A Fun Family Weekend Experience into Kildare

As a family we don’t need an excuse to pack up and go exploring, it’s what we adore. No matter how near or far we’re always eager to ‘get the show on the road’. Usually I’m at the helm, guiding us here and there, photographing every moment, my family’s own private paparazza. And so when the opportunity arose to explore our own home county with an itinerary already in place –  we rose to occasion to get Into Kildare because although we know Cill Dara well, and adore it so, we have yet to unturn every stone.

If you follow us on Instagram, you’ve seen the highlights – but I’m here to entice and inspire you to get out and into Kildare and explore.

Get into Kildare – Where we Stayed

Hotel: Killashee Hotel

Address: Killashee, Naas, Co. Kildare

Website: killasheehotel.com

Get Into Kildare - A Fun Family Weekend Experience - Killashee Hotel & Spa, Naas, Kildare

Killashee Hotel and Spa is a four star luxury hotel in Naas. The original house is an excellent example of grand Victorian architecture, and is a very welcoming sight. Renowned for its leisure, family and spa breaks we looked forward to our stay, and the chance to explore the hotel and its beautiful grounds.


The hotel reception and lobby area is spacious and luxurious, with a sweeping staircase, and gems such as the Conservatory that looks out onto the gardens as far as the eye can see.

Our Room – The Junior Suite

Our room for our two night stay was a Junior Suite. It was a generous size with old world charm, from the furniture to the finishings.

Get Into Kildare - A Fun Family Weekend Experience - Killashee Hotel Kildare - Junior Suite

The living area became the boys sleeping quarters at night as they slept together on the sofa bed. And the room offered ample space for when they wanted to stretch and play.


Our master bedroom, like the rest of the Junior Suite was a glorious size with an equally comfortable king-sized bed, dressed with crisp white linens – just the way I like it.

Get Into Kildare - A Fun Family Weekend Experience - Killashee Hotel Kildare - Junior Suite Master Bedroom

Adorned with antique and vintage furniture, that made me feel at home, I loved the decor and layout of the suite that gave us all enough room for a comfortable stay, but also allowed for that closeness needed and wanted when you have small children.


Our Junior Suite was old worldly with the comfort of modern conveniences such as a flat screen T.V., WiFi and a spacious bathroom with double sinks, separate shower and bath.


Our Into Kildare Weekend Itinerary – Activities & Dining


Into Kildare on FRIDAY


Activity: Irish National Stud and Gardens

Address: Tully, Co. Kildare

Website: irishnationalstud.ie


As a family, we weren’t strangers to The Irish National Stud and Gardens but it had been some time since our last visit. And as the boys are so young (Cassidy three, and Smith five years old) it was like new to them again. From the Fairy Trail, to St. Fiachra’s Gardens and its monastic cells, to the stallions, mares and falabellas, we even got a taste of the brand new Irish Racehorse Experience. There was so much to see and explore even before we got to the Japanese Gardens! And our minds were made up upon leaving that we couldn’t let our next visit be so long away again.

Read the Full Article Here: A Fab Family Day at the Irish National Stud and Gardens, Kildare


Dinner: Silken Thomas Pub & Restaurant

Address: Kildare Town

Website: silkenthomas.com


You’ll find the Silken Thomas Pub & Restaurant in the heart of Kildare Town. Established over 45 years ago, there probably isn’t a soul in Kildare town, or in fact the county who doesn’t know of it. With parts of the building that was originally built almost 100 years ago as a cinema, the Silken Thomas certainly has character. And with its modern interiors it’s a very comfortable establishment to dine in.

For dinner, the boys both chose from the Children’s Menu. Cassidy the sausages and Smith the chicken goujons. Their meals were served with mashed potato and chips. As a bonus they enjoyed colouring before and after their meal, and icecream. Needless to say they were very content.

Get Into Kildare - A Fun Family Weekend Experience - Silken Thomas - Mexican Chicken Fajitas

Patrick and I ordered from the Dinner Menu. For starters we both shared and enjoyed the Garlic Mushrooms, these were lightly breaded mushrooms, fried until golden and served with garlic aioli, and the Potato Skins that were served with ‘cheese sauce, bacon bits & spring onion, sweet chilli mayo dip’. Both dishes were really comforting, moreish in fact, and of a substantial size – but after a long day of adventuring we still had room for our mains!

Patrick chose the Deep Fried Scampi with ‘fries & tartare sauce‘ for his main meal. His plate was collected empty, always the sign of a dish enjoyed. For my main meal I chose the sizzling Mexican Chicken Fajitas served with ‘soft tortillas, crisp lettuce, sour cream, grated cheddar, salsa & guacamole‘. This dish was packed full of flavour, and could easily have been shared – in fact I hope it wasn’t a sharing dish because I made light of it all by myself!

Stylish and comfortable interiors, great food choices, and with a server like Valerie, who looked after us so well, we couldn’t fault our family dining experience there.


Into Kildare on SATURDAY


Breakfast: Killashee Hotel – Breakfast Room Service

Breakfast at Killashee Hotel was pre-booked at check-in the evening before. And as early risers we were up and ready before the morning mist had risen. The breakfast room is an excellent size, spacious and high ceilinged.

We chose our cereals and fruits, then ordered our hot choices from the screened buffet before returning to our table. The staff were helpful and attentive and we were certainly satisfied and set up for the day ahead.


Activity: Lullymore Heritage and Discovery Park

Address: Lullymore, Rathangan, Co. Kildare

Website: lullymoreheritagepark.com


We hadn’t been to Lullymore Heritage and Discovery Park before this weekend, but were eager to enter. We arrived at 10am, and left at 1.30pm but could easily have stayed the whole day. There is so much to see, do and explore.

For us the first stop was the Heritage Village, full of interesting Irish history interactively told and shared. Then it was on to the Pet Farm, where you’ll find a number of animals from rabbits to goats. The Lullymore Park Train was a hit with the boys as we got to see the park from a new angle. Then it was a ramble through the woods and onto the Biodiversity Boardwalk – full of learning and understanding about the nature that surrounded us. We broke for lunch, then ended with some playtime in the Playground and a fun game of Crazy Golf. Needless to say, we’ll definitely be back for more!

Read the Full Article Here: Adventure at Lullymore Heritage and Discovery Park, Kildare


Lunch: Killashee Hotel Takeaway Picnic Box at Lullymore Heritage Park


Lunch was a picnic under the shade of the purpose built picnic area at Lullymore Heritage and Discovery Park. And the picnic itself was a delicious Killashee Hotel Picnic. They’re available to purchase from the Killashee website here: killashee-picnic – and there are a couple of options to choose from.

Patrick and I were spoilt for choice from the ‘Smoked salmon on house treacle brown bread‘ to the ‘Vanilla panna cotta, strawberry compote‘. The boys tucked into the ‘Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies‘ and ‘Chocolate Brownies‘, a wider selection of sandwiches for them would have been nice. But with a compostable tablecloth, cutlery, napkins and box – we took the phrase ‘Leave no Trace’ to the top level.


Activity: Florence & Milly Ceramic Studio & Coffee Bar

Address: Butterstream Business Park, Unit 7, Prosperous Rd, Clane, Co. Kildare

Website: florenceandmilly.com


Florence & Milly is ceramic studio and coffee bar in Clane. It’s owner Laura and her team offer a number services from pottery painting classes and workshops for schools and businesses, to summer camps, parties and demonstrations. Florence & Milly offer a fine selection of pre-fired pottery pieces and use non-toxic paints and glazes to decorate them – some peace of mind when working with littles.

We were booked in as a family and so had a table and private area within the studio to ourselves. With Halloween around the corner and Christmas beckoning, we all chose different pottery pieces to paint. Smith chose a wizards hat, Cassidy a bat, Patrick picked a mug, and I chose a Santa plate – which depending on how good a job I did would be used to hold his cookies on Christmas Eve.

Get Into Kildare - A Fun Family Weekend Experience - Florence & Milly - Ceramic Studio and Coffee Bar

After a little pet of beautiful Belle, Florence & Milly’s very own therapy dog. We were given a huge selection of brushes to use and an excellent selection of paints – I counted 16, and they were all identifiable by a colour chart and numbers that even the boys at their young age could understand. The rest was up to us – and we let our creative juices flow. Patrick and I were fuelled with lovely coffee midway and the session that lasts about an hour flew. The next step was for our pieces to be fired up in the kiln and collected within a couple of days – keep posted on The Life of Stuff social accounts for when we get them back!


Dinner: Edward Harrigan & Sons

Address: Lower Main St, Newbridge, Co. Kildare

Website: harrigans.ie


Dinner at Edward Harrigan & Sons in Newbridge was a delicious affair. Recently renovated, the bar and restaurant had a lovely atmosphere. Its large full length windows to the front of the premises allowed for natural light and some people watching should you wish. The warmly lit ambiance to the rear of the establishment, where the restaurant can be found had a cosy feel to it, even though there was ample space between tables. I particularly loved the colour schemes and that mid century-modern aesthetic, with the parquet flooring and furniture style.

Get Into Kildare - A Fun Family Weekend Experience - Edward Hannigan & Sons Newbridge Restaurant

For dinner both boys chose from the Children’s Menu, Cassidy the fish, Smith the pizza. The fish which was gently cooked in a light batter went down a treat, and the pizza, according to Smith was ‘the best’. Patrick and I decided to share a starter of Prawn Pil Pil made with ‘chorizo, garlic, fresh chilli & sourdough‘. The prawns were deliciously meaty, and the dish fresh and flavourful, perfect for soaking with the toasted sourdough bread.

For our main meals, Patrick’s choice was the 7oz Prime Irish Ribeye Steak. Perfectly cooked to his request of medium-rare, the meat was bursting with flavour, with no need for seasoning or sauces, which he kept for the fries that accompanied it. My choice of Pad Thai, like all the dishes we enjoyed for dinner, was deliciously flavourful. The tender and succulent chicken strips within did want for some seasoning, but otherwise a satisfying dish by all accounts.

Great interiors, friendly and attentive staff, delicious dining and all in the heart of Newbridge town – a great option for dinner as a couple or like us as a family with young children who love to dine out.


Into Kildare on SUNDAY


Breakfast: Killashee Hotel – In Room Service


When we checked-in to Killashee Hotel on Friday we were asked if we’d like to order breakfast to our room. We declined, but the seed was planted. And so on Sunday morning, our second morning to enjoy breakfast at the hotel – we decided to have it delivered straight to our room. It arrived hot, and just as tasty as it had been in the breakfast room.

If you are going ahead with this option, just ensure you have a breakfast hanger for your room door, fill it in completely and hang it outside your room before you go to bed (the cut off time is 3am). And if you have plans the morning of your breakfast – play it safe and order it to your room a little early to save disappointment should there be a delay.


Activity: Killashee Hotel Gardens 


The gardens at Killashee Hotel are an activity in themselves. Whether you decide to go for a stroll by yourself, or whether you’ve the company of a child, or in our case two wonderful wildlings, especially when it comes to gardens, nature and the outdoors.

On the morning we explored, the mist was like a blanket over the garden, making it even more inviting to step inside. And even though we spent some time wandering about the pathways, in and out of garden features, I’m almost certain we didn’t see it all. Top garden attractions include the Teddy Bears Picnic House, Debra Ireland Gardens, the Fairy Forest & Playground and the Wendy House.

A top tip when checking in with little children is to ensure you have The Butterfly Trail map and quest – fill out the magic word from the clues around the garden and your littles will receive a lollipop at reception for their great detective work.


Lunch: Shoda Market Café

Address: Glenroyal Hotel, Straffan Rd, Maynooth, Co. Kildare

Website: shoda.ie


Shoda Market Café is a fantastic new lifestyle brand in Maynooth. Found at the four star Glenroyal Hotel, Shoda is a superb addition to the hotel and the town of Maynooth. Hotel guests and locals alike can visit for some wonderful dining indoors and out. Or you can ‘grab and go’ from the in-store market, where you’ll find freshly prepared and packaged hot and cold foods, pastries and breads, along with a number of top notch Irish and international products from Irish chocolate to coffee beans, locally grown organic vegetables to renowned relishes. They even have gift hampers, the perfect gift for a food lover friend, or for yourself – and why not!

On our visit to Shoda we dined in from the Brunch Menu. There are a number of seating options from tables inside to tables outside, but as the weather didn’t permit we were very happy with one of the large comfortable booths by the floor to ceiling windows.

Get Into Kildare - A Fun Family Weekend Experience - Shoda Cafe Market Maynooth - Brunch Dishes

For brunch, Smith, Cassidy and I chose from the Brunch Menu. Whereas Patrick ordered from the hot counter – a feature that’s popular for those who like hot comforting dishes, from roast meats to vegan pies. Smith chose Pancakes with Maple Syrup, Cassidy; French Toast with Nutella and I chose the Eggs Florentine with Salmon. All were beautifully presented and delicious. Patrick enjoyed his choice of the SeaFood Chowder with crusty bread, freshly cooked and creamy with lots of flavour packed into the bowl.

The staff, including Sanjeet the GM and our server Lucy were an absolute pleasure, and Shoda Market Café is a absolute gem.


Our Fun Family Weekend was a press trip with #IntoKildare and we adored exploring more of our home county of Kildare. For more on our Into Kildare trip, visit:

PIN: GET INTO KILDARE, A Fun Family Experience

The Life of Stuff - Get Into Kildare – A Fun Family Weekend Experience

*****

We love where we live, and this Island of Ireland, and always encourage others to explore where they live too. For more inspiration – we have over one hundred Travel the Island of Ireland articles on our Travel the Island of Ireland page. For further afield visit our Travel the World page.

*****

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Edwina O'Connor
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