The earliest evidence of human habitation in Ireland is 6500 BC at Lough Boora, County Offaly just 15 minutes drive from Kinnitty Castle. These early nomadic men would have hunted and gathered on the edge of the then lakes which have now turned to peat bogs and would also have lived for times in the Slieve Bloom Mountain range which commands expansive views of the country.
Renowned for being the birthplace and early home of legendary Finn MaCool along with being the spawning ground of the Salmon of Knowledge which brought him the wisdom of the world, the Slieve Blooms rolling hills inspire.
The Castle has a long and colourful history which dates back to ancient times. Located on an ancient druidic ceremonial ground, where leylines cross and mystical forces are prevalent, the area around Kinnitty can be considered to be the solar plexis chakra of Ireland.
Born in Munster in the 6th century, Saint Finnian was a disciple of Saint Brendan, at whose wish he founded and governed a monastery at Kinnitty (Cean-e-thich) in Offaly of which he is the patron (Benedictines, Farmer, Husenbeth). This monastery was part of an extensive monastic network across Offaly including Clonmacnoise, Durrow & Rahan, which were among the main ‘learning centres’ of Europe in their day. Subsequent raids by the Vikings led to their decline. The High Cross associated with St. Finnian’s monastery which is now located directly beside the castle, depicts ‘the presentation in the temple’, ‘the crucifixion’, ‘Adam and Eve’ and intertwining birds.
The Normans later built a castle and Augustinian Abbey on the site, the walls of which were incorporated into the Castle and can still be seen to this day.
The Clans of the O’Carrolls of Ely occupied the territory around Kinnitty and are reputed to have had over 40 castles around the 11th century, one of which was located on the motte which is found just behind the current castle. The Castle is one of the strongholds of the O’Carroll family of which one Charles Óg O’Carroll was one of the original signatories of the American Declaration of Independance. The descended family still maintain vast estates in Maryland.
In 1630 William O’Carroll built a new Castle in close proximity to the Abbey. This was confiscated in 1641 by the English forces as part of the plantation of Offaly or “Kings County” as the county was then known. In 1664 the crown granted an estate, which included Kinnitty Castle, to Colonel Thomas Winter as reward for military service.
Other castles associated with the O’Carrolls of Ely include Leap Castle, owned by Sean Ryan & Emmell Castle in Cloughjordan, owned by Hollywood actor Patrick Bergin, both of whom can be sometimes found in the Dungeon Bar playing with Con of Kinnitty.
The estate was sold by Colonel Winter’s descendants to the Bernard family in 1764. It then became known as Castle Bernard. In 1811 Lady Catherine Hutchinson, wife of Thomas Bernard, commissioned the famous Pain Brothers, architects of Dromoland Castle and Adare Manor, to extend the castle to what Kinnitty Castle is today, a gem of neo gothic architecture.
In the mid 1890’s Montgomery Hitchcock and family lived in Kinnitty. Little was it known at the time that his son Rex Ingram would go to Hollywood to become a noted director of spectacular silent movies.
In 1922, as with many stately homes in Ireland, the Castle was burned down by the Republican forces. The Castle was rebuilt in 1928 and the Bernard family lived there until 1946 when it was sold to Lord Decies who in turn sold the Castle to The State in 1951. The State retained ownership until it was purchased by the Ryan family in 1994 and has since been transformed into a luxurious 37 bedroom hotel.
The founder of the family was Fiacha Baiceada, son of Cathire More, King of Ireland, A.D.144. The ancient name of the family was Maobreann, signifying “Country Boy”. The Chiefs of the Clan were styled Lords of Idrone and Owney, and their possessions were located in the present County of Carlow and throughout Leinster. This territory of the Ryans was subjected to the intrusion of the Anglo-Normans almost from the landing of the latter in Ireland in 1172.
Today, Kinnitty Castle is enjoyed by visitors from all over the world. It boasts a gourmet restaurant, decorated in Georgian style, a library bar which houses a unique collection of antique books and journals, and an exquisite Louis XV Style Drawing Room.
Tastefully refurbished and in keeping with its old world style, Kinnitty Castle incorporates 37 ensuite bedrooms retaining their original dimensions in keeping with the period of the Castle. Excellent cuisine, fine wines, open turf fires and candlelight, create a very warm welcome and friendly atmosphere that is special to Kinnitty Castle. Wildlife is abundant and undisturbed. Leisure facilities include fishing, clay pigeon shooting and a fully equipped health spa and leisure centre. Equestrian holidays are a speciality providing numerous equestrian activities including tuition, trailing and trekking. The old Estate encompasses 10,000 acres which are directly accessible from the Castle where guests can wander through unspoilt woodland on horseback and lose themselves in the peace and tranquillity of their surroundings.
Kinnitty Castle offers an excellent standard of luxury accommodation and comfort with an olde world elegance. There are thirty-seven individually styled en-suite bedrooms within the Castle, each retaining the original style in keeping with the period of the Castle. Of these thirty-seven bedrooms there are nine Bernard State Executive Suites, twelve O’ Carroll Baronial Deluxe Bedrooms and 16 Abbey Court Standard Bedrooms
Experience the real magic of Kinnitty Castle by staying in one of the O’Carroll Baronial rooms. Relax in our atmospheric baronial rooms with four poster beds and oak panelling.
Experience the real magic of Kinnitty Castle by staying in one of the Bernard State rooms. Luxurious state rooms with an atmospheric layout and decor. All rooms have been named after historic persons and places linked with the Castles long history
You can now enjoy the fine cuisine, wines and service of Kinnitty Castle all day every day with three restaurants now open throughout the week featuring the culinary expertise of our new team of highly trained Chefs under the management of our Executive Chef, Tremayne Light.
The new team, under the guidance of Tremayne Light, formally of Powerscout Estate in Wicklow and Fitzers Catering, have come up with menu’s to suit every taste and budhet alike encompassing the finest locally produced ingredients.
The Slí Dála Restaurant at Kinnitty Castle is the perfect location to enjoy private dining, whether it’s a family dinner, birthday celebration or a Murder Mystery Evening, the candlelit room is the ideal setting.
“Let the Abbot Look After You” Kinnitty Castle’s infamous Monk’s Kitchen is now featuring a newly improved menu and wine selection with the same great value as before.
Kinnitty Castle’s Newest Dining Experience Enjoy the Spirit of the famous Galloping Hogan at Kinnitty Castle’s newest eatery featuring an extensive menu encompassing modern tastes with a traditional twist.
With an excellent reputation for pulling it all off on the day, Kinnitty Castle has hosted wedding day celebrations for over 700 couples in our 15 years history.
Your special celebration begins when you and your guests arrive along the tree lined avenue to the Castle entrance for a drinks reception for you and the bridal party.
The Arrival drinks reception in the Drawing Room or the Courtyard is a relaxed informal time for you and your guests to relax and chat over the wonderful cremony and day so far and enjoy some canapes and light snacks. In the early evening the Piper will call you and your guest to the Great Hall of the O’Carrolls for a sumptious feast fit for a king and queen.
Imagine, on your Wedding Day, arriving at a magnificent candle-lit old Irish Castle, nestled in the heart of the Slieve Bloom Mountains, knowing that every last detail and measure has been taken care of by our fully expreienced wedding team to ensure that your Wedding Day really is ” A Dream Come True”.
Picture entering a spectacular banqueting hall, decorated with beautiful seasonal floral sprays and delicately prepared cuisine in an exhilarating atmosphere…
Enjoy the Ultimate Wedding Experience While enjoying the least amount of stress on the most important day of your life, Kinnitty Castle offers you and your guests exclusive use of the Castle and the grounds of the estate.
Tailor made for your special day with an ambience exceeding expectation. Your special day begins with an arrival reception beyond all others. Our Diamond Wedding celebration is the ultimate in wedding presentation.
Winter Wonderland Weddings
Kinnitty Castle is the ultimate romantic magical setting for your Winter Wonderland Wedding Imagine… On your Wedding Day being chauffeur driven to a magnificent candlelit castle, greeted by a piper as you sip champagne and elegantly stroll the red carpet to meet your guests in a cosy log fire
Kinnitty Castle Hotel
Tel: +353 (0) 57 9137318
Fax: +353 (0) 57 9137284
- Castles in Offaly