Travel: Vacation, Spa and Shopping Packages in Ireland

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If you’re looking for travel deals, you may wish to take a look at Ireland.  The people are friendly and there are plenty of great options, even for budget travelers.  I’ve traveled to Ireland several times and I’ve always been amazed at how easy it it for Americans to find their way in Ireland. In fact, I’m heading to Dublin this year for a bit of pre-Christmas shopping.

With the holidays coming, savvy travelers may want to take a look at the great shopping deals that Ireland offers on crystal, woolens and fashions from Irish designers.  Ireland also offers an incredible, and often overlooked selection of spas and resorts that offer luxury pampering.   If you’re looking at vacation planning, or considering some holiday shopping, here’s a list of things you’ll want explore.

Hotels: From small bed and breakfasts to luxury accommodations, Ireland offers a wide array of places to stay.  There are also Castles, like Fitzpatrick Castle,  that have been converted to hotels providing unique travel experiences.  Private rentals at castles and historic houses are available through Adams and Butler.

Look for travel deals at some of these converted manor houses and hotels. The Shelbourne Hotel in St. Stephen’s Green offers four-star accommodations and the opportunity for guests to research their genealogy with a specialist called a “genealogy butler” who can help guests research their lineage. If you fancy a smaller hotel, check out the cheap and cheerful Pembroke Townhouse, and old Georgian hotel converted into a bed and breakfast.

The Glenlo Abbey Hotel in Galway offers a unique dining experience where dinner is server on two old Orient Express carriages that have been restored.

New travel routes :  Of particular interest to travelers who want to see the Irish country side,  new tours are now available including: Ireland’s Ancient East Waterford, Railtours Ireland and Druids Glen Resort Rail tour from Dublin to Kilkenny then to Waterford allow  tourists to see some of the unique aspects of Ireland.

Tours: The Gobbins walk along the coast, the Game of Thrones tour and the Causeway coastal route are a few of the new tour options available.   There’s a driving tour called the “Wild Atlantic Way” that maps the longest driving route in the world. There are also tours structured around “Ireland’s Ancient East” to highlight over 5,000 years of Irish History.  Adams and Butler offers bespoke tours in Ireland and the UK featuring unique driver guides who are very educated, retired academics.

The Titanic:  A replica of the Titanic and museum opened in Belfast last year.   A tour has restored the Belfast shipyards where the Titanic was built and visitors can tour the historic site and artifacts.

History Tours.  There are now many history tours of Ireland for visitors to choose from, including literary tours like the Yeats Experience and tours around Dublin showing off the haunts of famous writers like James Joyce and Oscar Wilde.

Grafton street Dublin

Dublin’s famous shopping street: Grafton street.

Shopping: Some of my favorite shops are in Dublin.  If you shop in Dublin, you have to look for fine Irish crystal, Irish sweaters and clothes from Irish designers like Louise Kennedy , Emma Manley or Peter O’Brien.   I like to stop in at Brown and Thomas for luxury goods, the Powerscourt Towne Center, Arnotts and the  Makers & Brothers & Others pop-up shops that are available during the Christmas season.

Spas: Ireland now features some of the world’s finest spas.  The Powerscourt Hotel in County Wicklow features a super spa. The Lough Erne 5 star resort in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland offers a authentic Thai spa with Thai therapists in a beautiful setting of an old manor house.

The Kerry Parknasilla Park & Spa is a luxury spa in a restored 18th-century manor house situated along Kenmare Bay.  This luxury retreat lets visitors truly escape and relax. The Seawater spa, in West Cork, has been named Ireland’s leading spa & beach hotel, specializing in “seawater treatments.”

Monart Destination Spa

The pathway to the Monart Destination Spa from the old house that is now the hotel.

Finally, spa lovers will want to check out the Monart  a 5 star Destination Spa that has been named one of the top destinations in the world to visit by Forbes Magazine. The Monart in Enniscorthy offers 68 rooms and 2 suites – each suite occupies a full floor of the house built in 1740.  The spa facilities are adjoining in a modern facility offering luxurious and modern treatments.

If you’re interested in visiting Ireland check out the Special Offers available on the Jump into Ireland information on the Ireland website and check the Aer Lingus website for special airfare sales.


Since 2008, Mary Hall has been the author of The Recessionista Blog, which is read by thousands of regular readers in over 160 countries. An internationally recognized expert on the art of the living the good life for less, she has been a commentator on local, national, and international radio and TV shows. Her advice has been featured in over 2,000 media outlets, including The New York Times, Reuters, Life & Style magazine, ABC News, NBC News and now The Huffington Post, among many others.