Isn't Autumn just the perfect time for a short break away in the country?

Summer is long gone and our thoughts are turning inwards to cosying up in front of a crackling log fire with a nice hot whiskey having perhaps tramped through a thick carpet of leaves in an ancient beech wood.

Ireland has many beautiful forests, national parks and leafy lanes bordering ancient riverside walks that wind their way through quaint little Irish villages that thankfully have retained their rural charm. Old fashioned, meaty butchers sport big roasts, proper sausages and locally caught game if you are lucky. The smell of freshly baked bread and cakes (you can forget your diet on a weekend away in Ireland) wafts out of small bakeries turned coffee shops where you can sit and people-watch a different kind of lifestyle altogether.

Country markets have made a very welcome return and injected a new shot of life into otherwise quiet communities. With an eclectic mix of produce, ranging from pickles to pumpkins you can pick up some nice goodies for a picnic or indulge yourself in a lazy pub lunch. Gastro pubs are on the increase in Ireland, offering hearty gourmet food at reasonable prices. Traditional favorites like bacon and cabbage might be served up with mustard flavored mash potatoes, however the accompanying pint of Guinness which is of course non- negotiable…

Why mess with perfection !

So if you fancy ‘shortening the winter’ (code for a treat before the bad weather sets in? why not check out some of the self-catering breaks available from Ireland's Hidden Places, check website link below for details of special offers and Halloween events.

Or if you would prefer to waited on? Downton Abbey style why not stay a night or two in one of Hidden Ireland's great Irish Country Houses who have also have great seasonal offers available right now.

By Susan Byron author of