Welcome to The K Club in the heart of Co Kildare, a place where glamorous escapade or luxurious relaxation are yours for the taking, a place where it's always Time to Play.
Since 1831 our 550-acre estate has been synonymous with the good life. Here, the glass is always full and the party’s just getting started. And while a playful sense of mischief is always in the air, you’ll also get a sense of our trailblazing history as you pass through our storied rooms and hallways.
The K Club is for people who love the good things in life and we know, instinctively, how to facilitate the perfect stay. We love nothing more than to see our guests off feeling refreshed, inspired and craving more, having experienced the warmth of Irish hospitality done just right. Nowhere else does this quite like The K Club.
After the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland, Straffan (meaning house, or church) is granted by Strongbow to Maurice Fitzgerald, whose eldest son passes it to his younger brother Gerald, an ancestor of the Duke of Leinster.
Prominent titled families help ownership of the property and by the 16th Century it was in the hands of the de Penkiston family. They paid dearly, however, for their part in a rebellion and forfeited the lands.
Thomas Barton, originally from Buttevant in Co Cork (known as ‘French Tom’ because he settled in Bordeaux in France) founds the famous wine firm Barton & Guestier. He and his wife have one child, William, whose fourth son, Hugh, inherits the wine business from his grandfather.
Hugh Barton is forced out of France when the infamous Reign of Terror occurs during the French Revolution. He moves back to Ireland and invests some of his fortune into Straffan estate.
Work commences on Straffan House, which remains today and forms the East Wing of the hotel today. Great trouble was taken with the design of the new house and it was based on a magnificent château at Louveciennes to the west of Paris.
Hugh Barton dies on May 25, aged 89, and is interred in the Church of Ireland graveyard in Straffan, where he lies beside his wife, Anne. After his death Straffan House passed down to his son Nathaniel Barton and then to his grandson Bertram Francis Barton and subsequently on to Bertram Hugh Barton.
The estate stayed in the Barton family for multiple generations until it was eventually sold by the last Barton heir, Derick, to dapper motorcycle manufacturer and veteran car enthusiast, John Ellis, whom, at one time, kept Ireland’s largest privately-owned collection of classic and vintage cars and motorcycles on the estate.
Straffan comes under the stewardship of the suave, Dublin-born Kevin McClory, a gallant adventurer who had made his wealth as a film producer in London of the 1950s and 1960s, most notably on James Bond film, Thunderball. Mr McClory once led an expedition of 25 men in an attempt to drive around the world. They accomplished it in 104 days while filming it as a documentary.
Summer sees Circasia, a “celebrity circus” imagined into being on the estate by Kevin McClory. Circasia is a charity extravaganza and performance featuring a multitude of stars including Sean Connery, Shirley MacLaine, and Eric Clapton, who described it as “an unforgettable event”.
The estate blazes a trail once again when it is purchased by the Jefferson Smurfit Group, controlled by Sir Michael Smurfit who invested in the grounds and renamed the resort The Kildare Hotel & Golf Club, better known today as The K Club.
Smurfit also established two Arnold Palmer designed golf courses on the estate bringing Straffan to global attention by hosting some of the world's most prestigious golf tournaments and competitions, including the highly memorable 2006 Ryder Cup.
Prince Albert of Monaco turns the sod on March 1 on a new 70-bedroom hotel wing to the west side of the hotel. The new wing is completed ahead of schedule in July. The first guests stay in the new bedrooms. Over €20 million is spent on further renovation and works.
The K Club is the venue for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by Rory McIlroy. McIlroy wins the tournament and shoots his European Tour Shot of the Year on the 18th hole in the final round of the competition.
Gregarious entrepreneur Michael Fetherston purchases The K Club resort and begins a multi-year investment programme to transform the property and enhance the estate's trailblazing reputation. Meanwhile golfers welcome the new K Golf World, offering state-of-the-art golf simulators.
The K Club launches the lively and buzzy South Bar & Restaurant at the South Clubhouse. Newly-imagined, from the ground up, South reflects the latest incarnation of the estate’s longstanding spirit, a place where there’s always a tingle of excitement in the air, where it’s always Time to Play.