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County Kildare

As would be expected of an area which includes the famed racecourses of The Curragh, Punchestown and Naas among its many amenities, Kildare is the horse county par excellence. The horse is so central and natural a part of Irish life that you'll find significant stud farms in a surprisingly large number of counties. But it is in Kildare that they reach their greatest concentration in the ultimate equine county. Thus it's ironic that, a mere 400 million years ago, Kildare was just a salty ocean where the only creatures remotely equine were the extremely primitive ancestors of sea horses.

But things have been looking up for the horse in County Kildare ever since, and today the lush pastures of the gently sloping Liffey and Barrow valleys provide ideal country for nurturing and training champions. Apart from many famous private farms, the Irish National Stud in Kildare town just beyond the splendid gallops of The Curragh is open for visitors, and it also includes a remarkable Japanese garden, reckoned the best Japanese rock garden in Europe, as well as the Museum of the Horse.

Another cornerstone of Kildare life is golf – the 2006 Ryder Cup between Europe and the US was staged in the county at the K Club, with the home team winning this “most passionate golf experience”.

The gradual development of Ireland’s motorway network has been particularly beneficial to Kildare, as it has lightened the traffic load through the county’s towns. In fact, getting off the main roads is what enjoyment of life in Kildare is all about. The county's proximity to Dublin means that in the most recent population survey, Kildare was second only to neighbouring Meath in its increase, the numbers growing by 21.5% to 164,000. Yet it is surprisingly easy to get away from the traffic, and you'll quickly find areas of rural enchantment and unexpected swathes of relatively untamed nature. 

In the northwest of the county is the awe-inspiring Bog of Allen, the largest in Ireland, across whose wide open spaces the early engineers struggled to progress the Grand Canal on its route from the east coast towards the Shannon. Such needs of national transport are intertwined through the county's history. But between the arterial routes, railroads and canals, there is an easier pace of life, and gentle country with it.

A southern leg of the Grand Canal curves away to become the Barrow Navigation, winding it way to Waterford. Beyond Athy, it goes near Kilkea, birthplace of Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton, whose growing fame is increasingly celebrated in his native county where his ancestors were involved in building the meeting -house which is now the Quaker Museum in Ballitore.

Local Attractions and Information

Athy Heritage Centre +353 (0)59 863 3075

Ballitore Quaker Museum & Library +353 (0)59 862 3344

Carbury Ballindoolin House & Garden +353 (0)46 953 1430

Celbridge Castletown House +353 (0)1 628 8252

Curragh The Curragh Racecourse +353 (0)45 441 205

Edenderry Grange Castle & Gardens +353 (0)46 973 3316

Kilcock Larchill Arcadian Gardens (follies)+353 (0)1 628 7354

Kildare (Tully) Irish National Stud +353 (0)45 521 617

Kildare (Tully) Japanese Gardens +353 (0)45 521 251

Kildare Tourism Information +353 (0)45 522 696

Kill Goff's Bloodstock Sales (frequent) +353 (0)45 886 600

Naas Kildare Failte +353 (0)45 898 888

Naas Naas Racecourse +353 (0)45 897 391

Newbridge Riverbank Arts Centre +353 (0)45 433 480

Punchestown Punchestown Racecourse +353 (0)45 897 704

Straffan Lodge Park Walled Garden +353 (0)1 628 8412

Straffan Steam Museum +353 (0)1 627 3155

Timolin-Moone Irish Pewtermill   +353 (0)59 862 4164


Lodge Park Walled Gardens - Straffan County Kildare Ireland
Lodge Park Walled Gardens
Straffan, Co. Kildare
The spicy scent of clipped box, bees drowsy with heat, fruit ripening against sun warmed brick and herbaceous plants pampered into magnificence: Lodge Park has all the magic to be expected of a walled garden and more. Originally dating back t ...


Carton House Golf Club
Maynooth, Co. Kildare
Course Type: Parkland / Inland Links
Carton House is located in an area that is rich in the quality of golf that is offered, yet it still provides a challenge that is worthy of any of its illustrious neighbours. It offers a golfing resort containing two testing championship courses, ...

Self Catering

Castletown Gatelodges
Celbridge, Co. Kildare
Situated at the bottom of the tree lined avenue to Castletown House, Ireland’s finest Palladian Country House.  Both properties are prominently placed at the top of the main street in Celbridge, Co Kildare opposite the quaint Church of ...

What's On

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Tourist Attractions

Castletown House - Celbridge County Kildare Ireland
Castletown House
Celbridge, Co. Kildare
Castletown is Ireland's largest and earliest Palladian style house. Built between 1722 and 1729 for William Conolly, Speaker of the Irish House of Commons and the wealthiest commoner in Ireland. The façade was almost certainly design ...

Wedding Venues

Barberstown Castle - County Kildare Wedding Venue
Barberstown Castle
Straffan, Co. Kildare
Barberstown Castle has been occupied continuously for over 400 years and, despite its many additions - including a new accommodation wing - it has retained a sense of history. There are Church of Ireland and Catholic churches close by in Straffan ...

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