So your bestie has asked you to be a bridesmaid. This includes discussing exciting wedding plans, attending bridal fittings, offering ample emotional support throughout the planning process, and, of course, planning the all-important hen party! For those who have never planned or attended a hen party, they can appear quite daunting. However, as always, we are here to assist (and we have some fantastic suppliers to assist as well!). To get you started, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of the most popular hen party ideas and locations throughout Ireland…
1. Spa Weekend
A spa weekend is the ideal escape for the bride who appreciates a little luxury! What better way to prepare for the wedding than to indulge in some R&R at a posh spa hotel while sipping Champagne? There are numerous hen-friendly spas located throughout Ireland that offer fantastic hen party pamper packages.
2. Movie Night
Is your lady a cinephile? What about a private screening of a vintage film followed by a vintage-themed after-party complete with live music, a retro DJ, and classic cocktails? Look no further than Film Fatale, which hosts themed movie nights on a regular basis. Put on your glad rags and take a trip down memory lane with screenings of timeless classics such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Chinatown. Or, if you prefer something a little more low-key, the lovely Stella Theatre is far more special than your neighbourhood omniplex!
3. Afternoon Tea
Beautiful china, delectable cake, a glass of bubbly, and bottomless tea – afternoon tea hen parties have grown in popularity as they cater to everyone, including the mothers! Choose from a full afternoon tea experience at a beautiful hotel such as The Shelbourne in Dublin City or Castle Leslie in County Monaghan, a vintage experience at tea rooms such as Ruby Ellen’s in County Louth, a fun Vintage Tea Tour bus, or tea in the comfort of your own home or hotel room with Oh So Sweet Occasions.
4. Farm Weekend
Put on your wellies and prepare for a fun-filled weekend at the farm! A unique hen party experience, farm weekends include cow milking, animal feeding, bog jumping, bread-making, hen chases, and farm treasure trails. All excellent craic, creating wonderful memories for the bride-to-be and her friends.
5. Cookery Classes
Ideal for the foodie bride and her entourage. Enjoy a glass of wine while learning how to whip up a storm in the kitchen with the assistance of a professional chef, followed by a sit-down meal to enjoy the fruits of your labour.
Our favourites include Delish Melish in Smithfield, Dublin, which offers fun marshmallow and meringue making classes, or for more savoury treats, Ballyknocken Cookery School in County Wicklow, Ballymaloe Cookery School in County Cork, Cloughjordan House Cookery School in County Tipperary, Fairyhouse Cookery School in County Meath, or Dublin Cookery School – but there are plenty more to choose from throughout the country, and many restaurants offer them as well!
Scavenger hunts are an excellent way for hens to get to know one another during the hen party. They’re also ideal for pairing hens off in teams to work together. Collect your female companions, provide a list of clues and a map of the hunt’s location, and grab your camera. This is also a fantastic idea for a girls night out; simply create a list of items to collect throughout the night, such as coasters from each bar, photos with strangers, and shot glasses. At the end of the night, whoever has the most impressive collection (as determined by the bride) wins a prize!
7. Murder Mystery Evening
Unsuspecting victims will fall victim to heinous crimes, and it is up to you and your hen party to decipher the clues and apprehend the killer. A fantastic icebreaker activity for a hen party, as you collaborate to solve whodunnit! Add some costumes to the mix and you’ve got yourself a fantastically fun-filled hen party.
8. Arts and Crafts Weekends
Is your bride the queen of do-it-yourself? Then she’ll enjoy getting her hands dirty at an arts and crafts-themed hen party. Choose from flower crown-making classes at Kay’s Flower School or The Crate, felting at Kippure Estate in County Wicklow, pottery painting classes at The Pottery Shed in Kilkenny or Giddy Studios in Dublin, or even naked life drawing at My Art Class in Galway. Consider the Crafty Hens package from The Three Towers.
9. Action Packed Activities
This weekend is ideal for hens who are true adrenaline junkies and crave a jam-packed weekend of activities. Check out our guide to 19 incredible adventures for hen parties across Ireland; from zip-lining and zorbing to whale watching and windsurfing, there’s something for every adventure-loving hen. Alternatively, you can go hiking or wild swimming and create your own adventure!
Glamping combines the excitement of camping in the great outdoors with the conveniences of home – making it the ideal hen party activity for a large group of gals. In a bell tent, tipi, shepherd hut, or yurt, you can sleep under the stars. Each region of the country has its own unique hidden gem; the difficult part is deciding which one to visit!
Among our favourites are Rock Farm Slane in County Meath and Tee Pee Valley in County Armagh – a complete list is available in our Guide to Glamping Hen Parties.
11. Cocktail-Making Classes
Cocktail making, or mixology as it is sometimes referred to, is the ideal activity to do prior to your big night out on the town. It’s a simple activity that everyone will enjoy; it’s entertaining, allows the hens to socialise (and drink!) while also practising their shaking and stirring skills!
Numerous hotels and restaurants throughout the country offer cocktail-making classes; alternatively, you can enrol in cocktailclasses.ie and The Bash can help you plan your own cocktail-making hen party.
12. Dance and Workout Classes
For girls who want to show off their moves, a fun dance class may be the perfect way to kick off the evening. Choose from twerking to Charleston lessons, or try something new like a 90s HIIT class, burlesque, or hula hoop class – a fun way for an active hen to stay active without leaving the city!
13. Mini Cruise
Everybody aboard! Begin your evening in style by boarding the Corrib Princess for a mini cruise on Lough Corrib, the Inishbeg or the Shannon with the Moon River Pleasure Cruiser or the River Run Pleasure Cruiser, all of which offer fantastic hen party packages. In Dublin, La Peniche offers dining and dancing aboard a barge cruising the Grand Canal, or take to the waves with Dublin Bay Cruises.
There are numerous boat tours available throughout Ireland, or you can rent a boat for the weekend and cruise the waterways at your leisure!
14. Makeup Masterclass
What better way to get glammed up for your hen party than with a makeup masterclass? Numerous stores, salons, and makeup artists across the country offer group classes, or you can take it a step further and book a glam photo shoot while you’re at it. Alternatively, you could all go to a blow dry bar or nail salon together!
Visit EF Creative Studios, Lyndsey Cavanagh, Aimee Connolly, Boudoir Girls, and The Beacon’s Vogue Beauty Package.
15. Hen Party at Home
If you’re on a budget or pressed for time, why not host your own hen party? In the living room, set up a mini spa with Champagne on ice, dress in bathrobes and slippers, and gather around to paint nails and apply face masks. You could host a themed potluck dinner night with a variety of interesting dishes to sample, or you could host your own afternoon tea party complete with your finest china, bubbly, and delectable treats. Which one is our favourite? A throwback slumber party featuring all of your favourite teen films. The possibilities are virtually limitless!
More Unique Hen Party Ideas
Nothing on our list taking your fancy? We couldn’t fit all our favourite hen party ideas in the list, but here’s a few more to inspire your party planning!
- Head to a festival or gig
- Go to the races
- Do wine tasting
- Book a karaoke booth
- Pottery making
- A relaxing yoga retreat
- Book a house in the country
- A private dining supper then a night on the town
- A Victorian weekend, Downton Abbey style