Only twenty minutes drive from Carlow Town is located a stunning 12th Century Castle. Kilkea Castle is one of the oldest inhabited castles in Ireland. It was a medieval stronghold of the Fitzgeralds, earls of Kildare.
Kilkea Castle is located in the small village of Kilkea, in County Kildare, 5 km northwest of Castledermot, the R418 regional road from Athy to Tullow.
Kilkea Castle’s history dates back to 1180 when it was built by Hugh de Lacy for one of his Norman noblemen, Walter de Riddelsford. His granddaughter married Maurice Fitzgerald, and so the Manor of Kilkea then came into the possession of the powerful Fitzgerald family. It remained in their possession for over 700 years until the 19th Earl of Kildare decided to make Carton House the family seat early in the 18th century.
One of the castle’s most unusual inhabitants was Gerald the 11th Earl of Kildare. The Earl was sent away to be educated in Europe where he became interested in alchemy. On his return his neighbors believed that he possessed magic powers and gave him the name of the ‘Wizard Earl’. Legend has it that the castle is haunted by the ‘Wizard Earl’ who returns every 7th year riding on a white horse.
The castle and estate was sold by the Fitzgerald family in the early 1960s. Kilkea Castle was then run as a hotel for decades, but entered Examinership in 2009, as a result of the Irish financial crisis. It was closed and put up for sale in 2010. It was bought by an American business-man, Jay Cashman and has since reopened as a resort.
Today Kilkea Castle is truly an impressive, majestic 12th-century castle hotel and is family owned and managed.
Kilkea Castle Hotel and Golf Course sits on 180 acres, and have a variety of accommodations. A wide array of activities including fishing, tennis, horseback riding, falconry and a 18 hole golf course. It make it the perfect spot for a golf outing, fairytale wedding, family reunion or corporate retreat.
On August 2017 Kilkea Castle opened its door for a visiting turists.
Visit official website: www.kilkeacastle.ie
Location of Kilkea Castle: