Dare to Explore – A road trip of County Kildare
Kildare’s proximity to the ferry ports and airport at Dublin makes Kildare an excellent base for a touring Holiday.
This tour starts from the bustling town of Naas: If its excitement your after Naas has it. You can have a pit stop in the proper sense of the word at nearby Mondello Park. This is Ireland’s most professional & exciting motor sport facility offering international car & motorcycle races or why not take part in a performance-driving course on the track! Naas racecourse offers a different excitement hosting both flat & national hunt races & Punchestown racecourse which is a couple of km south of Naas also has top class racing & entertainment.
From Naas travel south through Kilcullen & on to Athy: Athy is fast becoming the Festival capital of Kildare. Athy celebrates its waterside location every year by holding the Athy Water Festival during the summer. The Ernest Shackleton festival takes place in the autumn. The Athy Heritage centre holds an Ernest Shackleton collection & is worth a visit.
From Athy you could travel to Castledermot to see the two high crosses, play a round of golf at Kilkea Castle golf club, and on to Timolin to visit the Irish Pewtermill & Moone High cross centre. From Timolin travel on to Ballitore a village, which was settled by a Quaker Community. Take in the restored Mary Leadbetter House, which is now a county Library, & museum. From Ballitore travel towards Kildare Town. On route you will be passing through an area called the Curragh, this is a unique plain, which has been occupied since pre historic times. The Irish Army uses part of the Curragh. There is also the famous Curragh racecourse, the turf club, a jockey school, and the Curragh & Cill Dara golf courses!
When you arrive in Kildare town (Cill Dara) which means “church of the oak” make sure to pay a visit to the Kildare Town Heritage Centre, which offers information on St. Brigid who is associated with Kildare town, where St. Brigid’s Cathedral & Round Tower is located. Just outside Kildare town is The National Stud, Japanese & St. Fiachra’s gardens. Three attractions in one!! See top quality thoroughbreds and relax & enjoy the Japanese Garden & St. Fiachra’s garden.
From Kildare town travel north on the R415 to the Bog of Allen. There are many attractions in this area including: Lullymore Heritage & discovery park, the bog of Allen nature centre at Lullymore, the millennium maze at Prosperous, Ballindoolin House & Gardens at Carbury & Donadea Forest Park. In North Kildare at Straffan one can visit the Straffan Butterfly Farm & the Straffan steam museum (both open during summer months) Straffan village is where the Kildare Hotel & Country Club is located (generally known as the K Club). From here travel on to Celbridge. Here you will find Castletown house a Palladian mansion. From Celbridge travel to Maynooth College. Come along & find out for yourself!