LivingTravelCounty Kildare - Saint Brigid and the Horses

County Kildare – Saint Brigid and the Horses

Visiting County Kildare? This glorious part of the Irish province of Leinster has a number of attractions that you won’t want to miss. Plus some interesting sights that are a bit off the beaten path. So why not take your time and spend a day or two in Kildare when visiting Ireland (… you can even spend the ones in Kildare Town alone…)? Here are some ideas to make it worth your while …

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County Kildare in a nutshell

Here are some facts about County Kildare that you might not know:

  • The Irish name for County Kildare is Contae Cill Dara , and the literal translation is ‘Oak Church’.
  • Cars registered here are issued with license plates with the letters KE.
  • The county town is Naas, other major towns in County Kildare include Athy, Celbridge, Clane, Kildare Town, Leixlip, Maynooth, Monasterevin and Newbridge.
  • County Kildare covers 1,694 square kilometers.
  • The population of County Kildare, according to the 2011 census, is 210,312.
  • Nicknames for Kildare are “Short Grass County” (mainly due to horses grazing all the time) and, on a related note, “Thoroughbred County”.
  • Within the GAA, Kildare’s players are known as the “Lilywhites”: the county’s colors (or their absence) spell it out. And yes, the Kildare flag is pure white.

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Visit the well of Saint Brigid

It is one of the lesser known attractions related to Irish Saints, even visitors to Kildare Town or the nearby Irish National Stud rarely think for a second. Which is unfortunate, wellness is a very spiritual place with ancient connections. Despite the modern redevelopment of the site, you can still feel that the area has been ‘special’ for centuries.

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See the historic city of Kildare

Kildare Town is generally still an original Irish market town. Dominated by the cathedral and the round tower, defined by its central square with its market hall (now a tourist information center). Kildare presents itself as a thriving community. With history to boot. Fortunately, new commercial developments have avoided the city center in general.

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All the pretty horses (and the Japanese garden)

If you are interested in horses, either breeding or racing, visit the Irish National Stud. On approximately 1,000 acres, some of the best horses in Ireland are conceived and cared for. Kildare is horse country… But also head to the extensive gardens, created in 1906 by Tassa Eida and her son Minoru, an authentic Japanese garden designed according to philosophical principles that awaits you on the side. Best enjoyed very early or out of season, as many visitors will detract from the spiritual aspects. St. Fiachra’s Garden, on the other side, encompasses four acres of woodland… you’ll find an Irish garden with native plants and beautiful walks.

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St. Patrick’s College in Maynooth

Created by an act of the Irish Parliament in the late 18th century, Saint Patrick’s College was a counterpart to Trinity College in Dublin. While the latter was founded as a “seat of Protestant learning,” the new facility in rural Maynooth was “a place of higher education for those of the Catholic or Popish religion.” His first role was the training of priests; This has changed and today’s university is no longer solely dedicated to the education of Catholic clergy.

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View style icons and buy cutlery

The reason why Newbridge Silverware, after all, a modern factory producing mass-produced metal cutlery, should be on the tourist trail in Ireland might be an enigma at first. But considering the icons of the Museum of Style, some jewelry, and a very good restaurant, one might be tempted. And the cutlery itself isn’t that bad either … and it can make a long-lasting keepsake. Also on display are memorabilia from Audrey Hepburn to Grace Kelly, including some fine threads that you will remember. If you’ve seen all the classics (and some not-so-classic endeavors). Oh, and the restaurant is pretty good too.

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Horse racing on the Curragh

Some of the most exciting horse racing events in Ireland take place at the Curragh, just outside Kildare Town. Wow, enjoy the geegees… the Derby Festival in summer is one of the top sporting and social events on the Irish calendar, with glamor, family fun and also a bit of racing by some of the best horses in Europe. After all, they are looking for the biggest prize in Irish racing!

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Splendor and wonder in Celbridge and Leixlip

Castletown House, just outside the town of Celbridge, was built in 1722 for Irish politician William Connolly and may be the largest Palladian house in Ireland. Dedicated by the Florentine architect Allessandro Galilei and the Irishman Edward Pearce (who also built the Irish Parliament), it has been restored thanks to the efforts of the Irish Society of Georgia. From here, drive to Leixlip and look left as you cross the highway near the sprawling HP factory… the unique building with the exterior staircase is the ‘Wonderful Barn’, a rare architectural oddity.

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Outlet Shopping and Kildare Village

it is Ireland’s version of the ‘sale’ mall: a cluster of brand name stores designed to convey a ‘village feel’. Which is as clinical as Disney’s Main Street USA, despite attempts to recreate stables.

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Traditional Music in County Kildare

  • Athy – “Clancy’s” – Thursday
  • Kilcock – “Pub Aidan Byrne” – Thursday
  • Kildare – “Goaban Saor” – Wednesday

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Learn more about County Kildare and the Province of Leinster

  • Articles on County Kildare
  • The province of Leinster
  • Best of leinster

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Moving Forward … Beyond Kildare’s Borders

Did you spend enough time in County Kildare? Then continue on to neighboring counties:

  • County Meath
  • Dublin
  • County Wicklow
  • County Carlow
  • County Laois
  • County Offaly

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