Starting in Kildare Town, it’s easy to see how it's well known for its association with Ireland's famous Horse Racing industry. The National Stud, the Curragh and Punchestown Racecourse are all close to the town – and there is an overall 'horsey' feel to the area, with many farms and studs dotted around the countryside nearby. If you love horses, you will be in heaven.
Visit the National Stud and Japanese Gardens for a delightful day out learning about the legends of Ireland’s racing scene, and relaxing in the stunning gardens. Home to several of the world’s most admired steeds, here you can take a tour to get up close to some of these equestrian superstars. Learn about bloodlines and training methods as you explore the stud and the Horse Museum. Meanwhile, in both the Japanese-themed and St Fiachra’s gardens, you will find tranquillity and serenity to contrast with the activity of the stud.
Spend a day admiring these majestic beasts while soaking up the atmosphere at the Curragh Racecourse. The thundering hooves, the cheers of the crowd and the excitement in the air make horse racing a unique experience – and the Curragh is one of the best places on earth to enjoy this Sport of Kings.
Or go on a more spiritual jaunt with a visit to St Brigid’s Cathedral & Round Tower in the town. St Brigid is one of Ireland’s most significant saints, and a big part of her story was based in Kildare where she approached the King of Leinster requesting land to build a monastery. She was refused the site she wanted – but legend has it that after Brigid and her convent prayed for the King to change his mind, she proposed that he give her “as much land as my cloak will cover.”
The King saw her small cloak and laughingly agreed, but as Brigid and her helpers spread it out, it began to grow – covering enough land for her to build her monastery. Convinced that Brigid was a truly special woman, the King became a supporter of her and her church. The monastery was built near an oak tree around 470 AD and gave the town – and later the county – its name: Cill Dara, Irish for ‘the church of the oak tree’.
Make sure you finish your day on a full stomach with a stop at Hartes of Kildare for some fine food and a craft beer, or satisfy your hunger at Silken Thomas in Kildare Town where you can eat, drink, dance and sleep!