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Situated in the eastern region of the Republic of Ireland, County Kildare is one of the closest counties to the nation's capital, Dublin. Home to several relatively larger communities such as Newbridge, Naas, and Athy, the county is named after the seventh-largest city in its borders, Kildare.[1] The overall region has many attractions pertaining to racing, the arts, and history. The Newbridge Greyhound Racing Track, Coolcarrigan Gardens, Maynooth Castle, Moat Theatre, and Curragh Racecourse are all examples of diversions that visitors to the area have frequented.[4] County Kildare is home to a decent amount of bogs, especially in comparison to other counties in Ireland. The bogs—in addition to the forests that comprise 5% of the region's total land mass—are home to various species such as deer, frogs, dragonflies, marsh fritillary butterflies, and cotton.[8] Due to the "comfortable" weather conditions reported in the territory from June to August, visitors to County Kildare are recommended to plan their visits during the summer. Clouds and rainfall are still semi-common occurrences during that range of time, though neither is as oppressive in the summer as they are in winter.[5]

What Kildare is known for

County Kildare, located to the west of Ireland's capital city Dublin, is one of many landlocked counties that comprise the Republic of Ireland. Though the territory is one of the smallest of its kind in the nation regarding land mass, it is actually the seventh most-populous county. Unlike many of the other counties in Ireland, Kildare contains multiple cities that have populations of over 10,000. Newbridge is the city in the region with the highest population (22,742), though Naas and Celbridge are a close second and third with populations of 21,393 and 20,288, respectively. The city of Kildare, for which the county derives its name, is actually the seventh-largest settlement in the area, acting as the home for approximately 8,600 residents.[1] County Kildare's proximity to Dublin allows communities in the territory easier access to resources and shipping enterprises. Like much of Ireland, the county is involved with many "export-oriented companies" that have helped the nation to grow in recent decades. More specifically, Ireland as a whole has experienced consistent rates of growth averaging 10% annually, and with the nation's capital nearby, County Kildare is no exception.[9]

Kildare City sits in the county's western-central region, providing relatively quick access to the nearby motorway M7, which in turn converts into the N7 road that leads to Dublin. Though the city is smaller than other settlements nearby, it is still home to various attractions and diversions. The Irish National Stud & Gardens caters to equestrian hobbyists due to its Horse Museum and the fact that it is "home to some of Ireland's finest thoroughbreds." For a more generalized tourist experience, visitors can travel to the Kildare Village Outlet Shopping area, containing more than 50 international brands. Finally, the St. Brigid's Cathedral is a monument of the territory's past history and is home to "the tallest accessible round tower in Ireland."[4]

Despite the fact that Kildare City was the eventual inspiration behind the region's name, the true county town of County Kildare is Naas. Located on the opposite side of Newbridge as Kildare, Naas is one of the closest communities to Dublin in the area. Its role as the "county town" came as a result of its extensive development regarding trading, public meetings, racecourses, and local administration.[10]

Various local attractions can be found throughout the entirety of County Kildare. Punchestown Racecourse, the Newbridge Greyhound Racing Track, and the Curragh Racecourse all act as evidence of the county's rich history with racing. This is in contrast to diversions pertaining to the arts, such as Coolcarrigan Gardens, the Moat Theatre, and the Ballindoolin House & Gardens. Additionally, like much of Ireland, County Kildare contains a selection of castles that draw in a number of tourists each year, with a few examples being Leixlip Castle and Maynooth Castle (both named after the settlements in the county they reside in).[4]


Considered a "generally lowland region" due to its inland nature, County Kildare is less hilly than many of the other territories in Ireland. Cupidstown Hill is the highest point in the region, with a height of 379 meters. Rivers, on the other hand, are a geographic feature that the county does not lack. The Barrow, the Boyne, and the Liffey are the three major rivers that are spread across the landscape of County Kildare. Additionally, the Grand Canal crosses much of the county as well. Forests are another aspect of the region's topography that are abundant in Kildare. Approximately 8,472 hectares of forested land can be found in the territory, which is 5% of the land area in the county.[1]

As an inland county, Kildare is bordered by many other divisions of the Republic of Ireland. Counties Carlow, Laois, Offaly, South Dublin, Meath, and Wicklow all surround County Kildare. Two motorways in the area are of note, namely the M9 and the M7. The motorway M9 comes from the southern tip of the county before merging with the M7 just outside of Newbridge. This motorway (M7) continues to the northeast, eventually converting into the road N7 on the outskirts of Naas before continuing to Ireland's capital, Dublin.

Potential visitors to the area are encouraged to understand the climate and weather patterns that the county experiences. Summers in County Kildare are described as "comfortable," though winters are reportedly long, cold, windy, and wet. Not surprisingly, this has led to tourists often rating June to August as the "best time of year" to visit the region, primarily because of the greater accessibility to warm-weather attractions. Temperatures in County Kildare do not fluctuate as drastically as in other areas—once again in part due to its inland location—and visitors can expect the average high and low temperatures to rarely exceed 20 degrees Celsius and 2 degrees Celsius, respectively. Clouds are a common occurrence in the area, with an average of over 60% of total days experiencing at least "partly cloudy" conditions. The "clearest" month of the year is July, though even then, there is still a 53% chance that any given day will be "mostly cloudy" or overcast. Finally, precipitation in the county is relatively consistent throughout the year, averaging approximately 60 mm of rainfall per month.[5]

A sizeable proportion of County Kildare is made up of bogs, some of which date back to roughly 9,000 years ago. Such environments are rich in animal, plant, and insect species. Deer, frogs, hares, and foxes have made bogs and other biomes in the county their homes, while asphodel, cotton, and rosemary are particularly populous in the wetlands themselves. Some of the insects that are indigenous to the area include dragonflies, great diving beetles, marsh fritillary butterflies, and craneflies.[8] 


Like many other regions in Ireland, County Kildare's oldest history can be traced back to neolithic times, including both the Bronze and Iron Ages. Standing stones, the Broadleas stone circle, forts, and ritual sites all act as evidence of these earliest settlers. Christianity was established in the region by 450 AD, and with it came the construction of various churches, monasteries, and settlements. Centuries would pass before the Anglo-Normans took control of County Kildare in 1170.[6]

Kildare City itself is described as "one of the oldest towns in Ireland." This is in part due to a comment made by a monk in the Kildare community of the 7th century, stating that the settlement was "a vast metropolitan city." Additionally, a portion of the city received the nickname "a street of the stone steps," indicating that at least sections of Kildare were urbanized before the Vikings' arrival in the area. The ancient development that took place in the town was aided in considerable measure by the pagan inhabitants of the landscape in the 5th century. St. Brigid, in particular, established a monastery that would have assisted in the future growth of Kildare.[7]

In modern times, County Kildare has seen extensive growth. For example, in the span of 20 years between 1991 to 2011, the territory's population increased from approximately 122,000 to 210,000. This spike in growth came in large part as a result of the county's proximity to Ireland's capital, Dublin. Another likely factor in County Kildare's development was the fact that for the first time in centuries, it didn't experience population decreasing events such as the War of Independence in the early 1900s and the Great Famine of 1845-1849.[6]