Lá Fhéle Vailintín: An Irish Valentine’s Day

Photo by Konstantinos Papakonstantinou

It’s that time of year again when everyone goes all lovey dovey (or gets a bit pukey), and if its romance you’re after, there is really no better place than Ireland for a green and red Valetine’s Day. After all, we’re home to a selection of the remains of St. Valentine himself (stored in the Whitefriar Church in Dublin) – a donated gift from Pope Gregory XVI in 1836.

Even if paying homage to a deceased saint’s relics aren’t you’re idea of romance (I actually think it’s quite sweet), there is plenty to see and do around Ireland for Valentine’s Day 2011. Here’s our selection of some of the best.

Get Away for the Weekend

A number of hotels and inns around the country are offering wonderful Valentine’s weekend packages, and in many cases it’s still not too late to book. Especially if you are hoping to save a little money this year, opting to spend a Sunday night or even Monday night on a romantic adventure out-of-town can really bring the cost down.

For instance, the Sandymount Hotel has an amazing Valentine’s deal going: an overnight stay (including chocolate dipped strawberries and a glass of sparkling wine) plus a 6-course dinner (oh my!) for only €59.50 per person, which works out to only €119 per couple for a weekend of bliss. What’s better is that they are located right in Dublin 4, which means city dwellers don’t have far to go, while people from other parts of Ireland can enjoy the romance of the Fair City for the weekend.

If you prefer to literally get out of town, the options reach far and wide. Ireland’s Blue Book has a good list of Valentine’s Day specials at manors and castles in Ireland, including the likes of Hayfield Manor in Cork City and the gorgeous Cashel House Hotel in Connemara (I can’t think of a more ruggedly romantic place to spend the weekend).

Those looking for a nice dinner out might want to head to Weir’s Bar and Restaurant in Multyfarnham, Co. Westmeath. They are hosting a weekend of Valentine’s Day festivities and dinners, including a draw for a €100 voucher on Monday evening.

And backpackers hitting the town should consider a stay at one of the A*Hostels three properties, Abraham House, Ashfield House and Abigail’s Hostel, who are giving away bottles of sparkling wine in two separate contests in each hostel (plus glasses!), so even if you aren’t traveling with a sweetie, you can still upgrade your drinking habits for the night.

A Little Pampering

Sometimes what you need is just some good, old fashioned relaxation, and what is more sensual and romantic than a spa treatment with your lover? Luckily, Celtic Tours has a fantastic rundown of some of the best spas in Ireland, both south and north. Among the better looking options are stays at places like Temple Country Retreat in , which offers a fully inclusive spa weekend including gourmet meals and several outlandishly decadent treatments like “VinoTherapy” and “ChocoTherapy”. You’re going to cover me in chocolate and wine in the name of good health? Where do I sign up!

Whisper Sweet Nothings

And if all you want to do is say a few romantic words to your honey, why not do it with a little Irish flair? As in, in Irish, the most passionate of all languages. Create a romantic getaway in Donegal by enrolling in an Irish language course at Oideas Gael and learn to say I love you in Irish.

If you’re too lazy for all of that (or Donegal’s icy wind in February does not entice), you can always just check out this fantastic list of romance words in Irish courtesy of Irish Culture and Customs.

However you choose to celebrate (or not), Beannachtaí na Fhéle Vailintín!

by Megan Eaves

About Megan Eaves

Travel writer and wanderluster, Megan Eaves is the author of two travel guidebooks and runs the Irish travel website http://www.irishjaunt.com. Having traveled to 25 countries and lived in five, she is an expert on Ireland, China and the American Southwest, where she grew up. She also often writes about her adventures around Europe, especially London, where she is currently living.


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