County Kildare

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County Kildare

Contae Chill Dara
Coat of arms
The Short Grass County
Meanma agus Misneach  (Irish)
"Spirit and Courage"
Island of Ireland location map Kildare.svg
Location of County Kildare (dark green) in Ireland
Coordinates: 53°10′N6°45′W / 53.167°N 6.750°W / 53.167; -6.750 Coordinates: 53°10′N6°45′W / 53.167°N 6.750°W / 53.167; -6.750
Country Ireland
Province Leinster
Established1297 [1]
County town Naas
  Type County Council
   Dáil Éireann Kildare North
Kildare South
   European Parliament Midlands–North-West
  Total1,695 km2 (654 sq mi)
Area rank 24th
Highest elevation379 m (1,243 ft)
 (2016) [2]
  Rank 7th
  Density130/km2 (340/sq mi)
Time zone UTC±0 (WET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+1 (IST)
Eircode routing keys
R14, R45, R51, W12, W23, W34, W91 (primarily)
Telephone area codes 01, 045, 059 (primarily)
Vehicle index
mark code

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. Ireland - Plains of South Kildare.jpg
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), Celbridge - Leixlip (7 Seats), Maynooth (9 Seats), Kildare - Newbridge (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.[ citation needed ]

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]

Ethnic Groups

Main immigrant groups, 2016 [5]
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom 10,527
Flag of Poland.svg  Poland 6,869
Flag of Lithuania.svg  Lithuania 1,550
Flag of Romania.svg  Romania 1,156
Flag of Nigeria.svg  Nigeria 1,120
Flag of the Philippines.svg  Philippines 1,088
Flag of the United States.svg  United States 1,082
Flag of India.svg  India 929
Flag of Latvia.svg  Latvia 845
Flag of Moldova.svg  Moldova 829

Urban areas and populations

TownPopulation 2016
Newbridge 22,742
Naas 21,393
Celbridge 20,288
Leixlip 15,504
Maynooth 14,585
Athy 9,677
Kildare 8,634
Clane 7,280
Kilcock 6,093
Sallins 5,849
Monasterevin 4,246


River Barrow and White's Castle, Athy River Barrow and WhitesCastle Athy.JPG
River Barrow and White's Castle, Athy

Kildare currently (2010) contains the European base of electronics firms, Intel and Hewlett Packard, two of the largest employers in this sector in the entire island. Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has its European Manufacturing base in Newbridge, with another plant in nearby Newcastle in County Dublin. Major pizza-making, soft drinks, and frozen food enterprises are located in Naas. Large supermarket distribution centres are located in Naas, Newbridge and Kilcock. Kerry Group has developed a Global Innovation Centre in Millennium Park in Naas and employs over 1,000 people across 3 developments. Further developments including a new Education Campus are to be constructed in Millennium Park in the future. The Irish Army's largest military base containing its command headquarters and training centre is located at the Curragh.

Kildare is the centre of the Irish horse industry.[ citation needed ] Kildare has more stud farms than any other county in Ireland. Several prominent international breeders have substantial stud farms in Kildare, including many from the Arab world.

County Kildare is the richest county in Ireland outside of Dublin and has the lowest unemployment rates in Ireland, throughout the economic recession of the 1980s. House prices in the county but especially in the North East of the county e.g. Naas and Maynooth have always been considerably higher than the other counties in the country outside Dublin. Kildare was the first county in Ireland to experience the Celtic Tiger economic boom in the early 1990s, mainly as a result of the decision of Intel to locate between Leixlip and Maynooth. From various high tech companies like Intel and Hewlett Packard the county is sometimes dubbed "the Silicon Valley of Europe", and had a pick up in construction that predated that of other counties.[ citation needed ]

The most economically developed part of the county is around the towns of Naas, Maynooth, Celbridge, Leixlip and Kilcock. Agriculture dominates around the towns of Athy, Kildare, Newbridge, Monasterevin and Rathangan.



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, South Leinster, Munster and South 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.


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.


Newbridge College Dominican College Newbridge.jpg
Newbridge College



Horses near Pollardstown Fen KildareHorses057.JPG
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, a 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.

Notable people


Writers, musicians, and entertainers


County Kildare is twinned with the following places:

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

See also

Related Research Articles


The Curragh is a flat open plain of almost 2,000 hectares of common land in Newbridge, County Kildare. This area is well known for Irish horse breeding and training. The Irish National Stud is located on the edge of Kildare town, beside the famous Japanese Gardens. Also located here is Pollardstown Fen, the largest fen in Ireland. This area is of particular interest to botanists and ecologists because of the numerous bird species that nest and visit there. There are also many rare plants that grow there.

Maynooth University town in County Kildare, Leinster, Ireland

Maynooth is a university town in north County Kildare, Ireland. It is home to Maynooth University and St Patrick's College, a Pontifical University and Ireland's main Roman Catholic seminary. Maynooth is also the seat of the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference and holds the headquarters of Ireland's largest development charity, Trócaire. Maynooth is located 24 kilometres west of central Dublin.

Naas County town of Kildare, Ireland

Naas is the county town of County Kildare in Ireland. In 2016, it had a population of 21,393, making it the second largest town in County Kildare after Newbridge.

Kilcock Town in Leinster, Ireland

Kilcock is a town and townland in the north of County Kildare, Ireland, on the border with County Meath. Its population of 6,093 makes it the ninth largest town in Kildare and 76th largest in Ireland. The town is located 35km west of Dublin, and is on the Royal Canal.

Newbridge, County Kildare Town in Leinster, Ireland

Newbridge, officially known by its Irish name Droichead Nua, is a town in County Kildare, Ireland. While the nearby Great Connell Priory was founded in the 13th century, the town itself formed from the 18th century onwards, and grew rapidly alongside a military barracks which opened in the early 19th century. Taking on the name Newbridge in the 20th century, the town expanded to support the local catchment, and also as a commuter town for Dublin. Doubling in population during the 20 years between 1991 and 2011, its population of 22,742 in 2016 makes it the largest town in Kildare and the fifteenth-largest in Ireland.

Celbridge Town in Leinster, Ireland

Celbridge is a town and townland on the River Liffey in County Kildare, Ireland. It is 23 km (14 mi) west of Dublin. Both a local centre and a commuter town within the Greater Dublin Area, it is located at the intersection of the R403 and R405 regional roads. As of the 2016 census, Celbridge was the third largest town in County Kildare by population, with over 20,000 residents.

Kildare North (Dáil constituency) Dáil Éireann constituency (1997-)

Kildare North is a parliamentary constituency represented in Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Irish parliament or Oireachtas. The constituency elects 4 deputies. The method of election is the single transferable vote form of proportional representation (PR-STV).

R148 road (Ireland)

The R148 road is one of Ireland's regional roads which was classified following the opening of a by-passed national primary road.

Kildare GAA Gaelic Athletic Association

The Kildare County Board of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), or Kildare GAA, is one of 12 county boards governed by the Leinster provincial council of the GAA in Ireland. The county board regulates Gaelic games in County Kildare and is also responsible for the inter-county teams.

County Kildare in the province of Leinster, Ireland, was first defined as a diocese in 1111, shired in 1297 and assumed its present borders in 1836. Its location in the Liffey basin on the main routes from Dublin to the south and west meant it was a valuable possession and important theatre of events throughout Irish history.

Dublin Suburban Rail Five-line railway network serving Greater Dublin and beyond

The Dublin Suburban Rail network,, is a railway network that serves the city of Dublin, Ireland, most of the Greater Dublin Area and outlying towns. The system is made up of five lines:

Kildangan Village in Leinster, Ireland

Kildangan is a village in County Kildare in Ireland.

Rathangan, County Kildare Town in Leinster, Ireland

Rathangan is a town in the west of County Kildare, Ireland, with a population of 2,374. It is located 65 km (40 mi) from the centre of Dublin, and 14 km (8.7 mi) from Kildare, at the intersection of the R401, R414, and R419 regional roads. The Slate River and the Grand Canal run through the town.

Camogie was played in Kildare shortly after the sport was first organized in 1904. However, due to sparse records it is not certain when the first senior camogie championship was held. The earliest record of Camogie appears in an advertisement by Athy Ladies Hurling Club advertised a members reunion in July 1909. Kildare sent delegates to the Camogie congress of 1932, and a county board was formed in 1934 with Fr Byrne CC of Caragh as President, Mrs B McCarthy as vice-president, William Fisher of Newbridge as secretary, and Polly Smyth of Newbridge as treasurer. Camogie was reorganized at a county convention in 1954, and has been played in Kildare continuously since.

The Niall Smullen Cup was a Gaelic football organised by Kildare Gaelic Athletic Association in Ireland. Founded in 1925, it was named after Sallins-based footballer Niall Smullen. Smullen was one of Sallins GAA finest ever players throughout the 1890s and early 1900s. Niall holds the record for the most points scored in the Kildare Senior Football Championship final. He scored 1-10, and the game ended with Sallins winning 2-15 to Celbridge's 1-14. Niall later went on to play wing-forward for Kildare when they won the 1903 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship. Niall died in 1921, aged 52. The competition was cancelled in 1995 because of lack of funds. The first ever winner of the cup was Sallins in 1925, they beat Timahoe to claim the cup.

2014 Kildare County Council election

An election to Kildare County Council took place on 23 May 2014 as part of that year's Irish local elections. 40 councillors were elected from five electoral divisions by PR-STV voting for a five-year term of office, an increase in 15 seats compared to 2009. In addition Athy Town Council, Leixlip Town Council, Naas Town Council and Newbridge Town Council were all abolished.

The 2018 Kildare Senior Football Championship is the 125th edition of the Kildare GAA's premier club Gaelic football tournament for senior graded teams in County Kildare, Ireland. The tournament consists of 16 teams with the winner going on to represent Kildare in the Leinster Senior Club Football Championship. The championship had a different format this year, employing a random draw for the first round, followed by seeded groups and a knock-out stage.

2019 Kildare County Council election

A Kildare County Council election was held in County Kildare in Ireland on 24 May 2019 as part of that year's local elections. All 40 councillors were elected for a five-year term of office from 8 local electoral areas (LEAs) by single transferable vote.

The 2019 Kildare Senior Football Championship is the 126th edition of the Kildare GAA's premier club Gaelic football tournament for senior graded teams in County Kildare, Ireland. The tournament consists of 16 teams with the winner going on to represent Kildare in the Leinster Senior Club Football Championship. The championship had a different format this year, employing a random draw for the first round, followed by seeded groups and a knock-out stage.


  1. "A Brief History of Co.Kildare".
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Census 2016 Sapmap Area: County Kildare". Central Statistics Office (Ireland) . Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  3. 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.
  5. "Population Usually Resident and Present in the State 2011 to 2016".
  6. "Oideachas Trí Mheán na Gaeilge in Éirinn sa Ghalltacht 2010-2011" (PDF) (in Irish). 2011. 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".
  9. "About the Lexington Sister Cities Commission". Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government. Archived from the original on 15 February 2017. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  10. "Sister Cities - U.S. Embassy Dublin, Ireland". U.S. Department of State. Archived from the original on 2 August 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-14.