Regality Is Reality at Kilkea Castle in Ireland

As the well-known Irish blessing says, “May the road rise to meet you,” and we hope so on your one-hour journey from Dublin, Ireland, to Kildare county’s historic castle at Kilkea.

The castle recently completed a 6-year, $30 milllion renovation to ensure it provides a regal experience for groups seeking a more formal yet exotic location. Indulge in teambuilding that feels like royal treatment through authentic activities, exquisite accommodations and delectable dining experiences. 

The landmark dates back to the 12th century and is one of the oldest inhabited castles in the country. It is associated with the small surrounding village of Kilkea a former home to the medieval stronghold of the FitzGeralds, the earls of Kildare. Gardens, carriage houses, three restaurants, a spa, an on-site 18-hole golf course, clubhouse and wide-open green landscaping surround the luxurious castle grounds. 

The 140-bedroom resort’s variety of accommodations appeal to all tastes and budgets. Guests can choose from four different options: Castle Bedroom in the main building, Carriage Bedroom in the attached side housing, or a Self-Catering Lodge and Lodge Bedroom in separate buildings a short walk from the main compound. Or, if you truly seek to feel like a king or queen, the 11-bedroom castle is also available for complete buyout. 

The partially underground Baronial Hall is ideal for a mid-sized conference, with the ability to fit 320 guests theatre style or 270 banquet style. The grounds also house several smaller breakout rooms in buildings adjacent to the castle flooded with natural light and can accommodate up to 20 boardroom style. 

As a blow-in (Irish slang for a stranger or foreigner) from America, one can expect to be shocked by how beautifully opposite the two countries are even though we share the same language. For teams looking to avoid the hassle of an impromptu learning session on driving on the left-hand side of the road, transportation can be arranged for pick-up, drop-off and any off-site activities. 

With the structure’s timelessly elegant style and updated interiors taking over one’s perspective, the castle remains true to a traditional Irish bed-and-breakfast feel—a true getaway.

Pamper yourself and your team in modern luxury while taking a bite of history and removing the pressures of big-city bustle. The location seeks to submerse guests within its natural environment to reconnect with their innermost selves. 

Regal Activities

The overwhelming charm of the family-owned and -run property in Castledermot exudes through its setting on 180 acres of wooded land and allowing for uncommon exciting teambuilding opportunities such as fly fishing, archery, falconry, 4-by-4 off-roading, boat tours, horseback riding, golf, tennis, and whiskey and chocolate tastings. 

In case you are looking to connect more with the American perspective on traditional Irish heritage, those in pursuit of “pub hopping” can be transported by the thoughtful and friendly staff to and from the nearby village of Kilkea for an outing at the Moone High Cross Inn to find fish, chips, Guinness and some Gaelic football. 

Farm to Table to Tummy

David McKane, previously chef de cuisine at the 5-star Adare Manor, helms the castle kitchen as executive head chef and culinary director. McKane sources his expertly crafted menus using local artisanal produce and ingredients to create and elevate classic Irish dishes in a simple yet modern way.

Like the theme throughout the castle, McKane desires to preserve a piece of the locale’s history through the culinary arts. The most formal and only directly in-castle dining option, Restaurant 1180, sits on the second floor adorned with gold and royal blue velvet accents overlooking the surrounding golf course and rose garden.

From fresh seafood such as scallops made with volute of pea puree and hazelnut to ethically farmed meats and game creating options like the juicy duck terrine with perfectly crisped skin, each ingredient helps to create innovative and refined dishes. This is also where breakfast—a full cold bar and hot menu options—is served. For a dinner to remember, the chef offers two options: a la carte menu for those looking to carve their own path, and a signature tasting menu for the full experience.

American online software and collaborative tools company Slack, who utilized the boardroom-style breakout rooms above Hermione’s Restaurant connecting to the separate golf clubhouse and bistro, opted for a special tasting menu curated by the head chef.