Part 1 of our new series of honeymoon and minimoon destinations in Ireland features some of the country’s most beautiful hotels, castles and country houses. There’s something to suit every type of getaway – from short city breaks to romantic Island retreats and even lighthouse lodges for couples looking for something really different!Cliff House Hotel, Ardmore, Co. WaterfordThe Cliff House Hotel on the dramatic coastline of Ardmore Bay is one of the most popular choices for luxury honeymoons in Ireland. The sun-drenched terraces of the 39-room seaside hotel are the ideal location to take in the magnificent views of Ardmore’s sands, lobster pots and even the dolphins that regularly frequent the waters below. Indulge yourself in a seaweed facial or a specialist bath using Irish peat at the hotel’s stunning Well Spa, which is set in to the rock face. Hit the pause button and forget all your stresses with a few hours in the spa’s relaxation room and couple’s treatment room, which face the sea to make use of the calming horizon. From this spectacular coastal location in Ireland’s gourmet heartland you can enjoy some of the country’s best restaurants – including the hotel’s own Michelin-starred House Restaurant.Visit thecliffhousehotel.com for more details.Barbican Gatelodge, Glenarm, Co. AntrimFancy being King and Queen of your very own medieval miniature castle for two for a weekend? Look no further than the peaceful and romantic three story self-catering Barbican Gatelodge in Glenarm, Co Antrim. Tucked in on the evocative Antrim coast, the painstakingly restored and immaculately maintained Barbican Gatelodge can unashamedly call itself one of Ireland’s truly unique properties. Built in 1825 from locally sourced basalt, the estate has passed down through the McDonnell family whose previous residents have included Earls, Lords and Dutchesses. Enjoy a cosy evening sipping wine on the roof terrace where, on pristine days, views can stretch as far as the Scottish coastline.Blackhead Lightkeeper’s House, Whitehead, Co. AntrimThe magical Blackhead Lighthouse, floating on the edge of the glorious Antrim coastline offers a unique and memorable minimoon experience for couples looking for their own little piece of paradise. Rent one of the two fully restored lightkeeper’s houses, which have been meticulously restored to their former glory with antique furniture and maritime regalia, and relax in front of the fire as you enjoy panoramic views all over Belfast Lough and the Irish Sea.Visit www.irishlandmark.com/property/blackhead-lightkeepers-house-1/ for more information.Kenmare Bay, Kenmare, Co. KerryKenmare Bay’s 4 Star luxury self-catering lodges offer a peaceful home away from home for couples looking to explore the idyllic town of Kenmare. Set apart from the hotel itself, the lodges provide privacy while still being close to the hotel’s superb facilities. Take the weekend at your own pace by relaxing in your luxuriously appointed lodge before heading out to one of the many restaurants and cosy pubs within this colourful and unforgettable town.Visit kenmarebayhotel.com for more information.Carrig House, Co. KerryLocated on the tranquil shores of Caragh Lake and overlooking the majestic Kerry Mountains, Caragh Country House is undeniably one of the finest country houses in the county they call ‘the Kingdom’. Plan your weekend’s itinerary around the magnificent Ring of Kerry, including a stop off in nearby Dingle before returning to this charming country house where old-fashioned Irish hospitality is par for the course. Relax in your room where the period interiors are designed with understated opulence in mind, or enjoy the enchanting gardens of the estate which provide a tranquil setting to wile away a lazy afternoon as husband and wife.Visit carrighouse.com for more information.Dromoland Castle, Co. ClareThe historic Dromoland Castle blends Old-World elegance with contemporary luxuries, and is a real treat for minimooners looking for somewhere extra special to spend a couple of unforgettable days. Fill your weekend in one of Ireland’s top luxury hotels by indulging in some gourmet fine dining and delicious wines or unwind in the Castle’s 5 Star luxury Health Spa and indoor heated pool. If you manage to pull yourself away from the comforts of the castle, you’ll see that you have an ideal base from which to explore the energetic cities of Limerick and Galway; the charming Shannon region and Ireland’s glorious rugged West Coast.Visit dromoland.ie for more information.Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa, Clonakilty, West CorkWaking up to the sounds of waves crashing on the shore is the perfect start to a romantic getaway at the 4 star Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa. Avail of the picturesque setting by taking a romantic stroll on the blue flag beach before heading into the nearby heritage town of Clonakilty for dinner and drinks, or enjoy a juice on your balcony with the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean. A trip to the Island Spa is a must at Inchydoney, where you can treat yourself to one of their many calming seawater treatments in an evening of pure indulgence.Visit inchydoneyisland.com for more details.Inis Meain, Aran IslandsExperience true escapism at one of the top ten architectural retreats in the world, Inis Meain. Inis Meain offers the best of Ireland in one easily explored island – unparalleled natural beauty, culture, and history in a living community. As the least developed of the three Aran Islands, the landscape, culture, and history can be explored in peace and at your own pace. There are 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 sea. Each suite offers optimum privacy, personal space and comfort to complement their island explorations. Inis Meain also provides an Inis Meain Exploration Kit for guests to best explore the island. The kit includes island-customised Cube bicycles, Steiner binoculars, baited fishing rod, ash walking sticks, beach towels, maps, nature guides and books of interest.Visit inismeain.com for more information.The Westin Hotel, DublinThe Westin Hotel in the heart of Dublin is the perfect place to experience the sights and sounds of Ireland’s capital city. The historic building (a former bank) is a stone’s throw from Grafton Street, Trinity College and Connolly station where you can shop ‘til you drop, visit the many museums and famous landmarks nearby, or simply sit at a café and watch the world go by. From the contemporary décor to the professional, courteous and knowledgeable staff, The Westin exudes elegance. The hotel offers several unique dining options such as The Exchange Restaurant, The Atrium Lounge and The Mint Bar, which is located in the old underground vaults beneath the hotel. Treat yourself to a room with a view, where you can enjoy looking out over stunning Trinity College and the city beyond, before heading out to enjoy Dublin’s energetic nightlife.
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Former editor, current contributor, (she just can't let go!) Karen enjoys writing fashion but is known to dabble in decor from time to time. Her favourite section on the site is the Real Wedding section, followed closely by the Health & Fitness forums.