Things to do in Kildare

In Kildare top

County Kildare is rich in historic and cultural attractions, combined with lively towns and picturesque villages that
demonstrate Ireland at its absolute best.

There are gardens, golf and the great outdoor attractions, fascinating culture, history and heritage. Kildare is the ideal
destination for an Irish break. Kildare is renowned as the Thoroughbred County’, with annual racing festivals and regular
meets at the Curragh, Naas and Punchestown that offer horse racing at its best. At the Irish National Stud you
can learn about Ireland’s horse racing industry on a tour of the stud and pay a visit to the adjacent Horse Museum
and Japanese Gardens. The nearby Kildare Retail Outlet Village features unbeatable reductions on designer brand
collections. At Newbridge Silverware Visitors Centre there is a factory showroom selling cutlery, jewellery and giftware
along with the Museum of Style Icons, a permanent exhibition dedicated to design and style excellence, showcasing
artifacts associated with some of the most legendary stars of the silver screen.

Kildare boasts many fine examples of Grand Houses. One of which, Castletown House is just a short drive from
Robertstown. County Wicklow, the adjoining county to Kildare eastwards also offers stunning historical scenery, architecture,
waterfalls and the ancient monastic setting of Glendalough.

Kildare Attractions

Visit Kildare Town

Learn about the mythology of Fionn Mac Cumhaill and St Brigid, patroness of the Gaels. While here visit St. Brigid’s
Cathedral, a Norman tower house, the site of the Turf Club, and a twelfth century Franciscan Abbey. Kildare Town
Heritage Centre is also an exciting visitor attraction set right in the heart of Ireland’s renowned for its bloodstock
industry. Within 5 minutes drive is the famous Japanese Gardens, St. Fiachra’s Garden & National Stud and of
course, the wonderful Curragh Race course and the Kildare Outlet discount shopping.

Motor Racing

Take a trip to Mondello Park near Robertstown, Ireland’s only international motor racing circuit. Motor sport enthusiasts
can watch some of the most exciting cars manufactured today, race on the challenging Mondello circuit,

Horse Racing

Visit The Curragh, home of the Irish Classics, Naas or Punchestown racecourse for a taste of Irish racing at its best.
The Irish Derby at the Curragh, the famous Irish National Hunt Festival at Punchestown and excellent facilities Naas
Racecourse also offer visitors a wonderful choice of racing.

Angling and Walking

There are a wide choice of rivers and canals, many with towpaths and are definitely worth a visit. There are also 2
long distance way-marked ways, the Barrow way and the Kildare way, and numerous looped walks and trails.

Heritage and Gardens

If you enjoy seeing other people’s beautiful houses and gardens then County Kildare is the place for you. From the
grandest Palladian mansions to captivating, exotic gardens, we have a wide selection of wonderful places to delight
and surprise you.

South Kildare Heritage Trail

Follow the historical trail through the south county. South Kildare is an area well worth visiting for a taste of Irish history
including castles, churches and high crosses. The Moat of Ardscull is one of the many historical places on the
route to discover.GREAT PLAINS OF THE CURRAGH

County Kildare Touring Routes

Sample the richness and diversity of County Kildare’s heritage reflected in the places of interest listed in these three
Touring Routes. There is much to do and see on the North Kildare, Mid Kildare and South Kildare Tourist Routes
including museums, castles and gardens.

The Gordon Bennett Route

Classic and vintage car lovers take note: discover the fore-runner of modern international motor racing by retracing
the original route of the 1903 Gordon Bennett Cup race through counties Kildare, Laois and Carlow.

Back to Nature Tour

Historic Houses

From stately homes to the ancient castles of key historical figures, there are many great historic houses to visit in Kildare.
Robertstown Holiday Village is offering a Heritage and Historic Houses Break which includes admission to Castletown and Russborough houses. Click here for details. [link to Special offers – Heritage and Historic Houses]

Castletown, Celbridge, Co Kildare

Castletown is considered by many to be Ireland’s finest stately home. It was built from 1722 to 1729 for the Speaker of the Irish House of Commons, William Conolly, the wealthiest commoner in Ireland. Many of the features that make the house so special date from the period when Lady Louisa Lennox who married Thomas Conolly, a descendant of William, resided in the house (1759 to 1821). She remodelled many of the rooms and the grand staircase and it is she we have to thank for the fine rococo plasterwork by the Swiss Lafranchini brothers and the print room, a sort of scrap book of mid-eighteenth tastes, which is the only fully in-tact print room left in Ireland. The Lennox sisters, of whom Lady Louisa was one, were the subject of a 1999 drama series called The Aristocrats.
Visit is by guided tour. Open Tuesday to Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays from the 15th March to the 31st October
Tel: +353 (0)1 6288252 www.castletownhouse.ie.

Russborough, Blessington, Co Wicklow

The area is blessed with not one, but two, Palladian mansions which are open to the public. Russborough is just slightly later than Castletown, having been designed by Richard Cassels for Joseph Leeson, 1st Earl of Milltown and built between 1741 and 1755. The house contains the Beit Collection of fine art which includes works by Goya, Vermeer, Peter Paul Rubens and Thomas Gainsborough , which in 1986 was given to the National Gallery of Ireland by Sir Alfred and Lady Beit, owners of the house since 1952. Beyond the beautiful treasures of the house, there’s a lot to explore: in the grounds there is a beech hedge maze, a walled garden and tea rooms. In the outhouses of Russborough you can see ancient crafts in action including candle making, blacksmithing, wood sculpting, goldsmithing, weaving and ceramics making.
Visit of the house is by guided tour. Open every day from May to September and on weekends from Mid-March, throughout April and in October.
Tel: +353 (0)45 865239 www.russboroughhouse.ie

Maynooth Castle, Maynooth, Co Kildare

Fitzgerald is a name associated with County Kildare and this castle, dating from 1202, became the family stronghold. The castle became even more important in the ninth century when its occupants Garret Mór and his son Garret Óg Fitzgerald governed Ireland in the name of King of England. The Castle is associated with’ Silken’ Thomas Fitzgerald, hung outside London in 1537 for rebellion against King Henry VIII.
Visit of castle keep by guided tour only. Open Wednesday to Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays from 30th May to 25th September.
Tel: +353 (0)1 6286744

Lodge Park Walled Garden, Straffan

Adjoining a pretty eighteenth century house, the walled garden at Lodge Park is divided into ‘rooms’ walled with beech hedges. Topiaried yew trees, a greenhouse of unusual plants from all over the world, beds of colourful annuals and a beautiful rosarie are just come of the delights on show. The Steam Museum houses six huge nineteenth century stationary engines and other machines powered by steam, which are fired up on Sundays. Visitors can revive themselves with a tea or coffee and delicious cake at the Steaming Kettle tea room.
Open Wednesday to Sunday and Bank Holidays in June, July and August.
Tel: + 353 (0)1 6273155 Answer phone/Season Office www.steam-museum.com.

Forest Walks

Donadea Forest near Clane and Killinthomas Wood just outside Rathangan are both a short drive from Robertstown. Killinthomas is famous for its carpet of bluebells in the spring while Donadea was the former demesne of the Anglo-Norman Aylmer family and contains a ruined castle, church, ice house and lake and is the site of a memorial to members of the New York City emergency services who lost their lives in 9/11. Both forest parks have way-marked ways ranging from easy strolls to longer treks.

Bogs, fens and hills

The best way to experience bogland is to go on a walk from the Bog of Allen Nature Centre at Lullymore. Ask Karen when the walks take place or check out their website for upcoming events: www.ipcc.ie.
Kildare is a fairly flat county so the few hills we have offer great views over the Midlands of Ireland. We recommend climbing the Hill of Allen with the Aylmer tower atop, which you can also climb, and seeing how many counties you can see on a clear day. You can even walk along the canal to reach the hill if you’re feeling particularly energetic!
Pollardstown Fen on the edge of the Curragh is the largest spring-fed fen in Ireland covering 225ha. The natural springs of the fen supply the Grand Canal. The fen is a haven for nature-lovers with its abundance of flora, fauna, fish and birdlife, many of which are rare or protected species.
For more ideas for walking holidays in Ireland email us or call us here at Robertstown Holiday Village on +353 (0)45 870 870 or info@robertstownholidayvillage.com

Equine Experiences

Did you know that County Kildare is known as the ‘Thoroughbred County’ because of its association with the breeding and racing the highest calibre of racehorse? We’re very proud of it. If you’re horse mad there are lots of ways in which you can get up close to and enjoy these beautiful creatures.
But first, the science. Kildare has an unusual habitat known as The Curragh, a grassy plain on limestone. The grass is nutrient-rich because of the limestone and it is thought that this is why horses bred and trained on or near The Curragh are strong and successful. Many famous trainers and breeders have their studs and training yards on The Curragh to take advantage of the natural characteristics of the area. Ireland’s state stud farm, the Irish National Stud, which is well worth a visit, is one example. Top racehorses Sea The Stars, Vintage Crop, Hardy Eustace and Sinndar are all ambassadors for the magic of The Curragh.

The Gallops

It’s a beautiful sight to behold – dozens of thoroughbreds training in the early morning mist. Park at The Curragh racecourse and you’ll see them out at 9am and again at 11am.

A Day at the Races

With The Curragh Racecourse – home of the Irish classics – for summer racing, Punchestown Racecourse – home of National Hunt racing in Ireland – for the winter and Naas Racecourse which hosts both flat and national hunt meetings, all within ten miles of Robertstown, you really are spoilt for choice when it comes to a day at the races.
The Irish are horseracing-mad and horseracing is a great way to experience an important part of Irish life. You get dressed up, meet up with friends, take a punt or two on a horse you fancy and, hopefully, have good reason to celebrate at the end of the day. The party atmosphere usually follows race-goers back to the restaurants and bars of the local town or village.
The first race is typically around 3pm and the last one around 6.30pm. For an evening meeting during the summer, the first race is off at 6pm. Major racing festivals in Kildare are: The Punchestown Festival (last week of April), the Irish Guineas (last weekend in May), the Irish Derby (last weekend in June) and the Irish St Leger (mid-September). Naas has summertime evening meetings which usually include a barbecue and live music.
For the fixtures at Naas, Punchestown and The Curragh, see www.goracing.ie Click here for details of our race day special offers.

 

Gallery

  • Classic Cars at Castletown
  • Classic Cars at Castletown
  • Children on the Canal
  • Castletown
  • Athy Castle
  • Canals and Boats