Lyrath Estate, a hotel situated just outside the lively town of Kilkenny, is a truly dreamy location. Kilkenny is the county town just over an hour’s drive from the bustling hub of Dublin. In this Irish countryside town, the pace of life really slows down making it ideal for anyone looking for peace and quiet. Kilkenny offers a charming look at contradictions between the old and the new and the laid back and the lively. Its medieval roots appealed to me and we spent most of the time exploring the awe-inspiring castle and its vast grounds that run alongside the River Nore.
Lyrath Estate has the most magical setting in all of Ireland. The hotel is built around the original grand old Estate House complete with creeping red ivy vines. With over 170 acres of grounds surrounding the hotel, there is plenty to do and explore. The picture-perfect lakes, lush gardens and emerald woodlands of their slice of the Irish countryside lured me outside, even in the icy winter weather. My windswept hair, rosy cheeks and huge smile were permanent fixtures each time I stepped outside to explore that quintessential Irish landscape. Best of all, our visit coincided with the start of the Christmas season so Lyrath Estate was festively decorated and full of cheer.
The modern extension of the stately 17th century Estate House shows how perfectly the old and the new can be blended together. There are 139 unique rooms and luxurious suites to choose from each with gorgeous views. With a bright, open and airy reception space and the friendliest staff, the check-in experience is precursor to what to expect during your stay. Lyrath Estate has a range of world class amenities and facilities as well. I suggest making use of the thermal suite at their award-winning Oasis Spa or spending time in the Leisure Centre which features panoramic views. You can also enjoy one of the on-site outdoor activities such as falconry or archery.
Our luxurious suite at Lyrath Estate was just as uniquely beautiful as the rest of the property. The supremely comfortable spaces felt more like a private bedroom in a manor house than a hotel room. There are deluxe rooms, executive rooms, luxury suites and a penthouse available to book. Those who want a more authentic experience can even book a traditional room within the 17th Century Manor House.
Each room comes complete with superb views out over the surrounding countryside and we were told to keep an eye out for roaming wildlife such as hares and foxes. We stayed in a stylishly decorated Executive Room which boasted a king size bed, walk in cupboard, spacious ensuite bathroom and a range of upgraded personal amenities. It included all the expected aspects such as table and lounge chairs, a TV, a working desk, tea and coffee making (Nespresso machine) facilities and luxuriously soft bathrobes and slippers. With such comfort we could have easily spent more time enjoying the room if there wasn’t so much to see and do in Kilkenny.
There is no shortage of good food and great wine or pints at Lyrath Estate. The five-star property has not one but two excellent restaurants for guests to choose from. Yew Restaurant is the spot for those with distinguished taste buds. Serving internationally inspired cuisine, the celebrated chefs love to prepare unique dishes created from locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. Breakfast each morning is served in this space as well and the delightful view of the manicured gardens is a great way to start any day. The breakfast was a mix of continental breakfast options and hot dishes such as eggs and bacon.
Lyrath Estate’s other restaurant is The Grill and Bar located on the mezzanine level of the property. We dined here during our second evening at the hotel and were blown away by the quality of our meal. One of the signature dishes is their “Mohawk Steak” which is a must-try dish at this grill. Additionally, the fresh oyster bar and lobster tank ensures that the seafood menu is also a great option. Both desserts were delightfully tasty and I always recommend anything chocolate. The comfortable surroundings exuded warmth and created wonderful ambiance.
First of all, you can’t stay at Lyrath Estate without booking time in their extraordinary thermal suite. Oasis Spa has the most peaceful and relaxing spaces you can imagine. My personal favourite was the heated pool open to the outside elements. The frosty winter breeze and fresh air of the countryside was exhilarating while the steamy pool kept you toasty warm. Here you’ll find a truly peaceful place to calm your mind and relax your body before a massage. While on the property make sure to visit the old Estate House which has grand staircases and stained-glass windows. Also, spend some time just wandering around the gorgeous gardens and petting the two resident golden retrievers.
The town of Kilkenny also has plenty to keep you busy. I loved the majestic Kilkenny Castle perched on the bank above the river. The huge grounds of the castle complex are unbelievably beautiful and walking the routes through the forests and along the river brings about a great sense of calmness. Exploring the historic cobblestone streets of Kilkenny is also a treat. Keep an eye out for (almost) hidden entrances to historic thoroughfares such as the cute and narrow Butterslip Lane. Throughout town, you’ll also notice a variety of magnificent medieval architecture such as cathedrals.
Finally, I suggest stopping for lunch or dinner at the oldest pub in town – Kytelers Inn. This medieval inn has a rich and colourful history as it was once owned by a witch. In fact, she was the first witch to be convicted in Europe. Although she escaped and fled the country her legacy lives on in this vibrant space. The cosy stone and beamed bars, lively music, excited chatter and delicious food really makes an impression. Do yourself a favour and try the hearty Irish stew on a cold winter evening.
In a nutshell
Kilkenny is a town you won’t soon forget and Lyrath Estate is a hotel that will have you planning your return trip soon after you leave. This grand country resort hotel is a true gem of the Emerald Isle. While visiting Kilkenny there is no other accommodation that can compare to all on offer at luxurious Lyrath Estate.
Rooms and suites at Lyrath Estate can be booked from £141 per night.