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County Kildare ( ) is one of the traditional counties of Ireland. It is located within the province of Leinster and was named after the town of Kildaremarker ( ). Kildare is the 25th largest of Ireland’s 32 counties in area and ninth largest in terms of population. It is the eighth largest of Leinster’s 12 counties in size and second largest in terms of population.


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

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


Kildare is bordered by the counties of Carlowmarker, Laoismarker, Meathmarker, Offalymarker, Dublinmarker and Wicklowmarker. Kildare is part of the "Greater Dublin Area", a regional area surrounding Dublin.

Towns and villages in Kildare

Towns / large settlements

Looking east across the broad plains of South Kildare to the distant Wicklow Hills
  • Naasmarker (pop. 26,366) ( ; , , or An Nás ) is the County Town and largest town in County Kildare, and rapidly growing, situated in the north east of the county. Sallins and Johnstown could be considered suburbs of Naas. It is also the main centre for economic growth in the county of Kildare.
  • Newbridgemarker (Droichead Nua) is Kildare's second largest town, situated in the centre of the county, near the Curragh plain. It is a thriving and rapidly growing town with a population of over 18,000.
  • Celbridgemarker (Cill Droichid) (pop. 17,262) is the largest one-street town in Ireland, and nearby Straffanmarker is the site of the K Club Golf Course which hosted golf's Ryder Cup in 2006.
  • Leixlipmarker (pop. 15,000) (Léim an Bhradáin) town is the industrial centre of north Kildare, with large Intel and Hewlett-Packard facilities, and the original home of Guinness which had its origins here.
  • Maynoothmarker (Maigh Nuad) (pop. 10,715) is the historic educational centre of the county. It contains the National University of Ireland, Maynoothmarker and St Patrick's College, Maynoothmarker.
  • Kilcockmarker (Cill Choca) is a small town located 6 kilometres (4 miles) from Maynooth.
  • Athymarker (Ath Í)(pop. 7,943) is the main town in the southern part of the county.
  • Kildaremarker (Cill Dara)(pop. 7,538) is the oldest town in the county and the most historic.
  • Monasterevinmarker (Mainistir Éimhín) (pop. 3,000) is the site of the 6th century Moore Abbey founded by St. Evin.

Smaller settlements

Neighbouring counties

County Kildare borders several counties: Enclaves of several counties once lay inside Kildare, and in its border regions. The last of these were scrapped in the 1830s.


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

Transport and infrastructure


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

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

The N7 from Dublin to Limerickmarker 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 N9 is another National Primary Route that commences at Kilcullenmarker and ends at Waterfordmarker. The first few miles of this are motorway which essentially by-passes Kilcullen. From there it is a single lane carriageway passing towns such as Timolinmarker, Moonemarker and Castledermotmarker before leaving the County at the County Carlowmarker border.


The County is also served by the trains connecting the Dublin to Munster, South Leinster, and South Connaught, with daily connections to Corkmarker, Waterford, Limerick, and Galwaymarker. The principal Irish Rail intercity train station in the county is Kildare, however, Newbridge, Sallins and Hazelhatchmarker are also served by a Dublin commuter train service called the Arrow.


Kildare was the centre of Ireland's inland waterway when it was constructed in the 1830s, and 1840s. This connects Kildare with Waterford, Dublin, Limerick and Athlone. The Royal Canal still forms the boundary with County Meath to the North.


At the centre of the Irish motorway system, County Kildare is one of Ireland's premier sites for inward direct investment from the multinational sector. Kildare currently (2006) contains the European base of electronics firms, Intelmarker and Hewlett Packard, two of the largest employers in this sector in the entire island. Phramaceutical giant Wyeth has its European Manufacturing base in Newbridge, with another plant in nearby Newcactle in County Dublin. Major pizza-making, soft drinks, and frozen food enterprises are located in Naasmarker. Large supermarket distribution centres are located in Naas, Newbridge and Kilcockmarker. Some of Ireland's most glamorous boutiques are in Naas such as the Emporium Kalu on Main Street Naas which is the most expensive boutique in Ireland. The county has numerous shopping malls in the main towns such as Manor Shopping centre in Maynooth, Naas Shopping Mall to be opened in 2010 in Naas and the Whitewater Centre in Newbridge.

The Irish Army's largest military base, its command headquarters, and its training centre at the Curragh. Allenwoodmarker and Timahoemarker are also the location of large peat burning power stations operated by the state, and Kildare has historically be an employment centre in this sector.

Kildare is the centre of the Irish horse industry. Kildare has more stud farms than any other county in Ireland, and an important racecources at Punchestownmarker, near Naasmarker, and at the leading flat national racecourse at the Curragh. Kildare is also home to the state owned national stud farm, the national equestrian centre in Kill, and Goff's equine auction centre (also in Kill). Most of Ireland's prominent show jumping competitors are located in, or come from county Kildare, especially the areas near Kilcock and Sallins. 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,with the wealth being mainly concentrated in Naas 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 eg 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, and a pick up in construction boom that predated that of other countries.


Politically the county is divided into two Dáil constituencies, Kildare North (four seats) and Kildare South (three seats). After the 2007 General Election, the TDs elected were; Bernard Durkan (FG), Emmet Stagg (Lab), Aine Brady (FF), Michael Fitzpatrick (FF), Sean O Fearghail (FF), Sean Power (FF) and Jack Wall (Lab). Nevertheless, the whole county is governed at local authority level by Kildare County Council.


  • Two third-level educational institutions -- St. Patrick's Collegemarker founded by King George III in 1795 to educate Ireland's Catholics and the National University of Ireland, Maynoothmarker founded in 1997 -- are located in Maynoothmarker. They share campus space and many facilities. The two institutions were formally separated in 1997. NUI Maynooth is the only university in the Republic of Ireland not situated in a city.
  • Clongowes Wood Collegemarker 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 secondary school. The Dominican Order founded Newbridge College in 1852 as a boarding school for boys.
  • Pipers Hill College Naas is a second level college opened in August 2009 to replace St. Patrick's Community College.




The nickname for the Kildare GAA team is the Lilywhites, a reference to the all-white jerseys they wear.

In 1928, Kildare became the first team to win the Sam Maguire trophy for the All Ireland football Championship, defeating Cavan 2-6 to 2-5.

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 Liffeymarker near Straffanmarker played host to the 2006 Ryder Cup. Other prominent courses are located at Knockanally, Carton Estate, and Clanemarker.

Horse racing

Kildare is famous worldwide for its horse racing. 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 Racecoursemarker, 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 Studmarker and many other top studs such as Gilltown, Moyglare and Kildangan Studs, and race horse training establishments, such as the Osborne Stables.

Association Football

Kildare County compete in the FAI League of Ireland First Division.

Sister cities

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

See also



External links

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