County Kildare Information
From the Irish Contae Chill Dara, County Kildare is located in the Mid-East region of Ireland, in Leinster, conveniently only a one hour and a half drive from Dublin, and it is part of the province of Leinster. Its highest points are located on the bordering Wicklow Mountains. Cupidstown Hill and the Hill of Allen are its highest peaks, and there are three important rivers that cross Kildare- the Barrow, the Liffey and the Boyne.
Kildare County has a number of luxury hotels, including Carton House, and the K Club with its world famous golf course and it has an impressive outlet shoppping centre - Kildare village.
Bus Éireann services County Kildare from Dublin, Waterford, Carlow and Tipperary among other counties. The Dublin / Cork rail line has stops in Newbridge, Kildare and Athy in Co. Kildare and suburban rail services cover Hazelhatch, Celbridge, Sallins, Naas, Newbridge and Kildare.
By sea, Kildare can be reached via Dublin's various ferry ports and via Dublin international airport by air, as the driving distance to them is under an hour and a half.
Grand Canal trails
One of the most famous aspects of the Kildare landscape is the Grand Canal, which crosses the County from East to West, while the Royal Canal crosses the Northern area. Pollardstown Fen is a huge calcareous fen and the largest in the country. A Natural Reserve, Pollardstown is home to many endangered botanical species. Kildare is, in fact, 15% raised bog, with the largest bog being the Bog of Allen, which extends past Kildare county and into Meath, Offaly, Laois and Westmeath. Kildare's bogs are a habitat for almost 200 different botanical and animal species.
The Grand Canal actually spans 82 miles from Dublin to Shannon, with 25 of them lying in Kildare County. There are 6 exciting canalside walking trails to discover, ranging between 4 and 13 miles each.
The massive canal was built between 1756 and 1803. It was used by passenger boats until the 1850s, and cargo boats continued using it for transportation for another hundred years. Since then, the picturesque Canal is now only used for recreation and tourism purposes, and major restorations have been completed. It is possible to rent barges to cruise through the canal, book guided tours or simply stroll along the towpath trails to discover Kildare's nature and ancient charm.
Studs and Gardens
Located in Tully, the Irish National Stud is Kildare's pride. Covering 958 acres, much of the land is open to the public. Tours include Vintage crop, Danolie and the Irish Horse Museum. This is one of the top-rated tourist destinations in Kildare, and it will be enjoyed by everyone, whether they are interested in the equestrian field or not. This is a place to observe some of Ireland's finest horses.
The beautiful Japanese Gardens, which occupy a section of the Stud Farm, are a place for meditation and relaxation, while St. Fiachra’s Gardens feature woodland walks, Monastic cells and a Waterford Crystal Garden.
Located in Kilcock, Larchill Arcadian Garden is a unique European ‘Ferme Ornée‘; an ornamental 18th century garden. Complete with walking trails, a walled garden, a lake and fountains, the parkland is adorned with gazebos, bridges and statues along the way. There are wild duck and swan in the lake, and the views of the Dublin mountains are quite spectacular. Curiosities include the Foxes' Earth (once a refuge for foxes), Gibraltar, a miniature fortress, Shell Tower, a tower decorated with shells, Barn Tearooms and many children´s areas such as a sandpit, a playground and a pet's corner.
The Curragh is Ireland's top international horse racecourses. It is home to the Budweiser Irish Derby, among other important competitions. Nineteen races take place between March and October. It features a restaurant and bar area and children´s entertainment facilities.
Set in a tropical greenhouse, Straffan Butterfly Farm features a spectacular array of butterflies flying freely all around. There are also some spider and scorpion displays as well as an educational area.
Museums & Heritage
Hailed as an interesting mix between museum, restaurant and shop, Newbridge Cutlery will be a pleasant surprise for visitors. Located in Newbridge town, the complex includes a Museum of Style Icons, which features memorabilia from stars like Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn, a shop offering silverware, jewelry and holiday decorations and a restaurant, considered one of Co. Kildare's dining hot spots, with an emphasis on salads and desserts.
Castletown House in Celbridge is the most famous Palladian style country house on the island. It was designed by a number of famous architects and built around 1722. Beautiful architecture, knowledgeable guides and an impressive 200 acre parkland combine with an excellent restaurant.
Housed in a Victorian gothic building in Straffan, the Steam Museum offers displays of early steam powered prototypes. There is a beautiful 18th Century walled garden on the grounds, complete with fruit trees and a rosarie.
18th century Stationary Engines, steam powered electric lighting and sections of the first transatlantic cable are part of the permanent exhibition. There is also a gift shop, a teahouse and a greenhouse full of interesting specimens.
Built in the area of a Viking settlement, Leixlip Castle has well-preserved features such as a 17th century tapestry, Chippendale Chairs in the dining room, an 18th century Doll´s House and some impressive plasterwork.
Last but not least...
If you are craving retail therapy after so much culture, you can´t miss Kildare Village Outlet Shopping; a large shopping area offering great prices on designer clothes and other items.
Vartry Lake (Wicklow)
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O'Connell Monument. A O'Loughl...
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