Hotels around the country have some fantastic offers for the festive season, writes Lucinda O'Sullivan
Each Christmas morning, after Mass and a drive along Dun Laoghaire seafront, as I am looking up the rear end of the proverbial bird, with everyone, including Siamese cats Bruno and Bobby Dazzler, hollering for the big breakfast to set them up for the day, I bleat about next year. So, if this is your year to get away for Christmas or New Year, here are some of the deals available in hotels around the country. Please note that unless otherwise stated, all children's prices are for under-12s sharing with parents.
In Dublin, the Shelbourne Hotel on St Stephen's Green is offering a one-night Christmas stay starting at €255 pps from December 24-26, including breakfast in the Saddle Room, a Christmas gift for all guests, a visit from Santa Claus in the Lord Mayor's Lounge and a Christmas stocking to be left outside each child's room, plus a five-course Christmas lunch or dinner on Christmas Day.
Three-day Christmas packages at Bewley's Hotel Ballsbridge start at €299 pps, €130 per child (under-threes free). As well as lunch on Christmas Day, dinner is included on Christmas Eve and St Stephen's Day.
The Dylan Hotel has a New Year's Eve package at €409 per room, including a gourmet tasting menu in the Dylan restaurant with live music afterwards in the bar. Non-residents can also enjoy the Dylan's signature six-course tasting menu on New Year's Eve at €75 per person for either lunch or dinner.
A "couple's Christmas retreat" to the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel on Golden Lane costs from €185pps for two BB and a five-course dinner on Christmas Day.
Ring in 2014 with a Las Vegas-style New Year's Eve party at Clyde Court Hotel (formerly the Berkeley Court Hotel). For €149pps, you get BB and a ticket to the party including a glass of bubbles on arrival, a five-course gala dinner, roulette and blackjack tables, 'tributes' to Tina Turner, Cher and Neil Diamond, a late bar and DJ.
The Gibson Hotel has a New Year's Eve package based on two people sharing at €99 room only, €119 BB and €169 BB&D. Dinner includes three courses from its seasonal German Food Market menu. Think snow-covered chalets along with a carvery buffet which includes bratwurst, roast meats, goulash and spit roast whole hog at €35 pp. Gluwein, mulled cider et al.
In Co Wicklow, Druids Glen has a number of packages, one of which offers three nights' BB, dinner on Christmas Eve and St Stephen's Day, and lunch and evening buffet dinner on Christmas Day itself. A one-night package including dinner is €170pps.
Monart Destination Spa at Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, has a fabulous New Year's Eve break with gala dinner from €349pps including Champagne and fireworks.
In Co Kildare, the K Club has Christmas and New Year's Eve packages starting from €750pps. Every room has its own Christmas tree, children under six stay free and on New Year's Eve the skies above the grounds will be brought to life with a fireworks display.
Bansha Castle in Co Tipperary, built originally in 1760 and recently refurbished to a very high standard, sleeps 14 to 18 people. Here you can snuggle up in front of a crackling open log fire with a glass of port and a mince pie. Christmas week and New Year's week is €3,000.
Imagine waking up on Christmas morning looking out at the boats in Kinsale from a beautiful duplex penthouse. This sleeps four and costs €995 per week.
The Radisson Blu Little Island offers overnight BB accommodation over Christmas from €55pps. A five-course Christmas Day buffet lunch is served in the Island Grillroom costing €85pp. Santa Claus will make a special appearance.
Hayfield Manor has a three-night Christmas package from €995pps whilst its New Year's Eve gala ball sees head chef Graeme Campbell push the culinary boundaries with a seven-course gourmet feast. Packages from €297.
Nearby, the River Lee Hotel has a two-night break with gala dinner on New Year's Eve, free live entertainment and late check-out from €189pps. It also has an offer incorporating a visit to Cork Opera House to see the pantomime Aladdin. Enjoy dinner first in the Weir Restaurant and a family ticket to the panto from €180 per family room.
At the Maritime Hotel in Bantry, West Cork, two night's BB with five-course dinner on New Year's Eve costs from €155pps.
The Muckross Park Hotel in the heart of Killarney National Park offers two nights' BB from €149pps. Relax in the Cloister's Spa or take a jaunting car ride to Muckross House.
The Old Ground in Ennis has one- and two-night New Year's packages with dinner on New Year's Eve from €115pps for one night and €160pps for two.
In Galway, at the Park House Hotel, you can enjoy a three-night break inclusive of New Year's Eve gourmet dinner from €279pps.
Out in beautiful Connemara, Renvyle House Hotel's Christmas programme of three nights' BB&D is €633pps whilst its 2BB&D New Year's Eve package is €299 pps.
At Ashford Castle there is an extensive Christmas programme over three days for all the family with rates starting at €1,600pps. It also has a New Year's Eve one-night package with a black tie dinner in the George V room. Rates start at €447.50 pps.
At the McWilliam Park Hotel in Claremorris, a special New Year's Eve break of 2BB1D costs €149pps.
At the Westport Plaza Hotel, you can have three nights' BB plus dinners, afternoon tea and a full festive itinerary from €435, or 2BB1D from €179pps. The sister hotel next door, the Castlecourt Hotel, also has a black tie gala ball at €55 per person.
Knockranny House Hotel has superb food from chef Seamus Commons in La Fougere restaurant. You can enjoy 2BB and dinner on New Year's Eve from €249pps.
At Kilronan Castle at Ballyfarnon, Co Roscommon, with its gothic splendour, you can have two nights' BB and a seven-course feast at lunch-time and a Christmas evening buffet from €358pps. Santa will visit on Christmas morning with gifts for the children.