Updated On: November 08, 2023 by Ciaran Connolly
There are so many places to get introduced to in Ireland. The great part is that all of them are going to leave you fascinated and inspired. Ireland is a relatively large country with so many cities to explore and a lot more attractions. Consequently, you may actually get lost in how big it is. But one thing that all agrees on is that all the counties are a true splendor. Kildare is one of the fascinating Irish counties. Its Irish name is actually Contae Cill Dara which means the Church of the Oak. In fact, there are numerous names that people refer to this county by. All the names have an interesting tale behind them to narrate. Let’s learn more about the magnificent Irish city.
A Brief Glimpse into County Kildare
Apparently, the whole land of Ireland is full of amazing sceneries to behold. It is a picturesque county that can easily astound you. Kildare, in particular, has a lot of coursing rivers, bog lands, thick forests, hills, and grasslands. There is always something wonderful to behold around that big city. For the record, Kildare is the second largest city in terms of population. That was actually because a handful of European multinational companies moved their headquarters to Kildare. Regarding the size of the land, it is ranked the eighth largest county in all of the twelve Leinster’s ones.
Interesting Facts about Kildare
Not only are the lands fascinating and magnificent, but also the history of the county is mesmerizing. Besides, being home to many pleasing sceneries, Kildare also embraces a nice array of facts that will keep you entertained.
The Hometown of the Famous Irish Family, the Guinness
Arthur Guinness was known for being the founder of the black stuff. He was born in 1725 in Kildare and became wealthy upon the death of his godfather, Arthur Price. In fact, Price happened to be the Archbishop of the Church of Ireland of Cashel. The latter died in 1752 and left Guinness a sufficient amount of money. He was 27 years old back then.
Guinness used that money by establishing a brewery; he was famous for brewing ale at that time. He was also married to Olivia Whitmore and had around twenty children. The place of death was in Dublin; however, he got buried in the family plot of his mother in Kildare.
The Grave of Wolfe Tone Lies There
The ancient parish church and graveyard of Bodenstown, Co. Kildare, just outside the village of Clane, is the burial place of Theobald Wolfe Tone. Wolfe Tone was one of the leaders of the 1798 Rebellion and is generally regarded as the father of Irish Republicanism.
He was buried in Bodenstown upon his death on 19th November 1798, 8 days after attempting suicide by using a penknife to open an artery in his neck to avoid death by hanging for his part in the Rebellion. It is a very interesting site historically, with Wolfe Tone’s grave itself visible and several flagstones including quotes from Padraig Pearse and Wolfe Tone himself.
Top Tourist Attractions in Kildare
Despite being home to amazing sceneries, most people tend to overlook Kildare. Unfortunately, they miss out on all of the magnificent sites out there. However, you can avoid making this mistake. Treat yourself to an unforgettable tour around the county’s exclusive attractions and magical wonders.
Agape happens to be one of the most significant cafes in Ireland. It is a very little cafe; however, it is quite popular. The word agape itself is a Greek one that means unconditional love. Maybe, the reason for picking such a name can be for the high-quality food the café offers. It is a symbol of providing people with unconditional love through the fresh food it serves. Anyway, it is a trendy café that serves best-prepared food with the best quality. There is also a bar for coffee, soups, salads, and hot sandwiches.
Ballindoolin House and Gardens
The Bors was a Dutch family who owned the Ballindoolin house. It was built in 1822 and acts as a historic Irish country house nowadays. One of the significant marks of the house is the presence of the walled garden. The walls have a Victorian style and the whole place is actually quite appealing as a family place. Inside the house, there are several shops of coffee and crafts for the visitor to enjoy.
There is also a museum and around it, there are ancient woods. People enjoy strolls around the trails of the house. There is also a well-known restaurant that people constantly visit. The house is sometimes used as a wedding venue as well. It is quite huge and can serve as a hall to welcome guests of a great number.
Castletown Estate & the Wonderful Barn
In honour of William Conolly, the Castletown came up. He was the Speaker of the Irish House of Commons. Conolly dies in 1729 and his wife stayed in the Castletown right after. She was responsible for the great additions to the place. Many building ventures came up thanks to her, including the Wonderful Barn. She built that barn in the 1740’s right after the famine years were up. Her purpose was to store additional grains for avoiding any blights in the future. Besides, she employed the local folks whom the famine negatively impacted.
Although the Castletown was a private ownership, it now shares a state one as well. Visitors frequently come during summer from May and all the way through August. Gladly, the admission is free, so everyone is capable of visiting the place.
Coolcarrigan House Gardens
On the edge of the popular Bog of Allen, there is a hidden oasis called Coolcarrigan. It is actually one of the coolest places to visit in Kildare. Nature is a great part of this area as the oasis features a vast garden, housing eccentric forms of trees. Also, the best part is the fact that people get to have their weddings around this magnificent area.
There is a small church that a moat surrounds and make way for newlyweds to enjoy an amazing place. Ireland has a lot of gardens all around. However, this one, in particular, is home for the rarest types of shrubs and trees.
Irish National Stud & Gardens
One of the most significant stud farms around Ireland is the Irish National Stud & Gardens. While in Kildare, you should definitely head there and capture the beauty of the place. This should be your ultimate destination if you happen to be a horse lover. Besides the stud, there are also gardens that represent luxury and lavishness.
They are known as the Japanese Gardens and have been around since 1906. Besides, the reason behind their name, the Japanese gardens, is actually a reference to the nationality of their designers. Tassa Eida was a Japanese horticulturist who laid those gardens out along with Minoru, his own son.
However, a wealthy Scotsman was the one to request those garden, named Colonel William Hall Walker. He belonged to one of the Irish famous Brewing families at that time. The gardens are full of rocks, water, lawns, plants, flowers, and trees. The sole purpose of many natural elements is to represent the Life of Man.
Kilcock Art Gallery
Breda Smyth was the one to establish the Kilcock Art Gallery. However, George Campbell, the Irish artist, was the one to open the gallery back in 1978. It exhibits masterpieces of the finest arts of the Irish artists, including paintings, sculpture, and more.
This village was founded in 1992. It is the best destination for shoppers and fashion gurus. The small village houses one of the biggest malls in Ireland. It is home to hundreds of brands from all over the world. Shoppers also love this place as they get to find their favourite brands at fewer prices. The design of the place represents inner streets and there are lots of food trucks for you to buy gourmet meals. Value Retail also happens to be the operator of the Bicester Village Shopping Collection. They design luxurious outlet shopping brands.
Lullymore Heritage & Discovery Park
Wants to spend your time in an unusual place? Well, it is time to head to Discovery Park. It is the perfect place for family outings, but you will always get to have a great fun. They also offer a wide array of activities from which you will definitely find an interesting one. The activities include a playground for adventure, crazy golf, a petting farm, and a small railway. There is also a hut that resembles those of the Iron Age along with a fairy village.
Moone High Cross
Christianity arrived in Ireland since a long time ago. It has been centuries since the land embraced Christians as the majority of the country’s population. Thus, it is quite normal that we come across sites that had been around the early times. Moone High Cross is a Christian monument that dates back to the early eras.
It is one of the most magnificent monuments in Ireland as well. The Moone High Cross is a masterpiece that is as old as the 9th century. You can find it within an abbey ruins that belong to the 13th century. Carved into it are biblical scenes that tell old tales.
Newbridge Silverware Visitor Center & Museum of Style Icons
Are you interested in seeing somewhere that looks glamorous and lavishly designed? Well, Newbridge Silverware it is. This place used to be a company that dates back to the 30’s. The Kildare family owned the place. It has a quite long heritage given the fact that it could survive the Second World War.
Not only that, but it also managed to succeed internationally as an Irish brand. It has an online store as well. The store contains a lot of jewellery and design exhibitions; however, it also has an on-site restaurant for everyone to enjoy. Silver Restaurant it is; it is known for being delightful and charming.
Besides that Silverware, there is also a museum that consists of several iconic items that belonged to celebrities. It all started with Audrey Hepburn’s dress that joined the collection in the 2000’s. After that, the museum was up and already collecting items from public figures. Those include items from Michael Jackson, the Beatles, Marilyn Monroe, Greta Garbo, and more.
St. Brigid’s Cathedral
The Cathedral dates back to the 13th century and it holds the name of one of Ireland’s significant saints. However, the cathedral happens to present more saints than just Brigid. It depicts Patrick and Colmcille as well. Those three saints were actually the most significant Irish saints. Inside the church, there is also the tomb of the Bishop of Kildare, Walter Wellesley. It stays there after it was restored in 1971. Legends have it that the tomb of the deceased bishop disappeared right he was dead. But, it is now back in the church in the early 70’s.
On one side of the cathedral, there is a round tower that is quite high. It belongs to the 10th century and is known to be the second highest tower in Ireland. Besides, there is also a wishing stone that sits very close to the tower. People go there where they touch their shoulders and put their arms through the hole, wishing for whatever they desire. According to their beliefs and history, people have their wishes granted by wishing upon this holy stone.
The Bog of Allen Nature Center
Apparently, it is a national centre that Kildare holds. The Irish Peatland Conservation Council runs the whole centre. Their main goal is to keep a symbolic part of the peatlands for the upcoming generations. This centre is specialized in exhibiting education of peat land as well as research. There are different facilities inside the centre, including a museum, habitats, gardens, exhibitions, and a research library.
The museum is one that revolves around the education of peatland. On the other hand, the exhibitions are ones that display all you need to know about the Bog of Allen. While there are many gardens there, one of them happens to be the largest carnivorous plants garden in Ireland. It offers several activities as frog hunting, nature craft, dipping in ponds, and tours around the garden or the museum.
The Curragh Racecourse
The Curragh Racecourse is one of the most famous race platforms in Kildare. Besides, it happened to not be the only one there. Kildare houses several racecourses, starting from Punchestown and all the way to The Curragh. Despite their abundance, The Curragh, in particular, is the foremost horse racing venue all around the country.
This international horse racing platform witnesses the Irish Derby Festival on an annual basis. It takes place in June if this may pique your interest. You can spend a full day at that place and enjoy the splendid activities. Definitely, there are bars and restaurants that serve the best food and drink to ensure an ultimate entertainment. You can take your kids along as well; there is a place specified for them to play around all day.
The Steam Museum
Kildare houses a lot of museums, including the Steam Museum. This destination is by far the perfect one for families. There is a lot to witness at that museum, including a fine collection of models of steam locomotives. Over and beyond, the museum houses steam engines of the finest kinds. There are used for industrial propulsion. Those ones include an enormous beam engine that operated the whiskey distillery in Cork. It also includes the engine in Jameson distillery in Dublin and another one in the brewery of Smithwick in Kilkenny.
Aside from the engines industry, there is a shop at the entrance. This shop definitely sells steam items; however, it also has items that serve gardens. You can also find the Steaming Kettle Teahouse; a café that provides hot beverages and light meals for the visitors.
The Wet Paint Gallery
This gallery sits in Emily Square in Athy. Art lovers will definitely fall in love with this place. Besides, It launches parties every Friday. The gallery is open to artists of all forms and styles. They can exhibit their work there and have the chance of getting exposure. The place promotes the works of the local artists and pleases those who have a thing for art. Head there and watch amazing pieces of artwork of various artists. It displays the masterpieces of photographers, painters, sculptors, and more.
Wallaby Woods has been around since 2013. It is the best destination for the lovers of the animal world. The place houses over 35 different specifies of animals, reptiles, and insects. They were formerly exhibited in the Straffen Butterfly Farm but then moved there when the place shut down for good. No matter what age you are, you will definitely have loads of fun and an entertaining experience. This place encourages visitors to approach animals without fear. It helps you establish a great bond with those amazing creatures. Besides, you will get to meet exotic kinds of animals for the first time in your life.
Don’t forget to check out other places and attractions around the north and south of Ireland: County Kerry| Kilkenny| Bundoran- Donegal| Kildare| County Laois| Dublin City| County Monaghan| Ballygally and Ballintoy|