An experience is a gift that keeps on giving, making priceless memories to cherish for years to come. Monaghan is home to a wealth of sporting, cultural and culinary businesses offering something for every interest – from thrills and spills on the racetrack to a leisurely game of golf in breath-taking surroundings or a genteel afternoon tea.
Rally School Ireland in Scotstown has played host to big-name adrenaline junkies, including Michael Fassbender and Colin McRae. Put pedal to the metal around their purpose-built track, featuring iconic cars, with a choice of iconic cars, such as Subaru Turbo and Porsche 911 Carerra. Prices start from €225pp for a half-day session. There is also a young driver Junior Rally experience (€130pp) and choice of full-day packages. Can’t decide which experience to gift? Why not opt for an open gift voucher instead.
Give the gift of golf from the host of the Monaghan Irish Challenge, Concra Wood. A Christmas 2Ball Voucher valid until the end of March 2021 costs €55.
See the beautiful Inniskeen countryside as you never have before, aboard a quad bike. Irish Country Quads offers vouchers for a choice of outdoor pursuits, also including archery and shuffle board, and the recipient is guaranteed a fun day out. Meanwhile, vouchers for AWOL Outdoor Adventure in the north of the county, can be put towards land and water-based activities such as abseiling, paintballing, snorkelling and bouldering.
From kayaking and canoeing to sailing and tree-climbing, Castleblayney Outdoor Adventure Centre is based on the shores of Lough Muckno and offers expert tuition in a range of activities both on and off the water. Vouchers make the perfect last-minute gift and the memories made will last a lifetime.
Castle Leslie Estate’s Equestrian Centre is widely regarded as one of the finest in Ireland. Their 12 Gifts of Christmas promotion includes gifts for horse riders of intermediate and advanced level, including a one-hour hack (€55) and a two-hour cross-country jump ride (€95); for inexperienced riders or those who might prefer to sit back and survey the spectacular scenery, a carriage ride through the estate lasting one hour and accommodating up to four passengers costs €90.
Afternoon tea is the ultimate indulgence and perfect Irish food gift. Several hotels in Monaghan are offering vouchers for afternoon tea experiences and more, including the Four Seasons Hotel from €18.95 per person; the Hillgrove Hotel, €40 for two; the Nuremore Hotel & Country Club from €24.95, the Shirley Arms Hotel, afternoon tea with Prosecco at the Creighton Hotel in Clones, €46 for two; and Castle Leslie Estate’s legendary afternoon tea for two with bubbly, €50.
Recreate ’that’ scene from Ghost at Busy Bee Ceramics in Glaslough, the prettiest village in Ireland. A Poterie Pour Deux one-hour session, including your two best pots professionally finished, costs €90. A stone’s throw from Castle Leslie Estate, why not combine with afternoon tea and make a day of it!
For culture buffs, why not gift a pair of tickets to the new Patrick Kavanagh Centre in Inniskeen, a state-of-the-art visitor experience and performance space, celebrating the life and work of one of Ireland’s most iconic poets. €10 per person. In addition, books and other Kavanagh memorabilia can be purchased via the online gift store.
There are some seriously tempting deals right now for packages and overnight stays at Monaghan hotels. And don’t forget, the government’s Stay & Spend tax credit is in effect until 30th April 2021, meaning you can claim up to €125pp back on accommodation expenses.