Spring has sprung, and it's all about short breaks. Ireland can be at its best and freshest in springtime and if you're looking for a great five-star getaway, here are five luxury short break ideas:
Best For … A Romantic Weekend
The luxurious self-catering cottages at Trump International Golf Links and Hotel at Doonbeg, Co. Clare are just perfect for a romantic weekend. The isolation adds to the atmosphere, and the wild Atlantic is the backdrop for this home from home. They're decorated in contemporary classic country cottage style with tweeds and beautiful muted colours and exceptionally comfortable beds. There's a beach within walking distance and the chance for great wild walks and then the perfect relaxation afterwards either in your cottage or a quick stroll over to the resort.
Best For … Urban Cool
Dublin's Marker Hotel is cool and always part of the zeitgeist. This 5-star gem is the best spot for catching some urban cool, and the 187 room hotel is the perfect base to grab one of the big musicals at the Bord Gais Energy theatre which is on the doorstep. It's a buzzy part of Dublin with waterfront restaurants, coffee shops and bars all around and the rooftop terrace offers some of the best panoramic views across Dublin City and the Irish sea – all perfect while sipping cocktails. If you want a refreshing weekend break, then the Marker is the perfect pitstop.
Best For … A Step Back in Time
Ballyfin is breathtaking. The most lavish Regency mansion in Ireland has been completely renovated, and it is now a 5-star country house featuring antiques from around the world, fine Irish mahogany, French chandeliers and mirrors by Thomas Chippendale. If you want to step back in time, the 8-foot library with collections of rare books, architectural tours and wine and whiskey tastings along with the best of fine-dining will make it hard to leave.
Best For … A First Date
First weekends away with a date can be tricky, and it's essential to get it right. The wrong location can lead to the wrong vibe, and you can be doomed from the start! It's best to stay away from self-catering until you get to know each other better and a hotel is the best option if you fancy breakfast in bed and romantic candlelit dinners. Cork is always a great choice for a date as there is constantly a packed calendar of music, food culture, the arts, sport and great shopping. Fota Island is the perfect place for a first date – there's nothing more romantic than a stroll through the Wildlife Park, and there is beautiful scenery all around and great access to many beaches. It's only fifteen minutes from Cork city, but there's a feeling of isolation and romance to allow plenty of 'getting to know you' time.
Best For … A Family Celebration
If you want to gather with a group of over 12 people for a family celebration why not think about complete luxury and head for one of the most beautiful houses in Kerry? The Lake House at Caragh Lake offers breathtaking views of Seefin Mountain and as far as the Dingle Peninsula with all sorts of outdoor pursuits on the doorstep. This is quite simply magical as there are 70 meters of private lakefront with a path down to the shore for canoeing, paddleboarding or swimming, a big open fireplace, magnificent dining room with antiques and floor to ceiling windows and an open plan kitchen. There are six bathrooms and six bedrooms and great wifi and widescreen TVs to keep everybody happy.