Kilkea Castle is gearing up to reopen post-COVID-19. The castle resort is a 12th century masterpiece, located one hour south of Dublin in the county of Kildare, Ireland. The castle, which dates back to 1180, holds its historic charm while combining the warmth and friendliness of the Irish people as it welcomes guests from all over the globe.
In addition to being a fortress for unforgettable hospitality, Kilkea (pronounced Kil-Key) has a diverse menu of memorable cuisine that deserves its own storybook. In anticipation of the castle’s reopening, we recently spoke with Executive Head Chef David McKane about all things Irish cuisine. Chef McKane gives you an insight into the diversity and homage to local ingredients that Kilkea Castle proudly represents. Plus, he reveals four of his favorite Irish dishes found on the menu that we are also craving.
Which dishes come to mind right away?
- Smoked Salmon Tartare with Avocado, Cucumber & Lemon
- Braided Beef Short Rib with Roasted Root Vegetables
- Cannon of Lamb With Pea Croquette & Lamb Jus
- Apple & Vanilla Tart with Crisp Puff Pastry
Where do you source your ingredients?
Here at Kilkea Castle, we are very focused on ingredient sustainability. For instance, we particularly pay close attention to the food miles we use to source ingredients. We source the main ingredients from local artisan Irish suppliers.
- The Smoked Salmon is sourced from Duncannon Smokehouse in County Wexford. Kai and his wife Lee have continued the family smokehouse business originally set up by Kai’s father Frank in 1974.
- The Dexter Beef is sourced from Killenure Castle in Tipperary. It is one of the last suppliers of this Irish “warrior” breed of cattle. Since 2007, Eavaun Carmody and her team offer chefs the chance to work with a truly organic native Irish product. The Dexter beef they produce is tender, highly marbled and regarded for its sweet, slightly nutty taste.
- Black Faced Lamb is sourced from Achill Island on the west coast of Ireland. The Lamb feed on the unique mix of local grasses, herbs, wild flowers and heathers. The Atlantic sea air nourishes this feed. This gives the meat a sweet, slightly salted flavor profile.
- Apple Tart is a staple memory from every Irish childhood. We source apples from local orchards.
Tell us about the ingredients sourced at Kilkea Castle
The food offering for the resort is based upon the key relationships that we have with the local farmers and suppliers. My team of chefs here at Kilkea partner themselves with artisan producers from across the island of Ireland.
Delivered to us on a daily basis are a wide variety of high quality ingredients that showcase the best of the land and sea. These traditional Irish ingredients are used in very simple ways. Examples are beef, salmon, lamb and apples, which highlight the best flavors from each ingredient.
Why do you like these particular ingredients?
I like to create dished that have simple flavour pairings that match the surroundings of our 12th century castle. We marry classical concepts with a modern touch. We are great believers in the farm to fork ethical way of cooking. Lastly, I like to use ingredients that are significant to the Irish culture, and highlight the best of what we have to offer as an island.
Kilkea Castle Opening Updates
The golf club at Kilkea Castle has opened to members. Kilkea’s restaurants, Hermione, Restaurant 1180, and The Bistro, will open on June 29th. The Club House will offer fresco dining. The Carriage Rooms and Lodges will welcome guests beginning on July 20th. The castle rooms will open in due course thereafter.
For those in Ireland, takeaway service is available Friday-Sunday from 5-9pm.