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6 months ago

Holidays in Ireland

40 Hotels in Ireland That Allow Dogs

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From pet-friendly self catering options to luxury five-star resorts, I’ve got over 40 great apartments and hotels in Ireland that allow dogs to come on holiday with you.


When I started researching this post, little did I know that there were so many hotels in Ireland that allow dogs. I have listed over 40 below, but there are actually a lot more. I chose hotels or apartments that were either recommended, or had a pet-policy on their website – so if you are aware of some that I have left out, please comment below and I will check them out.




There is such a variety of pet-friendly hotels in Ireland. The Twelve Hotel in Galway has a separate pet lobby and a pet menu for your four legged friend, while Castlemartyr has a dedicated Pet Concierge. The Salty Dog in Co. Down allows your pet to dine with you in the lounge. You can pre-book grooming services and dog sitting in many hotels, and I was amazed to learn that some even offer turndown teats!


In some hotels certain breeds are excluded, while others require vaccination certificates. Some hotels provide bedding and water bowls, while others expect you to bring your own. One thing that is common among all hotels in Ireland that allow dogs, is that you need to notify them in advance that you are bringing a dog with you. There may be only a few rooms in a particular hotel that are pet-friendly, so you have to book well in advance.


dog friendly hotels in ireland
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I have divided this list of hotels in Ireland that allow dogs by official hotel ratings, however some of the 3-star hotels have excellent reviews from pet owners. I have included some recommended self catering options at the end and you can read my post on dog friendly Airbnbs in Ireland here.  I hope you enjoy it and it helps you plan a holiday in Ireland with your pet in the near future.



5-Star Hotels in Ireland that Allow Dogs:


1. Ashford Castle, Co. Mayo 

Ashford castle is one of the five star hotels in ireland that allow dogs

Ashford Castle is arguably Ireland’s best hotel, if not one of the world’s best. You can rest assured that yourself and your canine friend will be spoilt in Ashford Castle. In fact Ashford Castle believe your pet is a VIP too (Very Important Pet)! Pet-friendly rooms are equipped with a choice of different sized comfy beds, cushions, duvets, fluffy towels, food, water bowls and a turndown treat. The vast Ashford Estate will ensure endless walking possibilities and you can pre-book dog sitting, dog walking and grooming services.


Pets can not be left unattended in rooms and must be kept on a leash at all times. They are not allowed in dining, beverage or lounge venues. The cost for such lofty treatment is only €40 per dog per night, however, a damage deposit of €1000 is required per stay. Pre-booking is required in advance. See more here.

Check prices here



2. Castlemartyr Resort, Co. Cork


Castlemartyr Resort won the Gold Medal Award for the best pet-friendly hotel in Ireland in 2019 and they have numerous options for a great pet friendly holiday in Cork. Choose from luxury room and suite options in the hotel, or luxury self-catering options on the resort grounds. There is a dedicated Pet Concierge that offers discounts on local dog walkers, sitters and maps of nearby woods and beaches, and your dog will find a welcome doggie gift in your room.


Unlike many hotels, guests can have up to two pets (max size standard labrador) in any room at once. Please bring your own food and bedding, bowl etc. Pets must be disease-free with all standard vaccinations and there are exceptions for certain dog breeds. Pets are not allowed in food or beverage areas, must be kept on a leash in public areas, and can not be left alone in any room at any time – pet sitting is available at an extra charge.

Cost per hotel room is €50 for first night and €20 for any additional nights;  self catering lodges €20 per night or €100 for seven nights. Pre booking is essential. See more here.

Check prices here



3. Cliff House Hotel, Co. Waterford


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The luxurious Cliff House Hotel is one of the few 5-star hotels in Ireland that allow dogs to dine with you on the terrace. They actively promote stays with pets and have a ‘Sandy Paws’ offer which includes an overnight stay for two and a dog, with breakfast included.  You can expect homemade dog treats, towel and a sleeping crate. There are superb cliff walks and plenty of options for paddles in the sea – I’ve stayed there and it is a stunning location for both owners and pets.


Pre-booking is a must as dog-friendly rooms are subject to availability. Dog guests must be 30lbs or less as rooms are not suitable for larger dogs. Dogs need to be kept on a leash at all times and not left alone in rooms. Dogs are not permitted in bar or restaurant areas. See more here.

Check prices here



4. Dunloe Hotel & Gardens, Co, Kerry

dunloe hotel killarney one of the five star hotels in ireland that allow dogs

The Dunloe Hotel & Gardens is a great choice for a pet-friendly holiday in Ireland as your pet will love exploring the 65 acre estate, which includes an enclosed run. The hotel offers dog friendly accommodation in their luxurious kennels, or in one of their pet-friendly hotel rooms. Upon arrival you will be greeted with a welcome pack including a pet toy, treat and clean-up bags. There are more pet treats in your room including a water bowl, and a pet bed with a doggy throw to cover the sofa should your pet wish to sleep there.


A nominal charge of €10 per dog per night applies and rooms must be booked in advance with the hotel. Pets are not allowed in food and beverage areas and pool areas of the hotel. See more here.

Check prices here



5. Dylan Hotel, Dublin

hotels in dublin that allow dogs

Dublin’s contemporary Dylan Hotel is the only five-star boutique hotel in Dublin. This historic townhouse is a popular haunt for Dublin’s jet-set but it also happens to be a cool hangout for dogs! You can expect pet beds, treats and water bowls in dog-friendly rooms, but like many five star hotels you will pay for the privilege – the cost is per dog is €100 per night. See more here.

Check prices here



6. Lough Eske Castle, Co. Donegal

lough eske is one of the five star hotels in ireland that allow pets

At five-star Lough Eske Castle you can enjoy a luxury stay with the added advantage of brining your pet along. The Courtyard guestrooms are pet-friendly and are equipped with a a bed basket and blanket, food and a water tray. Dog groomers, walkers or sitters are all available close by, just ask the concierge. Cost per pet is €25 per room per stay, but they need to be confirmed at the time of booking. Note that the main Castle building including restaurant and bar is open to humans only.  See more here.

Check prices here



7.  Tankardstown House, Co. Meath  

tankardstown dog friendly hotel in ireland

The luxurious Tankardstown House allows dogs to stay in their Courtyard Cottage Suites, which open directly on to the courtyard, so dogs can access outside easily. Tankardstown has its own resident dogs (including Bruce above) who are delighted when more dogs stay over and the hotel even has a special package available. Enjoy an overnight stay with breakfast, a complimentary doggie treat and a three-course evening meal from €155 per person. See more here.

Check prices here



4-star Hotels in Ireland that Allow Dogs:


8. Ardilaun Hotel, Co. Galway

4 star hotels in ireland that allow dogs

Highly commended in this years Pet Friendly Destination of the Year awards, the Ardilaun Hotel is one of Galway’s most popular dog-friendly hotels. Pet-friendly rooms with dog bowls are located beside the gardens so they have easy access to outdoors. You will need to bring your own bedding and food, and dogs are not allowed in their room alone.


Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times and are not allowed in the restaurant, bar or leisure centre. Reservations must be made in advance direct with the hotel and a fee of €15 per night applies. See more here.

Check prices here



9. Beech Hill Country House Hotel, Co. Derry

4 star hotels in northern ireland that allow dogs

The pet policy at the Beech Hill Country House Hotel is simple, they allow all pets, once they are well behaved. Pets will love the 32 acres of woodlands and the welcome treats they receive on arrival – a ‘Pawsecco or Doggy bear’! They also receive a blanket, treat and water bowl. Cost is £30 per stay with a maximum of two dogs per room.


The Sixteen 22 Gastro Pub allows pets to dine or drink with you, and you can also opt to have breakfast served there. Dog grooming, walking or sitting is available at an extra cost. See more here.

Check prices here



10. Cashel House Hotel, Co. Galway

dog friendly hotels in ireland

The pet-friendly Cashel House Hotel in Connemara allows pets to stay in your bedroom. They can also get the chance to meet the long term resident dog Sammy. A member of Ireland’s blue book, this 4-star hotel is located just 8 miles from Roundstone, and is a great location for exploring the Wild Atlantic Way with your pet. See more here.





11. Vienna Woods Hotel & Holiday Homes, Co. Cork

dog friendly hotels in ireland

The Cork Vienna Woods Hotel allows one small pet less than 22 lbs or shorter than 16 inches to stay in their hotel rooms or self-catering villas. Cost is €20 per pet per night, which must be pre-booked as availability is limited. Pets are not allowed within the public areas of the hotel and must remain on leads at all times in the hotel grounds.


Owners are requested to bring their own food and bedding, and be washed and on flea medication prior to arrival. Guests are responsible for any damage or injury caused by the pet, and must absolve the hotel staff of any liability if the pet or another guest is injured. See more here.


Check prices here



12. Randles & Dromhall Hotels Killarney, Co. Kerry


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Killarney is a great  destination to bring your dog on holiday with you. Randles and its sister hotel The Dromhall allow one dog (small to medium size only) stay in the hotel room with you, but you will need to bring your own food and bedding. Pets are not allowed in public areas of the hotel and must remain on a lead at all times.


There is a nominal fee of €10 per pet for one night or €15 per pet for duration of stay. Restrictions apply on certain breeds, please confirm in advance at the time of booking. See more on Dromhall here. and Randles here.

Check prices here



13. Glebe Country House, Co. Cork

hotels in ireland that allow dogs

Glebe Country House Hotel allow pets stay for free. They have a secure area in our gardens to exercise your dog and the sandy surfing beach of Garrettstown is just four miles away.  See more here.

Check prices here



14. Gregans Castle, Co. Clare

pet friendly hotels in ireland

The team at Gregan’s Hotel are animal lovers and extend a warm welcome to pets. There are a number of ground-floor dog-friendly rooms which accommodate pets, with direct access to the garden. See more here.

Check prices here



15. Harveys Point, Co. Donegal

Harveys Point one of the four star hotels in ireland that allow dogs

Harveys Point has been on my wish-list for some time and is superbly located for a holiday with your pet. Pet-friendly rooms are located in the Lakeshore Suites, and not in the main hotel. See more here.


Check prices here



16. Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel, Co. Fermanagh


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The Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel have lodges on site which are an ideal choice for a pet-friendly holiday in Fermanagh. Enjoy the Cuilcagh Walk or the many forests and walking trails close by. They accept all well-behaved domestic dogs, however a charge of £75.00 will apply. Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times and are not allowed in the dining areas. Two dogs are allowed stay per room. See more here.  

Check prices here



17. Lusty Beg Island Resort, Co. Fermanagh

four star hotels in ireland that allow dogs

Lusty Beg Island Resort and Spa offers a choice of dog-friendly self catering lodges, chalets and bedrooms. Awarded Northern Ireland’s first GOLD Paw Grading from Dog Friendly NI’s PAW Grading Program, ensures a memorable stay for your four-legged friend. The dog wash is a big hit – dogs can enjoy a walk along the dog trail and get as muddy as they wish!


Dogs are welcome in the signed off areas in the Beech Room and The Terrace, but not in indoor areas, unless by prior arrangement. Dogs must be kept on a leash near other guests and not left alone in the accommodation or grounds. Dogs are charged at £20 per dog for the complete stay. See more here.




18. Marlfield House, Co. Wexford

Marlfield House one of the four star hotels in ireland that allow dogs

A member of Ireland’s Blue Book, I stayed in Marlfield House last year and loved it. There are plenty of cats, dogs and ponies in the grounds and their resident peacock George also enjoys meeting pets. Dogs must be kept on a lead in the garden and the house and not left alone in the bedrooms.


You need to bring your own bed if they are staying in the room with you, and dogs are not allowed in the dining or public rooms of the hotel. The hotel must be notified when you are making the reservation and there is a charge of €15 per night. See more here.

Read: My review of Marlfield House – The perfect overnight escape


Check prices here



19. Parknasilla Resort & Spa, Co. Kerry

pet friendly hotels in ireland

The luxurious Parknasilla Resort & Spa is a great pet-friendly destination. Not only have they recently completed building four dog kennels but they also have superb self catering lodges, which are an ideal option for a family break away.


There is a nominal charge of €10 per night and kennels must be reserved in advance. Please bring your own bedding, preferred dog food and bowls. Dogs are not allowed inside the hotel or self catering lodges and must be kept on a leash at all times. Dangerous dogs as specified in regulations made under the Control of Dogs Act 1986 are not permitted. See more here.  

Check prices here



20. Rathmullan House, Co. Donegal

hotels in ireland that allow dogs

Located on the shores of Lough Swilly in Donegal, Rathmullan House is a great location to for a pet-friendly holiday in Ireland. There is only one dog-friendly room available in Rathmullan House, so check directly with the hotel for availability. This room has a private entrance and sleeping area suited to dogs.


The hotel provides a bed, food bowl and clean-up bags as well as tasty kitchen scraps on request! Pets are not allowed in the public areas of the hotel, but there is plenty of outside space for them to enjoy. See more here.

Check prices here



21. Rathsallagh House, Co. Wicklow


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Rathsallagh House, another member of Ireland’s Blue Book, has a special kennels for pets which are located 1-minute walk from reception. You need to bring your own feed and dog bedding. Pets are not permitted in the guest rooms, bar, drawing or dining rooms. However, you are free to wander about our grounds with your pet on or off the leash.  


Please bring evidence of up to date vaccinations, including kennel cough vaccinations. There are no charges for bringing your dog, however prior reservation/notification is essential. See more here.

Check prices here



22. Seaview House, Co. Cork

hotels in cork that allow dogs

The Seaview House is one of West Cork’s only pet friendly hotels. They have ground floor rooms with direct access to the gardens. Dogs are not allowed in the public areas of the hotel, but  are welcome to access the gardens and all out-door areas. Pre-booking is essential, cost is €25 per night per dog. See more here.

Check prices here




23. Sneem Hotel, Co. Kerry


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I love the Sneem Hotel’s simple dog policy – they welcome any dog, regardless of size, weight, or breed for zero cost or deposit, as long as they are well-behaved! There are terrific walking trails and sandy beaches close by and the hotel’s resident red setter is sure to make your dog welcome.


The self-catering apartments are perfectly suited to pets, however you need to bring your own bedding, water bowl and pet food.  Pets are not allowed in any inside areas of the hotel including the hotel lobby, bar and restaurant. There is no additional charge if you are bringing your pet along, however they may charge in the event of any damage done to the room/apartment. See more here.

Check prices here



24. The Lodge at Ashford Castle, Co. Mayo

luxury hotels in ireland that allow dogs

The Lodge at Ashford Castle, like the Ashford Castle Hotel treats all pets like VIPs (Very Important Pets). Their dog friendly rooms can cater for a maximum of two dogs per room. Make sure to advise the hotel on booking what size your dog is so they can allocate a room with a large or small bed.


A dog bed, fluffy towels, food and water bowls are all provided and there is a special dog and cat menu available from the kitchen including including Scooby Doo snacks, bangers and mash and a milk choc cappucino! A nominal charge of €10 per dog per night applies, however a deposit of €500 is required at check-in. This is refunded on departure once your room has been inspected and no damages have been made. See more here.

Check prices here



25. The Mustard Seed, Adare, Co. Limerick

four star hotels in ireland that allow dogs

The luxury country house, The Mustard Seed was voted pet-friendly hotel of the year by Georgina Campbell. They offer a choice of accommodation options including a superior room on the ground floor with doors opening onto the garden or a deluxe suite for added space, but also with access to the outside. Dogs can not be left unattended in your room and cannot sit with you at meal times. See more here.

Check prices here



26. The Twelve Hotel, Co. Galway

one of the best dog friendly hotels in ireland

The Twelve Hotel is one of the most popular hotels in Ireland that allow dogs. A 4-star boutique hotel in Barna, your dogs will be treated to an assortment of goodies and amenities including a ‘doggie bag’ with a toy, treat and clean-up bags. There is a separate Pet Lobby with toys, water bowls, bones, leashes and towels and the spacious pet-friendly suite come with a pet menu, food and water bowl and doggie room service! There is even a Pet Concierge Service that has details and discounts on local dog walkers, sitters, groomers, boutiques and a map of nearby woods and beaches.



There is no additional charge for pets, but a security deposit is applied. Pets are not permitted in the hotel restaurants. Only one pet is allowed per suite, and must be booked in advance with the hotel. See more here.

Check prices here




3-star Hotels in Ireland that Allow Dogs:


27. Brown Trout Golf and Country Inn, Co. Derry

3 star hotels in ireland that allow dogs

The Brown Trout Golf and Country Inn offers a range of dog-friendly accommodation, including spacious 4-star courtyard cottages. Up to two dogs may stay in your room, cost is £20 for one dog, £30 for two. Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times in the main building and bedrooms.


However, there are many other conditions that should be reviewed before booking such as dogs must be clean with no heavy doggy small and not shedding. Rooms will be inspected upon departure and any damage will be charged. See more here.

Check prices here



28. Carna Bay Hotel, Connemara, Co. Galway

connemara is a great choice for a pet friendly holiday in ireland

Carna will always have a place in my heart, with some great memories of three consecutive Gaeltacht trips in my teenage years! The Carna Bay Hotel allow pets to stay in the room with you at no extra charge, once they are house trained and owners bring suitable bedding/box for sleeping in. See more here.

Check prices here




29. Enniscoe House. Co. Mayo

country houses in ireland that allow dogs

Located on the shores of Lough Conn, Enniscoe House is ideally located for a break away with your pet. Pets are welcome to spend the night in your bedrooms, and they offer a specific dog lovers package for €90 per person which includes an over night stay with breakfast and a dog lovers treat box. See more here.

Check prices here



30. Gleneagle Hotel Killarney, Co. Kerry


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Gleneagle Hotel in Killarney offers the choice of pet-friendly hotel rooms and apartments. The apartments can take two pets ( max 50 lbs ) comfortably and are equipped with a pet bed and food and water bowl.  Pre booking is essential. See more here.

Check prices here



31. Lough Inagh Lodge, Co. Galway

dog friendly holidays in ireland

Lough Inagh Lodge is a wonderful pet-friendly hotel that allows your pet to enjoy open log fires in the library or enjoy morning coffee and afternoon tea in the sitting room. There are no costs either, making it an ideal choice for Galway break with your pet. See more here.

Check prices here


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32. Marine Hotel, Ballycastle, Co. Antrim


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We stayed in Ballycastle a few years ago when we explored the Causeway Coast. As well as being a pretty beach town, it is a great base to explore the coastal route. The Marine Hotel is one of Northern Ireland’s most popular pet-friendly hotels, where dogs are allowed join you in their Costa Coffee and Library area for lunch or dinner. Their dog-friendly bedrooms come with dog bowls, blankets and treats. A nominal charge of £15.00 per dog applies and reservations must be made in advance. See more here.

Read: A magical few days on the Causeway Coast

Check prices here



33. Peacockes Hotel, Co. Galway

dog friendly hotels in galway

Peacockes Hotel in Connemara have a limited number of dog-friendly bedrooms on the ground floor of the property that can accommodate up to three people, as well as your dog. Dogs are allowed in the public areas of the hotel but must remain on a lead and under the control of an adult at all times. Nominal nightly supplement applies and reservations must be made in advance. See more here.

Check prices here



34. Renvyle House, Co. Galway

hotels in ireland that allow dogs

Renvyle House has a selection of pet-friendly ground-floor rooms with close access to the grounds that are ideal for your four-legged friend. The hotel allows small to medium size dogs (max 40lbs / 18kgs) only with a maximum of one dog per room. Dogs must be fully toilet-trained, washed and on flea medication prior to arrival.


Pets are not allowed in the pool area, restaurant, bar or other areas where food is consumed, and must be kept on a leash at all times. Certain breeds of animals will not be allowed. A pet fee of €15.00 per night applies and you must bring your own bedding. Any additional cleaning charges or damage will incur a charge. See more here.


Check prices here



35. The Inn on the Coast, Co. Antrim

causeway coast

The Inn on the Coast Hotel is a popular choice with dog owners. Pets are allowed dine, have breakfast or enjoy drinks with you in the Pub Bistro and they also have alfresco seating in the Beer Garden. The Inn on the Coast welcome dogs of all shapes and sizes, including Great Danes!


They have 10 pet-friendly rooms, located on the ground floor, with easy access to the outdoors. Rooms can accommodate two large dogs or three small dogs at a cost of £20 for one dog, £25 for two or £30 for three dogs. All dogs receive a pooch pack with goodies and water but guests are asked to bring their own bedding, crates, bowls etc. See more here.


Check prices here



36. The Salty Dog Hotel, Co. Down

salty dog hotel is one of nothern irelands best dog friendly hotels

As the name suggests, the Salty Dog Hotel & Bistro is one of Northern Ireland’s most popular dog-friendly hotels. The Salty Dog welcomes all dogs, regardless of size, weight or breed, as long as they are well-behaved. They allow a maximum of two large/medium sized dogs or three small dogs per room, with a a one off charge of £15.00 for one dog, £20.00 for two dogs or £25.00 for three dogs, regardless of how long you stay. They also contribute £5 of each of these charges to the local animal shelter, Assisi.


You can bring your own bedding, towel and food bowl, or if you prefer it can be supplied for £10 per night. However, all dogs receive complimentary treats and water and a doggie box of goodies, including a doggie tooth brush, clean-up bags and sausage for breakfast – if allowed. Dog walking and grooming services are available and there is a doggie menu, with dog beer, dog ice cream and a mean chicken and beef meatloaf! Pets are allowed to eat with their owners in the lounge area of the hotel, making the Salty Dog Hotel one of the most popular hotels in Ireland that allow dogs.

Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times in main building and must not be left unattended in bedrooms. You need to book a table to dine with your dog.  See more here.

Check prices here



37. Wyatt Hotel, Co. Mayo

select hotels of ireland - wyatt hotel is pet friendly

The Wyatt Hotel in Westport offers dog-friendly bedrooms in an isolated area of the hotel. These rooms can accommodate three people and come with a separate dog-bed, and direct exterior access so your pet can access outside easily. Dogs are not allowed in the public areas of the hotel and can not use the main entrance. Walking/watering grounds are available in public green area at the rear of the hotel.


One dog is allowed per bedroom and an additional nightly fee applies. Reservations must be made in advance with the hotel. See more here.

See more here



Other pet-friendly self-catering options in Ireland


38. Blessingbourne Country Estate, Co. Tyrone

dog friendly hotels in northern ireland

These five award-winning self-catering apartments in a working farm environment are ideal for a family break away in the heart of the country. Located on 550 acres of woodland and private lakes, there are plenty of walks for you to enjoy with your pet. All apartments are pet-friendly and if you happen to have a horse, you can bring it along too! See more here.

Check prices here



39. Center Parcs, Co. Longford.


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Center Parcs’ dog friendly accommodation is ideal for a family break away in a forest setting. I’m a big fan of Center Parcs, we went twice last year and can’t wait to go back. There are clearly marked dog exercise areas and up to two dogs are allowed per lodge. Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times. Pet-friendly accommodation is available in Woodland and Executive lodges only,  which must be requested at the time of booking. See more here.

Read: My ultimate guide to Center Parcs Longford Forest



40. Nire Valley Eco Camp – Co. Tipperary


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We were fortunate to stay in Nire Valley Eco Camp last summer and we enjoyed a fabulous few days in one of their five eco-cabins. Each cabin is located in a large field so your pet has lots of open space to explore. Nire Valley Eco Camp don’t charge for pets but they require all pets to be treated for fleas and ticks and has up to date vaccinations – as there is an abundance of wildlife in the area. You will need to bring your own bedding and dogs must be kept on leads when away from your cabin. See more here or read my review in this blog post.
Read: Top things to do in the Munster Vales
Check prices here




Pet-Friendly Airbnb’s

As well as plenty of hotels in Ireland that allow dogs, there are lots of Airbnb options too. While I love staying in hotels on holidays, sometimes it is nice to rent a house with no one else around. Airbnb’s can be a great option with pets, as you can book one with lots of open spaces for them to explore.  If you haven’t used Airbnb before, sign up here and get €30 off your first stay and you can read my dedicated post on 20 dog friendly Airbnbs in Ireland here.




I hope this post has shown you how to find hotels in Ireland that allow dogs and that you will be jetting off on a short break with your beloved pet in the near future.

Note some of the links in this post contain affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made, but at no additional cost to you.



Like holidays in Ireland? See more here.




The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery


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For the dare devils amongst you, try the world famous roller coaster rides and slide down the tallest water slide in Volcano Bay. Shop till you drop at the Premium Outlet Mall or swim with the dolphins at the stunning Discovery Cove. There is so much to do in Orlando, I could go on forever! It’s an amazing holiday for adults and kids, which what makes it such a good family holiday destination – there is something for everyone!

family holiday to orlando for easter


I have chosen the highly rated Avanti International Resort. Centrally located on International Drive, there are many shops and dining options within walking distance, and the parks are only a short shuttle ride away. This hotel has been recently refurbished and receives great reviews on Tripadvisor. There is a large pool, a kids play area, beach volleyball, and shuffleboard court. The Avanti Pool Bar & Grille is a also great option for food after a long day at the parks.

family deal to orlando


Fly from Dublin to Orlando on 27th March and enjoy a ten-night stay at the Avanti Resort for only €2918, based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing. This deal is based on flights with Air Canada via Toronto. The connections are great and they are a fraction of the cost of flying direct. If you have airline vouchers or credit to use you can choose to book your own flights. The Avanti hotel offers a free cancellation policy and the rate includes breakfast!

View flights here €423pp

View hotel here €849 per room

View Park Tickets here




Prices are correct at time of issue but are subject to change. Note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links, where I receive a small commission if a booking is made.


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Lightening Deals

Easter Weekend in Lisbon, Flights & 4-Star Hotel, 3 Nights, €297!


A beautiful coastal city renowned for terrific sightseeing and a great food scene, take advantage of this early booking offer and spend Easter weekend in Lisbon. 


Lisbon is finally getting the praise it deserves and it is slowly becoming one of Europe’s top city break destinations.  The city is very easy to navigate and if you don’t fancy walking it there are fantastic old trams that will bring you around all the highlights. There is plenty to see in Lisbon itself, but if you want to travel, you can take the train to the coastal towns of Cascais or Estoril or explore the UNESCO world heritage city of Sintra. For more information on Lisbon and it’s coast read my blog.

easter weekend in Lisbon


TAP Air Portugal have great deals on flights to Lisbon, so take advantage now and secure return flights for just €117 per person. There are many flight options available so you can choose to fly out with TAP Air Portugal and home with Aer Lingus or Ryanair, depending on your preference of flight times.


I found a great deal staying in the centrally located Turim Lisboa Hotel. This hotel has a free cancellation policy up to the 31st March, and it receives great reviews on Tripadvisor.   


Fly direct from Dublin on Good Friday, 2nd April and return on Easter Monday – so no time off work is required. Why not secure Easter weekend in Lisbon and have something to look forward to.

View flights here €117pp

View hotel here €180pp


Want a different hotel? Check out: Where to stay in Lisbon – my top 10 Lisbon hotels





Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. Please note some of my best travel deals include affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made.




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Recipes From Around The World By Top Chefs, Journalists and Bloggers

Chicken-biryani from India

One of my favourite things about travelling is tasting local foods. As we cannot travel at the moment, I thought it was a good time to share recipes from around the world. 


My career in travel has certainly developed my palette. From Spain to Sri Lanka, no matter where I travel, I love trying local foods. I have tried to replicate some of them at home, and with the exception of a tasty prawn pil-pil, I tend to fail miserably. Yes I can make a Thai curry, but I cheat by using shop-bought curry paste! So I decided to ask some of Ireland’s top chefs, journalists and bloggers to share their favourite recipes from around the world. These are all recipes that you can create at home and I look forward to trying them all soon. From crab cannelloni to chicken biryani, there is something to suit all tastes. I hope you enjoy it.



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1. Japan: Guillaume Lebrun’s King Crab Cannelloni

“He doesn’t run a cookery school, and he’s never on television, and so diners who have been eating in Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud for years probably don’t even know his name, or his face. But that’s how he likes it. In his moral world, a chef is the invisible, toiling master-guru who creates majestic foods within the heat-filled dungeon of his kitchen”. This piece was written ten years ago by food journalist Kevin Myers, but it still rings true today. 


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Two-Michelin star chef Guillaume Lebrun is my brother-in-law, and is probably the reason I developed my love for food – although my mother might have something to say about that! I have been fortunate to enjoy Guillaume’s cooking many times and dine in Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, so he was my first port of call when I decided to write this post of recipes from around the world.  



I was surprised that this King Crab Cannelloni recipe, which is on the menu in Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, is possible to replicate at home. Most of the ingredients can be found locally or in an Asian supermarket. If you do manage to recreate this masterpiece, please let me know, I would love to see the photos!


recipes from around the world - japan


  • 70g red king crab per person
  • 3-4 drops yuzu juice
  • 3 drops Tabasco sauce
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise* seasoned with yuzu juice
  • 1 tsp fresh coriander, sliced
  • 1 tsp fresh basil, sliced 

Carefully combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate and reserve until required.

*Mayonnaise base recipe 

  • 3 egg yolks,
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 litre raison oil or other neutral oil
  • 20g salt

Mix the egg yolk, mustard and salt together in a food mixer using the whisk attachment. Add a tablespoon of warm water to help the blending process, and slowly streamline in the oil until incorporated.  This is a mayonnaise base – which can be seasoned with various ingredients to suit a particular dish – yuzu juice in this case.

Wasabi crème fraîche

  • 50g crème fraîche
  • 5 g wasabi paste
  • Squeeze lime juice

Lightly whip ingredients together, season and taste and chill.

Yuzu jam

  • 25g lemon zest, brunoise
  • 250g water
  • 75g sugar
  • Pinch saffron
  • 4.5g agar-agar
  • 130g yuzu juice
  • 1g xanthan gum

Place the zest, water, sugar, saffron and agar-agar into a pan and bring to 90 C / 194 F. Cook for 1 minute, whisking continuously, then chill. Process in a Thermomix. Add the yuzu juice and thicken with the xanthan gum. Chill until required.

Fennel salad ( per person )

  • 2 slices fennel
  • 2 pieces of pickled ginger
  • Pinch dried lobster eggs
  • Pinch tobiko wasabi

Assembly and plating up per person.

2 slices of fresh pineapple, sliced on a kitchen mandolin or meat slicer, each 10cm in diameter.
Selection of fresh soft herbs
Wasabi mustard condiment

Spoon the reserved crabmeat into the center of each pineapple slice and roll into a cigar shape to form the cannelloni. Place two cannelloni at the centre of each plate and carefully assemble the fennel salad on top, finishing off with the baby herbs, Dot the yuzu jam, wasabi crème fraîche and wasabi mustard around the cannelloni to complete.



2. Spain: Neven Maguire’s Sea Bass with Chorizo Cassoulet

After cooking along side his mother since he was just 12 years of age, Neven Maguire was given the title of Young Chef of the Year in 1999. Since then he has won numerous awards, worked in many Michelin starred restaurants, become a popular TV personality, and is now one of Ireland’s best loved chefs. I was delighted that Neven took the time to share one of his recipes from around the world with me. This is one I am really looking forward to trying myself. 

recipes from around the world - spain

This recipe has a real Spanish flavour and is very easy to prepare. This way of cooking fish retains the goodness and keeps the fish moist. Fish has become expensive, but sea bass has remained good value, as it is nearly all farmed these days. Line-caught sea bass is now a very rare and highly prized fish.

  • 4 x 150g (5oz) sea bass fillets, bones removed and scaled
  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • 1 tsp softened butter

Chorizo cassoulet:

  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 100g (4oz) raw chorizo, skinned and diced
  • 150ml (¼ pint) vegetable stock
  • 400g (14oz) can mixed beans, drained and rinsed (such as haricot, cannellini, borlotti and black-eyed beans)
  • 1 tbsp softened butter
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp snipped fresh chives
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper




Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/gas mark 6).
Heat 1 tablespoon of the extra virgin olive oil in a heavy-based pan over a medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and sauté for 2–3 minutes, until sizzling. Remove the chorizo and drain on kitchen paper.

To prepare the sea bass, score the skin in thin parallel lines using a very sharp knife and season the flesh side lightly, then cut each fillet in half on the diagonal. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add the oil and butter. Once the butter stops sizzling, add the sea bass, skin side down, and cook gently for 4–5 minutes to get the skin crispy, then carefully turn over and cook for 2–3 minutes to brown lightly. Sea bass is best served slightly pink and still quite moist.

Pour the stock into a pan along with the cooked chorizo and the mixed beans and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for a few minutes, until warmed through. Season to taste, then whisk in the butter and stir in the parsley and chives.
Spoon some chorizo cassoulet in the centre of each warmed plate and arrange the sea bass on top, skin side up.



3. India: Sunil Ghai’s Chicken Biryani

Sunil Ghai is the leading Indian chef in Ireland, winning an impressive array of awards including FOOD&WINE Magazine’s Chef of the Year 2009. Former Corporate Chef of the Jaipur & Ananda Restaurant Group, Sunil has won many fans, including myself, for his bold, contemporary cooking style.

Sunil is currently at the helm of his own venture at Pickle Restaurant Eating house & Bar on Camden street, Dublin 2 and Tiffin by Sunil in Greystones, which is first Indian Deli in Ireland. “Many of my influences in the creation of my recipes come from my mother. She has a fantastic imagination when it comes to cooking and I have yet to taste food quite like it”.


I have visited Pickle Restaurant on a few occasions and I am convinced it is the best Indian Restaurant in Ireland. When I decided to write this post on recipes from around the world, I knew it needed to include one of Sunil’s recipes. Sunil tells me that this one-pot Chicken Biryani dish is definitely one that you can replicate at home! Give it a try and let me know what you think.

recipes from around the world


  • 500g/1lb 2oz chicken (on the bone)
  • 200g/8oz onion, sliced
  • 100g/4oz yoghurt, whisked
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 ½ tsp deggi mirch chilli powder
  • 1 tsp mace and cardamon powder
  • Few threads saffron
  • 30g/1oz mint, chopped
  • 30g/1oz coriander
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tbsp ghee / clarified butter
  • 500g/1lb 2oz rice, soaked
  • 20g/1oz whole spices mix (green cardamom, cloves, bay leaf)
  • 2 litres/4 pints water
  • 1-2 sprigs mint
  • Ginger julienne, for garnish
  • Green chilli julienne, for garnish
  • Salt to taste
  • Rose water, few drops
  • Screw pine (kewra), few drops


Clean the chicken, removing any extra fat and cut into small pieces. Set aside. Whisk the yoghurt, adding ginger garlic paste, deggi mirch chilli powder, mace and cardamon powder, salt, chopped mint and coriander. Add this mixture to the chicken and keep it in fridge for at least 3 to 4 hours.

Wash the rice in cold water gently at least three times and then leave to soak for at least 20 to 30 minutes. Boil water, add the whole spice and salt and let it boil for 15 minutes. Add the rice and cook it only 40 percent. Drain the rice and keep aside.

Heat a saucepan and add the ghee. When it is hot, add the bay leaf and onions and cook the onions until golden brown. Add the marinated chicken and sauté for 10 minutes. Put the par boiled rice on the chicken and simmer. Add green chilli, ginger, mint and saffron. Cover it tightly with a lid. Let it cook for 15 minutes and remove from the heat. 

Serve it with raita.



4. Morocco: Nadia el Ferdaoussi’s Chicken Tagine

I have been following Nadia’s travel adventures for many years now. A freelance travel, wine and lifestyle writer, Nadia manages to combine all three authentically. Nadia’s Instagram stories always hold my attention, whether she is at home or abroad – something that cannot be said for many travel writers.


When she is not travelling, she is busy creating Fakeaway recipes on Instagram (try the spice-bag you will love it!), or teaching us great value wines to buy from our local supermarket – Nadia also happens to have a WSET Level 3 Award in wines. One of Nadia’s favourite activities while abroad is to take a cookery class and learn from the locals, especially if it includes a trip to a food market. I was delighted when Nadia agreed to share her delicious Moroccan Chicken Tagine recipe. I’m off to preserve some lemons now!


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Despite being half Moroccan, I’ve only ever visited once, but it was an unforgettable few days in Marrakech where I spent hours getting lost in the souks and returning home laden with spices, olives and preserved lemons. I ate tagine for breakfast, lunch and dinner and tried Moroccan wine from Meknes, they make delicious Sauvignon Blanc, the high acidity cutting through the salty, oily foods. 

When Sarah asked me to share one of my recipes from around the world, this was an easy decision. I’ve recreated a recipe from Sabrina Ghayour’s Persiana cookbook ‘Chicken, Preserved Lemon & Olive Tagine’. Even if you do own a tagine, Sabrina says it’s more practical to make this in a conventional saucepan, which is what I did.
I’m not the kind of person who weighs and measures ingredients or pays much attention to temperatures or cooking times, I tend to eyeball it going by look and taste instead and I nearly always make lots of substitutions too. It almost always works out! 

recipes from around the world - chicken tagine from Morocco

  • Rapeseed Oil
  • Chicken thighs 
  • Onion, diced
  • Garlic, slices
  • Carrot, sliced at an angle
  • Ras al Hanout
  • Saffron
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Preserved Lemons
  • Green onions
  • Fresh Parsley or Coriander
  • Sliced Almonds


Saute the onions and garlic in oil for a few minutes until they start to soften and then add the dry spice mix before sealing the chicken thighs in the same pan for a couple of minutes on either side. 
Soak the saffron in a teaspoon of boiling water and then add it to the chicken with salt and pepper plus enough water just to cover the chicken. Reduce the heat, cover and allow to simmer for about an hour, adding the carrots, olives and preserved lemons after 45 minutes.
Serve with couscous, rice, bread or potatoes and garnish with fresh parsley or coriander and sliced almonds.




5. Korea: Lisa Cope’s: Kimchi Udon Noodles with Scallions

I first met Lisa when we were on a radio panel together discussing family food habits when travelling. I was intrigued at how often Lisa and her family, which included a toddler at the time, dined out in Dublin restaurants. I immediately started following her website, on social media and soon realised that it was one of the top food websites in Ireland. covers news, reviews and features from Dublin’s restaurant scene. Restaurants featured in the ‘where to eat’ section have all been reviewed by their critics, and Lisa also writes about food and restaurants for the Irish Times.


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I first came across this recipe on a Twitter thread – a food writer asked about people’s favourite, fast midweek dinners. Someone tweeted this Bon Appetit recipe saying it was her go-to meal any night of the week, and immediately I saved it in the notepad of my phone with recipes I want to try. The following week I searched the Asian market on Drury Street for gochujang and udon (turned out I needn’t have ventured that far, my local fruit and veg shop had gochujang, Tesco had udon) and raced home to make it.




It more than lived up to expectations, and now I have to wean myself off making it every other night. This is one of the recipes from around the world that is so simple, so fast, and no matter how many times we’ve had it, we still sit there shaking our heads muttering “oh my God” all the way through. I’ve slightly tweaked the ingredients from the original Bon Appetit recipe as their amount of noodles is more like a starter portion, and it tastes just as good with slightly less butter, but the original is here if you want to stick to theirs.

Recipes from around the world - korea

Ingredients: Serves 2
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup (around 115g) finely chopped kimchi, plus 1/4 cup (around 60ml) kimchi juice
  • 1 tablespoons gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
  • 1/4 cup (around 60ml) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 300g fresh udon noodles
  • Salt
  • 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1-2 scallions, white and pale-green parts only, thinly sliced on a diagonal
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds


Heat 1 tbsp butter in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add chopped kimchi and gochujang and cook, stirring occasionally, until kimchi is softened and lightly caramelised – about 4 minutes.  Add broth and kimchi juice and bring to a simmer. Cook until liquid is slightly reduced – about 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, boil noodles according to package directions.Transfer noodles to pan and add remaining 1 tbsp butter; cook, tossing often, until sauce coats noodles – about 2 minutes. Season with salt if needed.
Divide among bowls and top with egg yolks, scallions, and sesame seeds.




6. Ireland: Pól Ó hÉannraich’s: Seafood Chowder

I love seafood chowder, it is one of those wonderful hearty dishes that tastes equally as good on a cold winter night, as it does on a summer’s day – especially if are overlooking Howth harbour in 30 Church Street, Pól Ó hÉannraich’s newest restaurant. Pól and his brother Páraic also own a personal favourite restaurant of mine, Bloom Brasserie & Wine Bar. Pól believes in creating the finest of dishes using locally sourced ingredients and preparing them simply. 

Seafood chowder is a dish that is very easy to replicate at home. Combine with some traditional soda bread for a tasty Irish dish.


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  • 750 g  fresh clams, cockles, mussels scrubbed
  • 225g  waxy potatoes, peeled
  • 40g  butter
  • 75g  smoked streaky bacon, chopped
  • 1  small onion or banana shallot, finely chopped
  • 1  leek, cleaned, halved lengthways and finely chopped
  • 2  sticks celery, chopped
  • 30g  plain flour
  • 500ml  fresh milk
  • 200ml  fresh double cream
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 450g  Mixed diced fish, cod, smoked haddock, salmon, hake (skinned and cut into 2cm pieces)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 10 turns black peppermill
  • A few rasps freshly grated nutmeg
  • Small handful flatleaf parsley or chives, chopped




Heat 250ml of water in a large shallow pan and add clams mussels and cockles. Put a lid on the pan and allow to steam for 3–4 minutes until they open. Set a colander over a bowl, drain the open shellfish and reserve the cooking liquid. When they are
cool enough to handle, remove the fish from the shells and set aside.

Cut the potatoes into 1.5cm dice and boil them for 5–10 minutes until tender, then drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a separate large pan over a medium heat and fry the bacon, onion or shallot, leek and celery until soft. Add the plain flour and cook for a minute or two, then add the reserved shellfish cooking liquor and stir until thickened. Add the milk, cream, bay leaf, potatoes and diced fish, then bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for about 5 minutes until the fish is cooked. Add the shellfish meat and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.



7. New Zealand: Melanie May’s Anzac Biscuits  

Melanie May is one of the most intriguing journalists that I have ever met. I have known Melanie for a few years now but I always seem to be learning something new about her. As well as being a full-time food and travel journalist, Melanie is a qualified school teacher, windsurf, snorkel and sailing instructor, boat driver, open water diver, first aid officer, and she has an orange belt in kickboxing! She also won the ‘Best Newcomer’ award at the Travel Extra Travel Journalist of the Year Awards.


Her blog, is a wonderful combination of travel and food. She has travelled to 53 countries but when she is not travelling, she recreate dishes in her home kitchen. This is the reason why I asked Melanie to share one of her favourite recipes from around the world – and I also knew she would have a good story to go with it 😉.


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New Zealand is one of my most favourite countries. I lived there for a year and travelled all over the North and South Islands. I actually bought a van and lived in the van. There was a mattress in the back and I had a camping stove to cook meals and curtains on the window. At night, I would just park up where I could (New Zealand is a fantastic country for wild camping) and I would sleep in the van.


I felt so safe and secure in New Zealand and I didn’t have any issues at all. New Zealand has a great food culture and a fantastic coffee culture. Apparently, the flat white was invented in New Zealand, but just don’t say that to the Australians. When I was driving around, one of my treats after hours behind the wheel was stopping at a cafe, ordering a strong flat white and having an Anzac biscuit.

recipes from around the world - new zealand

ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and these biscuits were baked for the ANZACs serving in Gallipoli during World War I. The sweet biscuits are crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside with a lovely coconut flavour. The biscuits are also made with oats, therefore totally healthy for you! OK, maybe not, but if you make them big enough they are quite filling and are a great (if not entirely healthy) snack. OK, I’ll stop waffling now. Here is my Anzac Biscuit Recipe. Enjoy.



The measurements are given in cups and spoonfuls as for me it is handier. It means if I don’t have a weighing scales I can just use any cup I have to hand. This recipe makes about 15 large biscuits or 24 small ones.

  • 1 cup of plain flour
  • 1 cup of rolled oats
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 of cup desiccated coconut
  • 125g of butter (if you use unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt to the mixture)
  • 2 tablespoons of golden syrup (for crunchier biscuits, add an extra tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda


Preheat the oven to 180°C / 160°C fan assisted / 350°F / gas mark 4. Line a large baking tray/cookie sheet (or a few small ones) with greaseproof paper.

Sieve the flour into a big mixing bowl. Add the oats, sugar and the coconut into the flour and give it a good mix.

In a saucepan, add the butter, golden syrup and water and melt over medium heat. When the butter, golden syrup and water has melted together, stir in the bicarbonate of soda. Add this liquid mixture into the flour, oats, sugar and coconut mixture. Mix everything together and make sure it is well combined.

For big, thick, chewy biscuits (like the ones in the photos) place one and a half tablespoons of the mixture in your hands and form into balls or patties, but don’t press them down too much. Place on the baking tray and leave space between each one as they
spread out when cooking. For smaller, crunchier biscuits use about a tablespoon of the mixture for each one.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Do not over bake. They will be very soft when you take them out of the oven but they will firm up as they cool down. Leave them on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring them onto a wire
rack (or grill tray) to cool completely. Once they are completely cool, store in an airtight container. They should keep fresh for
about a week, but good luck keeping them that long as they are very delicious and moreish. They also make great bases for ice-cream sandwiches. Bon appétit.



8. America: Nicola Halloran’s Boneless Chicken Bites

Nicola Halloran is owner of award-winning The Wonky Spatula blog. I love Nicola’s no-nonsense, easy approach and although she showcases healthy recipes, she never makes you feel like you are on a diet! Nicola has been a long-time follower of Paleo lifestyle and provides tasty recipes from around the world that are healthy, gluten free, dairy free and even vegan. 


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Nicola trained as a chef and has a diploma in nutrition. She has a wide following on social media, including a popular Youtube channel, and also features regularly on Ireland AM. These boneless bites are one of Nicola’s all-time favourite treats and a great little recipe to brighten up your evening!

recipes from around the world - america


  • 2-3 large chicken breasts
  • 1 egg – beaten
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup Frank’s red hot
  • 1 tbsp clarified butter/ghee
  • 4 stalks of celery




Preheat the oven to 220°c (425°F). Chop the chicken breasts up into bite-size pieces. Place the pieces in a bowl with the beaten egg.

Mix the almond and coconut flours together and lay out on a large dinner plate. One by one, cover the chicken breast in egg and then roll it in the flour until coated. Repeat until all of the chicken is covered. Place the chicken on a wire rack and bake in the oven until golden brown and cooked through – roughly 8 minutes a side.

In a small saucepan heat the hot sauce and clarified butter/ ghee, for 2-3 minute – then add to a large bowl. Once the chicken has finished cooking remove from the oven and add to the bowl with the hot sauce. Toss the bites in the sauce.

Plate up and serve with celery sticks and any leftover hot sauce for dipping. Enjoy!



9. Thailand: Kevin Dundon’s Thai Coconut Chicken 

Founder of Dunbrody House cookery school with his wife Catherine, and the face of SuperValu’s tasty recipes, Kevin Dundon is one of Ireland’s best-loved chefs. 


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I was fortunate to visit the award-winning Dunbrody House a few years ago and taste the celebrity chef’s cooking straight from his own kitchen. I must say I was very partial to The Local’s beer battered fish and chips served in chip-shop paper, as well as our meal in their fine-dining restaurant.  Kevin posts live cooking demos on his Instagram feed daily and shares great recipes from around the world. – check it out.


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Thai coconut chicken curry, cooked at the 2pm live, live video will be posted on IGTV later, make sure to share your creations !!!

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Ingredients: Serves 6

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 100 ml  pouring cream
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 red chilli, seeds kept for added heat and finely sliced
  • 6 chicken breasts with skin
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk
  • Freshly chopped coriander for sprinkling – optional.




Heat a large wok (with no oil ), add the cumin, mustard and coriander seeds and stir fry over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until the seeds begin to pop a little ( quite similar to popcorn). Mix the tumeric, then remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool.

Once the mixture has cooled, mix the cream and transfer to a food processor or small blender, add the garlic, chilli and ginger and blitz to make a coarse marinade. Place the chicken in a shallow non-metallic dish and pour the marinade over the chicken. Cover and leave at least for a few minutes.

Heat the flameproof casserole dish, add the marinated chicken pieces ( but not the marinade) in batches and cook until the are browned on all sides. Add the onion at this stage and cook for a few minutes until it is nice apricot or terracotta colour, then add the marinade and the coconut milk. Bring the mixture to the boil and transfer to the oven and cook for 25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear when a knife is inserted into the centre. When the chicken is fully cooked it should feel firm in the centre when pressed.

Remove the chicken from the oven, sprinkle a few coriander leaves over the chicken, if desired, and serve with plain boiled basmati rice.


Read: My review of Dubrody House here





10.  Italy: Debbie Woodward’s Homemade Sausage Ragu

Debbie Woodward is the founder of the award-winning family food and travel blog, Saucepan Kids. I love to see Debbie involving her children in cooking and menu planning, and this continues when they travel, with a special focus on trying local foods.  


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It’s a sweltering Sunday afternoon in Rome in June 2016. We’ve arrived at our tiny apartment, home for the next 2 nights before we start an epic tour of Italy. We’d started the day at 3:30am in Dublin and we are the jaded parents of three tired children. In a few hours we are taking an evening walking tour of the city, which seemed a great idea from the comfort of our sofa in Sligo a few months previously. Everyone is hungry, it’s only 4pm but it’s time for dinner – what to cook?




We were waiting outside the small local shop as it opened after their Sunday afternoon siesta and found some pasta, amazing Italian sausages, tomatoes and wine. 30 minutes later and we were eating a delicious meal which we’ve subsequently christened Daddy’s Sausage Ragu. It was a resounding success, so much so that we cooked it at each of the next four apartments on our three week trip, varying the ingredients to what we could find locally. 
recipes from around the world
It is now a staple that we enjoy at home and whenever we go away – it’s been adapted in France, Northern Ireland, Spain, Scotland, the USA and Portugal, all to suit locally sourced ingredients. With all of these adaptations, there’s always four principle ingredients, good quality sausages, tomatoes (fresh if good enough quality or tinned plum), wine (good enough to drink with the meal) and pasta (we prefer tortiglioni).
Each time we cook this recipe, our current evolution from that original afternoon in Rome, we are brought back to the wonderful times we’ve had on our visits to Italy and have us pining to return once we are able to.




Ingredients: Serves 5 ( incl 3 constantly hungry teens).
  • 6 high-welfare, good quality pork sausages (we use Cumberland as they are nicely spiced)
  • 500g pasta (tortiglioni is our favourite as the sauce hides in the tubes but use your favourite)
  • 400g tin of good quality whole plum tomatoes (these make a much nicer sauce than chopped
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • A sprig of rosemary, leaves removed and finely chopped
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds smashed in a pestle and mortar
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small glass of red wine (make it good as you may want to drink the rest!)
  • Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Heat a pan on a medium/high ring and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Squeeze the sausages out of their skins into the pan. Break up the sausages into small pieces as they cook – top tip: a whisk is great for this. Add the rosemary, fennel seeds, some salt and pepper and continue frying all together until the sausages are well broken up and browning.

Add the red onion and fry for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cook for a few more minutes and then pour in the wine. Let the wine bubble away, using it to scrape any sticky bits off the bottom of the pan until it has all evaporated. Add the tomatoes along with about half a tin of cold water – this also gets all of the tomato from the tin. Bring back up to the boil, turn the heat down and leave to simmer.

At this stage, depending on how quickly the sauce thickens, you can cook it anywhere from 10 minutes to two hours. If you leave it longer, then you can cover and add more water as necessary.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add a generous amount of salt. Add the pasta and cook according to the instructions, less about a minute or so as you want to finish cooking the pasta in the sauce. Once the pasta is nearly cooked, drain, reserving some of the cooking water. The sauce should have thickened nicely so test the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper to taste.

Add the pasta to the sauce (or vice versa depending on the relative size of your pans) and mix together, adding some of the reserved pasta water to create a lovelocks consistency. Add a generous sprinkling of the cheese, mix in with more pasta water if necessary. Serve up with some basil and a final sprinkle of cheese.



I hope you liked my post on recipes from around the world and that it made you think about travelling again. Let me know if you try any of the dishes at home, and please share your photos on social media by tagging #TheTravelExpertsRecipesFromAroundTheWorld.



Bon Appétit!




The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

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tesalate towels

Looking for the perfect gift for someone who loves to travel as much as I do? I hope my top 10 unique travel gifts will give you plenty of inspiration.



I am fortunate that I can justify spending money on travel accessories, and one of my guilty pleasures is browsing websites to see what’s new. I have picked some of my favourite items below, many of which I already own, but there are a few that are still on my wish list… Perhaps you want to treat a loved one to some unique travel gifts, or maybe you just want to treat yourself? Whatever the reason, I’ve got gifts from €20 to €349, so there is something here to suit all tastes and budgets. I hope one of my unique travel gifts takes your fancy – do let me know in the comments below. 😎



1. Personalised Leather Passport Holder and Luggage Tag: €85

This was my favourite travel gift that I received when I started my website, The Travel Expert. I have seen personalised passport holders and luggage tags elsewhere, but seeing my company logo perfectly engraved on them was something special. Five years and hundreds of flights later and I still love them. The high quality leather ages beautifully and both look ‘well travelled’.

passport holder travel gifts

These unique travel gifts are made by CarveOn, a local Irish company, who use premium vegetable tanned leather, and each product is finished by hand. Their classically trained cobbler uses vintage sewing machines to get the perfect stitch, while their customisation is carried out by graphic designers on laser machines. CarveOn ensure their suppliers were environmentally conscious and all packaging uses recycled materials. 

Shop here




2. Tesalate Sand Free Beach Towel: from €49

I have been a big fan of Tesalate towels for years. I bought many of these innovative towels as travel gifts, and also bought one for myself. Coincidentally, I was sent one of their new larger towels (Towels for Two) recently which I can’t wait to use. It is a great size for family beach days or even picnics in the park.

Tesalate towels are lightweight, compact, and best of all the sand just brushes off! Another bonus is the AbsorbLite™ fabric – this absorbs over one litre of water, and dries in half the time of a regular beach towel.



Tesalate is one of the most reviewed beach products in the world, with over 25,000 5-star reviews. They are an Australian company that only make beach towels. I love that they only specialise in one product, to ensure they offer the best beach towel on the market. If you like to travel or are looking for unique travel gifts – then buy a Tesalate towel.

Shop here



3. Samsonsite light-shock cabin case: £218

I can not stress how important it is to have good quality, light-weight cabin baggage. I have a this cabin case and it has saved me a fortune on checked baggage fees. It is so light and expandable that you can fit much more inside this case, than another case of similar size. I have vowed to buy one for everyone in the family and never pay checked baggage fees again!

travel gadgets


I have added a link to Amazon below but I purchased mine in Kildare Village, and collected Avios points at the same time. I have two of these cases now and purchased both when they had a customer event with an additional 20% off. Sign up to their newsletter here and you will be notified of such events. 

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4. Chupi Solid Gold ‘ Not All Who Wander Are Lost’ Coordinates Jewellery: from €349

I don’t own one of these yet, but they are currently on my wish list. Chupi is an Irish award-winning jewellery brand that uses precious moments and stories to develop a more personal style of jewellery. I love these travel coordinates pieces. You chose the coordinates of a favourite place in the world and the Chupi designers hand-engrave them on a 14k solid gold bracelet or pendant. 

unique travel gifts - chupi jewellery

Shop here 



5. Travel Prints: from €60

Another popular travel gift is having a personalised print from a favourite destination. Perhaps you have memories of where you first met your loved one, or a place you go back to regularly? There are many different prints to choose from, depending on personal taste. They also make great wedding or engagement gifts.


I like this Map Mountain where you can feature any three cities in the world. They have a vast resource of maps to use, so even small towns can be included. You can choose these unique travel gifts framed or unframed.

Another favourite of mine is this contemporary bus blind, that will highlight a personal place in coordinates. This would suit an office too.

unique travel gifts

Shop Map here
Shop Coordinates here



6.  Jewellery organiser: £19.95

One of my pet hates is when my necklaces get tangled. This is a regular occurrence for me, especially if I bring too many with me on holidays. I found this great travel jewellery organiser on Amazon, it receives excellent reviews and is great value. The water resistant quilted padding protects your jewellery, there are separate zipped pockets, and a main storage compartment with multiple necklace straps. I would actually use this at home too!

unique travel gifts - jewellery case




7. Personalised Leather Travel Journal: £20

This distressed leather travel journal is an inexpensive but yet beautiful gift for the traveller in your life. The handmade, eco-friendly and Fair Trade journal also makes a difference to the communities who make them. The cotton is made by a charity that promotes women’s development in rural areas of Rajasthan, India. There are different sizes to choose from and all can be personalised.

travel gifts - travel journal
Shop here



8. Longchamp travel bag: from €110

Longchamp have a wide selection of travel bags, including tote bags, cross-body bags and even backpacks. Their famous Le Pliage travel bag is my favourite. It comes in various styles and sizes, but it is the fact that is so light and can be folded up when not in use, that has made it become a cult object worldwide. 

longchamp foldable bag - unique travel gifts


Shop here



9. Go-Pro Hero8 Waterproof 4K Digital Action Camera: £279

This is the ultimate travel accessory and believe me it is not just for adrenaline junkies or vloggers. I have used mine at the beach to get some great underwater footage, and I tied it around my chest on the ski slopes in Austria recently. It has a built in stabiliser so is great if you are on the go, or just want to record yourself while walking. It also captures great photos, even in low light areas. 

unique travel gifts - go pro hero 8

Shop here



10. Bose Noise cancelling head phones: £125

Noise cancelling head phones are a Godsend for travelling, and Bose are the best brand on the market. There are various types so make sure you select the correct pair for Apple or Android products, and choose ear pods or ear phones – depending on personal taste. These are one of my favourite travel gadgets – see more here.

travel gadgets

Shop here



Like this post? You might like:


My top 20 travel gadgets


I hope you liked my post on unique travel gifts and it gave you some inspiration for yourself, or for a special someone who loves to travel as much as I do. Note some of the links in this post contain affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a purchase is made – this is at no additional cost to you.


The Travel Expert

5 Handpicked Christmas Market Breaks With 4-Star Hotels From €194pp

christmas  markets

Choose one of my handpicked Christmas market breaks to Prague, Budapest, Vienna, Berlin or Krakow, from only €194!


Some cities are best seen in winter and Christmas market breaks provide the best excuse to visit. Market stalls have the perfect stocking fillers, aromas of roasted chestnuts and mulled wine waft through the crisp cold air, and if you are lucky you might even catch a Christmas concert. Many markets open late November and stay open until the New Year so you can choose a pre or post Christmas break.

christmas market breaks

I have searched the web to bring you some of my favourite Christmas market breaks, so hopefully there will be a break here to suit you. All 4-star hotels are highly rated on Tripadvisor and all breaks are for three nights. If you want to travel at a different time, or for longer or shorter duration, just click on the links below and edit the search to suit your requirements.



Prague, 10th December, 3 Nights, €208pp

christmas market breaks

Prague’s Christmas markets are the perfect picture postcard. The old town square, Charles bridge and Prague’s famous castle are all magically illuminated – it is a stunning sight to behold. The old town square and Wenceslas Square are transformed with market stalls selling local hand crafts, traditional hearty food and plenty of mulled wine.


Enjoy school choirs performing in traditional costumes, or better still go to a classical concert. Housed in ancient churches and grand concert halls around the city, it will add a touch of style to your Christmas market break. Prague’s markets are open from 30th November to 6th January.


Fly from Dublin on Thursday the 10th of December and enjoy a three-night stay at the 4-star Art Hotel for only €208 – with breakfast included! This hotel offers free amendments before the 5th of December and a €10 deposit secures a booking. The Art Hotel is highly rated on Tripadvisor and was awarded a Certificate of Excellence.

View flights here €130pp

View hotel here €78pp



Budapest, 5th December, 3 Nights, €294pp

Budapest Christmas market

Budapest has several Christmas markets, but Vörösmarty Square is the most popular. Gerbeaud House is transformed into an enormous Advent Calendar and a new window opens daily at 5pm. Street artists perform, Santa makes an appearance and there are plenty of places to relax and take it all in.


St Stephen’s Basilica, is lit up at night time and resembles a Disney like castle – it is spectacular. Take time to visit the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy Avenue, which are all UNESCO world heritage sites. Most markets open from 22nd November until 1st January. 


Fly from Dublin to Budapest on the 5th December and enjoy a three-night stay in the 4-star La Prima Fashion Hotel, with breakfast included for just €294pp. Rated as excellent on Tripadvisor, this is a great choice to explore all that Budapest has to offer.

View flights here €142pp

View hotel here €152pp



Berlin, 6th December, 3 Nights, €199

Christmas market breaks in Berlin

Berlin has a staggering 50 Christmas markets! Winter World at Potsdamer Platz offers ice skating and tobogganing and is perfect for families, while Alexanderplatz and Charlottenburg have traditional wooden stalls and beer houses. Most open late November but some close before New Year. For a full list of Christmas market dates click here. Don’t miss the Spandau market where rock concerts are usually held every Friday and there are over 500 stalls.


Try to make time to see some of Berlin’s top sights too, the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, the Brandenburg Gate – the list is endless. 

Read my city guide to Berlin here.


Fly from Dublin to Berlin on the 6th of December and enjoy a three-night stay in the highly rated Heckers Hotel for only €199 per person. This hotel receives excellent reviews on Tripadvisor and is superbly located to explore this vibrant city. This hotel rate also allows for free cancellation. 

View flights here €96pp

View hotel here €103pp



Krakow, 8th December, 3 Nights, €194!

christmas market breaks in Krakow

The old town of Krakow has Europe’s largest market square, and is packed with market stalls selling local hand crafts and tasty food. The city comes alive at night time with live bands playing in trendy basement clubs.


Krakow is a great choice for a city break at any time of year. The historical centre is very easy to navigate and I loved its relaxed vibe. Take time to visit the stunning Wawel castle, walk through the Jewish quarter to see Oscar Schindler’s factory, and if you can bear it, visit nearby Auschwitz . Krakow’s Christmas Market is open from the 27th November until 26th December.


Fly from Dublin to Krakow on the 8th of December and enjoy a three-night stay in the highly rated Ostoya Palace Hotel. Centrally located with great reviews on Tripadvisor, this is superb value to enjoy a Christmas market break in Krakow.  

View flights here €113pp

View hotel here €81pp



Vienna, 11th December, 3 Nights, €279pp

christmas market breaks

Christmas markets in Vienna have been a tradition since 1298. Would you believe there are over 20 different markets here? International choir singers perform free of charge and the Christmas atmosphere is truly magical. The Viennese Christmas Market in front of the City Hall is the most popular and even offers a specific children’s area, where they can learn how to make Christmas cookies and decorations.  


Vienna’s markets start a little earlier than most but most close on the 26th of December– see more here.  


Fly from Dublin on the 11th of December and enjoy a three-night stay in one of Vienna’s most popular hotels, the Zeitgeist Vienna Hauptbahnhof Zeitgeist Hotel. Rated as excellent on Tripadvisor this hotel will ensure a memorable stay in one of Europe’s most beautiful cities.

View flights here €104pp

View hotel here €175



Looking for more inspiration for Christmas market breaks? 


Read: Europe’s Top 10 Christmas Market Breaks 


This post contains affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made, but at no additional cost to you.




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City BreaksEurope

Europe’s Top 10 Christmas Markets


Pottering around wooden market stalls, listening to carol singing and sipping mulled wine in crisp December air – visiting Christmas markets is a great way to kick off the festive season. But which one should you choose?

My top tip if you are visiting any of Europe’s Christmas markets is – watch your dates! Although some markets are open earlier, the majority do not not open until the last weekend of November. There is not much point booking Prague for the 22nd of November if the market doesn’t open until the 30th… All of these favourites are chosen with accessibility in mind, so there are direct flights from Ireland to all of the cities below. Check out my list of Europe’s top 10 Christmas markets and get planning…

Krakow | Berlin | Cologne | Budapest | Prague

Copenhagen | Vienna | Rome | Barcelona | Brussels





Krakow has one of Europes top Christmas markets

Home to Europe’s largest market square, Krakow is an an excellent choice for a Christmas market break. The massive square in the centre of the old town comes alive with hundreds of market stalls. Visit Wawel castle, the fascinating Jewish quarter, and if you are feeling up to it you can take a day trip to nearby Auschwitz. The Christmas Market is open from 27th of November to the 26th of December.

Check Krakow Hotels Check Krakow Flights




Berlin Christmas Markets

Believe it or not, Berlin has over 50 different Christmas markets to choose from. The Winter World at Potsdamer Platz has super activities including ice skating and tobogganing, and is great fun destination. The traditional Christmas Markets at Alexanderplatz and Charlottenburg house wooden stalls and beer houses. All three are open from the 23rd November to the 29th December. And last but not least, the market in Spandau has over 500 stalls at weekends, with rock concerts every Friday – this closes on the 22nd of December. See more here.


Suffice to say Berlin has a market to cover all tastes! Of course with so many other sights to see and some great nightlife, Berlin is a great city to visit at anytime.

Read my city guide to Berlin here.

Check Berlin Hotels Check Berlin Flights




Cologne Christmas Markets

Cologne has been one of the most popular destinations for Christmas markets for many years now. Many choose to visit the large market near the Cathedral which offers live music and an ice skating rink.


However, there are several other Christmas markets in Cologne including a specific LGBT Christmas Avenue market, which has a great party atmosphere and lots of stage events. All are open from 23rd November to 23rd December.

Check Cologne HotelsCheck Cologne Flights




Budapest Christmas markets

Like many other cities Budapest offers several Christmas markets – the most popular is in Vörösmarty Square. Gerbeaud House is transformed into a giant Advent Calendar and each day a new window opens at 5pm. There are many street performances and Santa Claus programs, and lots of places to chill out and watch them.


At night time visit the market at St Stephen’s Basilica, the whole area is lit up like something from a Disney movie. Most Christmas markets do not open until 22nd November, but they many remain open until 1st January – this makes Budapest ideal for a post Christmas market break too.  See more here.

Check Budapest Hotels Check Budapest Flights




Prague Christmas markets

Prague is the picture postcard of Christmas markets. With the old town square, Charles bridge and its famous castle all magically lit up, it is a stunning sight to see. Both the old town square and Wenceslas Square are transformed with market stalls offering local decorations, traditional hearty food and of course plenty of mulled wine.


You can enjoy the school choirs performing in traditional costumes or better still go to a classical concert. Housed in ancient churches and grand concert halls around the city, it will round off your weekend break in style. Markets are open from 30th November to 6th January, see more here.

Check Prague Hotels Check Prague Flights




Copenhagen Christmas markets


Copenhagen’s most popular market is at Tivoli Gardens, and it attracts over 1 million people each year. This winter wonderland comes with reindeer rides, rollercoasters and of course the traditional market stalls. The Nyhavn Christmas market is open from 8th November to 23rd December, while Tivoli Gardens opens from the 16th November to 5th January.


Copenhagen is also popular for a post Christmas break, where you can enjoy some fantastic entertainment and firework displays. See more here.  

Read: My guide to Copenhagen here

Check Copenhagen Hotels Check Copenhagen Flights




europes best christmas markets

Christmas markets in Vienna have been a tradition since 1298. Would you believe there are over 20 different markets here? There are international choir singers performing free of charge and the Christmas atmosphere is truly magical.


The Viennese Christmas Market  in front of the City Hall is the most popular and even offers a specific children’s area, where they can learn how to make Christmas cookies and decorations. Vienna’s Christmas markets start at various times, but most run from 15th November until 26th December – see more here.  

Check Vienna Hotels Check Vienna Flights




Rome Christmas Markets

Rome may not offer markets on the same scale as some of it’s European counterparts, but that does not make it any less attractive. The Piazza Navona houses the annual Christmas market with traditional stalls and souvenirs. It is open from 8th December to 6th January, making it a good choice for a post Christmas break too. Santa makes regular appearances and there is a carousel to complete the festival atmosphere.


However, it is the magical crib displays and nativity scenes in numerous churches, that make Rome very special at Christmas time. What better time to visit the Vatican and the beauty of Rome.  

Check Rome Hotels Check Rome Flights




Barcelona Christmas markets

Another market that dates back many years is Barcelona’s Fira de Santa Llucia market. Dating from 1786 this once traditional market now has over 300 stalls selling everything from Christmas trees to Spanish tapas.


From the 26th November to 23rd December you can buy handcrafted Christmas decorations and enjoy plenty of festive cheer. There are elaborate crib displays and plenty of live entertainment for the whole family. Barcelona is also a great city for high street shopping too, you could easily do all your Christmas shopping in one weekend.

Check Barcelona Hotels Check Barcelona Flights




Brussels Christmas Markets

Brussels is becoming increasingly popular with visitors at Christmas time. The city is transformed into a winter wonderland with over 240 market stalls. It also offers tobogganing, ice skating and a massive Ferris wheel, covered in lights. The Christmas market is open from 27th November to 3rd January, so Brussels is also a great option for post Christmas break.

Check Brussels Hotels Check Brussels Flights


Please note that all dates are correct at time of issue, but may change.  Some of the links in this post contain affiliate links, where I receive a small commission if a booking is makde, but at no additional charge to you.


Like this post? You might like my best alternative Christmas market breaks.




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Holidays in IrelandTrending Posts

Hotels With Lodges in Ireland – My Top 20 Picks


Looking for apartments, houses or hotels with lodges in Ireland? I’ve hand-picked twenty Irish hotels that offer self catering facilities. 


I’m not a big fan of staying in hotel rooms with kids, be it at home or abroad. I prefer the freedom and additional space that an apartment or lodge brings, especially if we are staying longer than a one-night. However, it is nice to have the creature comforts of a hotel too, a nice breakfast springs to mind! I am delighted to see more hotels offering self catering facilities, and hotels with lodges in Ireland. Having a separate living area, and perhaps a garden can make a huge difference, especially if you fancy a night in. Some hotels even provide take-away meals to be delivered to your lodge for the ultimate win! 

hotels with lodges in ireland
Sheen Falls Country Club 4-bedroom lodge


I have hand-picked some of my favourites across many counties in Ireland, ranging from three to five-star hotels. These are suitable for families as well as groups. There should be hotels with lodges in Ireland suitable for all tastes and budgets in this list.



1. 5-star Fota Island Resort, Co. Cork

One of our family favourites, we have visited Fota Island Resort on a many occasions. We stayed in one of the new three-bedroom Fushia lodges and loved it. The children were able to play in the large back garden and we even had some resident rabbits join us each morning for breakfast.


The hotel has a large outdoor playground, an indoor pool and a kids playroom. There are also lots of kids clubs and golf camps for kids of all ages, during school holidays. The restaurant has supervised kids buffets followed by movie nights and quizzes, so parents can enjoy a date night if they wish. 

One of the advantages of staying in Fota Island Resort is its close proximity to Fota Wildlife Park. My children loved seeing the kangaroos and lemurs roaming free, something they wouldn’t normally see in a traditional zoo. Fota Island Resort is also very close to Cobh where you can take the Titanic experience tour, or take the boat trip to spooky Spike Island, to explore the fortress that once held 2300 prisoners. 


Read: A VIP experience at Fota Wildlife Park

Check prices here



2. Castle Leslie, Co. Monaghan

Although luxurious, Castle Leslie is less grand than Ashford or Dromoland Castle, and has a relaxed atmosphere that is extremely inviting – you almost feel like you are in someone’s home, rather than a hotel. It is home to one of Europe’s finest equestrian centres and one of Ireland’s best preserved lakes for fishing. You can also try kayaking, clay pigeon shooting or even take a hot air balloon ride.

castle leslie - hotel with lodges in ireland

The lodges are located in the village of Glaslough, about five minutes walk from the Lodge at Castle Leslie. These four and five bedroom spacious lodges are more like luxury town houses. 

Village Cottage

Geplaatst door The Travel Expert op Woensdag 16 augustus 2017



The village of Glaslough is an attraction in itself, with quaint shops and a family friendly pub in the centre. Makes sure you pop in to Ambledown Cottage for some great pizza in a beautiful, albeit quirky setting. Another must do is a visit to nearby Lake Muckno. Take the time to do the Black Island walk, enjoy the forest trails with fairy doors, as well as Wilbert’s adventure playground.

Read: Captivated by Castle Leslie

Check prices here



3. Mount Wolseley Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort, Co. Carlow

Famous for its championship golf course and award-winning spa, Mount Wolseley is ideal for a golfing group or a family break. With 4-bedroom self catering lodges on the grounds of the resort, you have full access to all the hotel facilities including 20 metre swimming pool.

family breaks in ireland - mount wolseley self catering lodges
Children are well looked after with a kiddies pool, zip line, soft play area, and a teen zone which is open until 11pm daily. There is also a kids club for children aged 4-12 during schoool holidays.

View offer here



4. Malone Lodge, Belfast, Co. Antrim

This Victorian town-house hotel situated in the Queens University Quarter of Belfast, is a wonderful choice for a family break or a group stay. The hotel has 32 apartments, which range from one, two and three bedrooms.


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Visit the Titanic Museum, explore the nearby Causeway Coast and Game of Thrones locations. I enjoyed a family break here a few years ago. The kids loved walking across the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, and listening to the legend of giant Finn McCool at the Giant’s Causeway.

Read: A magical few days on the Causeway Coast

Check prices here



5.  Falls Hotel & Spa, Co. Clare

As well as an award-winning spa, swimming pool and fitness centre on site, the Falls Hotel & Spa is ideally situated to explore the Wild Atlantic Way. With the Cliffs of Moher and the lively town of Doolin less than 15 minutes away, a stay at the Falls Hotel & Spa offers the best of both worlds. You can also reduce your carbon footprint by staying here, The Falls Hotel & Spa gets its electricity from the river that runs alongside it.

4 Star Hotels in Ireland - Falls Hotel & Spa

The Falls Hotel has nine self catering apartments, some of which can sleep up to seven people. They are rented on a weekly basis during the summer, but are available for two nights during the winter. Note that these apartments are only accessible via stairs, therefore they are not wheelchair-accessible.   

Check prices here



6. Incydoney Island Lodge and Spa, Co. Cork

Located right on the beach, this award-winning spa hotel is a wonderful choice for a romantic or family escape. Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa has been voted Ireland’s Leading Spa Resort at the World Travel Awards seven times!

Inchydoney hotel one of the hotels in ireland with self catering

The two-bedroomed apartments sleep up to five, and guests have full access to the hotels facilities during their stay, including the heated seawater therapy pool, sauna, steam room and gym. Children have dedicated hours in the pool as well as their own lounge with toys, games and an Xbox. A separate Netflix Room is also available.

Check prices here



7. 5-star Lough Erne, Co. Fermanagh

This luxury hotel in Northern Ireland is situated on a 600 acre peninsula overlooking two championship golf courses and the lower Lough Erne lake. It is an ideal choice for golfing enthusiasts or families looking for luxurious accommodation in a beautiful setting.


The lodges are a huge attraction, with conical roofs that look straight out a fairytale. The food at the hotel is superb, and there are are lots of options to choose from, with a fine dining restaurant, a Loughside Bar and Grill as well as some tasty bar food. The large indoor pool has family swim times and there is also an unsupervised play room, Ernies Den, with table football, air hockey and lots more.

lough erne resort hotel with lodges in ireland

There are some excellent walks around the hotel golf course, as well as more arduous walks close by. The famous Stairway to Heaven boardwalk at Culcaigh Mountain is a popular spot for social media enthusiasts, and the town of Enniskillen is only 5 minutes drive from Lough Erne if you fancy a change of scene. 

Read: Living it up at Lough Erne Resort

Check prices here



8. Quality Hotel Youghal, Co. Cork 

The beachfront apartments and houses in the Quality Hotel Youghal have been a firm favourite with families for many years. There are two-bedroomed apartments that sleep up to five, as well as holiday homes that sleep up to seven. They are very affordable and allow you enjoy all the facilities of a hotel, while staying in spacious self catering accommodation. With a gym, spa and swimming pool on site, you will be spoilt for choice.

quality hotel youghal - hotels with lodges in ireland

Special events, a kids camp and movie shows are also available throughout school holidays. The resort has a range of dining options, including bar food, pizzas available for take-away, as well as the Capel Island Restaurant. Musical entertainment is also available in the Coast Bar.

View offer here



9. Clifden Station House Hotel, Co. Galway

This unique hotel was once an old railway station. It has been beautifully restored and manages to combine the old brick and native oak with modern furnishings. Its location in the upmarket town of Clifden is ideal for anyone who wants shops, bars and restaurants close by, but also wants to get out and about and explore the rugged coastline of Connemara.

hotels with lodges in connemara

The four-star, two and three-bedroom apartments are a great choice for groups or families. All guests get full use of the hotel facilities including the swimming pool and leisure facilities, and children can enjoy the Railway Kids Club which operators during holiday periods. 

Check prices here



10. 5-star Sheen Falls Country Club, Kenmare, Co. Kerry

Sheen Falls Lodge enjoys an idyllic location overlooking Sheen Waterfalls, as well as being within walking distance to the picturesque town of Kenmare on the Ring of Kerry and Wild Atlantic Way. A Relais & Chateaux Hotel, it boasts fine food and wine and a host of activities including kayaking, paddle-boarding, archery, fishing, horse riding, clay pigeon shooting and falconry. If you prefer to relax, spend some time in the spa or indoor heated pool.  

luxury hotel deals in ireland

The Sheen Falls Country Club comprises of luxury townhouse-style holiday homes that sleep up to five, and detached holiday homes sleeping up to eight people. It is important to note that there are many different accommodation options near Sheen Falls and some lodges do not offer access to the Sheen Falls Lodge Hotel. Guests staying in the mountain view lodges have complimentary access to leisure facilities and bar and restaurant facilities, but not those staying in the courtyard lodges. 

Check prices here



11. Talbot Suites at Stonebridge, Co. Wexford

Rated number 1 on TripAdvisor  the luxurious Talbot Suites at Stonebridge is a super choice for groups or families looking for large apartments in the heart of Wexford Town. There are 73 luxury two- and three-bedroom apartments available, with floor-to-ceiling windows, high gloss fully equipped kitchen and TV’s in all living areas and bedrooms. 

select hotels of ireland apartments

Guests have access to the swimming pool and Talbot Quay Leisure Centre and all the facilities of the Talbot Hotel Wexford.

Read: 5 things to do in Wexford with kids

Check prices here



12. Knightsbrook Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort, Co. Meath

This multi-award-winning resort hotel has just won Hotel of the Year and Best Hotel Spa Ireland, at the 2019 Hotel Awards Ireland. It is situated in the scenic Boyne Valley yet only 35 minutes from Dublin. However, with an 18-hole championship golf Course, four restaurants and a leisure club and spa on site, you may find it difficult to leave. 

4 Star Knightsbrook Hotel in Ireland

The luxurious self-catering cottages boast three bedrooms, a miniature putting green, and a garden terrace. Guests have access to all on-site facilities, and there is also a kids club and games room on site. Its close proximity to Newgrange and Tayto Park are sure to please families too. 

Check prices here



13. Waterford Castle, Co. Waterford

I brought my Mum and family to Waterford Castle a few years ago and we loved it. Although just ten-minutes from Waterford City, you have to take a two-minute ferry crossing to get on to Waterford Castle’s private island – so it seems like worlds apart. I also loved the contrast between the old castle and the contemporary lodges. Designed by Paul Costello, the three-bedroom luxury lodges are spacious and are very well equipped.

hotels with lodges in ireland - waterford castle

There is a playground beside the lodges as well as a fairy trail and plenty of wildlife, including deer and squirrels to keep the kids amused. Camps and family activities are also held throughout the year, and if you fancy a day out, the Waterford Greenway is close by.





15. Castlerosse Hotel, Killarney, Co. Kerry

We stayed in one of the Castlerosse two bedroomed cottages a few years ago and had a great time. The cottages, although a little dated, are very spacious. They are located just 100 meters from the hotel and you have full use of the hotel facilities including the swimming pool and kids club. 


The Castlerosse hotel overlooks their own 9 hole golf course, the Killarney Lakes and the Magillicuddy Reeks. They even have their own resident deer on the grounds. I really enjoyed the 2km walk through the National Park to Killarney town. There are plenty of dining options including a pizza delivery service to your cottage.

family holiday in Killarney with self catering lodges

There is so much to see and do in Killarney including the National Park, Muckross House and Gardens and Torc Waterfall. We travelled around the Ring of Kerry too – read what I got up to on my blog.

Read: My family holiday in Killarney

Check prices here



16. Breaffy House Resort, Co. Mayo

Breaffy House Resort consists of two hotels set on 90 acres. The Breaffy House Hotel and Breaffy Woods Hotel are just two minutes walk from each other, and the self catering lodges are located at Breaffy Woods Hotel. The two-bedroom residences have been newly refurbished to a four-star standard and sleep up to four people.

hotels with self catering lodges in ireland

Guests have complimentary use of all resort facilities including 20 metre swimming pool, paddling pool, jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, gymnasium and award-winning spa. Children are well catered for with two playgrounds, crazy golf, GAA pitch and plenty of opportunities for forest walks.

Check prices here



17. Parknasilla Resort & Spa, Co. Kerry

Parknasilla, one of Ireland’s most famous hotels has entertained many celebrities including Princess Grace of Monaco. Its stunning location between the Ring of Kerry and the Beara Peninsula, surrounded by mountains, inlets and beaches, ensure guests return year after year.

hotels in ireland with lodges on grounds

The two and three-bedroom lodges and villas are ideal for groups and families. Guests have full use of the hotel facilities including the award-winning spa, resort dining, indoor pool, outdoor hot tubs, fairy trails, treasure trails, playground, and all other activities across the 500 acre estate.  

See more here



18. 5-star Castlemartyr Resort, Co. Cork

The 5-Star Castlemartyr Resort is  dramatically set on 220 acres, with a 17th century country manor house adjacent to the ruins of an 800-year-old-castle. As well as 103 guest rooms and suites, there are 47 luxury self-catering, two and three-bedroom lodges.  

five star hotels in ireland with lodges

Guests can enjoy full access to the resorts grounds, dining options, golf, health club, spa and seasonal kids club, and will also be treated to a welcome hamper on arrival. Some of the 2-bedroom lodges also allow pets. 

Check prices here



19. Faithlegg house, Co. Waterford

The stylish Faithlegg Hotel is an 18th century mansion, set in a woodland location overlooking the Suir estuary in County Waterford. The Mews Holiday Homes offer families or groups access to all the facilities at the hotel’s leisure centre, including the swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and gymnasium, along with the option of health and beauty treatments. 


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I finally got around to cycling the #waterfordgreenway – can’t believe it’s taken me this long! We loved it, it’s a great family experience and even young kids could do it, the paths are so smooth. We practically glided for 4km. 🚲 We started in Durrow and got our bikes from Garvin, The (not on Insta). He was one of the main campaigners to get the Greenway introduced and he only charges €15 per day, most charge €25! We cycled from Durrow to Dungarvan and saw viaducts, seaviews, tunnels and fairy doors! It’s a great route to take, 10km but manageable for anyone who can cycle, even young kids. Would highly recommend it for anyone to try, the scenery is spectacular – the easiest exercise I’ve ever done! . . . . . . @munstervalesireland @visit_waterford @waterford_greenway @waterfordgreenway @irelandsancienteast @failte_ireland @discoverireland_ #instaireland #irelandgram #holidaysinireland #staycation #familytravel #familytime #familyholiday #cycling #cyclingphotography #familycycling #irishtravelblogger #travelblogger #outdoors #ireland #holidaysinireland @plunkettpublicrelations #brotherandsister #kidsactivities #familyoutdoors #outdoorfamily

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The complimentary tennis courts and reduced Green Fees at Faithlegg’s 18-hole championship golf course are another reason to choose this popular hotel, as is its close proximity to Waterford city and the Waterford Greenway.

Read: Top Things to do in the Munster Vales

Check prices here



20. Center Parcs, Longford Forest, Co. Longford

Although more a holiday resort than a hotel, the lodges at Center Parcs Longford Forest are very impressive. If you are looking for a unique family experience in Ireland, with lots of activities on-site, then look no further. With over 100 activities for all the family including a subtropical swimming pool and a luxury spa, it really does tick all boxes for a family break in Ireland. We visited during the summer time, and for their Winter Wonderland experience at Christmas time, and we loved it both times. 


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Love this pic 😍 It sums up a fabulous weekend of family adventure at @centerparcsie , we had just completed the aerial adventure course in this photo and felt very proud of ourselves! Many hotels offer kids clubs and kids activities but it’s great to see such a big choice of activities that all the family can do together. We played laser combat today and that was great fun too. Thanks again to @centerparcsie for such a great weekend 👏 I have lots of info re prices and activities on my stories / highlights. . . . . . . #centerparcsireland #longford @longfordtourism #irishtravelblogger #familytravelblogger #travelbloggerlife #ireland #instaireland #irelandshiddenheartlands @irelandshiddenheartlands #holidaysinireland #familyholidays #familytravel #staycations #familyphoto

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The ultimate guide to Center Parcs

Winter wonderland at Center Parcs


Some of these hotels with lodges in Ireland contain affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made, but at not additional cost to you.


Travel Tips

Latest Travel Updates on Refunds and Vouchers – Your Questions Answered


Latest travel updates on refunds and vouchers: Travel agents and tour operators to give government-protected credit notes instead of refunds. 


With extraordinary times, come extraordinary measures. The standard policies that have applied for years with regard to cancellations and refunds are no longer being used in the travel industry. Some argue that airlines and travel companies are breaking the law, and while this may be somewhat true, there is no doubt that some of the laws and regulations, such as EU 261, were not designed to be used in these times.

travel updates on vouchers and refunds
The Irish Travel Agents Association along with various travel agencies have been lobbying to change the current policies, to make them more adaptable to our current circumstances. On May 8th the Irish government backed a new refund credit note that can be used by travel agents and tour operators to give to customers instead of a refund – note this is not applicable to airlines.


These credit notes will be guaranteed by the state in the event that the travel agent or tour operator ceases trading. It will be issued with a future redeemable date (6 months at present), and on that date it can be exchanged for its cash, or can be used to book another holiday. According to Shane Ross, ‘ the refund credit note aims to strike a balance between preventing sector-wide bankruptcy (with associated immediate job losses) and consumer rights.’


I have been inundated with questions from many people who have had their holidays cancelled, or have future holidays booked and are unsure of their rights or what they should do. I have outlined my most common questions below, hopefully your own situation is among them – if not, let me know by commenting under the post and I will endeavour to get an answer for you. 



I am booked to fly with Ryanair but received no correspondence from them, and I am not sure if my flight is operating.

travel updates re vouchers and refunds

Ryanair have announced that they are grounding most of their fleet in May and June. With the exception of a few flights which are still confirmed as operating until 20th June (see here), it is likely that most of their flights will be cancelled.



Ryanair will contact you by email outlining your options, which will mention changing your flight, or offering a voucher, rather than applying for a refund. You won’t have to pay a change fee, but you will pay the difference in airfare, if there is one. Once your flight has been cancelled, you can apply for a refund or voucher – but you need to wait until closer to the departure date to see if your flight is cancelled – this may not happen until seven days prior to departure.


I have been offered a voucher from Ryanair but want a refund – what can I do?

Ryanair are now asking you to accept vouchers instead of refunds – even if you have applied for a refund already.  These emails are being sent individually so if you have not received it yet, it should come in due course. They have stated that they will not be processing refunds until after the Covid-19 emergency has passed.

They recommend you take their voucher, which is valid for a year from issue date and can be exchanged for cash after a year if unused during that time. However, if you still want to apply for a refund, you can do this by using this link  – bear in mind this may take months to process. If you are having difficulty applying via the link (many are), you can message them on Facebook – I have been told my customers that they are engaging this way now.




If you are not happy with this arrangement you make a complaint to the Commission of Aviation regulation and they will take up the case with Ryanair on your behalf. You will need to prove that you applied for a refund and are being offered a voucher instead. Listen to our exclusive interview with Air Passenger Rights Manager Sarah Fischer, she tells us how to get a refund if your flight is cancelled.





Latest statement from Ryanair, 6th May 2020

  • The processing time for cash refunds is taking far longer than normal as we are processing over 1,000 times the normal volume of cancellations. We also have 75% fewer staff available to process refunds due to social distancing restrictions.
  • Ryanair is offering vouchers and free moves as these are automated and give customers an immediate alternative. Unfortunately, cash refunds cannot be automated. Customers who choose a voucher, but don’t redeem it within 12 months may still apply for and obtain a refund after this 12 month period.
  • Customers who choose not to accept a free move or voucher will receive their refund in due course, once this crisis has passed. Over the coming weeks and months, we will be working hard to process refund requests as quickly as we can. 
  • We sincerely apologise for these unavoidable refund delays which are due to the unprecedented volume of Govt. imposed flight cancellations and we sincerely thank customers for their patience.




I am due to fly with Aer Lingus in May or June, can I get a refund?

If your flight is cancelled you can accept a voucher for 110% off the full cost of your fare, or apply for a refund using this form. You may not find this link on your email asking you to avail of the voucher, but if your flight has been cancelled, you can apply for a refund in this way.


Note in many cases the flight will not be cancelled until seven days prior to departure. Once you accept the voucher, you cannot then apply for the refund. If you want a refund you will need to wait until closer to your departure date, see if the flight is cancelled and apply for a refund at that stage. 

Apply for Aer Lingus refund here



How long is my Aer Lingus Voucher valid for and are there any Ts&Cs I should be aware of?

The good news is that Aer Lingus vouchers are valid for five years, and can be spread out to for use on multiple trips. You will get the full value of your flight ticket, including seat selection, priority boarding etc, plus an additional 10% bonus. At present they are only waiving change fees on bookings up to 30th September, and offering vouchers to customers who are due to travel before 30th June – this may be extended. However, once you accept the voucher, you cannot subsequently apply for a refund if your flight is cancelled at a later date. Note: vouchers are given to the lead passenger on the booking but do not have to be used solely by the lead passenger.

I am due to fly with in May or June and my flight is still operating.

travel updates due to coronavirus

Aer Lingus are still operating flights to some European and UK airports, as well as Boston, Chicago and New York. Ryanair have listed flights that are still operating (see here) until 20th June. Many other airlines are also operating limited schedules.


If you are booked on one of these flights, your only option is to change dates, accept a voucher if offered, or claim through your travel insurance. Note travel insurance will only reimburse you if you have government advisory or travel disruption cover included in your policy. You will also need to prove that no refund is available from your airline / hotel.


Read: Coronavirus: What travel insurance covers



I have booked a FLIGHT via a travel agency and they are not engaging with me. 

EU regulation 261 specifically states that any flight contract is between the passenger and the airline. You do not need to go via your travel agent to request a refund. You can contact your airline directly, and if they will not engage with you, or will not offer you a refund, you can make a complaint to the Commission of Aviation regulation, and they will take up the case on your behalf.  Note: You will need to prove that you have tried to seek a refund from your airline and they are refusing to deal with you. Note EU-261 only applies to the flight contract, not hotel costs, transfers etc. 



I am booked to travel with TUI in June and and have not received any correspondence from them.

TUI have cancelled all holidays up to and including 11th June – personally I see this being extended by another month, at least. They will allow you to change your holiday, or any holiday departing before 31st of July free of charge. They have asked that customers do not contact them unless it is urgent and have stated that they will be in touch with you to discuss your options. You can choose to change to later in 2020 or 2021 but the difference in fare / holiday will apply.  You can alternatively apply for refund if your holiday is cancelled.




I am travelling June or July and want to cancel. 

op 10 Holiday Deals In May & June

The current government advice is against non-essential travel, with 14 day self isolation required when you return into Ireland. While I assume this advice will be amended in July, I can not understand how we are ‘allowed’ travel abroad, yet not travel within Ireland until the 20th of July. This is something that we urgently need clarification on from government.


However, as it stands currently (21st May), if you do you wish to travel, but the flights are operating, you are not entitled to a refund. You should be able to change your travel dates, but if you cancel because you do not want to fly, that is seen as your own personal decision.

If the government advice is still in place against non-essential travel, then you may be able to claim on your travel insurance. You will need to have had a policy taken out with travel disruption cover or government advice, before the advice came into effect.  

 Read: 5 things to consider before we can travel again



I am due to travel in July or August and am unsure whether to pay the balance of my holiday.

family holidays in Greece

Despite most booking conditions stating that balances are due 10 weeks before departure, few travel companies are adhering to this rule. Most tour operators and travel agencies have adapted flexible policies and few are actively chasing balance payments. I have not heard of any bookings being cancelled due to lack of payment…

However, if you do not pay your balance by the due date, you are technically breaking your contract. It is important to keep in close contact with your agent, advise them of your position and try to wait to see if the flights are cancelled closer to the departure time. 

For more information on passenger rights visit


Stay safe.



The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery


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