From spa breaks to surf lessons, painting to flower arranging, golf breaks to whiskey tasting, I’ve got 10 great activity breaks in Ireland to suit all tastes and budgets.
Fancy island hopping off the coast of Connemara or picnicking in the parks of Dublin? Why not embrace the Irish Sea and try surfing or SUPing, or perhaps a spa break in a country castle is more your style. I’ve even got an overnight stay in one of Ireland’s most romantic castles. I am delighted to team up with Original Irish Hotels, to bring you ten great activity breaks in Ireland.
Original Irish Hotels is a collection of 60 unique hotels located in a wide variety locations across Ireland. You won’t find big hotel chains, instead you will find historic castles, manor houses, boutique hotels and country homes. They are all independently owned and run, and boast local character and the best in Irish food and hospitality.
The Original Irish Hotels website is very easy to use. You can search by hotel type, destination, experience or by availability. So if you are looking for a spa retreat, a romantic getaway, or a family stay – you can find them easily on the website. Similarly if you want a castle hotel, boutique hotel or a manor house, you can search them all individually, and you can see all of their special offers here. You can also call the friendly team on +353 1 295 8900 in Original Irish Hotels if you have any queries relating to these offers.
Original Irish Hotels also have seven hotels that you can rent privately, including the spectacular Luttrellstown Castle Estate. When it is safe to do so, can you think of anything better than spending the night with your extended family in a luxury castle? In the meantime, feast your eyes on some of these great activity breaks in Ireland with Original Irish Hotels. There are many different hotel experiences to choose from, but I have chosen ten, hopefully there will be one here to suit you.
1. Spa break at Kilronan Castle, Co. Roscommon
When you drive through the medieval gates of the 18th century Kilronan Castle Estate & Spa, you are bound to be impressed by its beauty. The 50 acres of gardens, woodlands and lake, also add to its fairytale like appearance.
Originally a royal family home, it has been transformed into a luxurious Irish castle hotel. Expect four poster beds and antique furniture, as well as fine dining and a luxury spa. You will be treated to an award-winning thermal suite, saunas, steam rooms and Rasul as well as a swimming pool and treatment rooms. Speaking of which, this spa break is exceptional value:
Overnight stay with breakfast & choice of spa treatments: €139pps
This super deal includes an overnight stay with breakfast and a choice of a 50-minute Elemis Deep Tissue Massage or Elemis Facial, and use of the Thermal Suite & Relaxation Room.See more here
2. Cycling or SUPing at Clew Bay Hotel, Co. Mayo
The family owned and managed Clew Bay Hotel is located in the heart of Westport, and just recently won the Best Hotel 2019 and Best Breakfast Experience from Original Irish Hotels.
With the Great Western Greenway, Croagh Patrick, Achill Island, and some of Ireland’s best beaches on your doorstep – this hotel is ideally located for activity breaks in Ireland.
2-night stay with breakfast & choice of activity: €160pps
I love that this special offer lets you choose your own preferred activity. Cycle the Great Western Greenway from Westport to Achill Island with a days bike hire, or enjoy 90 minutes Stand-up paddle boarding at Old Head Beach. This break includes a two night stay with breakfast and a choice of one of these activities, which must be booked in advance.View offer here
3. Romantic Stay at Ballynahinch Castle Hotel, Co. Galway
Ballynahinch Castle has been on my wish list for some time. Its idyllic location in the heart of Connemara, along with the fact that it is one of Ireland’s finest luxury castle hotels, has made me long to stay there. It is set in a 700 acre estate of woodlands, rivers and gardens and has been welcoming visitors for over 250 years. Some of its long list of awards include: Top 5 Hotels in Ireland by Condé Nast Readers in 2019 and Top 10 Resort Hotels in the UK & Ireland by Travel & Leisure 2019 & 2018.
If you like activity breaks in Ireland, then you will be spoilt for choice here. You can go hiking, fly-fishing or clay shooting all on the grounds of the estate, and with Kylemore Abbey and the Connemara Coast on your doorstep, the possibilities for day trips are endless. However, on a slightly more relaxed scale, this ‘Vinyl Package’ caught my eye:
Overnight stay with breakfast, room service dinner, cocktail, & turntable with a choice of LP: €215pps
Have you and your partner a favourite song? Perhaps there is one that brings back memories of when you first met? Why not treat your loved one to a romantic dinner in one of Ballynahinch Castle’s luxurious bedrooms, while you listen to your choice of music on a turntable. The mixologist will prepare a cocktail of your choice to match your mood – can you think of anything more romantic?See more here
4. Flower Arranging & Art Classes at Ballyseede Castle Hotel, Co. Kerry.
With my family being from Tralee, I know Ballyseede Castle well. Kerry’s only authentic castle hotel is surrounded by 30 acres of private gardens and woodland, and is steeped in history. You will find an elegant oak staircase, impressive drawing rooms, and luxurious bedrooms that blend beautifully with the traditions of the castle. Ballyseede Castle is also known for its traditional Irish cuisine and fine dining, as well as its much loved resident, an Irish Wolfhound.
Ballyseede Castle offers many activity breaks including flower arranging classes, art classes and golf breaks. Here are two that might be of interest:
Flowers with Maura – 2-night break with breakfast & 1 evening meal: €260pps
This special offer is based on a 2-night stay with breakfast and dinner on one evening of your choice. You will be treated to a two-hour flower arranging class during your stay with Maura, an award-winning flower farmer and artisan florist. All materials will be supplied on the day and everyone will leave with their own unique creation.See more here
Art with Amanda- 2-night break with breakfast & 1 evening meal: €235pps
This special offer is based on a 2-night stay with breakfast and dinner on one evening of your choice. You will be treated to a 2.5 hour relaxed art class with Amanda, a painter, illustrator and creative workshop facilitator. Using nature as your inspiration, you will take a walk around the grounds of the Castle, sketching different elements you come as you walk. This activity break is aimed at all levels, including those who would consider themselves not creative. All materials are supplied.See more here
5. Choice of activities at Arnolds Hotel, Co. Donegal
Located in the pretty seaside village of Dunfanaghy, with stunning beaches close by, if the Wild Atlantic Way views don’t excite you, the fine food and hospitality surely will. Arnolds was an AA Rosette Winner for Culinary Excellence and is packed with options for an activity break in Ireland.
Golf, horse-riding, deep-sea fishing, and surf lessons are all available and can be added on directly with the hotel. They also organise painting breaks, as well as weekend photography and writing workshops.
2 night stay with breakfast: €99pps
Arnolds Hotel has a super midweek offer (available from Monday – Thursday), for only €99 per person sharing for a two-night stay with breakfast. Add group surf lessons for €40 for adults and €30 for children at the nearby surf school Narosa life. Prices include a warm wetsuit, surfboard and ISA approved instructor.
See more here
6. Discover the Wild Atlantic Way at Abbeyglen Castle Hotel, Co. Galway
My advice is if you are going to the Abbeyglen Castle Hotel, get there early – they serve complimentary afternoon tea! Their hospitality doesn’t stop here, you can also enjoy a complimentary champagne and canapés in the piano bar before dinner each evening. After savouring their award-winning cuisine, what better than some time spent in the wellness and relaxation centre. But it is not just the hotel facilities that caught my eye:
2-night stay with breakfast & 2 evening meals, trip to Inishbofin Island: €267pps
This two night break includes gourmet five course meals on both nights, as well as an overseas trip to Inishbofin Island to explore the cliff forts, monastic sites and superb sandy beaches. You will also receive pre-dinner bubbles and an informal talk on the history of Abbeyglen and the local area. This must be one of best value activity breaks in Ireland.See more here
7. Cycling in the City at Brooks Hotel, Dublin
Located just minutes from Dublin’s social and shopping scene, Brooks Hotel is the ideal choice for an activity break in the capital. As well as it’s popular Jasmine Bar and Francesca’s Restaurant, you can enjoy a movie in Brooks Hotel’s private cinema. This four-star boutique hotel is within walking distance of St. Stephen’s Green and most of Dublin’s top attractions, but if you like cycling, then this exclusive offer is for you:
2-night stay with breakfast, 1 dinner, picnic & bike hire: €195pps
Take a home-made artisan picnic with you as you explore the wonderful city of Dublin. This great deal includes a two-night stay with breakfast, a welcome drink on arrival, two course dinner, bike hire and picnic. Bike hire includes helmet, lock and optional pannier bag. A late check-out until 2pm is also included on the day of departure and you can upgrade to Deluxe Room for discounted rate of €20.See more here
8. Foodie break at Dunadry Hotel & Gardens, Co. Antrim
I had the pleasure of staying in the Dunadry Hotel last year and loved it. Built on the site of an ancient fort, this historic hotel oozes character. The gardens, leisure centre and swimming pool make it a great choice for an activity break, as well as its close proximity to the Causeway Coast and the newly opened Gobbins Cliff Path Walk.
Overnight stay with breakfast, dinner and more: £109pp
This super deal includes a breakfast, a three-course evening meal and a bottle of the Dunadry Hotel’s very own own Pecking Peacock beer.
See more here
9. Gin & Whiskey Tasting near the Bush Hotel, Co. Leitrim
The family owned Bush Hotel in Carrick-On-Shannon is steeped in history and bursting with character. Originally an Inn and resting point for travellers on the Stage Coach route between Dublin and the Northwest, it has been beautifully restored as a boutique heritage hotel. You can expect mature gardens, open fires, chic bedrooms with a wonderful blend of modern living and old world charm.
It is ideally located for an activity break as it is on the most scenic stretch of the Shannon, with river cruising, forest parks, golf and fishing close by. But there is more to its location than outdoor pursuits. The newly opened Shed Distillery in Drumshanbo is approximately 15 minutes drive from the hotel. Sure it would be rude not to…
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2-night stay with breakfast, 1 dinner & Shed Distillery tour: €125pps
This offer includes a two-night stay with breakfast, dinner one evening, and a tour of Ireland’s newest authentic distillery experience at The Shed Distillery. Taste the famous Dumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin, Dunshanbo Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey, or the Sausage Tree Pure Irish Vodka, Your ticket includes two expert tastings.
10. Golf break at Headfort Arms Hotel , Co. Meath
Located in the heart of the Boyne Valley, the Headfort Arms Hotel is an ideal choice for a short break in Ireland’s Ancient East. A family-run hotel, with an award-winning restaurant, as well as its own Wood Fired pizza oven, you have the choice of casual or fine dining. You will also find treatment rooms if you need some pampering, and this golf break offers superb value:
2-night stay with breakfast, 1 evening meal & 2 rounds of golf: €199pps
This golf break includes two rounds of golf in the Headfort Golfing Complex, located near the hotel. This 36 hole complex is rated as potentially the best member’s facility in Ireland, as well as one of the country’s top 10 parkland courses. Golf is subject to availability and a minimum four ball is required for this package. Price of €199 is based on midweek, supplement of €20 applies for weekend stays.
I hope this post on activity breaks in Ireland will help you plan a staycation soon. With restrictions changing regularly, it is important to check that the facilities / activities listed are operating to full capacity.