With Valentine’s Day here, culinary experts from Hello Fresh Ireland, have shared the data that reveals the most romantic cities and towns of Ireland.
HelloFresh SE is a global food solutions group and the world’s leading meal kit company. The group consists of six brands that provide customers with high quality food and recipes for different meal occasions.
Among the top 10 most romantic locations Killarney took the top spot, due to its range of affordable and romantic date choices, while Sligo stood second offering budget-friendly cheese and wine.
Hello Fresh Ireland, has analysed more than 30 cities and towns across Ireland, evaluating them across various categories like dining experience, entertainment choices and accommodation options and affordability.
Based on this data Ennis claimed the third spot, with Navan (An Uaimh), Shannon, Tralee, Ballina, Mallow, Wexford and Tullamore taking the fourth to 10th spot respectively.
Research shows that the average cost of an internationally released cinema ticket in Sligo for 1 seat is €10 which is a medium price range. The best in this category was Navan (An Uaimh) with each ticket cost at only €7.25 while the highest cost was recorded at €14 each in Greystones.
The second category is the cost of a bottle of wine in mid-range, where Sligo has one bottle costing at €10. The cheapest in this category was Clonmel at €8 a bottle, while the most expensive bottle is in Waterford at €18 each.
The third category of evaluation is the average cost of local cheese per kilogram where Sligo stood second with the average price at €3 per kg while Mallow and Portlaoise being the cheapest at €2.29 per kg. The most expensive cheese was found in Cavan at €18.75 per kg.
The fourth category of evaluation is the cost of meals for 2 people in a mid-range restaurant with three courses. Here Sligo remained medium expensive with the average cost at €65. In this category Longford came at top with the most affordable dining out options at €52.50 while the most expensive dining out options were in Clonmel where people can spend €100 on a meal for 2 people.
The last category of evaluation was the number of romantic hotels per capita, and the data was collected from TripAdvisor. Here Sligo remained at average with 36.9 hotels per capita.
Killarney topped this list with the highest number of romantic hotels 175.5 per capita, while Shannon remained at the bottom with no romantic hotels at all.
Although the data speaks for itself, Sligo has been a spot of attraction for couples for years due to its natural beauty along with various fun activities available in the region.
Meanwhile, businesses in Sligo are busy preparing for the celebration of ‘Valentine’s Day’ on Wednesday.
From flowers to gifts, greeting cards to designer jewellery, there are several options for couples out there to buy for their partners and express their love for them.
While varying in price ranges, these gifts also vary in the type of message that one would like to convey through them. Although the trends keep changing there are some things that are a permanent part of how we express love.
Red roses have always been associated with Valentines, and they are still as popular as ever.
Hazel MacCullagh was working at her mother’s shop ‘Forget Me Not’ florists, preparing for the big day, as it is one of the busiest days for their business.
She said: “Red roses have always been very popular for ‘Valentine’s Day’, although some people nowadays also buy sunflowers and multicolour flowers in a bouquet, but roses are still dominant.
“If compared to an average day we might sell thousands more roses on this one day. Some people like big bouquets made with red roses sometimes 24 roses or 50 or 100 roses. The biggest we have ever made was a bouquet with 500 roses. It was really big and hard to manage, but it looked amazing.”
Greeting cards, teddy bears and chocolates are also popular gifts exchanged on Valentines Day.
Heart shaped jewellery has gained popularity in recent years.
Martina Hamilton, an award winning jewellery designer and owner of a gift shop ‘The Cat and The Moon’ said: “Jewellery has been a choice of gift mostly for people who are in serious relationships or those who want to give something significant to their partners.
“Heart shaped jewellery, especially pendants are very popular among couples and it’s supposed to be very romantic as well. The other romanticised gift is jewellery engraved with astral motifs of sun, moon, planets and stars on them.
“These symbols were found etched on the stones at Ireland’s 6000 year old archaeological sites in Newgrange and Knowth. So, it’s kind of romantic to look at the stars and planets like our ancestors used to do.
“Also, Valentine’s Day is a big day for engagements and hence the demand of rings always increase.”
Greeting cards remain as popular as ever. People like to share their feelings through quotes or poems or in their own words through greeting card.
Martina has an innovative version of greeting card that is attracting attention of her customers.
These cards are filled with flower seeds, which means after the Valentine’s Day a person can plant these cards in soil and they can grow flowers out of them.
She said: “This is the first time we have these cards in store, but not many people know about it. Once we explain to them, what it is and how it works people eagerly buy it.”
The well known bakery ‘McG Cakes’ from Ballintogher, have opened a one stop pop up shop on 24 Grattan Street Sligo on Friday.
From valentine special cakes and cookies to flowers, gifts, greeting cards and balloons, this pop up has everything for someone who wants to buy a whole package for their partners.
Brian McGonigle, owner of the shop, said: “We have a variety of cakes and some customised cookies and shortbread hearts specific for Valentine’s Day.
“The letter box cookie is a popular one with brownie on the inside. Also, the shortbread hearts are something small but nice.”
Talking about the what people are buying he said: “It mostly depends on what budget they are looking at. We have varied price ranges in our products like the shortbread hearts are only €8 each, while the Letterbox cookies are €35.
“We also have mini Valentines cake that people like to buy along with flowers and helium balloons.
“The business has gotten much better since COVID, people are buying more gifts and cakes as we can see through our turnover.”