Travel: Historic castle hotel is a keeper

Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel
Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel

With comfortable rooms, locally sourced restorative food, a fabulous ambience and top-notch facilities, the Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel is Killiney’s crowning glory

The upmarket south Dublin seaside resort and suburb of Killiney is a stellar address, with U2’s Bono and The Edge, as well as Van Morrison and Enya, all owning homes here.

It may, therefore, not be an obvious choice for a weekend break; with residents like these many may view it as prohibitively expensive and exclusive - but as we discovered recently this is not at all the case.

First off, the scenery is majestic, like something from a film set. Driving along the swirling coastal roads, with glorious views out to sea and the anarchic roadside parking of scenery-seekers, reminded me of Italy’s stunning Bay of Naples in Italy. Indeed this comparison is reflected in the names of surrounding roads, like Vico, Sorrento, Monte Alverno, San Elmo, and Capri.

We were staying in the Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel, an 18th Century four-star establishment.

With its towers and crenellations, it is exactly the sort of castle my Rapunzel-obsessed seven-year-old daughter had hoped for; it’s unusual colour - purple? wine? magenta? a topic of much debate.

Inside a warm welcome and roaring fire greeted us, with guests relaxing over food and chat in the bar/lobby area.

Our elegant family room had fabulous views over Dublin Bay and offered plenty of space for our family of four, with large ensuite bathroom, two kingsize double beds and lots of wardrobe and drawer space - essential when travelling with kids and their surfeit of stuff.

Next door, literally a two minute walk, from the hotel is Killiney Hill Park, which has an inspiring playpark with a zip line, belt footbridge, standing see-saw and tons of other cool stuff for kids to play on while the parents look at the wonderful bay view.

When it comes to dining, this hotel excels. We ate in it’s main restaurant, the Grill at the Castle, a stylish modern restaurant located in the original dungeons of the castle. It was awarded an AA Rosette award this year and it’s easy to see why.

We enjoyed a beautiful starter of salad of roast butternut squash with feta cheese, followed by halibut with roast vegetables, for me, and baked monkfish fillet with scallion mash for my partner. An apple berry crumble and custard and a Baileys cheesecake rounded off a sublime dinner.

An equally bountiful and tasty breakfast is served in PJs Restuarant. A buffet-style affair it offers something for everyone, with the tastiest freshly squeezed orange juice I have tasted in a long time.

After breakfast, and if you can move, a walk up Victoria Hill (dedicated to Queen Victoria) is an absolute must, with magnificent views of Dublin Bay, Killiney Bay, Bray Head and the mountain of Great Sugar Loaf, stretching from the Wicklow Mountains right across to Howth Head. Again, with the sun beating down on twinkling waters below, it is hard to forget you are in Ireland, not Italy.

At it’s highest point is an obelisk, which was built in 1742 by the local landlord John Mapas, who initiated its building as part of a general relief scheme for the poor in the area.

During our weekend we spent a lot of time on Killiney Beach, (from here you can spot Bono’s house - not our reason for going of course), and neighbouring Dalkey, a small picturesque heritage village, with numerous restaurants and pubs.

Killiney is a lovely little oasis away from the hustle and bustle of Dublin city. There were plenty of attractions to occupy our time and with a wonderful base at the Fitzpatrick Castle hotel, we couldn’t have wished for a more perfect family break, even if we’d bumped into a rock god.