YOU are galloping through a magnificent conifer forest, wind in your face; your horse slows to a canter when you come to a clearing and you find yourself alongside one of the finest salmon rivers in Ireland where an angler is tussling with the king of fresh water fish. You turn in your bed, or so you think, and go back into a deep sleep and suddenly you are playing one of the most terrifying yet exciting finishing holes in golf - once described by Tiger Woods as perfect. The reverie meanders on and you are being seated at a dining table in an 18th century mansion overlooking the River Nore about to eat what has been equitably described as the best cuisine in the South East. Suddenly you realise, you are not dreaming, you are in Mount Juliet. Yes MJ is a state of mind and that is why so many people who go there keep returning.
Entering Mount Juliet, through the main gates is a little like entering a fairy tale for adults. Set in 1,500 acres of woodland, steeped in history, it has everything your heart desires, a spa that would relax even under fire, Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi; world class sports facilities that have met and exceeded the expectations of some of the world’s top athletes and of course, there is the mouth-watering cuisine,
Mount Juliet, even the name stirs memories of times past when life was enjoyed at an easier pace; is a retreat from the world, a place to unwind and be pampered by a staff who enjoy their jobs and who ensure your stay is exceptional and memorable.
The team at Mount Juliet under general manager, William Kirby have developed a world class retreat to even more exacting standards than ever before, where your every whim is attended to attentively. Horses have always been centre stage at Mount Juliet and it was Major McCalmont who owned and bred horses, such as the Tetrarch, which won many flat races and is buried on the estate. That legacy continues today with horse riding provided for novices and the more experienced in the tranquil setting of the estate
At the centre of this Shangri-La is the peace, where you feel a part of the place the moment you enter where the five star service makes being there exceptionally pleasurable and stress free.
And members of the golf club, fishing club and leisure club are no longer just getting access to the facilities of the estate, they are now also entering into a lifestyle. Mount Juliet provides the home owners and members of their club with special events as a thank you for their support. This year members have been treated to a fashion show and will shortly enjoy a summer party.
With an equestrian centre, spa, leisure centre, shooting, archery and salmon fishing, Mount Juliet really is king. Not ones to rest on their laurels, the staff will if required, organise day trips for guests to go surfing in nearby Tramore or go karting in Kiltorcan race way.
And the golf, it is now 20 years since Jack Nicklaus, who designed the course, which set an exacting standard for the imitators that came afterwards, took on Christy O’Connor senior in a singles match to officially open the championship golf course.. And locals can still recall the late and great, Seve Ballesteros going for his evening stroll through the woods when he competed in the first Irish open played at the venue in 1993.
With all that’s on offer its easy to forget the Jack Nicklaus golf course has played host to the prestigious American Express Championship twice in 2002 and 2004 and three Irish Opens. The golf course, which has won the Back Spin top parkland since 2008, will celebrate 20 years in existence with the Lexus Race to Mount Juliet final at the parkland course later this year.
Activities works up an appetite and with two restaurants and all-day food in the president’s bar, guests are spoilt for choice. Kendal’s restaurant at the Hunter’s Yard specialises in classic French brasserie style food and has been awarded a prestigious AA rosette for its fare. For the gourmands the Lady Helen restaurant, which has been awarded two AA rosettes provides a truly stylish dining experience using the best of locally sourced seasonal ingredients in the main house, once the home of the McCalmont family.The elegant dining room is named after Lady Helen McCalmont..
The only way to really understand the unique charm and attractiveness of Mount Juliet is to go there and enjoy it. Whether it’s a woodland walk, horse riding, fishing, archery, golf, even the 18 hole putting course is a test, then you have to go down and visit. Be warned, you may have to shake yourself to make sure you aren’t dreaming, such are the images, smells, tastes and sounds that await you.