Kildare on my doorstep

Kildare is known as The Thoroughbred County, but there are lots of hidden gems dotted around the county that you might not have heard about.

2 July 2020

Here are some ideas of how to fill your days with new and exciting things to see and do in the local area. Maybe you will uncover a new favourite place to visit that has been right on your doorstep all this time.

St Brigid’s Cathedral

St Brigid’s Cathedral in Kildare town was built by the Norman Bishop Ralph of Bristol in 1223. The entire site is steeped in important religious history; it’s believed to be where Saint Brigid, one of Ireland’s patron saints, founded a nunnery in the fifth century. The present cathedral, which was restored in the nineteenth century, contains many links to the past, including a sixteenth-century vault, early Christian and Norman carvings and a High Cross. The Gothic-style architecture reflects the structure’s dual purpose as both a place of defence and of religious worship.

Naas Farmers’ Market

For real market atmosphere, visit Naas Farmers’ Market at The Storehouse Restaurant, County Kildare, every Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm. The courtyard makes it a safe spot for kids, with an outdoor café where face painters, music and food tasting are all part of the fun. Naas Farmers’ Market has a particularly good selection of food, with half the number of traders local food companies. A variety of stalls sells organic meat, organic fruit and vegetables fresh fish, garden plants and fresh flowers, with celebrated Irish producers and delicatessens that include Sheridans Cheesemongers, Jane Russell handmade sausages, Endless Home Baking, Vanilla Ventures, Soul Bakery, The Real Olive Company, Missy Moo’s Ice Cream and G’s Jams.

Irish National Stud & Japanese Gardens, Co. Kildare

Long renowned as Ireland's premier stud farm, the National Stud boasts a legacy that spans the globe. Come in springtime and watch as the foals leap and play in the fields or simply visit to enjoy the tranquillity of the stud. While you are at the Stud, don’t miss the century-old Japanese gardens next door, with falling cherry blossoms and blooming water lilies gliding across mirror-like ponds.

The Irish Natioanl Stud and Japanese Gardens symbolise all that is great about County Kildare, the beating heart of Ireland’s thoroughbred industry. This unique attraction of outstanding natural beauty is home to some of the most magnificent horses and sumptuous gardens to be found anywhere in the world.

Round Tower

in the grounds of St Brigid’s Cathedral is a twelfth-century round tower that extends 33 metres toward the sky, making it the second highest in Ireland. Constructed from Wicklow granite and local limestone, this historic tower is open to visitors during the summer months. Stunning views can be taken in from the roof, for visitors daring enough to climb that high.

Arthur Guinness Way

The story of Arthur Guinness begins in the small village of Celbridge in 1725. Here he spent most of his youth with his family, where he learned his trade from his father who work for Arthur Price, the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Cashel. Arthur Guinness set up his first brewery in Leixlip, County Kildare, in 1756 after he was left a £100 pound inheritance by his godfather, Archbishop Arthur Price. As the business grew to be successful, Arthur secured a new property by acquiring the 9,000-year lease for his brewery business in the heart of Dublin city at St. James's Gate. Today, 300 years later, Guinness is still on brewed on these premises.

Newberry Hall

Newberry Hall is a Palladian style house of red brick with stone facings, and its design is attributed to amateur architect Nathaniel Clements. Arthur Pomeroy, who later became Lord Haberton, obtained the lands of Newberry through his marriage to Mary Colley in 1747. The Colley family were at this time living in Carbury Castle. Pomeroy, although owning a house in Dublin, decided to build a country seat at Newberry, thus commissioning the construction of Newberry Hall.

Moore Abbey Wood

Moore Abbey Wood is a woodland area of approximately 250 acres of conifer and broadleaf trees, in Monasterevin, County Kildare. Saint Evin founded a monastery here in the fifth century, which fell into decay in the ninth century and was re-founded as a Cistercian monastery in the twelfth century. There are pathways, picnic sites and walking routes ideal for viewing the different types of woodland, vegetation and wildlife. The wood has a beautiful display of bluebells in early summer. The site comprises a variety of broadleaf and conifer trees, mainly beech, ash and oak, Norway spruce and Douglas fir. The fauna includes the grey squirrel, badgers, pheasant and numerous other species of birds.

Lullymore Heritage Park

The award-winning Lullymore Heritage and Discovery Park is set on 60 acres of breath-taking landscape in the heart of the Bog of Allen, Ireland’s largest bog land. This County Kildare natural attraction is a blend of history, nature and fun, perfect for all age groups. Explore Irish heritage, culture and environments with woodland and peatland trails, gardens and exhibitions. An indoor forest-themed play centre and outdoor play area with crazy golf, a pet farm and train trips make it the ideal destination for the whole family.

Donadea Forest

Donadea Forest Park stretches across approximately 243 hectares of mixed woodland. It is part of the old Aylmer family estate. The last of the Aylmers, Miss Caroline, died in 1935 leaving the property to the Church of Ireland, who in turn sold it to the State. There are many historical features including the remains of the castle, walled gardens, a church, a tower, an ice house, a boat house and Lime Tree Avenue. There is also a 2.3-hectare lake with ducks and other birds, together with a spectacular display of waterlilies in the summer. There are many different walks through the forest, including the 5 km Aylmer loop, the lake walk (which is accessible to wheelchairs) and a nature trail with stops. A small café serves light refreshments and is open all year round. The park is a designated National Heritage Area.

Newberry Hall

Newberry Hall is a Palladian style house of red brick with stone facings, and its design is attributed to amateur architect Nathaniel Clements. Arthur Pomeroy, who later became Lord Haberton, obtained the lands of Newberry through his marriage to Mary Colley in 1747. The Colley family were at this time living in Carbury Castle. Pomeroy, although owning a house in Dublin, decided to build a country seat at Newberry, thus commissioning the construction of Newberry Hall.

Larchill Gardens

Larchill is a unique eighteenth-century ornamental, parkland garden, located 40 minutes from Dublin, near Kilcock, County Kildare. It is open May and June, during National Heritage Week and at other times for special occasions and events. It also opens for pre-booked tours of at least 20 people. Larchill Arcadian Garden is a ‘Ferme Ornée’, or ornamental farm, and is the only surviving garden of its type in Europe. The Ferme Ornée gardens of the mid-eighteenth century were an expression in landscape gardening of the Romantic movement.

Castletown House

Castletown House and Gardens is Ireland's largest and earliest Palladian-style estate. It was built between 1722 and 1729 for William Connolly, speaker of the Irish House of Commons and the wealthiest commoner in Ireland. Visit Castletown House to explore the beautiful eighteenth-century parklands, with river walks, a temple and the remains of a bathing house.