Roses Welcomed to Kildare

Thirty-three Rose of Tralee contestants made a whistle stop tour of North Kildare. The visit featured cultural, historical, culinary, and sporting activities and was arranged by Into Kildare, the tourism body for County Kildare.

The Roses began their day with a visit to the village of Ardclough where they were welcomed by the Ardclough Village Centre Chairman, John Whelan.  Actor Martin Wickham who was dressed as Arthur Guinness invited the Roses to enjoy Guinness cake while they listened to Irish music. Also, in Ardclough, the Roses helped decorate a St. Brigid’s cloak where each Rose pinned the flag for their city or county on the garment.

Next, the Roses hopped on bicycles and cycled to Cliff at Lyons, where they made their way down the scenic Grand Canal cycle path which runs alongside the canal. A local canoe club, the Celbridge paddlers met the Roses at Henry’s Bridge and paddled down the canal alongside the cycling Roses. Meanwhile dozens of local people came out to welcome the ladies and lined the pathway at Boston Hill.

Cliff at Lyons was the location for a talk on plants, healthy eating and offered the ladies the chance to visit the Kombucha polytunnels and hear about the importance of food provenance. A "Farm to Fork" picnic with food prepared by the chefs at Cliff at Lyons provided the perfect post cycle lunch time refreshments for the Roses.

North Kildare is well known for its connections with the creator of "the black stuff" and a visit and tour of Leixlip Castle, the former home of the descendants of Arthur Guinness was next. Here the Roses enjoyed a very interesting talk and tour of the castle where they learnt  about the 500 year history of Irish swords and  learnt what it might have been like to live in the historic castle.

The castle itself was built soon after 1172 by Adam de Hereford, a follower of Strongbow, the Norman invader of Ireland. It has passed through many hands and has been in the ownership of Mr. Desmond Guinness and his family since 1958.

The Castletown Inn in Celbridge was the next stop off where the Roses were challenged to pour the perfect pint of Guinness, but there wasn’t time to sample the pints as it was straight off to Carton House in Maynooth for cooking, off road driving… and axe throwing.

The home of the Ryder Cup in Ireland and one of the country’s finest golf resorts, The K Club was their next location. Here,  K Club Pro Gary Murphy and Director of Golf Conor Russell hosted a golf clinic on the driving range and on the 18th hole of the world famous golf resort.

At the end of a busy day, the Roses returned to Barberstown Castle where they enjoyed a black-tie gala dinner in the stunning castle hotel.

Into Kildare CEO Aine Mangan said: “It was great to have the Roses with us here in North Kildare today. Their visit and the international media attention that goes with the International Rose of Tralee Festival is extremely important for tourism to Kildare. North Kildare has much to offer visitors from historical castles and houses to sustainable food and luxurious accommodation. There is a lot to see and do here, and we are very grateful to the organisers of the Rose of Tralee Festival for including Kildare in the Rose’s schedule."

The International Rose of Tralee festival takes place this year in Tralee, Co. Kerry, from the 19th to the 23rd of August 2022. For more information see www.roseoftralee.ie.

To find out more about great places to visit and things to do in Kildare, see www.intokildare.ie.