There is finally light on the horizon as come June 2, it looks like we will all be able to enjoy a gourmet getaway in Ireland this summer.
Looking ahead to the possibility of a summer break? Us too. There's no denying it's been a very long year and with the government's roadmap to reopening society launching earlier this week, there's a very good chance that we'll get to safely enjoy a staycation somewhere on the island of Ireland.
While many flock to the west during the summer, we're hoping to visit Northern Ireland this year, with two stunning properties at the very top of our list.
Need some staycation inspiration? Read on for our gourmet getaway recommendations.
Ardtara Country House, Co Derry
At over 120 years old, Ardtara Country House was originally home to the Clark family who were known for making fine linens. Since 2014, this luxurious Victorian property has been owned by hospitality specialist Marcus Roulston and chef-patron Ian Orr, who have restored the property and its nine bedrooms.
With two dining areas, dining at Ardtara Country House is an absolute pleasure - the Clark Room has a glass canopy and two of the property's original fireplaces, while the Garden Restaurant seats up to 26 guests for private dining in its conservatory.
Orr and the culinary team change the menu daily to highlight local produce, as well as fruit, vegetables and herbs grown on-site. As well as á la carte fine dining, guests can indulge in a more casual bite to eat in the lounge or afternoon tea, depending on what they fancy.
The best part about this gorgeous country house is that you know you're in for a top-class dining experience when you stay; the restaurant is recommended by the Michelin Guide, which is no small feat. Ardtara Country House also won the AA Guest Accommodation of the Year and was shortlisted for Georgina Campbell's Hideaway of the Year award.
Want to book this year's gourmet getaway? Bed and breakfast rates start at £79.50 per person sharing while overnight accommodation with breakfast and dinner starts at £114.50 per person sharing. For more information, click here.
Newforge House, Co Armagh
Owned by husband and wife team John and Louise Mathers, this gorgeously restored 18th century home is an oasis of calm located around 30 minutes from Belfast, so it's the perfect place to base yourself for a gourmet getaway - you can relax at Newforge House, before venturing into Belfast for a bite and a pint. Nestled in 40 acres of green fields, Newforge House has only six bedrooms, providing guests with an intimate, peaceful stay.
The locally-focused kitchen is also run by John, who changes the menu daily. There is an orchard on site that provides fruit for desserts, chutneys and preserves, while free-roaming chickens lay eggs for breakfast - the infamous Ulster Fry is served up daily, featuring local, award-winning produce.
Want to book this year's gourmet getaway? Prices for a two night stay with dinner and breakfast start at £420 during the week or £450 at the weekend. For more information, click here.