Irelands Ancient East
Ireland’s Ancient East offers a personal experience of 5,000 years of Europe’s history.
Your journey of discovery in this relaxing, off the beaten track, lush beautiful landscape, that attracted warring settlers for millennia, will be made illuminating by stories from the best storytellers in the world.
History of The K Club
The origins of Staffan House go back to the year 550 A.D. After the Anglo – Norman invasion of Ireland, Straffan was granted by Strongbow to Maurice Fitzgerald, whose eldest son passed it to his younger brother Gerald, an ancestor of the Duke of Leinster. Richard the Lionheart’s brother, who later became King John of England and signed the Magna Carta in 1215, subsequently confirmed this grant.
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. The Lands were disposed of the Gayden family in the early 17th Century and in Cromwellion times, were forfeited again and granted to Thomas Bewley. The Gaydon family, declared innocent of the charges by which the property was seized from them, were eventually granted back the 700 acres which they later sold to Richard Talbot in 1679 for the sum of £700.
In 1831 Hugh Barton, grandson of Thomas Barton, purchased the property, from Buttervant in Co. Cork, who had extensive vineyards in France. Hugh Barton, forced out of France during the infamous Reign of Terror, ploughed his fortune into Straffan House and other lands in Ireland. Barton started building a new grand house for his family in 1832, which forms the basis of the present day hotel. While under construction, the Barton’s lived at nearby Barberstown Castle.
The design of the new house, which is now the east wing of the hotel, was based on that of a great chateau at Louveciennes, to the west of France. For Hugh Barton and his wife Ann, Straffan became a haven of peace and contentment after the turmoil’s of France. Long after the house was built, Hugh Barton added a final touch, the Italian style companile tower, still there today. Hugh Barton died on May 25th 1854 aged eighty nine and is buried in the nearby church of Ireland graveyard in Straffan, where his wife is buried. The house remained in the Barton family until 1949 since which time has had five owners including Steven O Flaherty, Kevin Mc Clory, an Iranian General, Patrick Gallagher and the Ferguson family. The Jefferson Smurfit Group then purchased it in 1988
In 1991 The K Club Opens as Ireland’s first AA five Red Star hotels with 36 bedrooms and one Arnold Palmer designed golf course also this year The K Club held its First European Open which continued until 2007. In 2003 The Palmer Smurfit Course designed by Arnold Palmer was created.