Famed internationally for being Ireland’s horse country, Kildare is much more than just a centre for all things equine.
The county may be home to the National Stud, Punchestown Racecourse and The Curragh, but this beautifully rural spot also has excellent angling and golfing facilities as well as a wonderful selection of opulent country house hotels. Predominantly rural, Kildare is a beautifully quiet and understated county, with tranquil expanses of green, rich peatlands, misty forests and pretty waterways. And dotted amongst this soft rural idyll are truly beautiful sights, such as the Japanese Gardens at the National Stud, Larchill Arcadian Gardens and the majestic Russborough House.
Mythical Fionn Mac Cumhaill and his warriors are reported to have practiced hurling
How many Irish counties can boast three top class horseracing courses? Kildare has
the newly upgraded Naas facility, Punchestown, whose flagship meeting, the Punchestown
Festival, brings punters four days of top quality National Hunt racing at the end
of April every year, and The Curragh, home of the Irish Classics including the high
society institution, the Irish Derby, every summer. A number of equestrian centres
provide livery, lessons or ride-
Kildare has many more great ideas for family days out, such as the Millennium Maze, Lullymore Heritage & Discovery Park and the Butterfly Farm and Steam Museum at Straffan. So, if you want to play golf, walk, canoe, fish, enjoy a day at the races, or at an international rally circuit, entertain and educate your family at a visitor attraction, indulge yourself in a gourmet meal, dance the night away, pamper yourself in a spa, catch a gig or touring play, don't go another mile. You are in the right place!
Naas lives up to its reputation as Kildare's premier town with style. Thriving with
a vigorous commercial life which is obvious to the visitor in the wide range of quality
shops, the town exudes a dignified prosperity. It has the county's best selection
of eating places with new restaurants catering for a cosmopolitan clientele with
Chinese and Thai eating houses now part of the diner's itinerary. Kildare is deservedly
known as a sporting county and Naas is at the heart of its sporting life. It is located
within "Bloodstock Triangle" formed by the racecourses of Naas itself, nearby Punchestown
and the Curragh. Naas people carry a quiet pride in their town's status as county
town. Tradition, local government organisation, and that indefinable quality called
'class' have combined to make Naas the standard bearer of the county's image. It
is interesting for its numerous remains of ancient edifices, monasteries, abbeys,
cathedral, castle and round tower. The square tower is the only portion remaining
of the old castle of the Fitzgeralds and it is stated that within its walls is a
room in which Lord Edward Fitzgerald took refuge during the rebellion of 1798. Naas,
the gateway to County Kildare, is an ideal base for exploring the county's bogs,
fens and hills. Every point in the county is accessible within an hour's drive from
Naas while the peaceful peatlands of Allen to the west or the breezy hills along
Newbridgein the parish of Great Connell, Barony of Connell, is, in historical terms, of recent origin and appears to have arisen since the purchase of lands in 1812 and the erection of extension of barracks for cavalry in 1816 on the property of Thomas Eyre Powell Esq. It is situated on the River Liffey and derived its name from the old stone bridge which forded the river. The town consisted of only one street until 1858 when the then town Landlord Eyre Powell, laid out Eyre Street and the cross streets joining the Main Street to Eyre Street. Though the town of Newbridge possesses very little history the same cannot be said of the district immediately surrounding the town north and south of Newbridge, when two important roads in the early years of the Christian Era were used, and the area abounds with ancient Celtic mounds, Norman moats and Christian Church sites. On the outskirts of the town across the ford of Athgarvan passes one of the five great roads that led from Tara to the seats of the Kings of the other Provinces. Along this great road went St. Patrick on his journey to Christianize the Irish and along it also went great Kings and warriors on their way to battle. Tradition states that St. Patrick built a Church in Barrettstown a few miles from Newbridge. The ruins of this Church are still to be seen and also a Well dedicated to the saint. It is said that Brian Boru, on his way from Kincora to Dublin to meet and defeat the Danes at Clontarf came along this route by the Curragh and across the Athgarvan ford; and later Cromwell on his way to the cities of Kilkenny, Clonmel and Limerick, must have gone along this ancient way. Newbridge, which once was a mere village, consisting of a few scattered houses on the banks of the Liffey is today a thriving prosperous town. A welcome respite from the capital's hustle and noise, County Kildare is, however, bursting with activity.