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County Kildare

Contae Chill Dara
Coat of arms of County Kildare
Coat of arms
Meanma agus Misneach  (Irish)
"Spirit and Courage"
Location in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Country Ireland
Province Leinster
County town Naas
 • Type County Council
 • Total 1,695 km2 (654 sq mi)
Area rank 24th
 • Rank 7th
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 222,130.

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

  • Allen
  • Allenwood
  • Ardclough
  • Athy
  • Ballitore
  • Ballymore Eustace
  • Calverstown
  • Caragh
  • Carbury
  • Castledermot
  • Clane
  • Coill Dubh
  • Celbridge
  • Curragh
  • Derrinturn
  • Eadestown
  • Johnstown
  • Kilberry
  • Kilcock
  • Kilcullen
  • Kildangan
  • Kill
  • Kilmead
  • Kilmeage
  • Kilteel
  • Kildare
  • Leixlip
  • Lullymore
  • Maynooth
  • Milltown
  • Moone
  • Monasterevin
  • Narraghmore
  • Nurney
  • Naas
  • Newbridge
  • Prosperous
  • Rathangan
  • Robertstown
  • Sallins
  • Straffan
  • Staplestown
  • Suncroft
  • Timolin

Physical geography

Ireland - Plains of South Kildare
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 and into County Kildare, County Meath, County Offaly, County Laois, and County Westmeath. Kildare has 243 km2 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 of this is Coniferous, while there is 2,963 hectares 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 of mixed woodland (60% Broadleaf, 40% Conifer) and is the largest forest park in Kildare.


Kildare was shired in 1297 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.



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 N7(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 N9(M9) is another National Primary Route that commences at Kilcullen and ends at Waterford. It is motorway standard to Waterford, with a small gap of single-lane carriageway between Carlow and Kilkenny (full motorway due for completion September 2010).


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


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). According to the Irish Census 2006, 2,040 people in the county identify themselves as being daily Irish speakers outside the education system.


  • Leighton Aspell: twice Grand National-winning jockey
  • George Barrington: pickpocket, socialite
  • Aisling Bea: actress, comedian
  • Teresa Brayton: writer
  • 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
  • Nonpareil Dempsey: boxer
  • John Devoy: Fenian
  • Charles FitzClarence: soldier
  • Lord Edward FitzGerald: revolutionary
  • Matt Goff: Gaelic footballer
  • Michael Gorman (Wisconsin): American politician
  • Arthur Guinness: brewer
  • Willoughby Hamilton: tennis player
  • Gabriel Hayes: sculptor and coin designer
  • Aidan Higgins: writer
  • John Vincent Holland: soldier
  • Molly Keane: novelist
  • Michael Kelly Lawler: soldier
  • Emily Lawless: writer
  • Mary Leadbeater: writer
  • Kathleen Lonsdale: scientist
  • Devon Murray: actor
  • John de Robeck: admiral
  • Ernest Shackleton: explorer
  • Barry St. Leger: soldier
  • Damien Molony: actor


  • Bell X1 are from Celbridge, County Kildare
  • Blood or Whiskey, punk rock/irish music band are originally from Leixlip
  • Luka Bloom is from Newbridge
  • 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
  • Donal Lunny was raised in Newbridge.
  • MayKay, lead singer of Fight Like Apes, is a native of the county
  • Miracle Bell, Indie-pop band, hail from Naas.
  • Christy Moore, folk musician, was born in Newbridge.
  • Paul Quinn, lead singer of the rock band No Sweat, hailed from Kilcock
  • Liam O'Flynn from the band Planxty is from Kill
  • Damien Rice was born in Celbridge
  • Super Extra Bonus Party, Choice Music award winners, are from Newbridge
  • Heidi Talbot is from Kill
  • Rolling Stones guitarist Ron Wood owns a home in the area
  • Jason Boland, bassist for the band Kodaline is from Celbridge, County Kildare


See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in the Republic of Ireland

County Kildare is twinned with the following places:

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

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