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Around two hours from Dublin and less than an hour from Belfast, start your romantic break in style in South Down.
Set well back from anything that resembles a road, this amazing restored country home has been tastefully transformed into a warm and friendly guesthouse. As you enter the house a splendid open fire, surrounded by comfortable, period armchairs and settees, will greet you. This is a great spot to relax after a day adventuring around the local area. Bedrooms are large, in period style with antique furniture but very comfortable beds! The house is set in marvellous private grounds that extend right down to the sea and the incredible, long sandy beach of Tyrella strand. Enjoy a romantic evening stroll here before dinner – chances are, you’ll have this glorious beach to yourselves!
There is so much to do here that you will never be left wondering how to spend your time. You could stay fairly local and enjoy the beach and maybe the delights of Dundrum, it’s castle, fine restaurants and old pubs. Venturing further afield there is also the ‘Kingdom of Mourne’, a superb mountain range set right beside the Irish sea. What they lack in height, these mountains more than make up for in beauty. With splendid mountain passes, ancient dolmens (megalithic tombs) or even seaweed baths, something will tempt you. A day’s sightseeing could also include a trip along Strangford Lough’s western side and a visit to Castle Ward. This great historic property is the setting for a number of scenes from the Game of Throne TV series and is now in the hands of the National Trust. The architecture is fascinating, an eclectic mix of classic and gothic. The extensive grounds are a great place for a walk, and you could partake in an ancient activity such as archery, or something a bit more modern, and certainly romantic, in sea kayaking.
Head further west and cross the virtually imperceptible border into the South of Ireland – you will need Euros instead of British pounds from now on, though.
Glaslough is home to this splendid four star castle hotel, set amidst one thousand acres of rolling emerald countryside. Serenity, character and a strong sense of lineage pervade the grounds. Impressively the estate remains in the hands of the family which bought it way back in the 16th century. Extensively restored in recent times to its original splendour this luxurious hotel today offers charming accommodation. The castle’s romantic rooms are steeped in history, retaining their original features and dotted with eclectic family collections from centuries past. Each room holds a story, from the governesses’ to the Chinese room; they are all exquisitely decorated and furnished. The history of the castle and family is also told through the artefacts and paintings that decorate its corridors. Indeed, one current member of the family, fast approaching 100 years old, can often be found having his breakfast next to you in the morning and dining in the restaurant of an evening, after which he might give a splendid rendition on the piano!
The towns of Monaghan and Armagh, Ireland’s ‘cathedral city’, are both within a short drive of your hotel and are well worth seeking out for a morning or afternoon. However, in some ways this private estate and castle makes for a brilliant destination in itself. With extensive private grounds and gardens, it can be enjoyed in its own right, whether that is simply walking on the many small paths and trails, fishing on the lake for some of Ireland’s largest pike or riding on one of the estates magnificent horses. There is also a tasteful Spa and an award winning restaurant to enjoy and great small antique shops, traditional Irish pubs and small restaurants in the village of Glaslough itself.
Sligo sits proudly on Ireland’s west coast – a place symbolic with tradition and history, with friendly local people, great views, beautiful countryside and magnificent beaches. To get here we recommend leaving early on your fifth day and travelling through County Fermanagh. This county has some fantastic sights to take in including the massive freshwater lakes of Lough Erne, the wondrous Marble Arch Caves and the beautiful 18th century house and country estate of Florence Court.
This magnificent country home has remained in the hands of the same family for over eight generations, making it one of the oldest continuously owned private homes in Ireland. The family are still hands-on running the estate, farming the land, managing a herd of deer and now operating the house as an exquisite guesthouse. Indeed it is highly likely that the owner himself will be there to meet you and welcome you, and perhaps during your stay he will relate the fascinating family history. Bedrooms are individually decorated, each with their own character, many with four-poster beds. Downstairs there is a comfortable lounge, complete with period furniture, ornaments and paintings. All meals are served in the historic dining room, on a dark oak table and with the family’s finest silver!
Sligo is a picturesque, historic and ancient county – whether you are inspired by the work of Yeats, visiting megalithic tombs, or walking on mountain moorland, round beautiful loughs or alongside the roar of enormous Atlantic surf beaches. Your hosts are a local family with a wealth of knowledge on the local area and will provide you with detailed directions to make sure you find what you are looking for.
On your last day you will travel back to the airport or port of your choice – Dublin and Belfast are both less than a three hour drive. We will provide some great recommendations for things to do and see on this final leg to ensure you really enjoy your last moments in Ireland. If you wish, we are more than happy to arrange a final night’s stay near to where you are departing from so that you do not feel rushed in any way.
This holiday covers County Down in Northern Ireland, plus Monaghan and Sligo in the South.
£625 per person for April and October, £650 per person for May, June and September or £695 per person for July and August.
Prices based on two adults sharing a double ensuite room for six nights on a bed and breakfast basis.
Travel to Ireland
We would be delighted to book your travel to Ireland for this self-drive holiday. Dublin or Belfast would be suitable starting points, and we can assist with additional nights’ accommodation as preferred.
Before your departure, you will receive personalised holiday information including full directions, recommended routes, and suggestions on places to visit depending on your interests and our local knowledge to help you get the most from your holiday.
All Ireland itineraries and room types are presented subject to availability at specific hotels.
All our holiday prices include a service charge of £9 per person per night towards the costs we incur in researching, planning and designing your holiday.
We guarantee to refund this service charge if you believe that arranging your holiday through McKinlay Kidd has not met your expectations for value. All we ask is that you write to us within 7 days of your return and explain your reason for claiming the refund. This will ensure that we can improve the experience for all our future guests.
This holiday is available from March to October.
To check the latest availability for this holiday complete the form below or call us. We will respond to your availability check within one working day if at all possible. Please bear with us on this - we work with a hand-picked selection of smaller hotels, guest-houses, and other independent businesses, ensuring that you have the chance to explore off the beaten track and really get under the skin of the destination.
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