From supercars to classic cars, there’s something around the country to suit petrol heads of all ages writes Geraldine Herbert
ON TOP OF THE WORLD
It’s one of the most scenic routes in Ireland – a 160km circular route around the Inishowen Peninsula in North East Donegal that offers stunning coastal scenery, ancient forts and monuments and traditional craft centres. Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and Lough Foyle to the east and Lough Swilly to the west, the routes brings you through Buncrana Town, Culdaff, Malin Town, Doagh Famine Village and some fantastic beaches. Sitting on the tip of the Inishowen Peninsula, Malin Head is Ireland’s most northerly point and makes the ideal places to base yourself for a couple of days.
Price: From €150, per couple sharing, for 2 Nights Bed & Breakfast with One Evening Meal, at the Malin Head Hotel; www.malinhotel.ie
DRIVE A SUPERCAR
“BRAKE! Turn in! Keep your foot down! If you fancy getting behind the wheel of a Nissan 350z, Ferrari F355 and Porsche 911 for a high-octane birthday treat then the Rally School in Scotstown is the place to go.
Their “Flat out” package is offered in conjunction with Castle Leslie Estate , so while one guest is burning tyres out on the racing track, the other one can choose the Victorian Treatment Rooms with a choice of a half hour treatment or alternatively spend time at the Equestrian centre. Also included in the package is one night’s overnight accommodation at the Lodge and a full hearty Irish breakfast for two the next morning in Snaffles Restaurant all for
Price: €200 per person sharing; www.castleleslie.com; www.rallyschoolireland.ie
KERRY ROAD THRILLS
As with every May Bank Holiday weekend, the eyes of the motorsport world will be firmly fixed on Killarney for what will be a very special staging of the International Rally of the Lakes (Friday May 2nd -Sunday May 4th 2014)
The event revs up with a ceremonial start in Killarney town centre on Friday evening and finishes at the Gleneagle Hotel on Sunday after two hard days of rallying over some of the world’s greatest tarmac stages.
Price: 3 nights Bed and Breakfast at The Gleneagle Hotel costs from €179 per person sharing and a 3 night stay in the two-bedroomed Gleneagle Apartments cost €600 per apartment; www.destinationkillarney.ie; www.rallyofthelakes.com
A bright spring day and a Mercedes 350Sl, with the roof down – what could be better? Golden classics offer guests a package that includes a day’s rental of a classic car for touring the coast and two nights stay in Lough Eske Castle, the only five-star hotel in Donegal, There’s wonderful choice of cars: Mercedes 350sl, MGB Roadster or Triumph TR6. You drive away in a convertible Classic from the front of the Castle and the rest is up to you.
Price: Car hire rates start from €130 or the Classic Car Package at Lough Eske Castle starts at €275 per person and includes accommodation for 2 nights for 2 people in a Deluxe Room, full Irish breakfast on both mornings for 2 people in Cedars Restaurant, 3-Course Table d’ Hote Dinner in Cedars Restaurant and Classic car hire for one day (9am-6pm); www.classiccarhire.ie ; www.solishotels.com/lougheskecastle
THE NEED FOR SPEED
Mondello Park offers a host of events and challenges to satisfy all petrol heads. Options include the Porsche Supercar Experience, The Race Experience, where you drive a F1 style car around the iconic Kildare Circuit, the 4×4 Experience, the Autotest Challenge, The Reverse Steer Car, Clay Shooting and Archery. Also worth a visit is Mondello’s Museum of Motorsport, on display are NASCARS, Le Mans and Indy 500 cars and even seven Formula 1 machines, Mondello have various deals with local hotels in the area and can easily tailor a package for groups, no matter how small or large.
Prices: Driving experiences start from €99 per person; www.mondello.ie
GORDON BENNET RALLY
This year’s Gordon Bennett rally marks the 111th anniversary of the 1903 race and is open to cars manufactured before 31st. December, 1930. The event which runs over three days (6th, 7th, 8th June, 2014) attracts priceless veteran and vintage cars. Along the route there is plenty to see and do for all the family and motoring enthusiasts alike. HQ for the event is the Killashee House Hotel, Naas, Co. Kildare.
Price: The rally entry fee is €85 www.gordonbennett.ie; One night B&B for two costs €140 per night www.killasheehouse.com
While the majority of SUVs will never see any off-road duty and are only ever used to climb up city kerbs or ferry kids on the school runs a couple of hours in Carton House Hotel with the team from eXtreme and you’ll discover the full potential of these off roaders. From mudholes to rutted trails, as you bounce and bump your way around the course you’ll be astounded at what these cars can do. The Off Roading driving course runs on the last Saturday of every month.
Price: 4×4 Off Road Driving Course (Approx 1.5 hour experience per group/vehicle) €99; www.xtreme.ie/activity-list/4×4-off-road-driving. Dinner, bed and breakfast from €99 per person at Carton House Hotel. www.cartonhouse.com
A version of this article, by the author was published in the Sunday Independent
24th March, 2014