On Friday we drove from Cork to Dublin – we stopped at the Kildare Outlet Mall to check out the shops. No purchases were made as I have no room – the rules are – you buy something you have to throw something out : ( It was quite chilly and starting to rain – not boding well for the game of golf we had booked just north of Dublin at 12.30pm.
We arrived at Castle Killeen and low and behold the sun came out to play – we have been so lucky on our visit to Ireland. I had been prepared to break out the thermals and even the long trousers in Ireland but it hasn’t been necessary. We had the odd spit on a couple of courses but we never got wet : ) I truly am the SUNGRL!
Castle Killeen Golf Course is a Jack Nicklaus Signature Design 18 hole Championship golf course. The course hosted the 2011 Solheim Cup which is the equivalent of the Ryder Cup for the ladies. It also hosted the Irish Ladies Open in 2010 and 2011. It is set on a 600 acre estate in County Meath.
Again we were impressed with the natural beauty of the course. It was a true Jack Nicklaus course with lots of fairway bunkers. We both played fairly well and enjoyed the course. We caught up with a Canadian guy, Patrick, who was playing on his own. He had just finished playing the 14th and wandered off in the what he thought was the direction of the 15th. We yelled out to tell him he was going in the wrong direction. He was a nice guy and we joined him for the last four holes. He was over in Ireland for a month starring as an extra in the TV series Vikings – his friend was the producer.
Also set on the 600 acres is Killeen Castle itself – it is quite majestic playing golf with that as the back drop. Killeen Castle is the current construction on a site occupied by a castle since around 1180. The current building is a restoration of a largely 19th century construction, burnt out in 1981. Killeen was built as one of a pair of castles either side of a major roadway north, the other being the extant Dunsany Castle.
In 1978, the castle and estate were sold to advertiser Basil Brindley, who continued the stud farm operation. On 16 May 1981, the castle was burnt out in an arson attack, being left abandoned for many years. The lands and buildings were sold again in 1989, to Christopher Slattery, who initiated the current development plans.
In 1989, a new development plan was proposed, and later revised, with multiple applications for permission, including the conversion of the castle into a high-end hotel, the installation of a championship standard golf course and the construction of more than one hundred units of luxury housing on the estate. With successive modifications and discussions, plans were approved, with conditions to protect parts of the demesne landscape, and estate features, including a holy well. Work began in 2005.
In August 2006 it was announced that Killeen Castle would open in 2009 as a 179 room luxury golf and spa hotel under the Starwood Luxury Collection brand. However in early 2009, Starwood withdrew from the project after plans were scaled down by developers Snowbury following a downturn in the tourism and leisure industry.