County Kildare has many waterways with the rivers, Barrow, Slate, Liffey & Rye to name a few and the Royal & Grand canals flowing through the county. These waterways, along with several stocked lakes make Kildare a great place for freshwater fishing and popular with fishing enthusiasts!

Crane on the Liffey Kildare

Fish the Rivers

1. The River Liffey is particularly popular for fly fishing. The links below provide useful information regarding permits and also, when and where to fish the Liffey in Kildare.

2. The Enfield Blackwater is another popular fly fishing spot and has good stocks of Brown Trout. The river rises in Prosperous in the north of the county and flows north west into Co. Meath.

3. Coarse fishing takes place frequently on the River Barrow in Athy. A wide array of fish lie within The Barrow waters such as, roach, perch, rudd, bream, dace and pike. The rare shad, a herring like fish which enters the river from the sea in May, can be fished close to the village of St. Mullins.

4. The Rye River is another river in the north of Kildare and is for fly fishing only. It flows for 12 miles to Leixlip where is joins the Liffey.  The Rye is known to have some large trout and so is a popular spot.

* Please ensure to check what licenses are required before river fishing in Co. Kildare.

Canal Fishing in Kildare

The canals in Ireland are well established and so are known as having some of the best coarse fishing available in Europe.  Not only do three canals, The New Barrow Line, Royal Canal and Grand Canal, run through the county but there are some other bonuses to fishing the canals like, no licence required, easy to drive (by car) banks, free fishing, small amount of boat traffic and peaceful rural settings.

The Irish Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) have put together a comprehensive list of where the canals in Kildare are most accessible - see the article here.


Fisheries in Kildare

  1. Lyreen Angling Centre
    Maynooth, Co. Kildare
    Tel: 00 353 1 629 3202.
  2. Curragh Springs Fishery
    The Curragh, Co. Kildare
    Tel: 00 353 87 246 2028 / 00 353 45 441 184..


Long walk Brigids Way

Off the Beaten Track

For those walkers who like to go it alone, this pages offers a range of walks taking in different environments.  The Kildare Town Heritage Centre advocates the use of "Leave No Trace" principles and we would encourage all walkers/cyclists to do the same:

Leave No Trace - 7 Principles

Plan ahead and prepare  |  Be considerate of others  |  Respect farm animals & wildlife  |  Travel & Camp on durable ground  |  Leave what you find  |  Dispose of waste properly  |  Minimise the effects of fire

Pollardstown Fen

Pollardstown Fen is the largest remaining spring-fed fen in Ireland. Calcereous is supplied to the Fen from around 40 springs which originate from the Curragh aquifer. The Fen began to develop 10,000 years ago when the area was covered by a large lake. Walking Pollardstown Fen is a wonderful natural experience due to its unique flora and fauna. There is a short boardwalk looped walk of the Fen of just a few kilometers and a longer walk for those walking enthusiasts.

For full details of this unusual trail go to WalkingRoutes.ie or call National Parks & Wildlife Service on +353 45 521713.

Informative leaflets of Pollardstown Fen are also available free from the Kildare Town Heritage Centre and Tourist Office.

Horses on the Gallops at The Curragh

The Curragh of Kildare

The Irish word 'Currach' is usually translated as plain, a place of the running horse. The Curragh was originally known as Cuirrech Life  suggesting that it once extended as far as the Liffey. Situated between Kildare and Newbridge it is almost the only area unenclosed lowland grassland in Ireland and certainly the largest.  As it is an open plain you can walk in almost any direction. Walkers who begin early in the day will have the pleasure of seeing some of Ireland's top thoroughbred horses riding out on the gallops and for those evening walkers, sunsets over the Curragh are some of the most magical in County Kildare.

See our Curragh page for more information on this beautiful part of the county.

Canal Walks



The Royal and Grand Canals traverse County Kildare and both offer some very scenic, natural walks for people to enjoy. The Canals have been well maintained over the past number of years and so, the towpaths are accessible in most areas although, most have barriers preventing high-roofed vehicles entering so be aware of this if you arrive in a van of camper!  Although walkers can walk any part of the Canal they wish, the staff here at the Heritage Centre have a few favourite routes which we have shared with you below.

The Barrow Line at Moore Abbey


The Barrow Way

The River Barrow is the second longest river in Ireland at 192km. Its source is in the Slieve Bloom Mountains in the midlands and it runs through the counties of Laois, Kildare, Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford and Waterford where it meets the sea. The Barrow Navigation is the stretch of the River Barrow between Athy in Co. Kildare and St. Mullins in Co. Carlow.  Above Athy, the Barrow Line of the Grand Canal links the Barrow Navigation to the main line of the Grand Canal at Lowtown in Co. Kildare, many interesting and tranquil walks can be found along the Grand Canal throughout Kildare.

The Barrow Way App is also available to download from Guidigo for a fee to help you along the way. For those who would like a pre-arranged itinerary to walk the Barrow Way check out, http://irelandways.com/ways/adventures/the-barrow-way.

Some useful links to the Barrow Way:


Woodland Walks



Donadea Forest Park

Set in 640 acres of mature native Irish woodland, Donadea Forest Park is a designated National Heritage Area.  The Park is home to a diverse range of habitats, a walled stream, lake, and a beautiful Gothic style church dating to c. 1820. The Park is also home to a castle built by Sir Gerald Aylmer in 1624, rebuilt in 1773 after it was damaged in the 1641 rebellion and gothicised in 1827 by the architect Sir Richard Morrison. Unfortunately, this castle is now in ruins but can still be admired by visitors to the Park.

Donadea carpark charges €5 per car for an unlimited time and all monies go back to maintaining this wonderful amenity.  The Donadea Forest Café is open all year long, Saturday 10am - 5pm & Sunday 10am - 5:30pm and of course, it opens for those all-important school holidays to keep the kids busy!

There are a couple of well-maintained routes to choose from in Donadea shown below, or you can choose to go off-track and explore the forest!

  • The Aylmer Loop is a 6km walk, taking an est. 1hr 30mins - 2hrs at an easy pace.
  • The Lake Walk is a shorter walk suitable for almost all fitness levels at just 0.8km.

Bluebells at Killinthomas Woods


Killinthomas Woods

Coíllte developed this 200 acre amenity area just 1 mile outside of Rathangan village.  Killinthomas Wood is a mixed hardwood conifer forest with diverse flora and fauna. The woods are ideal for walkers with about 10 km of signposted walks and great access to a wide variety of ecosystems. In Spring and early Summer these woods are carpeted with bluebells and wild garlic. There are marked walks with picnic tables and benches dotted throughout so it is also a great place for families to visit.

It has good car parks, entrance is free and it is readily accessible for all.


Walking legs

Guided Walking Tours


Kildare Town Historic Guided Walking Tour

FREE WALKING TOURS - Are back Every Saturday!

For the months of June, July and August meeting at Kildare Town Heritage Centre on Saturdays at 11.30 tours will take approximately one hour. 

Cost : Pay what you feel! - All money collected will go back into heritage projects for the town. 

Maximum number per tour is 20 people, booking is advised. 

Email us info@kildareheritage.com or call us on (045) 530 672. 

Why not take a tour of one of the oldest towns in Ireland? Taking in St. Brigid's Monastic Site, the site of a Norman Castle, walkers will learn about three medieval Abbeys, Ireland's first Turf Club and much much more. Discover this fascinating heritage on a guided walk around the Town, by a local historian or by yourself with the App by Abarta Heritage.

Advance Booking Essential

Group Tours: 15+ (tours will be adjusted to each groups requirements based on ability, time available etc.)
Bookings/Enquiries: 00 353 45 530 672 / info@kildareheritage.com


Tours available from:

 1st May 2023 to 1st September 2023

Monday to Saturday 10.00 - 1.00pm and 2pm - 5pm

( Bookings outside these times and dates may not include St Brigid's Monastic Site , contact us for more information) 

Cost :  Prices starting from €8 per person ( based on group booking) 

Group Booking  ( minimum of 10 people ) Contact us for Rates and Availability



The Story of the Curragh

Situated in the heart of County Kildare the Curragh is a truly unique landscape.  The circumstances by which this remarkable natural feature was created are fascinating and the combined forces of humankind and nature have shaped the Curragh over many millennia, resulting in an exceptional array of internationally important flora and fauna


Visit http://www.abartaheritage.ie/product/story-of-the-curragh-audio-guide/ to download your free audio guide.


Celbridge Guided Walking Tour

Celbridge Guided Walking Tours are free and lead by local guides. The tours encompass oral history, folklore, monuments, architectural heritage, flora, fauna and landscapes.

Advance Booking Essential

Group Tours: Tours will be adjusted to each groups requirements based on ability, time available etc.
Bookings/Enquiries: Facebook.com/celbridgeguidedtours / 00 353 87 963 0719 / breda.konstantin@iol.ie

Another opportunity to discover Celbridge is to download the Guidigo App for a self-guided tour of Celbridge.


Athy Medieval Walls Guided Walking Tour

Athy Medieval Walls Guided Walking Tours are run from the Athy Heritage Centre. Athy, meaning literally ‘the ford of Ae’, is named after the son of a Munster King who was killed at a battle in Athy in the 2nd Century, find out about this & more on a walking tour of the town.

Advance Booking Essential

Group Tours: Tours will be adjusted to each groups requirements based on ability, time available etc.
Bookings/Enquiries: Medieval Tours Brochure / 00 353 59 863 3075 / athyheritage@eircom.net.

Sli na Slainte sign

Slí na Slainte Walking Routes

Sli na Slainte sign

Slí na Sláinte, meaning "Path to Health", is an innovative scheme developed by the Irish Heart Foundation and supported by the HSE and the Irish Sports Council, to encourage people of all ages and abilities to walk for leisure and good health.  The Slí na Sláinte Walking Routes are mapped, measured routes which use attractive signage at kilometre intervals on established walking routes to help walkers identify the distance they walk. Below is a list of Slí na Sláinte routes in County Kildare,

Kildare Town Heritage Centre & St Brigids Flame

Kildare Town Heritage Centre

About the Kildare Town Heritage Centre

Kildare Town Heritage Centre

The exhibition in the Kildare Town Heritage Centre is free of charge.

The Heritage of Kildare Town will take you back to the 5th century when St. Brigid established her Christian Church right through the ages of pillaging Vikings and Norman Rule to chic 21st Century shopping at the Kildare Village outlet.  Today you can learn of the notable times of those 1,700 years in a more manageable timeframe starting with a visit to the Kildare Heritage Centre.

The Heritage Centre is housed in an 18th Century Market House adorned by an unusual facade with high windows designed for overlooking the goings on in the market place; upstairs you will find the comprehensive multi-media exhibition depicting the Story of Kildare as mentioned above.  Cogitosus, a 7th Century Monk will be delighted to lead you through this historic display!  Whilst downstairs, our 21st Century helpful staff will assist you with any tourist information you may require.  You might like to do a self-guided tour of the heritage sites aided by the beautifully illustrated 40 page booklet called the ‘Hundred Acres Heritage Trail’.

Much of the Heritage in the area is dominated by association with St Brigid; the patron saint held second in Ireland’s esteem closely following St Patrick, from whom Brigid drew her inspiration.  Each year St Brigid’s feast day on 1st February starts the Féile Bríde, (Brigid’s Festival) a weeklong celebration of the lifelong Christianity and goodness of this saint.  St Brigid’s Cathedral is built on the original grounds of St Brigid’s wooden church under the shelter of an oak tree; just one of the many religious buildings founded by Brigid.  The story goes that the King of Leinster  agreed to give her a plot of land the size of her cloak on which to start a convent, when Brigid lay down her cloak it practically covered the entire grasslands of the Curragh. In the grounds of the Cathedral is the St Brigid’s fire temple, and a small fire is sometimes lit for ritual on St Brigid’s feast day on 1st February. There is also a Round Tower which is the second highest in Ireland but the highest that can still be climbed, a great spot to watch the horse racing in the Curragh!!    St Brigid’s Well is a site of religious devotion, next to the Black Abbey.  The other two abbeys in the area are The White Abbey and The Grey Abbey; the names indicate the colours of the habits worn by the respective orders residing there.  St Brigid’s perpetual flame is housed in the centre of Market Square, beside the Heritage Centre and still today the Sisters of the Brigidine order continue her good work.

History of the Market House



by Mario Corrigan.

The Kildare Town Heritage Centre is an exciting visitor attraction situated in the picturesque town of Kildare. The centre is an ideal point of departure from which to explore the ancient treasures of the town. It is housed in the restored and refurbished nineteenth century Market House, which is situated in the hub of Kildare town. This unique historic building, with its vista of windows, designed to oversee the market place, has been given a new lease of life and is an impressive addition to the heritage assets of the town.  The Heritage Centre was formally opened on the 17th September 2001 by the then Minister for Finance and T.D. Mr. Charlie McCreevy.

The building has a long and varied history. According to the Statutes of Henry VI (1458) a market had been held in Kildare ‘from time whereof memory runs not,’ and an official weekly market, to be held on Thursdays, was authorised by Henry VIII in the Charter of Kildare of 1515. A survey of the Earl of Kildare’s estate in the town by Emerson in 1674 mentions a town hall but not a Market House. Since the location of the Town Hall cannot be determined we might suggest it was situated here, centrally in what became the Market Square and the focus of activity in the town. Reference to the ‘Market Place’ can be found in the Registry of Deeds Office in 1726 and 1751 and although the recognisable triangular area of the modern ‘Square’ is unnamed in John Rocque’s Map of Kildare of 1757 it was designated the Market Square’ in Thomas Sherrard’s Map of Kildare of 1798 and subsequent maps.

Rocque however does identify ‘The Market House,’ in the centre of what is later known as the Market Square on the site of the modern Heritage Centre. According to Rocque it consisted of three adjoining buildings with a yard in 1757. If we accept Emerson made no mention of a Market House in 1674 because it did not exist, then the Market House was built sometime between 1674 and 1757 (however he may not have mentioned it because it was not part of the Earl of Kildare’s estate, or because the town hall and market place fulfilled the same function at that stage). By 1798 (Sherrard) it had developed into a singular rectangular building on the same site with another section to the Cathedral or western side. This projection had disappeared by 1817 but a small northern (facing Nugent Street/Station Road) projection could be noticed on the 1838 Ordnance Survey Map of the town. Interestingly a well was noted by Rocque in 1757 to the east (Dublin side) of the Market House, a pump in 1817 and a fountain in 1838; presumably referring to the same feature, a water source for the town’s inhabitants. A pump was used on the Market Square until the early 20th century but was eventually removed. In 1973 an ancient well was discovered on the Market Square but filled in for safety reasons. It was re-discovered in 2003 and, now restored, has become a permanent feature on the Market Square.

According to Niall Meagher, former Co. Architect, while it may have incorporated an earlier structure, the present building dates from the nineteenth century. In 1838 the Market House was clearly identified as a public building. Valued at £5 in 1844, it was exempt from rates. Not only was the Market Square a centre of economic activity it provided a space/forum for town gatherings and meetings. This was captured by the ‘Illustrated London News’ on the 8 January 1881 in a drawing of a Land League Meeting, with the Market House in the background, showing leases of the Duke of Leinster being burned on the end of a ‘98 pike. Originally it may have been a single storey building but by the mid-nineteenth century at least it had been re-developed with an upper level. By the mid-1880’s a water tank had been placed in the roof of the Market House as a receptacle for water being pumped from St. John’s Well at Tully.

By the mid-twentieth century the Market House had fallen into disrepair and was bought for £300 by Kildare County Council. It was carefully reconstructed in the early 1970’s and a bus shelter, public toilets and small museum were incorporated into the new building. The cast-iron water gauge dated 1885 was retained on the outside of the building as was a plaque celebrating the completion of the Kildare Waterworks in 1886. It won an An Taisce Award in 1973 because of the improvement it made to the appearance of the town.
A Heritage Project Committee representing the three second-level schools was formed in 1992 to campaign for Heritage Status for the Town of Kildare. The designation of Heritage Town provided an impetus for the reinvigoration of the Market House. The European Development Fund provided £230,000 towards the project with additional funding coming from Kildare County Council (£50,000) and local contributions. Once building began the reconstruction and refurbishment took a little less than 2 years and Kildare Town Heritage Centre was officially unveiled in September 2001.

The Heritage Centre contains a multi-media exhibition centre telling the story of Kildare, past and present, combining attractive fixed panels with a video trail where your host Cogitosus, a 7th century monk will take you on a historic journey from the time when St. Brigid established her church in 480. A.D. This video presentation lasts approximately 12 minutes. The visitor can catch a fascinating glimpse of the past before visiting the many other attractions, which include the Japanese Gardens, the Grand Canal the National Stud and the Curragh racecourse. The Centre is the Regional Tourist Office for local and county-wide tourist information. It also has a vibrant shop where visitors can purchase souvenirs and jewellery.


Barretstown Castle


Barretstown Castle, Ballymore Eustace

Situated to the north of the town of Ballymore Eustace is Barretstown Castle. The core of the castle is an old Eustace tower house of The Pale. The Eustaces were one of the most distinguished of the names that came to Ireland at the time of the Anglo-Norman invasion. While not multiplying to the same extent as the Burkes, Butlers, FitzGeralds or other great Hiberno-Norman families, the Eustaces were numerous enough to be classed in Petty's 'census' of 1659 among the principal Irish names in four baronies of Kildare. The town of Ballymore Eustace was called after the Eustaces.



Irish National Stud & Gardens

Opening Hours
(February - October)

Monday 09.00 – 18.00
Tuesday 09.00 – 18.00
Wednesday 09.00 – 18.00
Thursday 09.00 – 18.00
Friday 09.00 – 18.00
Saturday 09.00 – 18.00
Sunday 09.00 – 18.00
Monday – Sunday until November 1st

(including Bank Holidays)

From November until December

10.00am – 18.00pm

10:00am – 16:00 pm (last admission 15:00pm)

Daily guided tours of the stud commence at 10h30, 12h00, 13h00, 14h00, 15h00 and 16h00, lasting approximately 45 minutes.

To find out more about Irish National Stud, Japanese Gardens & St. Fiachra's Garden, simply visit their website or call, + 353 45 521 617.

The Irish National Stud belongs to the people of Ireland but prides itself on being enjoyed and appreciated by visitors from all parts of the globe.

Nowhere better symbolises all that is great about County Kildare, the beating heart of Ireland's thoroughbred industry, than the stud, a unique attraction of outstanding natural beauty that is home to some of the most magnificent horses and sumptuous gardens to be found anywhere in the world.

The Irish Racehorse Experience takes the visitor on a journey through the rich history and heritage of the Irish thoroughbred sector, from the world’s very first steeplechase in Cork to today’s commercial success story where Ireland and the Irish diaspora continue to lead the world in breeding, training and racing.

Among the most loved of all Ireland's gardens, the Irish National Stud's Japanese Gardens are a veritable feast for the eye and ear with the sight and sound of trickling streams perfectly complementing the greenery and vivid colours that provide a tranquil backdrop to the beautiful Bridge of Life and Tea House.The Japanese Gardens are a place for contemplation, meditation and reflection. Since they were first enjoyed more than 100 years ago, they have never failed to please.

Step into St. Fiachra's Garden and enter another world, one to which you will wish to return again and again. The garden, designed in 1999 by award-winning landscape architect Professor Martin Hallinan and named to commemorate St. Fiachra, the patron saint of gardeners, provides a perfect partner to the Irish National Stud's Japanese Gardens while, at the same time, opening up a wholly different yet equally satisfying experience. This stunning attraction seeks to capture that which inspired those involved in Ireland's monastic movement in the 6th and 7th centuries. It does so principally by paying handsome tribute to the Irish landscape in its rawest state. Rock and water are rulers in a garden rejoicing in the natural beauty of woodland, wetland, waterfalls, lakes and streams.

From horses to horticulture, the Irish National Stud offers you a unique experience that can be enjoyed at your own leisure or as part of a guided tour. Come to the Stud and share with us one of Ireland's true treasures.

Find out more about Irish National Stud & Gardens here

Castletown House Celbridge

Castletown House & Parklands



House Opening Hours (March - October)
(Parklands open all year round)
Monday 10.00 - 17.00
Tuesday 10.00 - 17.00
Wednesday 10.00 - 17.00
Thursday 10.00 - 17.00
Friday 10.00 - 17.00
Saturday 10.00 - 17.00
Sunday 10.00 - 17.00

Guided Tours of the house run daily at 10:15, then hourly on the hour until the final tour at 16:45.

To find out more about Castletown House, simply visit their website or call, + 353 1 628 8252.

Castletown House, Celbridge, was built in 1722 for ‘Speaker’ William Conolly, the speaker of the Irish House of Commons from 1715. It was and is the only house in Ireland designed by the famous Italian architect Alessandro Galilei (1691-1737).

The only Irish Palladian house to have been built with the correct classical proportions, it is said to have influenced the design of the White House in Washington. Catherine Conolly, widow of the great ‘Speaker’, continued to live in Castletown until her own death in 1752. Castletown was then inherited by her nephew William. He died just two years later and the house was inherited by his son Tom Conolly. ‘Squire’ Conolly, as he was known, married Lady Louisa Lennox, daughter of the Duke of Richmond in 1758. Louisa was only fifteen years of age at the time. The ‘Print Room’ dated c.1765 is attributed to Louisa. It is the only print room in Ireland to have survived. The fashion of print rooms originated in England and consisted of engravings and mezzotints being pasted onto the wall and framed with decorative borders.

In 1965, Castletown was put up for auction by Lord Carew, whose mother was a member of the Conolly family. It was bought by speculators who, after obtaining permission from Kildare County Council, built a modern housing estate beside the avenue of Castletown House. In 1967 Desmond Guinness bought the house and made it the headquarters of the Irish Georgian Society. The house was opened to the public. Money was spent on restoration and refurbishment of Castletown, which had lain empty and decaying for two years.

Find out more about Castletown here


Burtown House & Gardens


Click here for Opening Hours & Admission Cost

To find out more about Burtown House, simply visit their website or call, +353 59 8623148.

Burtown House, an early Georgian villa, is surrounded by lush flower, vegetable and woodland gardens with beautiful park and farmland walks. It was built for the Quaker Robert Power in 1710; Burtown House is marked on early maps as Power’s Grove.  The house contains some interesting features such as ornate plasterwork and a tall arch sash window.

There is a walled kitchen garden which has been in operation for over 150 years. Much of the present flower, vegetable and woodland gardens were reclaimed from paddocks, fields and woodlands by the Fennell Family. The Nutgrove, once a formal garden in the 18th century, is perhaps the oldest part of the garden. Neighboring fields are also being devoted to arboretums, woodland walks and ponds.  Burtown is still a working farm, with 180 acres of wheat, barley and forestry.

Find out more about Burtown House & Gardens here

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Upcoming Events

  1. Collector Market Fair - Newbridge Town Hall

    July 9 @ 11:00 am - December 17 @ 4:30 pm
  2. Cill Dara Historical Society Monthly Talk

    October 4 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  3. Cill Dara Historical Society Monthly Talks : The Murder of Joseph Bergin

    November 8 @ 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Upcoming Events

Contact Info

Kildare Town Heritage Centre, Market Square, Kildare Town, Co. Kildare, Ireland.

Tel: +353 45 530 672
Mobile: +353 871900945
Email: info@kildareheritage.com

Opening Hours

(Lunch 01:00-02:00pm Daily)

Monday 09:30am - 05:00pm

Tuesday 09:30am - 05:00pm 

Wednesday 09:30am - 05:00pm

Thursday 09:30am - 05:00pm

Friday 09:30am - 05:00pm 

Saturday 09:30am - 05:00pm

Sunday Closed