The Stunning Beauty of Kilkenny, Ireland and Mount Juliet Estate
Our Hawk Walk with John of Hawkeye Falconry is one of the most memorable activities we’ve done in our travels. Working with these majestic creatures, handling them so closely, and seeing them as birds of prey and hunters, was amazing. It was drizzling during our walk, so John had to be particularly thoughtful about the time we spent with each bird. If their feathers become too wet they aren’t able to fly, especially Casper the Barn Owl.
John would direct the birds to certain locations and from there they would swoop down and land on my hand for a bite of food. Or they would take off from my hand and land high above on a tree branch as he instructed, at one point, even flying through my arms as they were raised and folded over my head. This is one of those “Bucket List” experiences that you should add to your list if it’s not already there.
There are several dining options at Mount Juliet. Kendal’s Restaurant in Hunter’s Yard, just minutes from the Manor House, is a French Brasserie that has been awarded 1 AA Rosette. The President’s Bar, with views of the golf course, is the more casual option and open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can also enjoy smaller bites at The Tetrach Bar. For a special experience and an evening of fine dining, book a table at the Lady Helen Restaurant, one of the two Michelin-starred restaurants in Kilkenny that also has the distinction of being awarded 3 AA Rosettes. The restaurant is named after Lady Helen McCalmont, the former owner of Mount Juliet.
As we mentioned in our article about Chef Gareth Mullins at The Marker Hotel in Dublin, one of the biggest surprises about our Ireland trip was the food. We had anticipated ordering lots of Shepard Pie and Guinness Stew, but the reality was, most of the cuisine, especially at the properties where we stayed, was refined, impressive, fresh, and beautiful.
Head Chef, Ken Harker, is a proponent of supporting the local farmers and artisans, as we found to be true with many of the chefs in Ireland, and they grow some of their own produce and herbs on the property. The fall menu we enjoyed featured local seafood dishes (such as Turbot and scallops), Kerry Hill lamb (a breed of lamb originally from Wales), Challan Duck (a French-bred duck known for its leaner meat), suckling pig, and squab pigeon. Each course was creatively presented and the combination of flavors outstanding.
Sorry to say goodbye after such a short visit, we hope to return someday to this very special destination. If your travel plans include a visit to Ireland, then be sure to take a detour and allow yourself a few days to experience this exceptional property near Kilkenny. No matter how long your stay, I’m sure you will wish you could linger longer.
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Disclosure – We were assisted by Discover Ireland and Mount Juliet Estate for our stay at the property. As always, we were not compensated for writing any articles and the opinions expressed are our own.