Two new five-star hotels for Belfast and Cork

Travel News: Yet another hotel opens in Dublin, while west Waterford gets festive

Stay it again Sam

You have to grab the title of "Dublin's newest hotel" while you can, as hotels are springing up in the city like mushrooms. At time of writing, it's currently the Samuel, a four-star in the docklands, and a five-minute walk to the Samuel Beckett Bridge. Rooms are from €160, but as we're coming into summer, you're looking at about €239 per room. Sign up to iSave@thesamuel for a 10 per cent discount;

Starry nights

We've come to know that five-star means stuff like lifts, doormen and (oddly) cast iron baths where possible; but those in charge of categorising can also add stars for general loveliness. Two new five-star designations will take you the length of the country. Start at Belfast's Grand Central, where you can sleep on pillows previously enjoyed by Prince Charles and Shania Twain, though not together, obviously. Celebrate with their Bolly Good Stay, with B&B and a half bottle of bubbles from €269 per room; Then head right down south for a self-catering stay at one of Fota Island Resort's lodges in Co Cork, which are all newly starry themselves. Try a three-bed, from €206 a night for a four-night stay;

West Waterford gets festive

From Lismore to Dungarvan and all along the Copper Coast, west Waterford is only gorgeous. Reasons to visit in June include the return of the West Waterford Festival of Food, June 10th-12th, where there are still tickets for the Food Cloud Dinner, always a brilliant reminder of the great things you can make with stuff that would otherwise go to waste. Find out about this, plus the Comeragh Lamb barbecue, Flahavan's Greenway Breakfast, markets and more at (a mouthful in itself), where you'll also find info on partner hotel rates and offers.

Stick around, because Lismore's travel writing festival, Immrama, makes a welcome return running June 16th-19th, with talks and stories galore to tickle the itchiest of feet, including true life tales of Irish pirates from Des Ekin, and De Dannan's Charlie Piggott on his musical travels. Full programme at


Bank on it

Bank holidays seem to come like busses these days. If you fancy blinging up for the next one, which falls on June 6th, try the Powerscourt Dining Experience, where you get dinner, bed and breakfast from €281 pps. The best thing about the hotel (apart from its 20m Swarovski crystal-lit swimming pool, if that's your kind of thing) is the gorgeous grounds, as it's set amid the 1,000 acre Powerscourt Estate;

Work up an appetite

The Ross in Killarney aims to get you moving, with its immersive two-day experience, the Pressure Drop.

Including two nights' B&B, a kayak trip, mountain hike, yoga class, spa treatments, gin tasting, and dinner and cocktails on one evening, and a snack box for the journey home. Sounds exhausting? Their beds are pretty damn comfortable to collapse onto afterwards. From €450 pps, it's available year round, but book soon, because you might want to go back for more;

Wellness with wow

Head further afield for your pampering wellness experiences with the wonderful Lefay Resort and Spa Lago di Garda, which has just reopened after a massive refurb. The Italian health hot spot has lake views, including Sky Suites that have their own private saunas and outdoor hot tubs.

Opt for packages that claim to support the immune system and rebalance gut health, sort out tiredness, and generally help you turn into superman or woman. I like the sound of the Longevity Programme, that offers to "assess whether your lifestyle is damaging your body or mind", though I think I already know the answer to that one. Rooms from €370 per night. Treatment programmes extra. Closest airport, Verona, with direct flights from Dublin via Ryanair;

Cancun? Yes you can (soon)

Irish tour operator TUI is picking up its direct flights from Dublin to Cancun in Mexico from next June. It's a while to wait, but book now to add delicious anticipation to your trip. The seven-week season starts June 5th, 2023, with 14-night holidays on offer along the Caribbean coast. Try two weeks at the all inclusive Riu Lupita, Playacar, from €1,799 per person;