It’s arguably the best season for a getaway.
With none of the pressure of Christmas and none of the expectation of summer, autumn breaks are all about having some fun, whether you’re planning a Halloween howl for the kids or some trick-or-treating-yourself during a sneaky luxe couples retreat.
Whatever destination you decide on, you can be sure there will be crunchy leaves underfoot, golden sunsets for magical selfies, and plenty of pumpkin-based goodies waiting to be washed down with apple cider.
Here are three autumn getaways that tick every box:
1. A GOURMET GETAWAY IN GORGEOUS GLENGARRIFF
The base: The Eccles Hotel, Glengarriff
There are few Irish weekend destinations that boast their own microclimate, but tropical Glengarriff is one; the warm Gulf Stream currents ensure the seaside village is surrounded by exotic plant life, including some of the most delicious fresh produce in the country.
If a sneaky staycation à deux is in order, check in at the handsome Eccles Hotel, where you’ll enjoy the best of modern luxury steeped in 250 years of history.
First things first; pull on a pair of comfy boots and head out to work up an appetite.
It doesn’t get more romantic than a stroll around the jaw-dropping gardens on Garnish Island. Return boats from the Island operate every 30 minutes throughout October and you can enjoy an up-close visit with the harbour’s seals en route.
Find a cosy table in one of the villages many bars and restaurants for lunch or grab a toastie to enjoy alfresco from Coasties, the grilled-cheese food truck in the Quill’s Carpark on Main Street.
Back at the Eccles, you can while away the afternoon by treating your amour to a massage or a seaweed wrap in the deluxe double treatment suite at the Eccles Spa or bob about in the hot tub overlooking Bantry Bay.
Savour the salty air with pre-dinner drinks on the hotel’s beautiful terrace before settling down at your table in the Garnish Restaurant, where acclaimed Head Chef Eddie Attwell is waiting to wow you with a thoughtful menu celebrating the best of West Cork.
Book it: The Eccles Hotel Dine and Dream package includes accommodation for one night with breakfast and a three-course in the hotel’s Garnish Restaurant or Harbour Bar from €230 for two people sharing. Booking is open now at Eccleshotel.com.
2. A HALLOWEEN SPOOKTACULAR IN THE SOUTHEAST
The base: Ferrycarraig Hotel, Ferrycarraig, Wexford
There’s more to Wexford than juicy strawberries and new potatoes (although they really don’t get more delicious). The model county’s golden beaches, cosy pubs, lush gardens, and fascinating history have been delighting ‘sunny southeast’ staycationers all summer long, with plenty in store to maintain the allure into the spooky season.
Nestled on the edge of the River Slaney Estuary, the Ferrycarraig Hotel is the ideal base for a fun family getaway.
A bracing walk on Hook Head is a must – guided tours have recommenced at Hook Lighthouse, one of the oldest lighthouses in the world, offering fascinating insights into the medieval building, which has guarded the peninsula for more than 800 years.
Just down the road, Johnstown Castle is hosting a Spook-tacular Family Tour, led by resident ghosts such as Sir John Esmonde. Visitors will be guided through the dungeons and ancient underground servant’s tunnel from Saturday, October 23rd until Sunday, October 31st, inclusive (book tickets here).
Right on the doorstep of Ferrycarrig Hotel is the Irish National Heritage Park, Ireland’s largest outdoor museum, complete with replica Viking longship and a stone-age chipper, while a stroll through the winding streets of Wexford Town reveals hipster coffee shops, boutiques and gourmet supply stores aplenty, alongside a buzzy food and pub scene.
After the kids blow off some steam back at the hotel’s outdoor playground, you can take a table at Reeds, named the top hotel restaurant in Wexford by the Restaurant Association of Ireland, for a mouthwatering feast. You’ll be tucking into Slaney Valley Lamb, Kilmore Black Sole on the bone, or Pat O’Neill’s pork belly (served with broad bean and smoked bacon cream, sweetcorn purée and Wild Turkey Bourbon whisky glaze ) as the sun dips below the rushes outside.
For a more casual meal, the Dry Dock Bar does a mean fish and chips, decadent crab claws, and a hefty burger.
Book it: Halloween Family Fun packages are available from October 22nd until November 1st. Families can enjoy a two-night for two adults and two children under 12 sharing in a family room, full Irish breakfast each morning, and full use of the health and fitness club and 20m swimming pool from €400 or a three-night break from €600. For further information on the latest packages see ferrycarrighotel.ie.
3. A PUMPKIN PICKIN’ KICK BACK IN KILLARNEY
If it’s been yonks since you got the gang back together for a group getaway, now is the time to arrange one before the Christmas rush sets in.
The Ross, an uber-cool boutique hotel situated just steps from Killarney’s stunning National Park, is the perfect base for a grown-up get-together.
Once you hit Killarney, the atmosphere demands you hit the town immediately, so glam up and gather a handful of besties for early evening cocktails and a scrumptious dinner downstairs in The Lane.
The next morning, after a dreamy night in a cloud-soft bed, you can revive yourself for the day ahead with a pre-breakfast swim in the stunning pool and a dip in the outdoor hot tub at The Killarney Park (The Ross’s five-star big sister).
As a guest of The Ross, you have complimentary access to this secret hideout.
If your Instagram feed could do with some wholesome snaps to make up for all those missed mates dates during the lockdown, head for the Samhain Festival at Killarney Pumpkin Farm, located in the serene fields of Headford, only 15 minutes from Killarney town.
Venture through the rambling vines in the Pumpkin Patch or soak up the atmosphere in the courtyard and feast on Harvest Eats from eleven77 At The Farm. Expect treats, tricks, and hot apple ciders galore, with resident Witch Hagatha, friendly alpacas, and a bonfire.
Book it: The Ross ‘Rediscover Killarney’ package includes two nights accommodation, dinner in The Lane on one evening, and full breakfast each morning from €450 per room. Book now at Theross.ie.