Luxury hotel high life and down low in the caves of Co Clare – The Irish Times
Wander through the grounds of Trinity College in Dublin and you’ll likely see lines of tourists waiting to see the Book of Kells, but there’s so much more to this city center spot. Did you know the Museum Building has an example of every kind of marble to be found in Ireland in its foyer? Or a frieze of individually-carved flowers wrapping around the outside? Look again, they’re all different.
Developed by a team of academics, staff and students, the newly-launched Trinity Tours will bring you about from €15 for 45 minutes, or €27 if you want to throw the Book of Kells into the mix. More of a free agent? A self-guided tour via app is coming soon at €3. Truly live the experience by staying on campus with rooms from €120 per night, single occupancy, €99.50 if you don’t mind sharing a bathroom, and €154 for a double. How’s that for beating those now-notorious Dublin prices? tcd.ie/visitors/trinitytrails; tcd.ie/summeraccommodation.
On the other hand if money is no object and the thought of canceled flights and epic queues has you wondering how on earth to spend it on our home shores, plan ahead to treat yourself (and we really mean Treat) to the mini-break of a lifetime with a combo of the Merrion Hotel in Dublin followed by Mayo’s finest, Ashford Castle. The Luxury Town and Country Offer gives you four nights B&B, including dinner on one night in each hotspot, an art tour and the fabled Art Afternoon Tea at the Merrion, and a hawk walk at Ashford. Champagne on arrival at each luxurious spot? Naturally. For stays from November 2022 to March 2023, €3,585 per room; ashfordcastle.com/merrionhotel.com
While the limestone pavements of The Burren are pretty spectacular themselves, there’s a lot going on down below. Following a €1 million makeover the Aillwee Caves and Birds of Prey Center has reopened as the Aillwee Burren Experience. So what’s the difference? You still get a marvelous exploration of the extraordinary caves, all lit up, so you can see full-on fossil action. Add a fully accessible biodiversity walk through native woodlands with fabulous views, and the option of a hawk walk (from €95) – which is nice for those of you not splashing out at Ashford. If that all sounds appetite-inducing, you’ll be pleased to know they make cheese and fudge onsite. From €14 children, €24 adults. Stay at the ever so lovely Gregans Castle, just a few minutes away, from €320 per room, B&B, gregans.ie/aillweeburrenexperience.ie
In a world of weird and wonderful hotels, Amsterdam’s Faralda has to be (ahem) up there with the best of them. The hotel’s three suites are housed in a repurposed harbor crane in the lively and hipster former shipyard area of the city. Each suite has two levels, and there’s even a hot tub right up top. As their own blurb says, “we are not cheap, but the memory will last forever”. Try it from €895 per suite? faralda.com