Historic Treasures: Exploring Kildare’s Heritage Sites

Historic Treasures: Exploring Kildare’s Heritage Sites

County Kildare has a rich history of monuments and structures stretching across the county. From ancient churches and high crosses to manor homes and saintly tributes, Kildare is a country full of Irish heritage and a great place for an educational and fascinating visit. The history can be traced from the prehistoric area to Palladian modern mansions and everything in between. We’re proud of our heritage and you’ll find information and plaques dedicated to these wonderful monuments at each site, some blend in so well that you may even miss them! Kildare Town Heritage Centre is a great place to start your exploration and plan a trip within Kildare. Osprey Hotel in Naas offers comfortable, convenient hotel accommodation in Kildare from which to explore. Contact us directly for our best available rates.

Celebrate St Brigid

Did you know that Saint Brigid comes from Kildare? One of Ireland’s national saints, and the namesake of the country’s newest bank holiday has her roots, and plenty of history right here in Kildare. It is said that Brigid was the daughter of a chieftain and a slave woman and was raised in a druid household in Kildare. We celebrate her national day on February 1st every year by coming together, making Brigid’s crosses and visiting sites associated with the saint in Kildare.

St Brigid’s Cathedral and Grounds including the Round Tower are located in the heart of Kildare town and are one of the most significant ecclesiastical sites in Ireland. The location is one of the earliest documented Irish Christian places of worship. Ireland’s oldest & highest accessible round tower stands within the grounds of the Cathedral. The original Tower probably dates back to the 6th Century with the current standing since the 12th Century. Sacred wells were always places of pilgrimage for the Celts. They would dip a cloth into the well, wash any wounds they had then leave the cloth tied to a tree. St Brigid’s Well is just outside Kildare Town and pilgrimages take place every year on the saints day.

Kildare’s Three Abbeys

Kildare Town is home to three Abbeys of great historical importance. The Grey, White and Black Abbeys are ancient sites, named for the colour of the habits worn by the monks in each abbey. The Grey and the White Abbeys were founded by Lord of Kildare and Justiciar of Ireland, William de Vesci in 1254 and 1290 respectively.  The Black Abbey was established before 1212. Visitors interested in ecclesial heritage or ancient architecture will be delighted by the history and detail in these three abbeys, as well as the art and décor of each. All three remain standing in various states of repair and accessibility as a reminder of our past.

St. David’s Church

A little closer to our home from home is St. David’s Church, one of the most important buildings in Naas. It is thought that the site upon which the church was founded was connected to St. Patrick, the patron Saint of Ireland and is missionary work. The Norman church, which was erected by William Fitzmaurice in the twelfth century, is dedicated to St David, an important man in Welsh history with Irish connections through his mother. Restoration work has been carried out several times, revealing many interesting artefacts, including glazed pottery from the medieval period and also three vaults containing coffins.

Maynooth Castle

Maynooth Castle is a ruined castle which stands at the entrance to the South Campus of Maynooth University, one of Ireland’s busiest and most popular third-level education campuses.  Constructed in the early 13th century, it became the primary residence of the Kildare Fitzmaurice and Fitzgerald family. In 1426 the sixth Earl of Kildare enlarged and rebuilt the castle, increasing their strength of rule, something the English monarchy disliked. The culmination of this friction came as the rebellion of Silken Thomas (so-called because of his fine clothes). He marched to Dublin Castle and threw down the sword of state, declaring himself an enemy of the crown ultimately losing his battle and resulting in execution. Maynooth Castle then became a royal castle which fell into disrepair and is now an attraction and a focal point of the town.

History is everywhere in Kildare, you just have to know what to look for. Begin your journey through time at the comfortable and conveniently located Osprey Hotel in Naas. Enjoy spa treatments, complimentary access to our leisure club, gourmet drinks & dinner and a great night’s sleep with guaranteed best available rates when you book directly on our website.

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