County Kildare

County Kildare
Contae Chill Dara
Coat of arms of County Kildare
The Short Grass County
Meanma agus Misneach  (Irish)
"Spirit and Courage"
Location of County Kildare (dark green) in Ireland
Location of County Kildare (dark green) in Ireland
Coordinates:53°10′N 6°45′W / 53.167°N 6.750°W / 53.167; -6.750Coordinates:53°10′N 6°45′W / 53.167°N 6.750°W / 53.167; -6.750
County townNaas
 • TypeCounty Council
 • Dáil ÉireannKildare North
Kildare South
 • European ParliamentMidlands–North-West
 • Total1,695 km2 (654 sq mi)
Area rank24th
Highest elevation379 m (1,243 ft)
 • Total222,504
 • Rank7th
 • Density130/km2 (340/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC±0 (WET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (IST)
Eircode routing keys
R14, R45, R51, W12, W23, W34, W91 (primarily)
Telephone area codes01, 045, 059 (primarily)
Vehicle index
mark code
KE Edit this at Wikidata

County Kildare (Irish: Contae Chill Dara) is a county in Ireland. It is located in the province of Leinster and is part of the Mid-East Region. It is named after the town of Kildare. Kildare County Council is the local authority for the county, which has a population of 222,504.[2]

Geography and political subdivisions

Kildare is the 24th-largest of Ireland's 32 counties in area and seventh largest in terms of population. It is the eighth largest of Leinster's twelve counties in size, and second largest in terms of population. It is bordered by the counties of Carlow, Laois, Meath, Offaly, Dublin and Wicklow. As an inland county, Kildare is a generally lowland region. The county's highest points are the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains bordering to the east. The highest point in Kildare is Cupidstown Hill on the border with Dublin, with the better known Hill of Allen in central Kildare.

Towns and villages

Physical geography

Looking east across the broad plains of South Kildare to the distant Wicklow Hills.

The county has three major rivers running through it: the Barrow, the Liffey and the Boyne. The Grand Canal crosses the county from Lyons on the east to Rathangan and Monasterevin on the west. A southern branch joins the Barrow navigation at Athy. The Royal Canal stretches across the north of the county along the border with Meath. Pollardstown Fen is the largest remaining calcareous fen in Ireland, covering an area of 220 hectares and is recognised as an internationally important fen ecosystem with unique and endangered plant communities, and declared a National Nature Reserve in 1986.

The Bog of Allen is a large bog that extends across 958 km2 (370 sq mi) and into County Kildare, County Meath, County Offaly, County Laois, and County Westmeath. Kildare has 243 km2 (94 sq mi) of bog (almost 14% of Kildare's land area) mostly located in the south-west and north-west, a majority of this being Raised Bog. It is habitat to over 185 plant and animal species.

There are 8,472 hectares (20,930 acres) of forested land in Kildare, accounting for roughly 5% of the county's total land area. 4,056 hectares (10,020 acres) of this is coniferous, while there is 2,963 hectares (7,320 acres) of broadleaf and the remaining area are unclassified species. Coillte and Dúchas currently own 47% of the forestry. Coillte run Donadea Forest Park which is in North-Central Kildare. The forest covers 259 hectares (640 acres) of mixed woodland (60% broadleaf, 40% conifer) and is the largest forest park in Kildare.


Kildare was shired in 1297[4] and assumed its present borders in 1832, following amendments to remove a number of enclaves and exclaves.

The county was the home of the powerful Fitzgerald family. Parts of the county were also part of the Pale area around Dublin.

Local government and politics

Kildare County Council is the local authority for the county. The Local Electoral Areas of Kildare are Athy (6 Seats), CelbridgeLeixlip (7 Seats), Maynooth (9 Seats), KildareNewbridge (9 Seats) and Naas (9 Seats). The council has 40 members. The current council was elected in May 2019. Under the Local Government Reform Act 2014 the towns of Leixlip, Naas, Newbridge and Athy ceased to have separate town councils and were absorbed into their corresponding local electoral area.

For elections to Dáil Éireann, there are two constituencies in the area of the county; Kildare North, which returns four TDs and Kildare South which returns three TDs. In the 2016 Irish general election, Kildare North returned Catherine Murphy (SD), James Lawless (FF), Frank O'Rourke (FF) and Bernard Durkan (FG), while Martin Heydon (FG), Fiona O'Loughlin (FF) and Sean O Fearghail (FF) (elected Ceann Comhairle) were returned for Kildare South.

As part of the Mid-East Region, it is within the purview of the Mid-East Regional Authority.

For elections to the European Parliament, it is part of the Midlands North-West constituency which returns four MEPs.


The county's population has nearly doubled to some 186,000 in 1990–2005. The north eastern region of Kildare had the highest average per-capita income in Ireland outside County Dublin in 2003. East Kildare's population has increased rapidly, for example the amount of housing in the Naas suburb of Sallins has increased sixfold since the mid-1990s.

As of 2016 the population of the county was 222,504. Ethnically, the 2016 census recorded County Kildare as 84% white Irish, 9% other white ethnicities, 2% black, 2% Asian, 1% of other ethnicity, and 2% not stated. For religion, the census recorded a population that was 80% Catholic, 9% of other stated religions, 10% with no religion and 2% not stated.[2]

Health care

County Kildare hospitals include Naas General Hospital and Clane General Hospital.

Ethnic Groups

Main immigrant groups, 2016[5]
 United Kingdom10,527
 United States1,082

Urban areas and populations

TownPopulation 2016



County Kildare houses the hub of Ireland's network of major roads.

The N4 (M4) from Dublin to Sligo travels along the north of the county by-passing the towns of Leixlip, Maynooth and Kilcock.

The M7 from Dublin to Limerick runs through the county and by-passes the towns of Naas, Newbridge, Kildare and Monasterevin. This road is colloquially referred to as the "Naas Dual carriageway" because when it was originally up-graded in 1964 the road from Dublin to Naas was a double-lane carriageway, one of the first of its kind in Ireland.

The M9 is another motorway that commences at Kilcullen and ends at Waterford. It is motorway standard for its entire length.


The county is also served by the trains connecting with Dublin, southern Leinster, Munster and Connacht, with daily connections to Cork, Waterford, Limerick, and Galway. The principal Irish Rail InterCity train station in the county is Kildare, however, Newbridge, Sallins and Hazelhatch are also served by South Western Commuter services, while Maynooth, in northern County Kildare, is served by Western Commuter and Sligo InterCity services.


River Barrow and White's Castle, Athy

Kildare is the centre of Ireland's Grand Canal network built in the late 18th century. This connects Kildare with Waterford, Dublin, Limerick and Athlone. The Royal Canal runs west from Dublin and parts of it form the boundary with County Meath.

Irish language

There are 4,491 Irish speakers in County Kildare; 2,451 attending the seven Gaelscoils (Irish language primary schools) and one Gaelcholáiste (Irish language secondary school).[6] According to the Irish Census 2006, 2,040 people in the county identify themselves as being daily Irish speakers outside the education system.


(c) Anna Watson, CC BY-SA 2.0
Newbridge College
  • Two third-level educational institutions – St. Patrick's College founded by King George III in 1795 to educate Ireland's Catholics and Maynooth University founded in 1997 – are located in Maynooth. They share campus space and many facilities. The two institutions were formally separated in 1997. Maynooth University is the only university in the Republic of Ireland not situated in a city.
  • Clongowes Wood College is a private secondary boarding school for boys, located near Clane. Founded by the Society of Jesus (The Jesuits) in 1814, it is one of Ireland's oldest Catholic schools.
  • Newbridge College is a co-educational fee-paying secondary school. The Dominican Order founded Newbridge College in 1852 as a boarding school for boys.
  • Leinster Senior College is a small private fee-paying secondary school geared solely towards the Leaving Certificate.
  • The town of Clane is home to another educational institute, Clane College, a provider of further education to the wider Kildare community.
  • Naas C.B.S., Saint Mary's College Naas and Piper's Hill College are the three main secondary schools in Naas.



Horses near Pollardstown Fen

The nickname for the Kildare GAA team is the Lilywhites, This is as a result of early jerseys being made from the bags of the Lilywhite Bakery. The all-white jerseys they wear are in reference to this.

In 1928, Kildare became the first team to win the Sam Maguire trophy for the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship, defeating Cavan 2–6 to 2–5. However, since then Kildare have reached the All-Ireland Football Championship Final on four occasions, the last being in 1998, but have failed on all four attempts.

County Kildare is also known as the Shortgrass County which is a reference to how short the grass is on the commons of the Curragh.


The Michael Smurfit owned K Club, situated on the River Liffey near Straffan played host to the 2006 Ryder Cup.

Carton House Golf Club is located in Maynooth. The Golfing Union of Ireland, the longest established golf union in the world, have their national headquarters on the estate. This facility also comprises the GUI National Academy, an 8.9-hectare (22-acre; 89,000-square-metre) teaching facility for up and coming golfers, as well as being a facility available to all golfers in Ireland.

Other prominent courses are located at Knockanally and Clane.

Horse racing

Kildare is famous worldwide for its horse racing.[7][8] The Curragh horse-racing course is the home to all five Irish Classic Flat races. Also located in County Kildare are two other courses, Punchestown Racecourse, home of the National Hunt Festival of Ireland, and Naas Racecourse, which runs both National Hunt and Flat meetings and is used by top race horse trainers as a test for horses preparing for the Cheltenham festival.

The county is famous for the quality of horses bred in the many stud farms to which it is home, including the Irish National Stud and many other top studs such as Gilltown, Moyglare and Kildangan Stud, and race horse training establishments, such as the Osborne Stables.


Kildare is the home to Mondello Park, Ireland's only international motorsport venue. Established by Martin Birrane in 1968 on 45 hectares (110 acres), and redeveloped in 1999/2000, the facility incorporates 3.5 km (2.2 mi) of race track, 24 race garages and 12 Hospitality Suites. The Circuit also has 3 km (1.9 mi) of extreme off-road driving trails and a 2-hectare (5-acre) off-road activities centre and the Museum of Motorsport. Mondello Park was awarded the FIA International race track status in 2001. It is host to National and International Race events, Motor Shows, Car & Bike Track days, Training Schools and Corporate Events.


Kildare County F.C. was a League of Ireland club from 2002 until 2009, based in Newbridge, where Leinster Senior League side Newbridge Town F.C. was invited to join the league in 2002, however, a broader Kildare based franchise was created instead, playing out of Station Road, Newbridge.

Places of interest

Notable people

  • Arthur Guinness: Politician and brewer, founder of Guinness
  • George Barrington: pickpocket, socialite[9]
  • Eamon Broy: policeman
  • Domhnall Ua Buachalla: Governor-General of the Irish Free State
  • Ambrose Bury: Canadian politician
  • Paul Cullen (bishop): Archbishop of Dublin and Archbishop of Armagh[10]
  • John Devoy: Fenian
  • Charles FitzClarence: soldier
  • Lord Edward FitzGerald: revolutionary
  • Michael Gorman: American politician[11]
  • Gabriel Hayes: sculptor and coin designer
  • John Vincent Holland: soldier[12]
  • Michael Kelly Lawler: soldier
  • Kathleen Lonsdale: scientist
  • John de Robeck: admiral[13]
  • Ernest Shackleton: explorer
  • Barry St. Leger: soldier[14]


  • Leighton Aspell: twice Grand National-winning jockey
  • Nonpareil Dempsey: boxer
  • Matt Goff: Gaelic footballer
  • Willoughby Hamilton: tennis player
  • Jimmy O'Brien: plays for the Ireland national rugby sevens team
  • Ruby Walsh : National Hunt Jockey

Writers, musicians, and entertainers

  • Devon Murray: actor
  • Damien Molony: actor[15]
  • Aisling Bea: actress, comedian[16]
  • Aidan Higgins: writer
  • Teresa Brayton: writer
  • Molly Keane: novelist
  • Emily Lawless: writer
  • Mary Leadbeater: writer
  • John MacKenna: playwright, author, actor
  • Paul Mescal: actor[17]
  • Bell X1 are from Celbridge, County Kildare.
  • Luka Bloom is from Newbridge[18]
  • Joseph Doyle, bassist from Irish band The Frames is from Allenwood
  • Graham Hopkins, drummer with The Frames, The Swell Season, and Therapy? is from Clane
  • Damien Leith, Australian Idol 2006 winner and singer-songwriter lived in Milltown until he moved to Australia.
  • Jack Lukeman, otherwise known as Jack L, is from Athy
  • Dónal Lunny was raised in Newbridge.[19]: 4 
  • Miracle Bell, Indie-pop band, hail from Naas.
  • Christy Moore, folk musician, was born in Newbridge.
  • Liam O'Flynn from the band Planxty is from Kill[20]
  • Damien Rice was born in Celbridge[21]
  • Heidi Talbot is from Kill


County Kildare is twinned with the following places:

Both are major centres of the Thoroughbred breeding industry in their respective countries.

See also


  1. ^ "A Brief History of Co.Kildare". Archived from the original on 25 June 2019. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d "Census 2016 Sapmap Area: County Kildare". Central Statistics Office (Ireland). Archived from the original on 12 January 2019. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  3. ^ Archived 20 September 2010 at the Wayback Machine for post 1821 figures, 1653 and 1659 figures from Civil Survey Census of those years, Paper of Mr Hardinge to Royal Irish Academy 14 March 1865, 1788 Estimate from survey by GP Bushe. |1813 estimate from Mason's Statistical Survey
  4. ^ Otway-Ruthven, Annette Jocelyn (1980). A history of medieval Ireland. Routledge. p. 174. ISBN 0-510-27800-0. Archived from the original on 3 June 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
  5. ^ "Population Usually Resident and Present in the State 2011 to 2016". Archived from the original on 10 March 2018. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  6. ^ "Oideachas Trí Mheán na Gaeilge in Éirinn sa Ghalltacht 2010–2011" (PDF) (in Ga). 2011. Archived (PDF) from the original on 19 April 2012. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
  7. ^ "Passion for Horses, The New York Times". 16 April 1995. Archived from the original on 19 January 2012. Retrieved 27 December 2011.
  8. ^ "Kildarehorse". Archived from the original on 7 November 2009. Retrieved 25 June 2009.
  9. ^ "Barrington, George (1755? – 1804)". Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1. MUP. 1966. pp. 62–63. Retrieved 23 August 2007.
  10. ^ John N. Molony, 'Cullen, Paul (1803–1878)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, published in hardcopy 1969, accessed online 7 November 2014
  11. ^ Commemorative Biographical Record of the Upper Wisconsin Counties of Waupaca, Portage, Wood, Marathon, Lincoln, Oneida, Vilas, Langlade and Shawano. Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co. 1895. pp. 761–762. Retrieved 18 August 2015. Michael Gorman+Wisconsin.
  12. ^ "John Vincent Holland V.C." Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  13. ^ "The de Robecks of Gowran Grange, Co. Kildare". Turtle Bunbury. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
  14. ^ Fredriksen, John C (2001). America's military adversaries: from colonial times to the present. ABC-CLIO. p. 483. ISBN 978-1-57607-603-3.
  15. ^ Ganatra, Shilpa (17 August 2019). "Damien Molony From Kildare To Top Of British TV". The Irish Times. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  16. ^ Coates, Laura (8 March 2017). "10 awesome Kildare women making waves in the world". Leinster Leader. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  17. ^ Armstrong, Maggie (11 January 2020). "Readers' expectations are the 'biggest source of anxiety' – Paul Mescal on tackling role of Connell in Normal People". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 31 May 2020. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  18. ^ Deming, Mark. "Luka Bloom". AllMusic. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  19. ^ O'Toole, Leagues (2006). The Humours of Planxty. Ireland: Hodder Headline. ISBN 0-340-83796-9.
  20. ^ Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 1854. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
  21. ^ "FAQ – Where was Damien born and where did he grow up?". n.d. Archived from the original on 2 May 2007. Retrieved 24 April 2007.
  22. ^ "County Twinning Committee". Kildare Twinning. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  23. ^ "About the Lexington Sister Cities Commission". Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government. Archived from the original on 15 February 2017. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  24. ^ "Sister Cities – U.S. Embassy Dublin, Ireland". U.S. Department of State. Archived from the original on 2 August 2009. Retrieved 14 July 2009.

External links

Media files used on this page

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Meath coa.svg
Author/Creator: Coyote sprit, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
Crest of County Meath, Ireland.
Horses in Kildare
Offaly crest.svg
Author/Creator: Coyote sprit, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
Vectorized crest of County Offaly, Ireland.
Coat of arms of Connacht.svg
Author/Creator: Ssolbergj, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Coat of arms of Connacht
Island of Ireland location map Kildare.svg
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The island of Ireland, showing international border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, traditional provinces, traditional counties, and local authority areas in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Author/Creator: Kanchelskis, free hand work., Licence: CC-BY-SA-3.0

County Laois crest.
Toponomastica: L'attuale nome Laois (da pronunciare nella nostra lingua lish) è il nome gaelico di quella che una volta era la Queen's county ("contea della regina"), e significa letteralmente "chiesa nei pressi della quercia". Da notare che anche le forme anglicizzate Laoighis e Leix sono corrette.
Araldica civica Lo stemma del Laois è uno scudo dorato con un nastro contenente vari elementi distintivi.

  • la V rossa capovolta (chevronels): rappresenta la catena montuosa delle Slieve Bloom Mountains e la Rock of Dunamaise, mentre i simboli bianchi in essa contenuti rappresentano le 7 tribù antiche locali principali.
  • le due sfere ondulate (fountains): rappresentano i due fiumi principali della contea, il Nore e il Barrow e i due colori tradizionali e sportivi della contea (bianco-blu)
  • il leone: l'animale su sfondo dorato era l'emblema degli antichi King of Laois, gli Ó Mordha.

Il nastro invece riporta il motto in gaelico "L bÁirt leis an bpobal" che significa "Insieme con il Popolo".


Dominican College Newbridge.jpg
(c) Anna Watson, CC BY-SA 2.0
Newbridge College second-level school in Co. Kildare, Ireland.
Coat of arms of Ulster.svg
Author/Creator: Ssolbergj, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Coat of arms of Ulster
Coat of arms of Munster.svg
Author/Creator: Ssolbergj, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Coat of arms of Munster
Ireland trad counties named.svg
Author/Creator: , Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
Map of Ireland's counties with names, Northern Ireland counties colored tan
Ireland - Plains of South Kildare.jpg
Looking east across the broad plains of South Kildare to the distant Wicklow Hills, countryside in Ireland.
Carlow County Crest.svg
Author/Creator: No machine-readable author provided. Kanchelskis assumed (based on copyright claims)., Licence: CC BY-SA 2.5
County Carlow coat of arms, Ireland

This is the logo for County Kildare.

Coat of arms of Leinster.svg
Author/Creator: Ssolbergj, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Coat of arms of Leinster
River Barrow and WhitesCastle Athy.JPG
(c) Eeno11, CC-BY-SA-3.0
Crom Abu Bridge and White's Castle, a tower house built in 1417 by the Gerald FitzGerald, 8th Earl of Kildare