In retrospect, we probably weren't appropriately attired to even approach Kinnity Castle Hotel, much less to dine there.
After arriving in Dublin early that morning, driving an hour and a half to Kinnity, resting for a couple of hours, then hiking along a trail in nearby Cadamstown, I'm sure we looked as bedraggled as we felt. Chris, our hostess at Ardmore House B&B, assured us that fancy dress wasn't necessary and sent us to Kinnitty castle for our first meal of our Ireland vacation.
Arriving at Kinnitty Castle Hotel
If you're passing through Kinnitty on the R440, you can't miss seeing Kinnitty Castle. A most regal gated entrance leads you through the forest along a wonderfully narrow road. As you crawl along the path, watching for walkers or deer, you begin to wonder where the castle is. And then, suddenly, it is standing before you.
We weren't sure if we should enter through the front door as we weren't hotel guests, so we poked around the front grounds a bit, just to be sure there wasn't someplace else we needed to enter. What we found was a small sign, pointing us to the High Cross from an Augustinian Abbey which was near by.
After wandering the grounds a bit, and assuring ourselves that we did, indeed, need to enter through the front doors, we climbed the steps to the Gothic portico and entered through the heavy wooden doors.
Red carpeted steps led past suits of armor, to a reception desk.
Where our reception was missing the warm welcome I'd come to look forward to in Ireland.
Not only were we not “dressed to dine” we were also unfashionably early for the evening meal; our bodies were protesting that we were late for lunch and we had put off dinner as long as we could.
After explaining that no, we didn't have reservations, we were asked if we would like to dine in the hotel's Slí Dala Restaurant or the Library Pub. A quick perusal of the menu told me that the girls wouldn't be impressed with the fine cuisine of the restaurant and I'm pretty sure the hostess breathed a sigh of relief when we chose the pub.
Dining in The Library Bar at Kinnitty Castle
All thoughts of our lukewarm reception vanished as we entered the Library Bar. Elaborate book filled shelves lined the walls. Heavy leather chairs, perfect for an afternoon of reading, sat near the window, and solid wooden tables with tall candles drew you to sit.
We chose a table in the corner- mostly because the girls wanted to sit in the leather cushioned booths – with a view of the grounds. If our server thought anything of our early dining, or our casual attire, not a word was said. He was incredibly attentive and charming.
Our meal began with two of Ireland's most perfect foods… Bulmer's and brown bread. The girls enjoyed hot chocolate, which they dubbed “the best ever”.
Perusing the menu, we let the past 36 hours wash away from us and the elegant, yet relaxed, surroundings envelop us in a peaceful luxury.
The menu at The Library Bar has something to please everyone. Beautiful, flaky beer battered fish & chips, gorgeous Irish smoked salmon, chicken goujons (chicken strips) with chips and even cold sandwiches with crisps are on offer.