I adore Belfast but for the past two years, I've been having a sneaky love affair with County Kildare. It all started with a trip to Kildare Outlet. Kildare Outlet is the perfect place to visit for designer bargains - they have a Mulberry, Kurt Geiger, All Saints, Kate Spade, Calvin Klein... need I go on? I visit regularly to stock up on essentials for each season. I takes about 2 hours 20 mins for me to drive there and I can easily do the trip up and down in a day. I've even done the trip and stopped at Blanchardstown on the way home. As one of Ireland's biggest shopping centres, it's definitely worth a visit.
I feel in love more with Kildare when we decided to stay on a girl's weekend. I attribute the falling in love largely to the Japanese Gardens located at the National Stud. Kildare is horsey country with The Curragh race track located just up the road from Kildare Outlet. The pictures attached in this post are of the Japanese Gardens. I visited during very sunny weather and I can truly say it was one of the most happy, content days of my life. There is something extremely magical about it that I can't explain in words.
Also located close to Kildare is the Newbridge Silver Flagship that is home to the Museum of Style Icons. They have lots of amazing outfits from films ranging from Audrey Hepburn to Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson. It's free to visit and it was a lovely surprise as we just called in to have a nosey around the shop! Also located in Newbridge is Whitewater Shopping Centre - it has really great retailers without being too big or overwhelming. If you are a Zara fan, it's a must visit!
In terms of hotels I have stayed in, I've stayed in both the Killashee House Hotel and the Keadeen Hotel. The Killashee has amazing grounds to walk around and the Keadeen has very comfy beds - take your pick!
Overall, Kildare is well worth a visit for a girl's weekend. It's more chilled than Dublin and I always feel really at home when a visit - definitely one to try this summer!