Destination Report: Co. Kildare in the Autumn

Kildare is less than an hour from Dublin and the perfect way to leave city life behind for an hour or two, or overnight.

While horse racing is an integral part of Irish culture right across the country, Kildare is known as the equine county of Ireland. World-renowned racecourses including the Curragh, Punchestown, and Naas are situated in Kildare.

Kildare is the birthplace of Arthur Guinness and polar explorer Ernest Shackleton. It was also the home to St Brigid, one of Ireland’s three patron saints.

Kildare Heritage Centre

Things To Do

A day at the horse races can be a fun day out. Irish racing always attracts glamour and style alongside the serious business of racing. Race days are social events too and the champagne bar is a great spot to enjoy winning. During the year there is racing on lots of days and you can check the racing calendars for the racecourses in Kildare:

Curragh

Punchestown

Naas

Take a trip to the Irish National Stud to peek behind the scenes and see what goes into rearing these magnificent animals. This is the only stud farm in Ireland that is open to the public and you can get up close and personal with future champion horses. Also, here is the Irish Racehorse Experience that offers visitors the chance to own, train and ride their own racehorse, culminating in a thrilling real-time race.

Irish National Stud Gardens

For the ultimate retail experience, head to Kildare Village. It is laid out in a New England style and there are over 100 designer boutiques.  Big brands like Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren, Boss and Ted Baker and dozens more, offer up to 60% off the recommended retail price. It is a very sociable day out with a number of Irish and international brand restaurants to enjoy.  Some Dublin hotels will arrange a guided day trip for visitors to Kildare Village, ask the concierge.

Kildare Village

Newbridge Silver

At the Newbridge factory, you can also go behind the scenes to see the craftsmanship that goes into their famous jewelry. While at Newbridge, the free Museum of Style Icons is a must for style lovers.  Here you will find an amazing collection of clothes worn by famous actors, celebrities and royalty.  A copy of Princess Diana’s wedding dress is here and also the outfit worn by Liza Minelli as Sally Bowles in Cabaret.  It is a fascinating look at style history.

Museum of Style Icons – Sally Bowles’ costume from Cabaret

Where To Eat

For brunch, Shoda Market Cafe in Maynooth is always in high demand as their eggs Benedict goes down a treat. Go back in time to the Auld Shebeen in Athy, a traditional Irish pub named after the prohibition period in Ireland.

The Rustic Restaurant and Bar in Naas is a classic combination of New York-style bar and authentic Italian food. For pizza, pasta, and all things delicious it’s certainly worth the stop.

Recently listed as one of Ireland’s Greatest Places to Dine Outdoors, Silken Thomas in Kildare Town offers a nice experience. It’s located five minutes from Kildare Village so it may be a nice option to eat after a long day of shopping.

Pasta at the Rustic

Town Leixlip is a pub and restaurant by day and a music venue by night. A quick glimpse of their drinks menu shows lots of luxurious cocktails so it would be a great option for a night with the girls.

Where To Stay

Court Yard Hotel, Leixlip

Built on the original site of the first Guinness brewery, visit the Courtyard Hotel for a little sip of history. There is a cold pint of Guinness on arrival before heading off to the Guinness Storehouse. Enjoy a meal in Arthur’s bar with a meal voucher. Visit the Arthurs Way Heritage Trail and explore the history of Ireland’s most famous brewers’ family.

Dinner, bed and breakfast for two from €209, Courtyard Hotel

The Courtyard Hotel

Killashee Hotel and Spa, Naas

Relax and unwind at the Killashee Hotel with their Midweek Escape. Enjoy an overnight stay, a three-course meal as well as a full Irish breakfast. Then head to the spa for a spa treatment with access to the hydrotherapy suite.

Prices start from €165.00 pps

The Keadeen

Established in 1970, The Keadeen is the longest standing family-run hotel in County Kildare, located just 40 minutes  from Dublin City on the outskirts of Newbridge

Enjoy One night bed & breakfast with dinner in Saddlers Bistro from €95.00 per person sharing in a standard room or two nights bed & breakfast with Dinner on one evening in Saddlers Bistro from €150 per person sharing in a Standard Room.

Keadeen Hotel

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