Travel blogger Tara Povey shares some alternative places to spend Christmas this year.

Christmas is full of tradition, but sometimes it's nice to mix things up a bit. There are plenty of reasons why a Christmas away is exactly what some of us might need this year.

Maybe it's an extra special Christmas, the whole family is getting together for the festive season and there's no way they'll all fit in one house for dinner. Perhaps home doesn't feel very merry and bright this year and you just want to escape. You may just be sick and tired of cleaning, decorating and cooking and want someone else to take care of it all this year.

No matter your reason, what are your options in Ireland if you want to get away this Christmas? It turns out there are quite a few - from secluded cottages to luxurious country estates, there's somewhere for everyone.

Cottage/Self-Catering/Farmhouse

Photo: Tara Povey

Hideaway at FoxHollow, Co.Meath

I stayed at Foxhollow in October last year and my first thought was how magical it would be for Christmas. This gorgeous farmhouse can accommodate eight people making it perfect for a family Christmas. They leave cute fox slippers for their guests, and June, the host, provides homemade cakes upon arrival. This place books up fast so keep it in mind for 2023 or there are a few dates still available for this year just before and after the big day.

Dolphin's Cove, Co.Kerry

This bright pink, thatch-roofed cottage can accommodate up to eight people. It has stunning views out across the Atlantic, Inishturk, and Clare Island and has three beaches less than 10 minutes drive away. Inside it is a blend of country, cosy and contemporary and boasts an impressive AGA range, perfect for cooking that Christmas dinner. It's still available to book for Christmas this year. You can book via UniqueIrishHomes, their website is worth a browse, and they still have a wide variety of stunning properties available to rent for this Christmas.

Photo: Tara Povey

Lodges/Shepherd huts at Galgorm, Co.Antrim

Galgorm is one of my favourite getaways in Ireland and they offer plenty of different Christmas packages. Staying in their lodges/cabins means you can avail yourself of the luxury of the resort but also have your own self-catering space. On Christmas eve you can book in for a festive afternoon tea, have mince pies by the fire or even relax in the thermal spa village.

They pull out all the stops on Christmas including a visit from Santa and a traditional Christmas lunch. They still have availability for this year for Christmas eve and Christmas day in their Shepherd's hut, Cottage suite, deluxe rooms and superiors rooms.

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Center Parcs, Co. Longford

Center Parcs offers three to seven-night Christmas breaks in their popular Longford location. A decoration package can be ordered to your lodge including a tree and lights. Kids can visit Santa at his workshop and in the evening you can curl up in front of a cosy log fire. It is essentially something straight out of a Hallmark movie.

Castles

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Clontarf Castle, Co.Dublin

Spending Christmas in a castle sounds like a fairytale. With the festive packages on offer at Clontarf Castle that fairytale can be a reality. Their two-night Christmas package includes plenty of festive treats. There's mulled wine, mince pies, carols and a four-course dinner on Christmas eve. You'll be surrounded by warm open fires, lavish decorations and more food than you can eat -festive perfection! There are plenty of rooms still available in the run-up to Christmas including Christmas eve and Stephen's Day but the big day is currently sold out for this year.

Photo: Lough Eske Castle

Lough Eske Castle, Co.Donegal

This picturesque castle overlooking Lough Eske is the perfect place to eat, drink and be merry this festive season. They still have availability for their two-night festive package, checking in on Christmas Eve. Soak up the festive grandeur at a special Christmas eve dinner, overindulge at Christmas day lunch and then explore the beautiful grounds on Stephen's day using their complimentary bikes.

Stately Home/Hotel

Photo: Lyrath Estate

Lyrath Estate, Co.Kilkenny

This 5* hotel is set in a 17th Century estate house on 170 acres of the beautiful Irish countryside. The on-site falconry centre offers breath-taking hawk walks with magnificent harris hawks and an opportunity to meet the famous Turbo and Diesel owls. They are not open for Christmas day but do have festive packages available the week before and after Christmas. The two-night Winter Estate Experience includes breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner.

The K Club, Co.Kildare

If you want absolute luxury then the K Club Christmas package is the one for you. Each hotel room will have its own decorated tree. The three-night Christmas Celebrations package includes a full Irish breakfast each morning, a four-course Christmas eve dinner, Christmas day lunch, Christmas evening buffet supper and a festive afternoon tea on Stephen's Day.

There is still availability for Christmas eve through to Stephen's day. If you do book, make sure to keep an eye out for their famous gingerbread village in the lobby and their Santa's Grotto experience in the South Bar & Restaurant.

No matter where we end up this Christmas, I hope it's a magical one for all of us!

- Written by Tara Povey