Romantic Travel for Valentine’s Day on Newstalk

Valentines Day Feature on The Hard Shoulder January 22nd 2020

Before we get all romantic and conjure up dreamy inspiration There are two important travel fairs coming up that will be inspirational for all travel junkies – the first runs this weekend In Dublin at the Holiday World Show in the RDS

It starts this Friday at 1pm and runs all weekend with admission only €7 per adult

Holiday World Show Dublin 2020

With over 2,000 travel experts from home and abroad, offering visitors exclusive show-only prices

Where:                RDS Simmonscourt, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4

When:                  Friday 24th, 1pm to 6pm (Public)

Saturday 25th, 11am to 5.30pm (Public)

Sunday 26th, 11am to 5.30pm (Public)


Admission:         Adults – € 7 OAPs – € 4 Students – € 3

Special Family Price 2 Adults & up to 4 children – € 14

Why visit Holiday World Show 2020?

  • Exclusive, Show-Only discount holiday offers
  • Hundreds of competitions and FREE Holiday Prize Draws
  • Over 75 countries represented with over 2,000 travel and tourism professionals ready to give advice and detailed, expert information
  • BOOK your holiday without hassle and in FULL SECURITY
  • Get the INSIDE TRACK on WHERE to go and HOW to pay LESS for your Holiday
  • Discover travel TRENDS and NEW IDEAS that can enrich your holiday and save you money
  • NEW Overseas Property Pavilion
  • LARGEST EVER Home Holiday Pavilion
  • LARGEST EVER Visit USA Pavilion
  • TOP WEDDING & HONEYMOON destinations
  • NEW options for camping enthusiasts at the Caravan & Motorhome Show, including hotel-standard caravans and camping accessories.
  • A range of performances from various exhibitors, showcasing the rich culture of each country
  • Free kids entertainment all weekend

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Next weekend is the Holiday The Cork International Travel Fair 2019

The Cork International Travel Fair in association with Cork Airport will take place at the Cork International Hotel on Saturday February 2nd and Sunday February 3rd 2019 from 11am-5.30pm.

The travel fair, which is in its 3rd year is the ideal place to browse the many exhibitors and get the best value when booking your 2019 holiday.

There is something for everyone at the Cork Travel Fair from family holidays, action holidays, honeymoon’s, luxury holidays as well as an insight into the newest routes that are operating from Cork Airport.

If you are looking to plan a mini break or staycation we have some of the best hotels and tourist attractions on site also for the weekend.

There are some incredible prizes to be won over the weekend including a trip for 2 to Paris, a trip for 2 to Lisbon, a trip for 2 to Cornwall, a trip for 2 to Dubrovnik, a 2 night stay in the Dingle Skelligs Hotel, a 2 night stay in the Castle Oaks Hotel in Limerick and much more.

Entry to the event is completely free and there is plenty of free parking at the Cork International Hotel.

Visit for information

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Starting with some Valentines Day offers around Ireland

La Vie en Rose – Five-Star Valentine’s Day at InterContinental Dublin

Stunning 5-star hotel in the heart of leafy Ballsbridge. I’ve chosen this hotel because some people don’t want to trudge through traffic for a break away, and in circumstances where you are leaving behind young children a city break in your own city cuts out a lot of worry!

Relax with a cocktail in the Whiskey Bar and the Lobby Lounge and enjoy a sumptuous dinner in Seasons,

Take a wander down to Sandymount strand for a romantic walk or down to Herbert Park. Also it’s 10 mins to the city if you want to pop in

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a romantic escape to the five-star InterContinental Dublin, conveniently located in Ballsbridge on the doorstep of Dublin city.

Relax in a luxurious and spacious guestroom, and indulge in a delicious four-course dinner with a glass of Perrier-Jouët Blason Rosé NV in the award-winning Seasons Restaurant. Executive Chef Alberto Rossi and his team have lovingly created a special Valentine’s menu, which is a feast for the senses.

The next morning, wake up to a sumptuous Full Irish Breakfast, and make the most of complimentary late checkout in the tranquil Health Club, with its 14m pool, jacuzzi, steam room and sauna, or indulge in 10% off Spa treatments.

Complimentary car parking and Wi-Fi is also included for all guests.

This package is available from €395.00 per room, from Thursday 13th – Saturday 15th February 2020.

For bookings, see

* * * * * * * * * *  * * * * *

Love is All Around this Valentine’s Day at Kilkea Castle

Treat that special someone to a romantic overnight stay at Kildare’s 12th century Kilkea Castle this Valentine’s Day, including a delectable candlelit five-course dinner menu in the fine-dining Restaurant 1180.

Kilkea Castle:

12th century Castle owned by Boston Businessman Jay Cashman and his Wife Christy

Build in 1180 by the Earl of Ulster – the fine dining Restaurant 1180 is named after this date.

Petri the monkey is the logo of the Castle – why? Because the FitzGerald Family who lived there in the past century had a pet monkey called Petri who saved the life of Baby John, the 1st Earl of Kildare from a fire in the castle – he became the logo of the Castle and Christy Cashman has just written a children’s book about Petri and his Castle adventures.

Stunning Tree-lined entrance, beautiful Rose gardens to walk around, stunning 18-hole golf course, brand new state of the art Spa using Elemis, hydrotherapy  pool, yoga and Pilates.

Executive Head Chef David McKane and his team have created dishes which highlight the classic roots of the castle whilst bringing a modern style to their presentation. Borne out of the region’s landscape, Kilkea Castle works closely with artisan producers to bring guests on a culinary journey in the luxurious surroundings of the restaurant overlooking the lush gardens.

To ignite your taste buds, choose from a range of snacks to begin, before indulging in mains of Beetroot Tar Tar with Spiced Apple and Sourdough, or Citrus Cured Salmon with Avocado, Cucumber and Pickled Radish. Next, choose from dishes including Salted Cod with Broccoli, Onion Ravioli and Alsace Bacon FoamDexter Beef with Artichoke, Shallot, King Oyster Mushroom and Jus, or juicy Duck with Sweet Potato, Orange and Duck Jus. All main courses are served with a delicious pomme purée.

Move onto an indulgent Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Citrus Granitabefore finishing with sinful desserts including Dark Chocolate with Salted Caramel and HazelnutPassionfruit Souffle served with Mango Sorbet and Passionfruit Anglaise, or Truffle Brie with Walnuts, Fig Chutney, Truffle Honey and Crackers.

This five-course Valentine’s menu is priced from €65pp with a glass of Champagne included.

Why not make a night of it and stay in a luxurious Carriage Room or stylish Lodge, enjoying chocolates and Champagne on arrival, a Full Irish Breakfast the next morning, and a 30-minute massage or facial each in the brand-new Spa. Complimentary Wi-Fi and car parking are included for all guests, as well as reduced green fees and complimentary use of the tennis courts.

This package starts from €314.00 per room, available on Friday 14th February 2020, see

Available on Friday 14th February 2020, see

* * * * * * * * * * *

Ashford Castle

This is a leap year and Ashford Castle are offering a very special package to celebrate this and get some romantic ladies to think about popping that all important questions….

Valentines’ One Night Package: Prices starting from €770 based on two adult occupancy per room. Offer available 14th February.

Treat your loved one this Valentine’s with a magical night of romance at Ashford Castle. Begin with a bottle of house Champagne and a dozen red roses awaiting you in your room before making your way down to the George V Dining Room for a candlelit fine dining experience.

Offer Inclusions:

  • 1 night luxury stay
  • A dozen red roses
  • Bottle of house Champagne
  • Five-course dinner in George V Dining Room
  • Full Irish breakfast



The exclusive leap year package includes a 5-course fine dining experience, glass of champagne, spa treatments and the option to propose to your loved one on the big screen


Audio Paula Carroll will tell us why ash ford castle is so romantic and an ideal place for ladies to pop that question

It’s a special date that comes around once every four years, so why not make this leap year one to remember at the five-star Ashford Castle in Co. Mayo? Leap Day, otherwise known as Bachelor’s Day is steeped in Irish folklore and traditionally sees women get down on one knee and propose to their significant other. To honour the much-loved Irish tradition, Ashford Castle has a special offer in place for those wanting to create a fairy-tale proposal worthy of its own movie!


The Setting

The perfect destination for a romantic break, Ashford Castle is located on the tranquil shores of Lough Corrib and Cong River and is surrounded by ancient Irish woodland and beautifully manicured lawns. A step inside the ivy-covered walls will instantly transport you into a world fully removed from the hustle and bustle of everyday life – the perfect setting to celebrate your engagement with the one you love.

The Leap of Faith package includes a two-night stay in a beautifully appointed room complete with exquisite touches including fresh flowers, Voya toiletries, 400 thread count Egyptian Cotton monogrammed bed linen and an evening turndown service.


The Proposal

Couples will enjoy a 5-course fine dining experience in the elegant George V Dining Room created by executive chef, Philippe Farineau and executive head pastry chef, Paula Stakelum on an evening of their choice.

Afterwards, couples can make their way to Ashford Castle’s luxury cinema room for a special showing of the aptly chosen Leap Year – a rom-com which sees actress Amy Adams travel to Ireland to propose to her long-term boyfriend. Those who wish to follow in Amy’s footsteps can pop the question with a secret proposal on the big screen, a moment that is sure to take your loved one by surprise and make it an occasion they will never forget.

If a movie screen proposal isn’t your style, there are plenty of other options, from taking a horse ride through the wild Irish countryside and proposing as the sun sets, to an early morning walk along the shore’s edge, popping the question on a private boat tour as the mist rolls off the lake, or simply with a glass of bubbly and a pre-packed picnic on the castle grounds.


The Extras

The Leap of Faith package also includes a special couples’ treatment in the calm surroundings of the Ashford Castle’s award-winning spa. Relax and unwind in the couple’s suite and enjoy a treatment using Ashford Castle’s exclusive B|Africa products under the expertise of Ashford Castle’s talented therapists.


The offer also includes breakfast each day, a glass of champagne each and access to the castle’s many activities, including falconry, guided boat-tours of the Lough Corrib, horse riding and off-road driving.*


Date available: 28th – 1st March 

Price: The Leap of Faith package starts from €615.00 per person sharing in one of the Castle’s elegantly appointed Corrib rooms.**


  • A two-night luxury stay
  • A 5-course Table d’hôte fine dining experience in the George V Dining Room
  • Full Irish breakfast daily
  • B|Africa B|Harmonised spa treatment, subject to availability
  • Cinema screening of “Leap Year” the movie
  • Proposal on the big screen in the cinema
  • Celebratory glass of champagne


Bookings:  or call +353 94 954 6003.


*These activities are available for booking at an additional cost and can be added upon booking.

**Price subject to availability and room type and is correct at time of publication.


Set in a spectacular 350-acre estate in Cong, Co. Mayo, Ashford Castle is part of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection and a member of Leading Hotels of the World.

This remarkable 800-year-old castle, widely recognised as Ireland’s top castle destination and once home to the Guinness family, is exceptional in every sense.

Discover exquisite interiors with unique artwork and sumptuous fabrics adorning each of the 83 individually designed rooms. Enjoy extraordinary dining experiences and fine Irish cuisine; watch hawks soar at Ireland’s first School of Falconry; and restore inner peace and harmony at the state-of-the-art spa. Warm smiles will greet you at every turn from the extraordinary characters of the castle, who passionately care about guest experiences.




Porto in Portugal

For all you need to know about Portugal go to the official tourism website

Great for food and culture I was chatting to Susana Cardosa fro the Portuguese tourist office in Dublin and this is what she recommends….

On a brief visit to Porto, there are some places that cannot be missed. In the words of many visitors, this city has something mystical that is difficult to describe and which varies according to the place, time of day and light.

Whatever it is, it certainly has to do with its people, known to be generous and easy-going, as well as the River Douro and its heritage on both banks, with its bridges and monuments, the tiles, the flowering balconies and the shopping streets. The historic centre of Porto and the River Douro on the Gaia side, where the Port Wine lodges are located, are classified as World Heritage.

S. Bento Station, with its atrium lined with tiles, is an ideal starting point. Just ahead is the Cathedral, not to be missed, whose precinct offers the first view of the river, the cascading houses and the opposite bank. From there you descend by steps and mediaeval streets to Ribeira, with its café terraces and picturesque corners. It’s worth staying a little to get a flavour of the atmosphere and take in the river with the D. Luís Bridge and the opposite bank, before going on a cruise under Porto’s six bridges. Once you’ve seen the outline of the cascading houses and church towers, you will want to see the gilt interior of the Church of S. Francisco. Nearby, you can see more tile-fronted churches and monuments, and visit the Palácio da Bolsa (former Stock Exchange palace). The tram leaves from next to the river for a trip that goes to Foz (the mouth of the Douro), where you can take a stroll and fill your lungs with the sea air. Avenida da Boavista starts here, and not far away is Serralves, with its gardens to stroll or rest in and its contemporary art exhibitions. The museum is the work of Álvaro Siza Vieira, one of the foremost architects of the Porto School of Architecture, and winner of the Pritzker Prize.

The architecturally imposing Casa da Música, with its full programme of cultural events, is on Rotunda da Boavista, an area that is good for shopping. There are also good shops to be found around Avenida dos Aliados. In between are the Crystal Palace gardens, with another panoramic view of the river, and the Soares dos Reis Museum. Another garden, full of sculptures, is Cordoaria, surrounded by churches and other monuments. It’s worth climbing the Clérigos Tower for a different view of Porto. Immediately nearby is the Lello bookshop that inspired some of the Harry Potter stories. Continue walking towards Aliados, past the shops and art nouveau buildings. After exploring this broad avenue, it’s worth strolling along the pedestrians-only Rua de Santa Catarina for more shopping. Then pop in to the Café Majestic for a break.

There‘s still a visit to be made to the south bank of the river to go to a Port Wine lodge and taste some Port in its unique setting. From Ribeira, cross the D. Luís foot bridge and you’ll see them. One of the most beautiful views over Porto can be had from Gaia. And you can also take the chairlift, which follows this side of the river.

In terms of gastronomy, this side of the river is a good option, but Ribeira also teems with restaurants and café terraces, as does Foz, which also has beautiful views over the sea. Portugal’s cuisine is always a winner with tourists, but this is even more true in Porto and Northern Portugal. You can be sure of a good meal, accompanied by fine wines from the Douro or the fresh Vinho Verde typical of the region, in any restaurant, from the finest to the most popular.

Sunway have this very cheap offer for valentines day

Porto – 14th Feb – 3 Nights – 3* Hotel R/O from €241 PP but you can get a much nice four star hotel staying at hotel da musica for €438 pps

Get the porto card and don’t miss the hop on hop off bus tour for only €18

Some examples

We’ve written up a list with prices of some of Porto’s products:

Food and beverages

  • A large coffee: €1.20
  • A traditional pastry: €0.90
  • A restaurant’s daily menu in an average priced restaurant: €4.50



  • One night in a centrally-located hotel: €70 (approximately).



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


If you’re travelling to Spain check out the official site for Spain in Ireland.

Barcelona is wonderful city for romance – from the Placa Reial to Park Guell

It’s a hub for cruise ships and always popular with the Irish!

Get a city pass  included is entry to Nou Camp, Casa Mila, Casa Battlo and the aquarium

This great offer is from Platinum travel….

Friday 14th February –

Dep Dublin 0615 Arrive Barcelona 0945

Sunday 16th February

Dep Barcelona 1635 Arrive Dublin 1820. Return flights with hand luggage & all taxes

4* Hotel with breakfast for 2 nights

Total Cost – Eur359 per person


Barcelona Sightseeing Visitor Card

The Barcelona visitor card features free admission to the city’s museums, free travel on public transport and more than €300 in free deals and discounts at museums, city sights, tours, nightlife, shops, restaurants, means of transport and other services!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Sunshine year around

Bring your loved one to the top of the world in the Burj Kalifa, the worlds tallest building and declare your love! I’d advise booking tickets online beforehand as it works out cheaper and avoids queues.

Go on a dessert safari, shop in the souks, go skiiing or buy the most expensive beer in the Burj al  Arab…. it cost me €58 for three peroni beers so prepare for some open wallet surgery!

To avail of these fantastic offers check out or call the Emirates Holidays call centre on 1 800 800 740 and talk to an expert team member about these or more special offers.


Emirates Holidays:

5* Anantara The Palm, Dubai

3 nights from €985pp

Complimentary upgrade from breakfast to half board

Standard Room Residence


Savings on stay

20% discount on spa treatments

Valid for travel on selected dates from 07 February to 13 February 2020

Return Emirates Economy Class flights from Dublin

(Pricing subject to availability. Offers may be withdrawn at any time. Offers apply to new bookings only)

Based on 2 adults sharing

Book by 31 January 2020

5* Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Dubai


3 nights from €1,085pp on Half board basis


Complimentary room upgrade from Superior Room King to Deluxe King Bed Room Arabian Sea View

Savings on stay:

One time complimentary 300 AED spa voucher, per room, per stay (Sunday to Wednesday against any one-hour spa treatment at Talise Ottoman Spa)

Valid for travel on selected dates from 05 February to 14 February 2020

Return Emirates Economy Class flights from Dublin

Based on 2 adults sharing

Book by 31 January 202

(Pricing subject to availability. Offers may be withdrawn at any time. Offers apply to new bookings only)

TO book with Emirates Holidays click here EmiratesHolidays


Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.