With memorable cuisine that deserves its own storybook, 180 acres of breathtaking property to explore, beautifully appointed bedrooms and suites in the castle, and a golfer’s paradise with an 18-hole golf course, and putting range, Kilkea (pronounced Kil-Key) is an ideal year round couples and family destination.
The castle, which dates back to 1180, encompasses a rich, magnificent lineage as the former medieval stronghold of the FitzGerald’s, Earls of Kildare. The castle still holds its historic charm while combining the warmth and friendliness of the Irish people as it welcomes guests from all over the globe.
Kilkea Castle is the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Ireland.
Kilkea Castle Dining
The culinary program has a full menu of the most outstanding Irish cuisine with hints of International inspiration.
Breakfast at Restaurant 1180 offers a full menu of options to choose from all in addition to a full continental buffet. The buffet includes croissants, muffins, yogurt, cheeses, pain au chocolat, cereal, granola, and fresh fruit as well as a selection of juices, tea, coffee, espresso, and cappuccinos.
For the main course, choices are The Castle Breakfast (a traditional Irish Breakfast), Irish Oatmeal Porridge, Eggs Florentine, Eggs Royale, French Toast, Avocado and Eggs, Eggs Benedict, Golden Waffles or Pancakes, and a Three Egg Omelette.
Ingredients are locally sourced. Their yogurt and butter, for example, is sourced from Glenilen Farm.
Their grand Drawing Room is where guests have the opportunity to experience their relaxing afternoon tea. Allow yourself at least 90 minutes to savour their delicious cucumber and ham finger sandwiches, open-face crab rolls, and scones with clotted cream and jam.
Desserts include macarons, lemon meringue tarts, and chocolate mousse cakes.
Pair your three-tiered stand with a selection of their fine teas, including Lemongrass, Early Grey, and Hibiscus served with milk, lemon, and sugar cubes.
A Picnic Lunch
A lovely way to dine outside is with one of their picnic baskets that come in three different sizes depending upon your party size. Inside the basket is a blanket, drinks including water and soda, sandwiches, caramel-stuffed doughnuts, double chocolate chip muffins, and fresh fruit including apples and pears.
Dinner at Restaurant 1180 in the Grand Dining Room is a must-experience for couples and families. The Dining Room at the castle seemingly ‘evolves’ throughout the day, creating a different atmosphere for each setting. A romantic and sophisticated setting sets the mood for dinner with their signature Tasting Menu.
The Tasting Menu includes Doonbeg Crab with Cucumber and Lemon, Wild Mushroom Tartlet with Apple and Hazelnuts, Dexter Beef with Confit Shallot and King Oyster. For dessert, start with Berries with watermelon and lime, and a favorite Peanut Parfait with Caramelized Banana and Lime for that unique undertone kick.
Pair dinner with Sauvignon Blanc, Hunky Dory from New Zealand.
A dinner at The Bistro includes a selection of soups, appetizers, hearty salads, traditional Irish main courses, and dessert.
Notable dishes are their Seafood Chowder served with Brown Soda Bread; Superfood Salad with broccoli, quinoa, avocado, pomegranate, feta, and spiced nuts; Honey and Soy Stir Fry with honey & soy dressed noodles, spring onions, chili, and sesame; Bangers & Mash with Kildare Farm gourmet sausages, whole grain mustard mash, and red onion jam; and the Wild Board T-Bone with wholegrain mustard crushed potatoes, and red onion jam.
For dessert, the one that takes the crown is the Salted Caramel Pot with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream, also highly recommended by the staff.
Additional choices include the Dark Chocolate Mousse with candied orange, Strawberry Mille-Feuille, an Irish Cheese Collection, Lemon Tart, and a selection of Artisan Ice Cream with mini doughnuts and fruit coulis.
Things to Do
Choose from such estate activities as:
- Floating down the lazy river with a glass of wine (currently available for groups only)
Golf at Kilkea Castle
Kilkea Golf Course is set beneath the shadows and splendor of Kilkea Castle. This 18-hole championship golf course has been cleverly designed around River Griese. The River naturally flows through the Castle grounds and estate. Players will encounter River Griese at almost every hole.
Two lakes have also been included in the course design, adding to the overall difficulty of the challenge of this royal and ancient game.
Annual membership and corporate golf offers are available.
The 140-bedroom resort boasts several accommodation options. Guests can choose from a luxurious Castle Bedroom, a Carriage Bedroom, a Self-Catering Lodge or a Lodge Bedroom. The 11 Bedroom Castle is also available for Exclusive Hire, perfect for weddings, family reunions, and celebrations of all kinds.
A notable suite is the awe-inspiring Fitzgerald Suite on the third floor. The Suite features sweeping views of the garden and extensive landscapes.
The original carriage house and stables have been converted into 31 lovely bedrooms. Many of the carriage bedrooms showcase original features including bespoke wrought iron and exposed wooden beams.
Amenities in the carriage houses include Elemis bath and shower products (available for purchase in the spa), flatscreen television, bathrobes, and your own slippers to keep.
An experience at Kilkea Castle is not complete without a spa treatment. Choose from a wide variety of treatments including massages, facials, treatments exclusive for men, prenatal massage treatments, scrubs and wraps, makeup application, hair styling, manicures, pedicures, waxing, and more.
Favourite treatments are the Thousand Flower Detox Wrap and the Deeper Than Deep Hot Stone Massage.
After a treatment, guests are invited to the relaxation room to lie down with a glass of water and or hot tea. The spa also includes a fitness centre, hydrotherapy room, and yoga centre.
Transportation to and from Kilkea Castle
Travelling to the resort is easy. Kilkea Castle has its own car and transportation service that guests are able to book and utilise throughout their stay, including the option of their airport transportation service. Their drivers are exceptional, as is all of their staff members, who all go above and beyond in every respect.
You also may take the Irish Rail to Kilkea Castle, stopping at the Athy train station, just a forty-minute train ride outside of Dublin’s Heuston Station. Athy is less than ten minutes from the Castle.
Places of Interest Nearby
There are many sights to see, and things to do, and explore within a half hour’s driving distance of the castle. If you love horses, a must-visit is the Irish National Stud and Gardens. Arrive before 3pm to make the most out of your visit.
There is also the Castletown House & Gardens, Burtown House & Gardens, and Mondello Park. Nearby towns include Carlow, which offers many shopping and dining options, and Kilkenny, which is about a half hour away by train.
Source: East End Taste Magazine