Reconnect with yourself in the run up to Christmas with our series of Winter Warmer getaways. First up, Dunboyne Castle Hotel & Spa in County Meath.
This time of the year can be a bucket of stress, in spite of the airwaves being brimful with dulcet and comforting classics. Work seems to demand you sweat blood, with deadlines and appraisals looming. The dark evenings are a mental downer and I don't think gloves are even doing their jobs anymore. And there is the drama of Christmas, gift giving, family appeasing, and promising every friend you'll make it to their house party. Instead of being a source of scheduled sanity, our weekly planners are a trigger for anxiety.
While all of the above is part and parcel of the seasonal madness, I think opting out is just something you have to do and commit to. No one is going to burn your name from the family bible/block you on WhatsApp if you disappear for a few days. You have to put yourself first and a weekend away from it all is the best way to unwind and prepare yourself for life.
Dunboyne Castle has an interesting history involving the very much boo-hiss Cromwell. The original castle belonged to the Butler family and was destroyed by the aforementioned villain during his bloody control of the island. The current structure dates from the 1700s when it was rebuilt. It passed down through many families, including an order of nuns in the 20th century, and opened as Dunboyne Castle Hotel & Spa in 2006.
The best thing about Dunboyne is how near it is to Dublin. Dunboyne is just over the Dublin border in Meath and the car journey can range from a half hour to just under 50 minutes depending on traffic. You can actually get the 70 bus from the city centre which goes to Dunboyne village, a mere minutes walk away, so if you're not driving you don't have to worry too much about transport.
The afternoon tea is piled high with treats?if you're looking to indulge, and the menu changes with the season. At the moment it's very festive, offering white chocolate and winter berry mousse, spiced mulled wine tart, rich Christmas fruit cake and a traditional chocolate yule log. Savoury fans will relish the the roast turkey bread and cranberry on white bread.
The Ivy restaurant has a host of dishes that acknowledge food insensitivities while also showcasing Irish produce at its best. We fell hard for the scallops starter and the venison mains.
Seoid Spa offers a host of therapies, including skincare, thermal and hydrotherapy and massage. I opted for the latter treatment because when you feel like you spend the majority of your?life commuting, you always opt for the massage. Seoid is currently offering a 55 min Ultimate Aromatherapy Associates Experience?massage for €79. It's a full body massage with a mix of Swedish and neuromuscular techniques that also triggers lymphatic drainage, which helps encourage healthy circulation. Not only did I cry a little bit from the sheer relief, my skin looked flushed and dewy for 24 hours after.
In fact, I found the treatment so effective I have since incorporated aromatherapy into my nightly showers. I keep a bottle of Aromatherapy Associates Inner Strength Bath & Shower Oil to hand and every evening the clary sage, frankincense and cardamom blend helps me focus and relax.
Geraldine Howard, the co-founder of Aromatherapy Associates, got in touch to share with us her tips on recreating the relaxing magic at home after. ?Massage the temples with?Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Oil?before going to bed, or massage the back of your neck and the base of your skull,? she advises. ?Alternatively, have a bath or shower with?Deep Relax Bath and Shower Oil.? You can also put some drops on a tissue and tuck it inside your pillow case before lying down or put a teaspoon of?Deep Relax Bath and Shower Oil?in a bowl with hot water to inhale. Guaranteed to set you a peaceful night's sleep.?
Dunboyne are currently offering Dinner, Bed & Breakfast packages from €179 for 2 sharing Valid Dec/Jan/Feb. For more information about Dunboyne Castle Hotel & Spa check out their website for current offers.