City-escaping to The K Club: What to do that doesn't require clubs

My golf fan friends were incredibly excited when they heard I was off to The K Club. I wouldn't call myself a golfer and hoped I wasn't about the spend the weekend dragging a bag of clubs around the grounds. But I was quickly reassured as we drove up the driveway to the hotel's magnificently grand building, this five-star Kildare venue is so much more than its prestigious Ryder Cup course. In fact, aside from the lavish greens catching my eye from the soaring sash window as I read my morning paper, it barely crossed my mind.

 

Lizzie Gore-Grimes bonding with a falcon.

My first thoughts were that the K Club is nestled into some pretty exceptional, sprawling grounds. Sitting pretty in the dining room, we took the edge off of the 45-minute journey from Dublin with their afternoon tea in the magnificent Chinese Drawing Room. While the roaring fire and comfortable armchairs started calling after the second scone, we grabbed our coats and headed outdoors for a session with Brian McCann from Newgrange Falconry. Clearly passionate about his birds of prey, Brian introduces us to his falcons, golden eagle and owls, watching them soar through the air as he explained the fascinating predatory characteristics that put them at the top of their food chain.

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The K Club is perfect for a walk or cycling with over 550 acres of countryside

After a quick catnap, we took a few of the courtesy bikes and went for a spin around the estate and along the Liffey which runs through it. Suitably rosy-cheeked, the outdoor hydro pool was calling and we got warm as the drizzle arrived.

 

The wine cellar is a wonderfully atmospheric space to explore, full of dusty bottles and hidden treasures.

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Before our dinner in The Byerley Turk restaurant, we had a short introduction to the extensive collection of paintings by Jack B Yeats on the estate, followed by a captivating and engaging wine tour from the sommelier, Lisa O’Doherty. As someone who enjoys a glass but doesn't know too much about it, Lisa was excellent at breaking everything down. Key learnings were to decant your reds as much as eight hours before drinking – this will improve your corner shop €8 bottle as well as more expensive varieties – and wine is all about the experience of good food and those you share it with.

After a delicious dinner, my fluffy kingsize bed was calling me.

 

Pat Murphy from Abbeyfield Farm showed us the secret to hitting target

The following morning, after breakfast in The River Room, we were whisked off in a minibus to our choice of horse riding or clay target shooting at Abbeyfield Farm in the Kildare countryside. It was a beautiful bright, crisp winter morning, but we were quickly warmed by the adrenaline of shooting a rifle and hitting target. I felt like a regular Betty Draper, minus the cigarette dangling from my lip.

The K Club has something to offer for everyone, from the serious golfer to the wine connoisseur, the art lover or if you just want to take time out for yourself and need an escape from city life.

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