WHOEVER would have guessed that discovering the Boyne Valley from the water could be so much fun?
An itinerary of wild water activities coupled with some serious pampering at the hotel spa might not sound like the ideal combination – but it was just that.
Our weekend started the way every weekend should, with afternoon tea washed down with a few glasses of Prosecco!
Then, after checking into our very plush and impressive room, it was down to the Boyne Valley activity centre to don our, ahem, very attractive wet suits.
The instructor talked us through the safety aspects before it was time to hit the water. Myself and my fiance, Shane, were in one double kayak and we did ourselves proud for the most part, managing to stand up on the kayak, spinning around …
However, I will admit that the final challenge on a rapid proved one manoeuvre too far for us and our boat capsized, dumping us spluttering into the river.
Talk about a wake-up call – but we enjoyed every minute of it.
With our feet back on terra firma at the hotel it was time to take in our blissful surroundings. Dunboyne Castle is nestled in 21 acres of lush countryside which would put even the most stressed-out workaholic at their ease.
The Georgian house’s restoration has been cleverly done and marries sleek sophistication effortlessly with its period charm.
You could lose yourself exploring the gardens, meander through the contemporary wings or just lounge for hours on end in front of the magnificent open fires.
Wise owls that we are, we decided to warm our sodden bones with a few more glasses of Prosecco before dinner.
Staying as guests of Host & Co, we were delighted that the chef at the 2AA Rosette-winning Ivy restaurant had preparwwed a special taster menu exclusively for us and it all looked so tempting it was hard to choose.
I opted for steak (melt in the mouth good), and the scallops starter was literally to die for. With our stomachs full to the brim we went into the bar for a night cap and the live music helped lighten everyone’s mood.
I found myself wishing we could stay longer to explore Ireland’s heritage capital a bit further. The hotel is ideally situated for visiting nearby Trim Castle, the Hill of Tara, majestic Newgrange or the Bru na Boinne UNESCO world heritage site.
But all too soon it was over … Breakfast the next morning was a buffet affair in a private room off reception and one last surprise – a visit to the spa.
From the moment we walked through the doors we felt uber-relaxed. The outdoor tub was the highlight and even though the weather wasn’t great it didn’t take away from anything.
Dunboyne rates highly with its extremely friendly staff and top-quality rooms, but the spa was definitely the cherry on the top.