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Kildare, Irish Cill Dara county in the province of Leinster, east-central Ireland. It comprises part of the lowland west of the Wicklow Mountains and part of the Irish central lowland. With an area of 654 square miles (1,694 square km), it is bounded on the north by County Meath, on the east by Dublin and Wicklow, on the south by Carlow, and on the west by Laoighis and Offaly. The River Liffey forms a gorge at Pollaphuca and runs west into the Kildare lowland, northwest to Newbridge, and northeast to Celbridge and Leixlip. The River Barrow forms much of the county's western boundary. Glacial deposits cover much of the surface of Kildare, and soils are varied; more than four-fifths of the area is farmland.

There is much evidence of ancient settlement, including burial mounds on The Curragh, a large sandy expanse. The town of Kildare, an early Christian site, has a round tower, and remains of others are in Castledermot, Taghadoe, and Old Kilcullen. More than 100 stone or palisaded castles were built in the county in Norman times, and there are also remains of medieval abbeys and churches. Kildare was defined as a county in 1296.

The manors of Naas and Maynooth in Kildare were confirmed to William and Gerald Fitzgerald by Henry II in the 12th century. In 1316 Edward II made John FitzThomas Fitzgerald earl of Kildare. In the later European Middle Ages the holders of the earldoms of Desmond, Ormonde, and Kildare competed to control the Dublin government, and the earls of Kildare became masters of this government at the end of the Middle Ages. From 1477 to his death in 1513, the 8th Earl of Kildare exercised almost kingly power in Ireland. His son Gerald succeeded as 9th earl to his powers and offices but was weakened and ruined by the rebellion of his son Lord Thomas Fitzgerald against the English crown.

Nearly half of the people of Kildare live in towns and villages, including Athy, Naas (q.v.), Newbridge, and Kildare; the first two are urban districts. The county council meets at Naas.

Most of the farms in Kildare are relatively large, usually over 100 acres (40 hectares) in the lowlands but much smaller on the flanks of the Wicklow Mountains. Cattle fattening is a main source of cash for large farms; sheep are also important. Wheat, barley, and oats are the main crops. Allenwood has a peat-fired power station. Kildare's industries include agricultural engineering and textile, carpet, pharmaceutical, metallurgical, and cutlery manufacture. The county is crossed by the Grand Canal and by railways from Dublin to Cork and Galway. Pop. (1986) 116,247.


Local History

Popular Surnames from County Kildare

Kelly, Byrne, Dunne, Nolan, Murphy, Lawler, Farrell, Doyle, Walsh, Dowling, Connor, Neill, Brennan, Moore and Kavanagh

Major Towns in County Kildare

Naas, Newbridge, Celbridge, Leixlip, Maynooth, Kildare, Athy

Archives and Libraries

County Library Headquarters
County Kildare
Tel: 045 431109/ 431486
Fax: 045 432490

The Kildare Heritage & Genealogy Co. Ltd.
c/o Kildare County Library
Co. Kildare
Tel.  +353 (0)45 433602

Kildare Local Government

Kildare County Council




Local Information

Online Records

Email Lists


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�  2001.  County Kildare, IrelandGenWeb Project.