Travel Tuesday Finds Halloween Breaks on VM1’s Elaine

It’s that time of year when Ireland gears up for the spooktacular festival of Halloween. But did you know that Halloween was traditionally a Celtic Pagan Festival before it was commercialised in the United States and now all over the world. The festival of Samhain was when the Celts gathered to remember their dead and welcome the onslaught of winter with all that they had gathered after the harvest. Even the carved Jack-o-lantern pumpkin was stolen from the tradition of carving out a humble turnip.

There is still time to plan a Halloween Break and enjoy this festival all over Ireland. I’ve found an array of activities for the family and great rates in some luxury hotels.

I’m starting with our friends up north in Derry which is one of the top six places in the world to spend Halloween!



The carnival parade and fireworks display on October 31st will once again be one of the main highlights of the Festival with other big attractions including ‘Awakening the Walls’, an illuminated animation trail featuring over 30 installations and performances by local and international artists.

The historic City Walls whose 400th anniversary is also being celebrated this year, Cathedral Quarter, Craft Village and surrounding areas will provide a unique and dramatic stage for this spectacular light festival on the evenings of October 28th, 29th and 30th.

Other Festival attractions include the magnificent ‘Museum of the Moon’ installation in the city’s landmark Guildhall building (October 26th-November 3rd), Jack O’Lantern Festival (October 31st), ghostly tales, fright nights, haunted tours and terror trails, Haunted Harvest Market, Samhain Sessions, monster fun fair and much more.
Treat yourself with a stay at the fabulous Ardtara House for only £59.95pps for an overnight stay including breakfast. Part of Ireland’s fabulous Blue Book.
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Belfast Fangtastic Halloween Monster Mash returns to Belfast on Halloween night!

Halloween Monster Mash returns to Titanic Slipways on Halloween Night (Wednesday 31 October) from 6-8pm. Admission is free and no tickets are required.

The entertainment feast includes spooky street shows and performers, breath-taking fire and halo glow shows, creepy arts and craft workshops, monster fairground rides and live music on stage from The Professionals, recently crowned ‘2018 NI wedding band of the year’. There will also be a range of sweet treats, candies and hot food available for purchase during the event.

Alongside media partner, Downtown Radio, presenters will be on stage to entertain the crowd in the build up to the biggest fireworks display in the city. Set to a wicked soundtrack, fireworks will begin at approximately 8pm lasting for 15 minutes.

Free ‘ghost shuttle buses’ will be ready to whisk people to and from the event. They will be departing from Chichester Street (outside SS Moore’s) every 15 minutes from 5.30pm -7.15pm dropping off on Queen’s Road with a return service from Queen’s Road from 8.15pm dropping off at Donegall Square West in the city centre.

Halloween festivities will also be taking place in the city on Friday 26 October at the Castle Street Evening Fair.

Local traders will spill onto the streets (3pm-9pm) in a Halloween harvest-themed street party with food, music, arts and crafts, interactive workshops and street performers.

Hotel Offer

  • 5* Fitzwilliam Hotel: B&B Executive King  = £124.

Located in the heart of the city centre, next door to the Grand Opera House on Great Victoria Street. Fabulous guestrooms, incredible food, a much-loved bar and the best service you’ve ever experienced!

  • 4* Malmaison Hotel: B&B Standard Room = £119 and a dinner B&B £149.

A few minutes away from Victoria shopping centre and Titanic Quarter, and a stone’s throw from the smartest bars and clubs in the city

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Dublin Celebrates Halloween 

Pop up to Dublin and enjoy a Halloween Break for all the family and stay at the Castleknock Hotel.

There’s lots going down at the zoo over this festive season

Spooktacular Boo! at the Zoo

The annual Halloween spooktacular Boo at the Zoo takes place on Sunday, 28th and Wednesday, 31st October. To celebrate the festivities, Dublin Zoo transformed the exotic Kaziranga Forest Trail into a festive pumpkin patch where Upali, the new bull elephant and the female elephants had great fun smashing pumpkins.

Croke Park hosts Halloween Magic for Pumpkin Pitch Kids

A mixture of tricks and treats await your little ghosts, goblins and witches as they follow a pumpkin trail on a (slightly!) hair raising tour as darkness descends on Croke Park, stopping at all the famous spots including the dressing rooms, warm-up areas and pitch side.  Next, they will be treated to a very special Samhain-themed magic show by magician Brian Daly, who will wow all the family with his tricks and ability to make people laugh out loud in wonder. Those really looking to get into the ‘spirit’ of things should go along in fancy dress – there’s a mini Liam or Sam up for grabs for best costume on each tour! Performances will take place at 5pm, 6pm & 7pm from Friday October 26th to Tuesday October 30th.  Tickets, which cost €16 for adults, €12 for children under 16, €14 for seniors and €50 for a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 children) must be booked in advance online as there is limited availability.

The price includes a seasonal hot Halloween drink for all adult ticketholders and exclusive after-hours entry to the GAA Museum.  Lunch in the Blackthorn Café is additional. Visitors should allow approximately two hours for the experience.


Make midterm memories at Castleknock Hotel this autumn

Round up the little pumpkins and head to Castleknock Hotel this midterm to make some memories with a fun filled family city break.

Enjoy a one, two or three-night family break at the award winning four star Castleknock Hotel, located right on the doorstep of Dublin and receive a complimentary family pass to Dublin Zoo or Tayto Park. The excellent location of Castleknock Hotel means that you can enjoy all the fun activities nearby such as the National Aquatic Centre and Phoenix Park and then return to the hotel and it’s cosy, tranquil countryside setting for some quality family time in the warm and welcoming bars and restaurants such as Earth & Vine or 22 Bar & Restaurant or the adults can treat themselves to a little urban luxury with a visit to the newly refurbished Spa at Castleknock Hotel, a luxurious retreat fuelled by the energy of the nature that surrounds it.

Mid-term packages starts at €240 for one night based on two adults and two children. For more information visit

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Halloween at Lullymore Heritage and Discovery Park 2018

ITS BACK……Lullymore Heritage & Discovery Park hosts its now infamous “Halloween Happenings” for SEVEN spooky days Saturday 27th October to Friday 2nd of November 2018 10am to 6pm Daily.

Lots of ghastly ghouls and terrifying treats in store at Lullymore including Haunted HologramsTerror Train Trips (be prepared for Zombie Attacks!!)Terror Treasure Hunts and freaky fun in the devilish den of play—the Funky Forest.

Prepare for the Fright of your Life. Come in fancy dress (optional) – Prizes for best Fancy Dress costumes in the Indoor Centre from 2pm every day! (Halloween prizes start at 2pm). One Terror Train Trip per family included in admission.

The Heritage Hotel is an oasis not too far from Dublin with a magnificent Golf course and great Spa facilities. Great for a family or a romantic break.

Let the Relaxing Autumn Escape package at The Heritage Hotel & Spa rescue you from The Fall

SOS! Summer is over and as the evenings get darker and the days get colder, we all tend to get a bit glum, tired and our summer glow disappears!  If your need a relaxing break to revive you this autumn, then it’s time to check out of reality for 24 hours and check into the five star Heritage Hotel & Spa for their Relaxing Autumn Escape.

From the moment you arrive until the moment you leave, The Heritage Hotel & Spa will pamper and spoil you, leaving you rested, relaxed, reinvigorated and ready for anything. You can enjoy two hours in The Heritage Spa Experience, a sensory journey blending heating and cooling sensations that leaves the body feeling soothed, relaxed and reinvigorated, and full access to The Club with its pool, Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room (not suitable for pregnant ladies).  Also included in this package is accommodation for two people in a deluxe double room, breakfast in the Arlington Restaurant, dining credit to the value of €30 per room and complimentary use of an array of amenities within the resort including the Leisure Club, 5km walking track and tennis court.

The Relaxing Autumn Escape is available from €189 for two people sharing a deluxe double room. Let The Heritage Hotel & Spa rescue you. Nestled in the picturesque village of Killenard amidst lush green countryside, the five-star hotel is a haven for those in need of a little relaxation. With its welcoming atmosphere and impeccable service, guests can sit back, relax and allow the staff of The Heritage Killenard to spoil them. To book, call +353 (0) 57 8645500 or visit

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Wexford – wells house is a Victorian Mansion close to Gorey. It offers a variety of scarfests over Halloween for family and adults only and isn’t too far from Dublin

While you are at it pop into Wicklow Gaol the night time tour for adults only on October 28th has still availability

The Sunny South East isn’t too far from Dublin either to make a day trip!

if you decide to stay Amber Springs in Wexford is ideal

Midterm Breaks from €235.00 per night B&B  in a family room and €295.00 in one of our new Amber Family Suites (some of which offer a Den comprising of two sets of bunk beds sleeping up to 4 children and a separate double bedroom area for parents privacy)

Amber Springs will guarantee an activity filled break for all our families with super family friendly facilities onsite to include:

  • Full leisure club , swimming pool & separate kiddies pool
  • Complimentary Kids Club (children 4 – 12 years) every evening 7pm – 10pm and mornings 10am – 1pm
  • Indoor Play zone with state of the art Jungle Gym
  • *VR Room (PlayStation gaming for children over 10 years)
  • 80 seater Showtime Cinema –  with complimentary movies screened twice daily
  • Amber Park – *go-karts, *mini golf, playground, football pitch, Pet farm
  • Live music every evening in BBG
  • 4 Dining outlets onsite
  • 2 Bars onsite (one adult only from 7pm each evening)
  • Cocoon Spa  with a range of treatments available




Put a little me-time to the top of your list at Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa

Check-out from the daily grind and check-in with someone special as you reconnect and re-charge at the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Sligo. Set in a spectacular location, nestled in the idyllic Sligo countryside on the Wild Atlantic Way, this is the perfect destination to really just get away from it all this winter.


Enjoy a midweek escape for one night which includes a delicious hearty breakfast and two course dinner in the hotel’s AA Rosette, Classiebawn Restaurant. Breathe in the fresh sea air and embrace the great outdoors with the best golf courses, hiking paths and surf right on your doorstep. Back in the hotel, guests can enjoy complimentary access to the Healthstyles Leisure Club with swimming pool, Sauna, Jacuzzi and Steam-room and the Solas Spa’s luxurious Thermal Suite – the ultimate chill out zone.

Make a date to ‘Slip Away To Sligo’ for just €69.50 per person sharing, valid Sunday to Thursday, with bed, breakfast and a two course dinner. Guests can also enjoy special discounted rates on selected treatments in Solas Spa. Don’t wait until the Christmas holidays to recharge, take a well-earned break today!

Spend Halloween at Carrowkeel for the Samhain Lantern Lit Walk

for more information go to Sligo Tourism

During the Celtic period and thousands of years ago, Irish pagans marked this time of year by way of festival and lighting fires at places that were special to them. They were approaching a darker time of year when they depended on sun to grow their crops and keep them warm. It is the end of the harvest and the beginning of winter.

This is where spirits are believed to move freely between worlds (the liminal) or where time stands still.

On this eve, you will be guided through a mystical landscape under lantern, by a professional archaeologist to the fascinating megalithic tombs that were built by these ancient people. She will explain how these poeple lived, what was found there during excavations and how the tombs were built.

Please bring a lantern and a warm jacket, hat and hiking boots. Expect to be out for c. 2 hrs. Complimentary hot chocolate and tea will be served afterwards with chocolate!

Meet at Castlebaldwin petrol station at 6.40pm on N4 (south county Sligo). We drive from there.

Price: 10.00 Adult, 5.00 for children  (not under 8 yrs please)

Please book/pay in advance. Email to book.

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Have a Happy and Safe Halloween wherever you spend it

Michelle x


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