I’m back in Ireland at the moment. My fifth visit this year, with another three trips provisionally booked before the end of the year it’s become my second home! Sunday was a fine day and with a calm sea it was an uneventful journey on the ferry. This time I’m not staying in my usual hotel, the Osprey in Naas, as it (along with most of the other hotels in the area) are fully booked due to the Irish National Ploughing Association championships which is taking place a few miles away. So I’m staying at the Killashee House hotel, a few miles east of Naas.
The hotel has an interesting history. The original building is an old manor house, built in the 1860’s The Moore family, descendants of the earls of Drogheda, who commissioned the architect Thomas Turner to design a country house for them in 1861. It’s an interesting, if not particularly attractive, building, best described as neo-Jacobean, although, to me, it has a number of Gothic features such as the ogee arches above the upper floor windows and main door. With it’s solid granite construction I also thought that there were some similarities with the “Scottish Baronial” style. There’s a large extension, probably early 20th Century, to the east of the old house, which today houses the reception and restaurants. Guest accommodation is in two large wings built relatively recently.
In 1927 the house and land to the La Sainte Union Nuns, a French order, but who had a number of convents in England and one in Athlone, Ireland. So it became a convent. The Nuns started a preparatory school for boys which was opened to day pupils and boarders, both boys and girls. The school was still open in the 1980’s and one of the staff at the company where I’m working used to be a pupil there. However, the school eventually closed and the nuns moved out, the building being sold in 1998 and converted into a hotel.
It’s quite plush. There are a lot of rooms. It’s main business seems to be corporate events, although there are other people staying here – like me – who are on business and there seems to be quite a few tourists too. I don’t have one of the “Superior” rooms, but it’s still very large (with two double beds – even though I’m on my own) and nicely decorated and fitted out. I’m lucky in having one of the rooms overlooking the very pleasant formal garden at the back of the house.
View from my bedroom window
Although the Moores’ estate has been broken up, the hotel still has substantial grounds. There’s a pleasant “Butterfly Garden” tot he side of the house
There’s a wooded area at the bottom of the garden which I explored at the beginning of the week when the weather was very pleasant, while I got a bit of fresh air and stretched my legs after I’d got back from work and before I went to eat. Wandering through the woods I came across a small cemetery where nuns who had lived in the convent were buried.