While December may be a time for intense socialising and overindulgence, the New Year brings a different style of indulgence in a very positive way. This is the time to dedicate some much needed down time to yourself. Perhaps you want to spend a few days detoxing from the December madness, or you just want to get away from it all. Whatever your particular desire, we have curated a list of the top 10 places in Ireland that will help you get your groove back and have you oh so zen in no time at all.
Staycation 1. Monart Spa, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford
Monart is Irelands only 5 star Destination Spa, with one sole purpose in mind; to create a relaxing, mindful environment focused on the enhanced wellbeing of those lucky enough to visit. Conde Nast has previously voted Monart as ‘Runner-up Best Spa Retreat Worldwide’, and Forbes Magazine featured Monart as one of the top 10 destinations in the world. There are 15 treatment rooms in total along with both dark and light relaxation rooms to choose from. The menus use locally sourced produce and the restaurant offers dedicated vegan and vegetarian menus. Don’t bother packing too much, you will spend most of your time here in the insanely fluffy robe you are provided with.
Staycation 2. Cloona Health Retreat, Westport, Co. Mayo
The story of Cloona Health Retreat begins in the 1960’s with a group of Tibetan monks who had been in exile in Britain since the Chinese invasion of Tibet. The monks were asked to be part of the renovation of Cloona Mill in a project which hoped to set them up in a community in the West of Ireland. Unfortunately, before the work was completed they were denied visas from the Irish government which led to a change of direction for Cloona and resulted in the opening of the Retreat Centre, which still runs today. There are a vast array on retreats on offer, all of which include structured, holistic, detox programs. Want to kick start that new lifestyle and shed a few pounds, Cloona is the place for you.
Staycation 3. The Elbowroom Escape, Donard, Co. Wicklow
Nestled in the Glen of Imaal, amidst some of the most stunning scenery Ireland has to offer, the elbowroom escape is a haven in itself. The elbowroom offers a variety of escapes, but ‘The Hikers Paradise’ is truly a ‘get away from it all’ escape. With two nights stay, breakfast, private guided hikes to the peak of Lugnaquilla and a craft gin and tonic on arrival, this one ticks all the boxes.
Staycation 4. Bellinter House, Navan, Co. Meath
The quintessential countryside retreat, Bellinter House is a unique place of enchantment and relaxation. With the comfort and elegance of a luxury boutique hotel, and the personal service and attention to detail of a country house, Bellinter House offers every guest the opportunity to retreat, relax and indulge. The Bathshed Spa provides a full range of spa services, an outdoor hot tub, sauna and steam rooms, while the main house offers the cosiest nooks and crannies for reading those books you were gifted for Christmas, of just thumbing through the paper while nursing an Irish Coffee by the open fire. The restaurant serves the finest award winning Irish cuisine so suffice to say, leaving here will be a chore in itself.
Staycation 5. Ard Nahoo Eco Retreat, Dromahair, Co. Leitrim
Named as one of the world’s top retreats by The Guardian, Ard Nahoo offers a health farm with Yoga and detox retreats that are second to none with eco cabins to boot. The food is all organic and the environment is one of pure relaxation. Fancy taking your love of yoga to the next level? You can enrol in yoga teacher training and turn that hobby into a whole new career. Namaste….
Staycation 6. Ballynahinch Castle Hotel, Connemara, Co. Galway
For a truly outdoorsy getaway, Ballynahinch Castle Hotel is hard to beat. There is such a choice of unique activities available that leaving the grounds is purely optional. From hiking on the popular trails, fly fishing, biking, clay pigeon shooting or simply enjoying the tranquillity of the grounds, the options are endless. Make sure to visit the walled garden with its outdoor fire and of course, enjoy a pint of the black stuff in The Fisherman’s Pub. One thing is guaranteed at Ballynahinch, you will sleep soundly.
Staycation 7. Burren Yoga, Cappaghmore, Co. Galway
Staying with the west of the country, Burren Yoga has offered mindfulness and meditation retreats since 1999. You can expect delicious vegetarian meals cooked by Gearoid, a chef who used to work in a Hare Krishna restaurant in New York. The eco yoga retreats are suitable for all ages, men and women and from complete beginners to the more advanced. A break at Burren Yoga nourishes the body AND the mind.
Staycation 8. The Brooklodge Hotel, Macreddin Village, Co. Wicklow
The Brooklodge Hotel and Wells Spa truly is a food lover’s paradise. Home to Irelands first fully certified organic restaurant, The Strawberry Tree, the hotel has thrived since opening in 1999. Macreddin village is now home to 86 luxurious Bedrooms of various styles, The Strawberry Tree Restaurant, The Wild Foods Pantry, a treasure trove of Wild Foods that have been foraged and preserved by The Strawberry Tree team, La Taverna Armento, the Southern Italian style bistro, Actons Country Pub & The Orchard Café, The Waterside Lounge, Macreddin Organic Bakery, Macreddin Smokehouse, The Store Rooms food & gift shop, Macreddin Golf Course and The Wells Spa, an adult only destination Spa. Enough said.
Staycation 9. E Bikes Tour of the Wicklow Way
Fancy a bicycle tour of Wicklow with a little help from your friend? This could be the getaway for you. E Bikes look like a bicycle, pedal like a bicycle, steer and stop like a bicycle, but it has a small motor that helps you out on those pesky Wicklow hills. In a nutshell, it is battery assisted cycling. The package includes 6 nights’ accommodation along the way, along with E Bike rental, sat nav and luggage transfers. This is definitely one to be enjoyed with a few friends as spring beckons.
Staycation 10. Inis Meain Restaurant and Suites, Inis Meain, Aran Islands
This one epitomises escaping from it all in a way that feels almost monastic – with delicious food thrown in. Inis Meain Restaurant and Suites are home to just five private suites, each a minimum of 50 square meters and with a 10 meter expanse of glass revealing panoramic views of the island and the sea. The now famous restaurant offers a taste-the-view dining experience with a sweeping view over the surrounding island and ocean for a maximum of 16 guests at one time. This is the perfect place to take a time out and soak up the landscape, culture, and history of the Aran Islands. A visit to Inis Meain is therapeutic for both body and soul.
Feature By: Ciara McQuillan