For Pete and I, the 12th July is always a date of love, laughter; a time to look back on happy memories and a time to celebrate. This year we spent our anniversary in style with a night at Muckross Park Hotel, Killarney. With 5* excellence, quality service, excellent food and a stunning room, it was the perfect stay for our special occasion.
The hotel is ideally situated in the heart of the stunning Killarney National Park, with rolling, lush green hills, lakes and scenic mountain views. The National Parl is a lovely location for a rural Irish escape. The original hotel site at the Muckross Park had its first dwelling built in 1795, a hunting lodge, which went on to become the first hotel in the Killarney and Muckross Area in the early 19th century, consisting of a public house and 4-6 bedrooms.
The hotel was passed down through several owners and had notable distinguished guests to stay along the way, including George Bernard Shaw. Between the early 1990s and 2006, the property underwent rennovation seeing the completion of the 68 luxury bedrooms and suites, conference facilities and spa we see today.
Arrival at the hotel is like pulling up to a castle. The hotel stands tall and grand with a magnificent entrance and turret-like feature drawing your gaze. The large, open reception area leads the way to check-in, where we were pleasantly greeted by two lovely members of staff before being escorted up to our room.
During our stay at the Muckross Park Hotel we were situated in ‘The Belfry Suite’; a large, grand, open-plan room with 4-poster bed in the bedroom area which extended into a comfortable lounge with plenty of seating, floods of light and 180 degree views from the windows. Our room also happened to be situated within the turret-like section of the hotel leaving us to feel like a princess and prince in our castle.
With a lovely welcome of wine, chocolates, treats and a goody bag of spa lotions, lavender soap and toiletries, we instantly felt pampered. We unpacked a little and took some time to read up about the interesting history of the hotel before slipping into our plush white bath robes and slippers and heading to the spa.
The spa at the Muckross Park is one of the most beautiful I have seen. The main spa area is home to a vitality pool, with warm, balmy waters and jets to massage away aches and pains as you sit back and relax. There are also indoor and outdoor jacuzzi’s, one of which overlooks the Blue Pool River. A herbal sauna and steam room can also be found in the spa, alongside an ice fountain and tropical shower, enhanced by seasonal fragrances, to cool yourself down before you put your feet up and lie down on the warm thermal loungers.
After a relaxing visit to the spa we had our anniversary dinner at the award winning The Yew Tree Restaurant, situated inside the original Victorian lounge of the hotel. Sourcing fine, fresh, local ingredients from across Kerry the menu offered a wealth of choices. The staff were very informative and were able to advise on wine choices to compliment our food, which were spot on. We enjoyed delicious courses from the ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ menu, inspired by the famous Irish coastal route.
Starter – Kerry Hill Lamb Fillet Salad: Local Wild Garlic Oil , Broad Bean, Barley, Baby Carrot, Pea & Anchovy Emulsion
Main – Duck Breast: Roast basted Breast, Sneem Black Pudding Terrine, confit Turnip Blueberry Gastric and Duck Sauce
Dessert – Citrus: Citrus Cake, Lemon and Yuzu, Raspberry Sorbet
Starter – Atlantic Coast Seafood Selection: Ted Browne Crab, marinated Hake, Roast Scallop, Watercress Puree, Caviar and fine Herb Salad
Main – Kerry Beef Fillet: 8oz fillet, Ox Cheek, Baby Vegetables, wilted Spinach, Barley & Madeira Jus
Dessert – Single plantation Chocolate tart: Hazelnut Mousse, Coffee Ice-cream, Croquant
The Yew Tree perfectly executed an evening of fine dining with an excellent selection of food and drinks. Each course was full of flavour and beautifully presented. Hats-off to the executive chef John O’Leary and his team of chefs who created the wonderful menu, we thoroughly enjoyed it.
After dinner we took a stroll in the garden to the outdoor gazebo, positioned overlooking the Blue Pool River – apparently a popular spot for proposals, but also just for sitting out in the evening sun with a glass of wine. Enjoying the sound of the trickling river in the peace and quiet of the national park was the perfect round-off to our evening at The Muckross.
Waking after a restful night’s sleep in our lovely suite, we made our way down to breakfast, which exhibited an impressive spread. With a lovely selection of pastries presented before us on a cake stand, we went on to select fruits, cereals and cooked breakfast items from the vast buffet. Highlights included; fresh honey that you could carve from the honeycomb to go with pastries of pancakes; a mix-your-own granola station – with a range of healthy toppings; and of course Irish cooked breakfast favourites: sausage, bacon, black and white pudding, eggs, tomatoes, potatoes… the works!
We thoroughly enjoyed our anniversary stay at The Muckross Park Hotel and would love to return if we are ever back in the Killarney region. Enjoying fine food, superb service and a high-quality hotel experience, we left the hotel to explore the national park.
I’m sure this 5* hotel experience is one we will never forget.
Our stay at the hotel alongside our meal at The Yew Tree restaurant were generously gifted to us by the Muckross Park Hotel. As ever, all opinions remain my own. Photos from the spa were kindly provided by the Muckross Park.