Charming towns to visit during your staycation to Kildare
If a staycation to Kildare is your choice of holiday this year, be sure to keep reading for inspiration on towns to visit while in Kildare. Whether it’s a girly getaway, romantic break or a family-friendly staycation - Our top picks on ‘Towns to See’ in Kildare has something for everyone!
Nestled in magnificent surroundings, the house boasts outstanding architecture with nearly three centuries of fascinating history and magnificent art collections, the house and exhibition centre should not be missed. A guided tour of the house is an excellent way for visitors to discover Irish architecture, art and interior. Get out into the great outdoors and explore their grounds by foot, choose from the 2km wildlife trail or the 2km woodland and rhododendron trail and loose yourself in the picturesque views overlooking the Wicklow Mountains and Blessington lakes. Russborough hosts a variety of fun and exciting annual and special events. From music performances to garden shows, sports events, and cultural programming, everyone will find something to enjoy. Onsite they also have excellent facilities for children to enjoy including a playground, magical fairy island, maze, parkland walks, artist's studios and the National Bird of Prey Centre.
The Blessington Lakes cover 5000 acres water. The Lakes were formed 50 years ago by the building of the Poulaphouca Dam and hydroelectric station. The Poulaphouca reservoir is the largest man-made lake in Ireland and is a great base for variety of outdoor activities. Take a road trip or get the heart racing as you drive or cycle the road around the lake offering magnificent views of the Wicklow Mountains in through small historic towns such as Valleymount, Ballyknockan or Lacken.
Ballymore Eustace boasts a state-of-the-art Community Centre- Handball, Raquet Ball and squash can all be played here and the All Ireland’s of same activities have taken place here over the years. Open to the public but booking in advance is advised.
The opening of the railway in 1846 saw a decline in the use of The Grand Canal which links to Dublin and has since become a canal of leisure- creating pleasant walks and relaxing boat cruises. The woods of Mullragh and Blackwood are all nearby with attractive forest walks and picnic areas.
Burtown House and Gardens
The Georgian House which is Burtown House is surrounded by fabulous gardens providing beautiful walks. The gardens at Burtown are made up of several areas including large shrubberies, a rock garden, a yew walk divided by a pergola, a sundial garden, an old orchard, a more formal stable yard garden, a walled organic vegetable garden and a large woodland garden surrounded on all sides by water. There are wildflower meadows with large sculptures surrounding the gardens which lead into farm walks with 20 acre fields of pigs, donkeys and cattle. The Artisan shop sells a range of products such as Nettle Pestos, Kale Dips, Infused Oils and Salts, Acorn fed Iberian Ham’s, Irish Cheeses, much Irish and Italian produce and seriously good breads.
Moat of Ardscull
Just outside Athy on the Kilcullen road is one of Ireland’s largest Norman mottes, Ardscull Motte- It is a 35ft high mound with a surrounding bank which was created in the 12th century. The appearance of the Moat was enhanced in the 1800’s with the plantation of trees and a surrounding wall. Since then, a picnic area has been developed for locals and tourists to enjoy the scenery.
The Round Tower of Old Kilcullen
The Round Tower which stands at 40 ft high was probably constructed after terrible Danish attacks on the Town, in 936 AD. The top of the tower suffered significantly during a battle 1798. An account written in 1782 tells of there being four large windows in the upper part of the tower but only one remains to date.
Kilcullen Farm and Nature Trail
A fabulous asset to Kilcullen is The Kilcullen Nature Trail where you can enjoy a river walk, garden walk and farm animals. This is a complimentary site and easy accessible from the centre of town. It was built a few years ago with the help of 250 volunteers.
This is the ruin of a Franciscan Monastery founded in 1460 by Sir Roland Eustace who died in 1469 and is buried there. During Henry VIII’s reign, the Protestant Archbishop of Dublin wrote to Cromwell, Lord Privy Seal, in May 1538 requesting New Abbey as a country home for himself. In 1539 the Monastery was closed. There is also a 15th century graveyard located in the grounds of New Abbey.
Arthur Guinness statue
One of Ireland’s most infamous public figures hailed from Celbridge, so naturally there is a statue to the father of The Black Stuff in the town. Any Guinness drinker should give the statue a visit and salute the famous founder.
Not far from Celbridge in a town called Straffan, hosts the Guinness Steam Museum.
At the Guinness Steam Museum you will be able to visit the power hall displaying full size “live steam” engines, a walled garden, a teahouse, a multi-media information channel and a hands-on area
Monument to Speaker Connolly
When visiting Celbridge, you must seek out the Monument in the Protestant church to William Connolly, Speaker in the Irish House of commons.
Castletown House, one of Ireland’s largest and earliest Palladian style house was built in the year 1722 for William Connolly- Speaker of the Irish House of Common. Much of its internal design was the work of Lady Louisa Lennox, who married into the Connolly family at only 15 years of age. There is complimentary admission to walk and explore the 18th century restored Parklands and River Walks. Castletown has plenty of free family friendly events throughout the year and also offer complimentary guided parkland walks on Saturdays from March to October. From the back of the house, roughly two miles, an Obelisk can be seen. It is mounted on a series of stone arches and stands 140ft high and is known as, ‘Connolly’s Folly’. Castletown House has recently undergone refurbishments and is open to tourists. Free guided Parkland Walk at 3pm on Saturdays March to October
The Wonderful Barn is a corkscrew shaped building on the edge of Castletown Estate, that was originally used to store grain, to shoot game and for other domestic purposes. While not open to the public, many people visit to admire the unusual architecture of the building.
Guided tours are available throughout the day. Includes an exhibition on the history of the Castle and the Fitzgerald family.
A visit to St. Patrick’s College in Maynooth is a must. Just outside the entrance to the College stands the ruin of the Medieval Maynooth College. Many parts of the huge structure especially the keep, the great wall and the gate tower are preserved. Visitors will also get the chance to visit the beautiful Bi-Centenary gardens and the visitor centre which includes a souvenir shop.
Connolly’s Folly Obelisk
Located north on the main road from Celbridge to Maynooth lies ‘Connolly’s Folly Obelisk’ which was built in 1740 to provide employment for the poor during the famine at that time. Mrs. Connolly of Castletown, wife of ‘Speaker Connolly’ undertook the project. The monument consists of a 50 foot high obelisk atop a 50 foot podium of arches.