Co Kildare is a lucky find for every kind of tourist

As staycations dominated lots of our vacation itineraries all through the Covid-19 pandemic, it inspired loads of us to go in search of ‘hidden gems’ all through the island of Eire, and I just lately discovered one within the form of Co Kildare.

o be sincere, my solely data of the county previous to my prolonged weekend keep there was the truth that it’s residence to Kildare Village — a luxurious designer outlet advanced that fairly actually seems like a small city in itself — and that it used to host the favored summer time music pageant Oxegen, at Punchestown Racecourse.

Little did I do know Kildare is definitely the equine county of Eire and likewise boasts some stunning hospitality resorts, together with Carton Home and Barberstown Fortress.

We stayed in Lawlor’s Resort, a superbly quaint spot proper within the centre of Naas city and, extra importantly, proper beside Hayden’s Bar — essentially the most quintessentially Irish pub, filled with craic, trad music and ideal pints of Guinness.

The primary exercise on our agenda, although, was biking the Royal Canal Greenway with rented bikes from Royal Canal Bike Rent, beginning in Maynooth. While I used to be initially fearful that I wouldn’t be lower out for it (I don’t assume I’ve ridden a motorcycle in years, save for the odd gymnasium spin class), that is positively an exercise I might suggest for travellers of any biking or health capacity.


Lullymore Heritage & Discovery Park

The Royal Canal Greenway is pretty clean and simple and with the appropriate climate (which we fortunately received), it’s a stupendous option to journey via Kildare’s many picturesque little areas.

Since its official opening in March 2021, it’s the longest greenway in Eire, stretching for 130km. Starting in Maynooth, eager beans can select to cycle all the best way to Clondra in Co Longford, passing via Meath and Westmeath, via Eire’s historic east.

Our information, Dave, stated it is a standard choice for vacationers in the summertime months, as they select to cease in pubs and cafés alongside the best way, then keep someplace in a single day, with the bike rent crew in a position to acquire the bikes in Longford the following day (so that you don’t have to return all the best way again). We, nonetheless, selected a easy day journey to Kilcock — an 11km journey there and again — and met numerous fascinating wildlife alongside the best way.

Subsequent was dinner in Vi’s Restaurant at Lawlor’s, the place we loved implausible chargrilled dry-aged 6oz fillet steaks paired with a implausible home purple and a chilled classical music setting with a stay pianist.

On Sunday morning we attended the crème de la crème for horse lovers — the Irish Nationwide Stud & Gardens. First issues first: it doesn’t matter what age you might be, petting ponies will at all times be a beneficial pastime — and never solely does the Irish Nationwide Stud expertise allow you to do that, however it additionally teaches you Kildare’s wealthy equestrian heritage.


Japanese gardens on the Irish Nationwide Stud

Moreover, its breathtaking Japanese gardens — created over a century in the past, due to Colonel William Corridor Walker, who devised the Irish Nationwide Stud — are famend and, as we realized, are the best of their form in Europe.

In addition to serving as a residing museum for guests to find out about Kildare’s wealthy ‘thoroughbred’ historical past, the Stud’s first-class amenities are utilized by worldwide breeders from around the globe.

My favorite titbits from the go to included seeing the skeleton of Arkle, who is usually thought-about Eire’s best ever racehorse. He received three consecutive Cheltenham Gold Cups and the King George VI Chase throughout the Sixties.

The grand finale was the Irish Racecourse Expertise, which might be nicely suggested for all of the household. Everybody can ‘purchase’ their very own digital horse, handle it and ultimately race in opposition to one another on the finish. And I actually imply race: everybody mounts miniature mechanical horses and primarily undergoes a bucking bronco-type expertise till somebody wins (and, simply to let everybody know, I really did win my race).

Situated in Tully, the Irish Nationwide Stud & Gardens is simply 45 minutes from Dublin, inside two hours of Waterford, Cork and Galway, and inside three hours of Belfast, that means it might additionally function an excellent explorative pit cease for anybody planning an Irish street journey.

In line with the equestrian theme, the Curragh Racecourse provides one other nice probability to find extra about Irish horse racing, courtesy of its ‘Behind The Scenes’ tour. Company are allowed entry to areas which are strictly off limits to the general public on race days and may achieve an perception into what it’s wish to expertise a race day as a jockey, a groom, a racehorse coach and a racehorse proprietor.

You’ll positively go away Kildare feeling such as you not solely realized so much, however skilled so much too. For instance, we additionally ventured to the Curragh to attend the Style Of Kildare meals pageant, which ran alongside race day. It was the final word show of native artisan meals producers and crafters, together with a private favorite of mine: Jackford Irish Potato Gin (produced from, you guessed it, good ol’ Irish spuds).

Though it’s normally simply an annual event, there’s loads of locations to attempt if you wish to get into the spirit of ‘supporting native’. An important instance of that is Lock 13, which overlooks the aforementioned canal, this time within the city of Sallins.

A captivating little gastropub, it’s additionally Kildare’s first ‘brewpub’ and provides its personal hand-crafted premium native beers, that are additionally sourced from native maltsters.

It’s received a heat, hipster kind of vibe and brings an lively, welcoming scene for every kind of consumers in its quiet little spot.

The truth that it has a cocktail named ‘Might Have Performed County’ — referring to the sentiment that many people might have performed GAA for our counties “if it weren’t for the drink” — actually sealed the deal for me, as I’m positive it did for many GAA followers alike.

The final enterprise of the journey was to Lullymore Heritage & Discovery Park, which barely jogged my memory of a mix of the Ulster American People Park and Peatlands Park, each in Co Tyrone.


Lullymore Heritage & Discovery Park’s fairy path

Once more, it’s positively splendid for households and even has fairy trails, indoor and outside play areas, a mini golf course and a street practice to take everybody via the forest.

I personally loved the park for its nature, biodiversity boardwalk and historical past. It describes itself as “the one attraction in Eire providing a complete perception into the Irish peatlands and the folks residing round it” and provides intensive interactive segments all through the forest to be taught extra in regards to the space’s heritage.

Surrounded by Eire’s largest peatland, the Lavatory of Allen, you possibly can find out about a few of the unimaginable finds which were unearthed in Irish bogs over time, together with ‘lavatory our bodies’ — human cadavers which were naturally preserved in peatlands from way back to 2000 BC.


Irish Nationwide Stud & Racecourse Expertise

It’s secure to say there’s all kinds of actions and points of interest throughout Kildare, whether or not you’re in search of one thing household pleasant or adventurous or just a calming weekend full of excellent food and drinks.

Though it by no means crossed my thoughts as an exceptionally tourism-driven spot earlier than, it ought to positively be on folks’s lists now as someplace totally different to find.

Niamh was a visitor of Fáilte Eire, whose ‘Hold Discovering’ marketing campaign is encouraging folks residing in Eire to expertise the enjoyment of discovering the various hidden gems that Eire has to supply. Should you want inspiration on the place to go and what to do, go to

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