Carton House top of that shortlist. Check in Christmas Eve and enjoy a wintery stroll among the wildlife. Then kick back in front of the fire with mulled wine and mince pie. There will even be carol singers. Christmas day promises traditional fare in the Linden Tree Restaurant with spa time scheduled in for St. Stephen's morning. A massage before scoffing a tin of Roses? Don't mind if we do. www.cartonhouse.com
Cliff House Hotel
Did you know that whale-watching season is in full swing? Well, now you do. Every winter, the seaside boutique Cliff House Hotel in west Waterford rely on expert?whale?watcher, Andrew Malcolm, to show lucky guests glimpses of these beautiful mammals. This winter the Cliff House Hotel is offering a special 2-night stay with dinner on one night and a 2-hour?whale-watching cliff walk with Andrew Malcolm. Whale sightings are weather dependent, unfortunately. However, there is always the hotel's Well Spa? www.thecliffhousehotel.com
Follow Jeanne Sutton on Twitter @jeannedesutun
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