“How the f**k do we get into it?!”
I was on my second drive up the narrow road towards Kilkea Castle in Kildare and for the second time, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out where the reception was.
I hopped out of the car, shielding my head from the little torpedo-like raindrops clattering against my face at every opportunity, and legged it towards a woman battling to keep her grips on an umbrella.
After hearing me mutter ‘Eh, yea… how do actually you get in‘, she pointed me in the direction of the huge blue door at the centre of the castle.
Yes, it sounds blatantly obvious, I know…
BUT, in my defence, the door at the centre of the castle looked like it hadn’t swung open in decades, and this set the tone for the next 15 hours in Kilkea Castle.
A quick note before we dive into the review
Kilkea Castle Review – a serious pile of bricks with luxury oozing from every corner
The exterior of Kilkea is incredibly impressive.
As you edge to the end of the beech-lined avenue that leads to the main entrance, the castle looms over you in an almost intimidating manner.
Inside Kilkea: Like stepping into a time machine
After we pushed open the door and walked into the darkened reception area, the sheer scale of the five-year €30 million restoration/renovation started to become apparent.
Kilkea Castle looks like something from an Ireland of times past, and that’s the best possible compliment that I can give it.
The sheer attention to detail in every corner of the castle is almost overwhelming at times.
The castle is set on 180 acres of its own gorgeous woodland, gardens and golf course in Castledermot in County Kildare along Ireland’s Ancient East.
it boasts 57 accommodations in total, including 24 guest rooms and suites in the renovated Carriage House and 33 three-bedroom self-catering lodges at the golf course.
If you’re looking to keep occupied during your visit, you can try your hand at golf, tennis, archery, falconry, skeet shooting, horseback riding, hiking, cycling, tubing and fishing in the Greese River.
A swimming pool and spa are also in the works.
We stayed in a room inside the main castle.
Yes, it was fancy-out like the rest of the castle, but it was cosy and packed with all the right stuff – i.e. decent coffee, a strong shower, a comfortable mattress and buckets of natural light.
For any of you reading this that know me, you’ll know that I’m a pain in the hole when it comes to food.
I’m finicky with everything. And always have been.
So I was a little bit wary of eating at Kilkea.
Dinner was class (for those of you reading from outside of Ireland, ‘class’ is slang for amazing/great/brilliant).
As you can see from the below snap, I gave the bangers and mash a crack, and I’d easily have eaten another plate and a half.
Not because the portion was stingy – they were just insanely tasty.
We had breakfast in the room below while sitting on squishy chairs that probably cost more than my car.
There was a solid selection, the coffee was so strong you could have propped up a spoon in it, and the staff serving were warm and chatty.
The castle grounds
On the day that we visited, the rain was pouring down, so we didn’t get the chance to get out and explore the grounds.
If you visit Kilkea and fancy exploring the grounds (or heading off for a game of golf) here’s a little bit of what you can expect.
Review in a nutshell
For me, a great hotel comes down to three things;
- The people
- The place
- The food (…and drink)
The staff we encountered (in particular the woman that chatted to us while serving breakfast and taking my extremely awkward order – apparently sunny-side-up doesn’t mean well done… yes, I’m a tool) were warm and welcoming and never in an over-the-top manner. It all felt natural.
The place was outstanding. From the restaurant to the bedrooms to the little details scattered throughout every corner of Kilkea Castle, the place was impeccable.
The food and drink were top dollar. My only regret is that we didn’t spend more time flaked out in front of the fireplace.
How much a night here will set you back
I’ve based the below prices on a Friday night in April. For more accurate info on prices, visit the Kilkea Castle website.
- Best Available Carriage Bedroom Bed & Breakfast Rate – €195
- Best Available Carriage Bedroom Room Only Rate – €165
- Carriage Room One Night Escape (full Irish Breakfast and an evening meal – €315
If you’re looking to splash out, there are also a number of more luxurious stay options that you can find more info on here.
Keith O’Hara has lived in Ireland for 34 years and has spent most of the last 10 years creating what is now The Irish Road Trip guide. Over the years, the website has published thousands of meticulously researched Ireland travel guides, welcoming 30 million+ visitors along the way. In 2022, the Irish Road Trip team published the world’s largest collection of Irish Road Trip itineraries. Keith lives in Dublin with his dog Toby and finds writing in the 3rd person minus craic altogether.