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FESTIVE BREAKS - TEN OF THE BEST
Twixmas, that quiet gap between Christmas and New Year, can be just the ticket for a refreshing post-Christmas recovery break and often offers great value too. This month’s choices focus mainly on that in between time, but most of the hotels selected are also open for Christmas and New Year, and some have interesting pre-Christmas packages on offer too.
HARVEST BREAKS & VEGETARIAN COOKING
Georgina Campbell suggests some interesting destinations for an off-season break at this time of plenty. These are just a few of the places where nature's bounty is celebrated in wonderful ways: foraging expeditions, cookery courses and, of course, delicious seasonal meals that make the most of the harvest - often with a special focus on vegetarian cooking
AUTUMN BREAKS - 10 OF THE BEST
Autumn is perhaps the loveliest time of the year to enjoy gentle outdoor pursuits like woodland walks and foraging, and there are plenty of tempting places to stay that are surrounded by wonderful forested grounds or with parkland or gardens to visit nearby - and, perhaps, more challenging routes for dedicated walkers. Here are just ten of our favourites to think about...
FOR LOCAL FLOWERS IN SEASON - TEN OF THE BEST
'Seasonal and local' have become bywords for good food in Ireland - but what about our flowers? Most hotels and restaurants depend on imports for their floral decorations, yet simpler home grown and local flowers used in season have so much more charm - and can save a lot of money. There must be business opportunities for growers (like many in the UK) to tune in to the public demand for locally grown produce of all kinds, edible and otherwise, and offer alternatives to imported shop flowers. These are a few of the examples we've been enjoying on our travels - some are country houses making the most of their large gardens, but in smaller places beauty can come in a couple of blooms in a jam jar, or a bunch of wild flowers picked on a woodland walk.
FOOD TRAILS & FESTIVALS - TEN OF THE BEST
Ireland's food events are currently so many and various that the following selection is just a sample of the best ones that will please visitors with a serious interest in food, its landscape and sustainability - and, in most cases, also offer fun and education for all age groups.