Co. Kildare is a landlocked county and is bordered with counties Carlow, Laois, Meath, Dublin, Offaly and Wicklow. Its name has its origin in the Irish language. Cill Dara literally means ‘Church of the Oak’ and refers to St Brigids Church that was built beneath an Oak tree.

There are many areas of natural beauty in Kildare, from the gently rising hills of the Barrow and Liffey valleys to walkways along the canals that stretch for almost 70 miles. The famous Japanese Gardens attract botanists, gardening enthusiasts and those seeking a peaceful retreat. Lough Boora Parklands has many attractions between 20km of walking routes, fishing lakes and an important mesolithic site. Co. Kildare is also home to Ireland’s only international motor racing circuit at Mondello Park, Naas.

While horse training and racing is an integral part of Irish culture right across the country, Kildare is known as the equine county of Ireland. World renowned racecourses including the Curragh, Punchestown and Naas are situated in Kildare. The Curragh, meaning ‘place of the running horse’, is host to the famous Irish Derby race, which has been an annual event since 1866. The Curragh is at the very centre of the Irish bloodstock industry and the Irish National Stud is located nearby.

The world famous Antarctic explorer Ernest Shakelton was born in Co. Kildare. You can read more about his life in our Science & Technology section.

Irish Derby, The Curragh
Courtesy Matthew McNamara,

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