Irish Name: Cill Dara - "church of the oak"
County Town: Naas
Nickname: The Lilywhites, The Thoroughbred County
GAA Colors: White
Famous People with Kildare roots: Ernest Shackleton, Jack Dempsey (Boxer), Richard M. Nixon (former US President), Mary Leadbeater, Paul Noonan, Ray D'Arcy, Charles Ancliffe, Timmy Murphy, Damien Leith, Bláthnaid McKenna, Alan Dukes, Damien Rice
Situated just west of Dublin, Kildare is the route of choice to the west of the country and many of the nation's main routes pass through it. Every year tourists make the mistake of simply going through Kildare, missing out on the beauty of its pastureland and the seductive quietude of the pace of life.
Kildare is Irish horse country at its very best. Home to many of the country's best studs as well as the internationally famous Curragh and Punchestown racecourses the love of all things equestrian runs deep in the county. The Irish National Stud at Tully is home to some of Ireland's finest horse, unmatched anywhere else in the world. The stud is also home to The Japanese Gardens and St Fiachra's Gardens making a trip a glorious opportunity to see 'three worlds in one.'
The county's luxuriant grasslands and pasture is crossed by canals and the River Liffey, both of which flow through Kildare and into Dublin. These rivers provide a range of places for the discerning fisherman to practise his angling with coarse angling especially popular in Kildare.
Golf is catered to as well with the spectacular course at the K-Club head and shoulders above most in Ireland and home of the Smurfit European Open. Mondello racetrack offers a more fast paced kind of entertainment. One of Ireland's premier motor racing circuits with programmes suited for the beginner and the expert.
Naas is Kildare's biggest town and famous for being the home to no less than 30 pubs on its main street. Each one draws in the curious visitor and many an hour can fly by in a Kildare pub with the friendly locals only too eager to have a new listener for their stories and debates. Historically the seat of the Kings of Leinster Naas has plenty of history behind it too and accommodation is widely available.
For those who want to explore Dublin and the east but would prefer not to stay in the big city Kildare is the perfect choice. Located so that Dublin is an hour away at most and the West beckons you further into the centre of Ireland the county is a fine place to base yourself while in Ireland. But Kildare is more than a place to merely base your holiday; it's a holiday in itself.
Common Surnames in Kildare: Kelly, Murphy, Dunne, Byrne, Nolan, Connor, Smith, Farrell, Ryan
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