Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Thanksgiving in Ireland: Kinnitty Castle Hotel

After landing in Dublin we immediately headed out to Kinnitty Castle in Birr. The Castle is approximately 130km from Dublin and took about 90 minutes.  We initially picked this castle as a stop on this trip for my mother, who has never traveled out of the US and has always wanted to visit and stay in a castle. Unfortunately she wasn't feeling well and had to cancel her trip to Ireland.

When we pulled into the castle grounds, the first thing I thought of was the intro to Downton Abbey. The Castle itself doesn't really seem like a Castle to me, but who am I to correct these folks?

An awe inspiring approach
This photo was taken the day of our departure, but at our arrival there were no cars parked in front - making a much more regal approach.

As we enter the front door we are greeted by two cannons and suits of armor guarding the entry to the reception area.



Evidently in the evening the candles are lit giving an authentic and eerie feeling. When I arrived around 13h00 the candles were not lit and I didn't feel like I was staying in a haunted house.  Passing check-in we moved upstairs (yes, there are no elevators in this place -- as far as I could tell) carrying our luggage to our deluxe double suite.




The deep red walls adorned with medieval and renaissance art as well as the trophy heads of what I assumed were animals either killed on the grounds or killed by the family who lived here as they traveled.

Our room was fitted with a double bed, a couple of chairs, an armoire and a fireplace (unknown if it actually worked or not) with a small tv mounted on the wall next to it.




We had a large connected bathroom with a beautiful old ball and claw foot tub in the center and an antique wash stand in one corner and a sink and toilet in the opposite corners.


The water was a bit finicky - when I arrived around 13h or so, there was no hot water. I let the water run for about 15 minutes and it was still icy. The next morning the water was hot and relatively consistent in pressure and temperature.  I will cut this place some slack on the modern niceties considering its age.

Back to the bedroom - there was only a single free outlet to charge our gear - so I unplugged the alarm clock next to the bed and plugged in my tablet and phone.  Since I only have on UK/Ireland power adapter having only one plug worked out just fine for me.

We opted for both dinner the and breakfast at the Castle - since we wanted to experience the whole stay and since there wasn't really anything in near distance to this lodge.  I'll write more about the food in a later installment about the food in Ireland.

There was a wedding queued up for the weekend of our stay, so most of the guests in the hotel were with the wedding.  After dinner we went to the library (with a bar of course) and had a few beers or glasses of wine and just hung out. The fire was roaring the patrons were well lubricated - everyone was having a great time.  We had a great evening.

The following morning I decided to take a bit of a stroll around the grounds and found the stables and an area that looks to be set up for target practice/skeet shooting as well as another building (perhaps a care takers home) and a nice waterfall under a bridge.










Even with only a single day at Kinnitty Castle, I found myself really digging this place.  The service was top notch, the food was quite good and the space itself was really beautiful.  If I were visiting the area again or taking an Irish Road Trip, I would definitely visit this Castle again. The homey and comfortable feel was a great way to start off a vacation - it really helped melt away the stress of the world.

Have you stayed in an Irish Castle before? What was your favorite part?

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