County Kildare

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County Kildare
Contae Chill Dara
County Kildare COA.svg
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
Province Leinster
Region Eastern and Midland
Established1297 [1]
County town Naas
Largest settlement Newbridge
   Local authority Kildare County Council
   Dáil constituency Kildare North
Kildare South
   EP constituency Midlands–North-West
  Total1,695 km2 (654 sq mi)
  Rank 24th
Highest elevation379 m (1,243 ft)
 (2022) [2]
  Rank 7th
  Density150/km2 (380/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
Website OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg

County Kildare (Irish : Contae Chill Dara) is a county in Ireland. It is in the province of Leinster and is part of the Eastern and Midland Region. It is named after the town of Kildare. Kildare County Council is the local authority for the county, which has a population of 246,977. [3]


Geography and subdivisions

County Kildare
County Kildare

Kildare is the 24th-largest of Ireland's 32 counties in area and the seventh largest in terms of population. It is the eighth largest of Leinster's twelve counties in size, and the second largest in terms of population. It is bordered by the counties of Carlow, Laois, Meath, Offaly, South Dublin and Wicklow. As an inland county, Kildare is generally a 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 South 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 was 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 a habitat for 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 runs 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 [5] 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.

Governance and politics

Local government

Kildare County Council is the local authority for the county. The council has 40 members, elected in the local electoral areas of: Athy (5 seats), Celbridge (4 seats), Leixlip (3 seats), Clane (5 seats), Maynooth (5 Seats), Kildare (5 seats), Newbridge (6 Seats) and Naas (7 Seats). These form the municipal districts of Athy, Celbridge–Leixlip, Clane–Maynooth, Kildare–Newbridge, and Naas. [6] The current council was elected in May 2019.

Kildare County Council nominates three councillors to the Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly, where there are part of the Mid-East strategic planning area committee. [7]

Former districts

Kildare was formerly divided into the rural districts of Athy No. 1, Celbridge No. 1, Edenderry No. 2, and Naas No. 1, and the urban districts of Athy and Naas. [8] The rural districts were abolished in 1925. [9] Newbridge or Droichead Nua, within the former rural district of Naas No. 1, had town commissioners, and Leixlip was given that status too in 1988. [10] The urban districts of Athy and Naas and the town commissioners of Newbridge and Leixlip became town councils in 2002. [11] All town councils in Ireland were abolished in 2014. [12]

National elections

For elections to Dáil Éireann, there are two constituencies in the county: Kildare North (4 seats) and Kildare South (4 seats). [13] At the 2020 Irish general election, Kildare North returned Catherine Murphy (SD), Réada Cronin (SF), Bernard Durkan (FG), and James Lawless (FF), while Kildare South returned Sean Ó Fearghaíl (FF) (returned automatically as outgoing Ceann Comhairle), Patricia Ryan (SF), Martin Heydon (FG), and Cathal Berry (Ind).

For elections to the European Parliament, it is part of the Midlands–North-West constituency (4 MEPs).


The county's population has nearly doubled to 186,000 from 1990–2005. The northeastern 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 2022 the population of the county was 246,977. Ethnically, the 2016 census recorded County Kildare as 84% white Irish, 9% other white ethnicities, 2% black, 2% Asian, 1% of other ethnicities, 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. [3]

Ethnic Groups

Main immigrant groups, 2016 [14]
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

Health care

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



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 bypasses 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 River Barrow and WhitesCastle Athy.JPG
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). [15] 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, as a result of its 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 has reached the All-Ireland Football Championship Final on four occasions, the last being in 1998, but has 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. [16] [17] 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 racehorse 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


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

<span class="mw-page-title-main">The Curragh</span> Flat, open plain in Newbridge, County Kildare, Ireland

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Maynooth</span> University town in County Kildare, 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 sole 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Naas</span> 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Newbridge, County Kildare</span> Town in County Kildare, 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Celbridge</span> Town in County Kildare, 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kildare North (Dáil constituency)</span> Dáil constituency (1997–present)

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

<span class="mw-page-title-main">R148 road (Ireland)</span> Road in Ireland

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

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kildare GAA</span> County board of the Gaelic Athletic Association in Ireland

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, and is responsible for the administration of Gaelic games in County Kildare

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Clane GAA</span>

Clane GAA is a Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) club in Clane, County Kildare, Ireland, winner of 17 Kildare county senior football championships, 16 county senior hurling championships and Kildare club of the year in 1975. Clane players are credited with bringing the handpass into Gaelic football. Richard Cribben was regarded as one of the best players in the game in the 1890s and played on the international team that played England at Stamford Bridge in 1896. Pa Connolly and Tommy Carew featured on the Kildare football team of the millennium. Martin Lynch was an All Stars Award winner in 1991.

The Provincial Towns Cup was established in 1888 and is one of the oldest trophies in existence in Irish rugby union.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kilcullen</span> Town in County Kildare, Ireland

Kilcullen, formally Kilcullen Bridge, is a small town on the River Liffey in County Kildare, Ireland. Its population of 3,473 at the 2011 census made it the 12th largest settlement in County Kildare and the fastest growing in the county, having doubled in population from 1,483 in the census of 2002. By 2016, the population had risen to 3,710. It is situated primarily in the Barony of Kilcullen, with part in the Barony of Naas South, and subsidiary areas include Logstown, Harristown, Carnalway and Brannockstown, Gilltown, Nicholastown, and Castlemartin.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dublin Suburban Rail</span> Railway network in the Dublin area

The Dublin Suburban Rail network, branded as DART/Commuter, 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:

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Leixlip</span> Town in County Kildare, Ireland

Leixlip is a town in north-east County Kildare, Ireland. Its location on the confluence of the River Liffey and the Rye Water has marked it as a frontier town historically: on the border between the ancient kingdoms of Leinster and Brega, as an outpost of The Pale, and on Kildare's border with County Dublin. Leixlip was also a civil parish in the ancient barony of Salt North.

Camogie in County Kildare is administered by the Kildare County Board of the Camogie Association.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">2014 Kildare County Council election</span>

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">2019 Kildare County Council election</span>

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.


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