So last weekend I got to spend some time in The K Club with my Valentine! This blog is about St. Valentine and gives a flavour of what it’s like in our favourite Kildare hotel! Enjoy!
Saint Valentine’s Day is celebrated all over the world as the day of love, but did you know that the relics of Saint Valentine, one of the world’s most revered Saints, reside in the Whitefriar Street Church, a beautiful church located in the heart of Dublin City?
People come from all over Ireland and the world to visit Saint Valentine and pray in the hope that he will grant them love and happiness. Saint Valentine was born in Terni, Italy and famously preached and ministered to the Christians of Rome at a time when Christians were brutally persecuted within the Roman Empire. He performed baptisms as well as marriage ceremonies within the city walls of Rome, a practice that would ultimately cost him his life.
Legend says that he tried to convert the lifelong Pagan Emperor Claudius II to the faith of Christianity. Claudius was outraged and condemned Valentine to a brutal death. On February 14th 260AD Saint Valentine was brought to the Flaminian Gate in Rome, now Piazza del Puopolo, where he was beaten and beheaded.
According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl—presumably his jailer's daughter—who was blind and visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is said that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” and she miraculously gained sight so that she could read the note herself. It is from this that the tradition of giving cards on Valentine’s Day emerged.
Although the truth behind this Valentine legend is not really verified, the stories all emphasise his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and—most importantly—romantic figure. St Valentine is the patron Saint of love, a happy marriage, beekeepers, plague, and epilepsy and is also associated with curing blindness.
You can visit the resting place of Saint Valentine just a short walk from the bustling Temple Bar area of Dublin. The Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel & Shrine of Saint Valentine, simply known by locals as Whitefriar Street Church, is located on 56 Aungier Street, Dublin. On February the 14th, Saint Valentine’s Day, usually there is a beautiful ceremony that blesses the rings of couples who are about to be married.
The relics of St Valentine have been in a shrine in the Whitefriar Street Church since 1836, when Father John Spratt was gifted them by Pope Gregory XVI. Since Nov 10, 1836, people have been visiting the shrine of St Valentine in Whitefriar St Church, where you’ll find a simple, softcover notebook for people to write messages to St Valentine.
The K Club
So, one of our favourite places to celebrate St. Valentine (and a bit of romance!) is at The K Club in Straffan. We hadn’t been back since before COVID in 2020 so it was extra special to get back there this year. Straffan is a village in County Kildare, Ireland, situated on the banks of the River Liffey, 25 km upstream of Dublin so is a very short half hour jaunt for us to get there.
It is home to the Kildare Country Club, commonly known as the K Club, and its two championship golf courses, which have staged major international events such as the European Open (hosted annually there between 1995-2007), and the Ryder Cup tournament between Europe and the USA in 2006. However, we don’t play golf but love going there for the serenity, beautiful surroundings inside and out, the great food and service and the friendly, helpful staff.
Above: The sittingroom & bedroom in our Barton suite
Above: Two full bathrooms each with a rubber duckie!
Our first impressions were that the place was looking spiffy since we were last down. The new owner has initiated a program of investment and it can be seen everywhere from the gardens to the bedrooms. We were met and greeted by two young valets who helped us with our bags. Check-in was friendly and helpful and we were shown our room….a complimentary upgrade to the Barton Suite. We admired the lovely decoration and furnishings and the gorgeous view of the River Liffey.
The Barton Suite was really lovely. It was spacious and tastefully decorated and had everything you could want in a hotel room including some lovely touches such a Nespresso coffee machine. We had a choice of two full bathrooms complete with rubber duckies! 😂 Here's a video that Charlie made and I edited:
As we were lucky with the weather we decided to go for a walk in the picturesque grounds. Everywhere we looked there was beautiful scenery and my camera photos don’t do it justice. The outside of the property is just as impressive as the inside!
After our refreshing walk we came back for a drink to the newly refurbished Henry Lounge in the hotel where I had a tasty G & T. The Henry Lounge is cozy and the chairs are comfy. Think racing green walls, colonial style chandeliers, equine artworks and mahogany furniture. We were peering through the large French windows look out onto the lawns and wooded areas waiting to see the jackdaws roosting like in previous years but there didn’t seem to be as many around this time.
Back in the suite we ordered room service and were served a tasty meal within 25 minutes. We gobbled it down and enjoyed every last bite.
Afterwards we went to the Blue Martini Cocktail Bar where I had a Bellini. Blue Martini is chic and glamorous. It is Art Nouveau in its décor and the atmosphere is laidback. On the drinks menu there is a large collection of whiskeys and gins, as well as a selection of fine champagnes and wines, and of course my favourite cocktails.
After a great night’s sleep we ventured to the Barton Restaurant for breakfast. We were seated promptly and our order taken for tea and toast while we could help ourselves to juice, fruit and cereals from the buffet. I then ordered Eggs Benedict which was delicious.
We left for Dublin a couple of hours later totally relaxed. I’m looking forward to returning again. The K Club does Irish hospitality well. Especially at Valentine’s!
Bucket List Items Ticked Off in the above Blog 98
Number 59 - Travel - Hotels
Other Blog Posts
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Blog 19 - California, USA
Blog 27 - Scotland
Blog 28 - Barbados
Blog 29 - Canada
Blog 30 - Alaska
Blog 31 - Everglades, Florida
Have you ever been to Co. Kildare? Tell me about your experience in the comments section below.
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My name is Mary and this is my bucket list blog ...having survived a near-death experience. I hope it encourages you to "live your best life". See how I'm completing my own bucket list items. And let me know how you're getting on with yours!