Kildare may not be home to the most talked about Irish attractions, but when you look a little bit closer, you realise that the county in no way comes up short.
As well as being home to some well-known Irish writers and musicians, from Molly Keane and Christy Moore to Bell X1, Kildare is also the birthplace of Arthur Guinness. So while the storehouse may be in Dublin, the history and origins of this brewer are found in Kildare.
Kildare is also famous for horse racing and boasts some impressive shopping opportunities, especially at Kildare Village. For those interested in a bit of history, you’ll find St. Brigid’s Cathedral and well more than satisfying.
On the menu, Kildare’s food, drink and accommodation are above par (as is their interest in golf), so keep reading for your guide to Kildare’s best places to eat, drink and sleep.
Baobab’s founders, Alex and Luigi, grew up in Kenya, learning about the world through a wide variety of people from different cultures and backgrounds. This is also where they learned about coffee, one of Kenya’s biggest exports. Experienced in coffee roasting and the Ethiopian coffee ceremony, you can be guaranteed an excellent brew when you visit Baobab. Located in Cellbridge, you can also grab a bite to eat, with homemade cakes, pastries, toasties and more on offer.
Le Pain Quotidien
Located in Kildare Village, breakfast in Le Pain Quotidien will ensure you’re fuelled up and ready for a day of happy wandering through the designer shops in Kildare Village. Founded by Alain Coumont, the ethos here is simple food done very well. Enjoy loaves of fresh bread, paired with sweet jams and more. The brunch menu is a happy mix of brunch classics and newer dishes and there are also plenty of organic and gluten free offerings on the menu.
A new opening in Kildare Town, Square Coffee is run by Kildare natives, Pamela Moore and Alan Stafford. Aiming to be more than just a traditional café, Square Coffee utilises local PS Coffee Roasters in Naas and also sells coffee beans and equipment to help you make the best coffee at home (when you can’t pop in for your fix of course).
The Green Barn
Based on old-style Scandinavian barns with rustic beautiful high ceilings, The Green Barn is a gem located just inside the front gates of Burton House. Open for lunch and dinner, The Green Barn is picture perfect and the food is no disappointment, with Buckwheat Noodles, Leek and Kale Pie, Organic Beef Burger, Pan Seared Feta and Scallion Potato Cake and Warm Goat’s Cheese, Thyme and Honey Fritter.
Beetroot Healthy Food
Perfect for those seeking out vibrant healthy food, Beetroot is located in Maynooth and boasts a nutritious menu sourced from local Irish suppliers. A vegetarian and vegan’s paradise, enjoy the ever-changing menu which includes flavoursome mains like Sri Lankan Style Stew, Falafel Baguettes, Asian Style Tarts, salads, soups, sweet treats and more.
Two Cooks Sallins
A relaxed family friendly restaurant, Two Cooks overlooks the beautiful Grand Canal in Sallins. Owned and run by husband and wife chef team, Nicola Curren and Josef Zammit, the pair developed the menu when their dream of owning a restaurant together became a reality. With dishes like Venison Sausage, Gnocchi Romaine, Mackerel with Smoked Eel, along with an impressive wine list, your palate is sure to be satisfied here.
The Brown Bear
Built on Eugene’s family farm and run by Jean Grace and Eugene Brennan since opening in 2008, The Brown Bear is a multi-award-winning restaurant and bar in Naas. Constantly striving to ensure their customers are treated to a truly memorable dining experience, the menu boasts classic dishes like Duck Breast, Pork Belly, Pork Cheek, Scallops, Beetroot with Goat’s Cheese and Smoked Almond and much more.
Canteen Cellbridge opened in June 2016 and is run by James Sheridan & Soizic Humbert. Serving modern European fare like Feighcullen Duck Breast, Comeragh Hill Lamb, Wild Brill, Hispi Cabbage, Poached Sole and Oyster and Tartare of Venison, the restaurant places a strong emphasis on quality local and seasonal ingredients. They also have a set vegetarian menu, with Field Mushroom Pithivier, Salt Baked Celeriac and Smoked Knockalara Sheep Cheese sure to whet your appetite.
The Dew Drop
Owned by brother’s in-law Ronan Kinsella and Paul Lenehan, The Dew Drop was given a major facelift in 2007. Expanding the offering from that of a traditional pub, the new owners introduced a wide range of craft beers, wine and whiskey, along with a modern Irish-themed menu. The gastro pub is located in Kill and is a great place to spend an evening with friends and family, enjoying great food, drink and music.
Silken Thomas Pub
If you’re looking for a place with a story, look no further than Silken Thomas in Kildare. A family-owned business that has been established for more than 40 years, Silken Thomas prides itself on offering a warm, Irish welcome. You won’t be short of things to do here, with food, drink and dance all on offer. They even have comfortable accommodation should you wish to turn your day/night out into an overnight stay.
Oak Alley Cocktail Bar
Travel back in time to the roaring 20’s or swinging 60’s at the Oak Alley Cocktail Bar in Maynooth. A wonderful combination of the old and the new, treat yourself to uniquely named cocktails like ‘The Jane Austen’, ‘The Great Gatsby’, ‘The Audrey Hepburn’ and even the ‘Christian Grey’. There are also a number of classically popular cocktails on offer if you don’t fancy stepping back in time.
Hartes, based in Kildare Town, is a serial winner of the RAI Best Restaurant in Leinster and Best Chef in Co. Kildare. Sourcing their food and drinks carefully, they constantly provide a wide range of high quality, fresh and sustainable products. Whether you’re a Kildare native or just passing through, you’ll find a warm welcome, fabulous atmosphere and an extensive range of craft beers and win in Hartes.
The K Club
While Ireland is home to many incredible luxury properties, The K Club was the first to be awarded the coveted 5 AA Red Star rating. Since opening in 1991, The K Club continues to reinforce its reputation as one of the most opulent destinations in the country. Modelled on an 18th Century French Chateau, the 5-star resort is a must-visit for fine dining lovers, golf enthusiasts, active families and those seeking a relaxing spa getaway. The K Club is home to no less than five restaurants, two bars, two Championship golf courses, a state of the art spa and an extensive offering of estate activities from archery to horse riding.
The Keadeen Hotel
Established in 1970 and still operated by the O’Loughlin family, The Keadeen Hotel is a Grade A Fáilte Ireland approved hotel with a proud reputation for delivering traditional hospitality and professional service. Located in the heart of County Kildare, guests have access to the world-renowned Curragh, Naas and Punchestown Racecourses, and the historic town of Kildare is also close by. The 4-star Keadeen Hotel also offers a range of superb dining options, including The Atrium Lounge, Saddlers Bar and Bistro and the award-winning restaurant, The Bay Leaf.
Located in Naas, Co. Kildare, the 4-star Killashee Hotel boasts magnificent views over the Wicklow mountains and stunning Kildare scenery. Offering fine dining, superb leisure facilities and a soothing spa, Killashee hotel is a true haven of relaxation. Suitable for families, couples, weddings, conferences and more, this enchanting Victorian property is perfect for a short break from your busy life.
Cliff at Lyons
Last but by no means least, Cliff at Lyons is a stunning addition to the Kildare hospitality scene. A member of the exclusive CLIFF group, this picturesque estate offers wall to wall scenic views, historic houses and a mill, a state of the art spa and a breath-taking conservatory based restaurant The Orangery. With Head Chef Nathan Dimond creating dishes largely based around the produce grown on site, dining at Cliff at Lyons is the perfect prelude to a stay in one of their sumptuous suites.