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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 townof 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.

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                                            THE PENAL LAWS

                                           THE POPERY CODE
 After the defeat of the Catholic King,  James the II,  by William of Orange at the Battle of the Boyne in 169O,  the Irish Parliament,  which was entirely Protestant,  enacted laws to make sure that the Catholic majority would  never again  endanger the Prostestant Ascendancy.  These anti-Catholic laws were designed "to prevent the further growth of Popery."

These laws did not come from Parliament at Westminster,  but from the Irish 
House of Commons,  who were afraid Westminster would dilute them, as they 
were contrary to the terms of surrender granted to the followers of King James  II.


Those articles promised Catholics could exercise their  own  religion.  The Penal 
Laws were to destroy the last remnants of the Catholic landed gentry.
  This is an abstract from the Bill of 1704:

"Wher as  it  is  notoriously known that the late rebellions in this kingdom have 
been contrived,  promoted and carried on by Popish archbishops, bishops, Jesuits  and other ecclesiastical persons of the Romish clergy,  and forasmuch as the peace and publick safety of the kingdom is  in  danger,  by  the  great number  of  the  said  archbishops  which,  not  only endeavor to withdraw His Majesty's subjects from their obedience, but do daily stir up and move sedition and rebellion...

  No Catholic may sit in the Irish Parliament.
  No Catholic may be a solicitor, game-keeper or constable.
  No Catholic may possess a horse of greater value than L.5.
  Any Protestant offering that sum can take possession of the
  hunter or carriage horse of a Roman Catholic neighbour.
  No Catholic may attend a university, keep a school, or send his children to be
  educated abroad.
  L.10 reward  is offered for the discovery of a Roman Catholic schoolmaster.
  No Catholic may buy land or receive it as a gift from a Protestant.
  No Catholic may bequeath his estate as a whole, but must   divide it among
  all his sons, unless one of those sons become Protestant, where he will inherit
  the whole estate.
  No Catholic may be the guardian of a child. The orphan children of Catholics
  must be brought up as Protestants."

"Saint Patrick's Day we'll no more keep,
his colours can't be seen,
for there's a bloody law agin',
the wearin' o' the green."

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