Words by Tanya Grimson
February 7th, 2018
Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and for some, it’s a key milestone in their relationship calendar, for others, it’s just an opportunity to snuggle up a little tighter with the one they love and that’s enough. But for those who like to use the 14th of February as an opportunity to really show the special person in their life what they mean to them, it doesn’t have to be the traditional box of chocolates and a dinner invitation. Now far be it from me to deny a dinner invitation (that is always welcomely received) but around Valentine’s Day, it can become a little formulaic and not to mention a little too commercial.
There are many ways you can go that extra mile without having to opt for the expected and Ireland has so many incredibly romantic opportunities just waiting to be discovered. This year, why no go that little bit further and take your partner or newly discovered loved one somewhere they never would have thought of, or more importantly, they never thought you would have thought of? The extra thought alone earns brownie points that will immediately elevate any romantic sentiment towards you, and who knows, now that you have raised the bar, you can make this a yearly event to be truly excited about.
Below, we have tracked down some of the best alternative locations and weekend breaks that are guaranteed to not only surprise but intrigue too.
Perched among the trees of South West Cork, Cottages for Couples provides an array of interesting accommodation options for those who want to try something different. One of them is a treehouse, but this isn’t your average treehouse; each elevated cabin comes fully equipped with an open plan living space, kitchen, an outdoor large deck and most importantly a private two-person Canadian hot tub with a set of chairs and table for evening star gazing.
For more information visit cottagesforcouples.ie.
If you are looking for a slice of romance Jane Austen style, a thatched cottage might just provide all the details you need. Airbnb is currently hosting a beautiful cottage that looks straight from a period movie, wooden picket fence included. Located in Kells, Co. Kilkenny, this enchanting property originally built in the late 18th Century strikes the perfect balance of old world charm complemented by modern additions. Set in the prettiest floral garden, the Mill Cottage is ideal for couples looking for a relaxing countryside escape but with contemporary accoutrements that we have grown to expect. The cottage sleeps four with two bedrooms, making it ideal for couples with families who aren’t lucky enough to enlist a babysitter for the weekend.
For more information visit Airbnb.ie.
Can you think of anything more romantic and captivating than a night in a lighthouse along the Wild Atlantic Way? And, if your idea of a lighthouse is dark, cold and dingy, then, Clare Island Lighthouse boutique accommodation is anything but that. The listed building is home to six guest rooms, each complemented by the stark contrast of the wild surroundings and magnificent sea views overlooking Clew Bay, balanced with the modern interior decor of wooden floors, cast iron beds and white walls. Wood burning stoves and under floors heating create further atmosphere and provide the ideal setting for the most authentic romantic experience. Batten down the hatches, put the fire on and snuggle up to the sounds of the Wild Atlantic Way.
For more information visit clareislandlighthouse.com.
For adventure enthusiasts, a traditional night away with dinner is not going to cut it, why not impress with the beauty of the night sky in your kayak? Atlantic Sea Kayaking offers starlight kayaking tours on Lough Hyne under the watchful eye of world champion kayaker and proprietor, Jim Kennedy. The tour, which lasts 2.5 hours (commencing one hour before darkness), encourages the participants to get acquainted with the darkness and soak up the serene atmosphere, allowing a natural sense of romance fill the air.
For more information visit atlanticseakayaking.com.
One of the most welcome additions to the sunny Southeast, the Waterford Greenway is impossible to not enjoy. The recently opened stretch offers cyclists and walkers the opportunity to travel from Dungarvan to Waterford and enjoy all the amenities the landscape has to offer along the way. Choose from a selection of tandem, single or even electric bikes upon which to explore the incredible surrounding scenery. If the full 44km to Waterford is a little too much, opt for the Kilmacthomas halfway stop instead – you will still get the opportunity to enjoy Clonea beach views, the Durrow Tunnel which was and is now the derelict Durrow Train station, and the Durrow viaduct for even more spectacular views. Pack a picnic on your back and hop off at any of the open areas (you will be spoilt for choice) and reward yourself with a pit stop pint at the quaint local Kiersey’s Bar and Tearoom in Kilmacthomas, before setting up on your return journey. It’s hard not to be enchanted by the whole experience, and there is nothing like a little exercise to work up an appetite – what that appetite is for is up to you…
For more information visit waterfordgreenwaybikehire.com.
For more Wild Atlantic Way ideas visit www.wildatlanticway.com.
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