Kildare, or Cill-Dara in the Celtic language, means the church of the oak, for it was here that St. Brigid founded the first convent in Ireland. Kildare is situated in the west of Dublin, and because of the proximity, tourists often just pass through on their way to the west of Ireland.
The town has much to offer though, and most are surprised that many interesting sights are in Kildare such as a huge stud farm with magnificent gardens, stunning monastic settlements, a scenic biodiverse park, architectural wonders, and even an unforgettable day at the races.
See and discover more of this town with this list of things to do in Kildare that will make you stop and spend more time in Kildare next time you’re headed out west.
Things you'll find in this article
- 11 Best Things To Do in Kildare, Ireland
- 1.Castletown Estate
- 2.Lullymore Heritage Park, Rathangan
- 3.Irish National Stud & Gardens
- 4.Get to Know St. Brigid
- 5.Newbridge Silverware Visitor Center & Museum of Style Icons
- 6.Kildare Heritage Center
- 7.The Bog of Allen Nature Center
- 8.The Curragh Racecourse
- 9.The Steam Museum
- 10.Curragh Military Museum
- 11.Grand Canal
11 Best Things To Do in Kildare, Ireland
A trip to Castletown House is the perfect day out for any nature-lover, those into quirky architecture and history buffs. It was built for William Conolly, then-Speaker of the Irish House of Commons and after his death in 1729, his wife, Katherine remained at Castletown and took over a number of building ventures, including the Wonderful Barn.
The barn was built after the famine years of 1740 – 41, with the purpose of storing grain and of creating employment for the local people devastated by the famine.
The house is known for its corkscrew tower, spiraling up into the sky, flipped inside out, with stairs curling around the outside instead of the inside. It sits in acres of forests and fields and can be reached by a stunning walk along the River Liffey. Castletown House is also one of the best day trips from Dublin.
March 1st – March 31st:
Access by Guided Tour only.
Tour Times: 10.15, 11.00, 12.00, 13.00, 14.00, 15.00, 16.00, 16.45
Entry to House and Exhibitions
Child (12-17) €3.50
Entry to House and Exhibitions with Guided Tour
Child (12-17) €5
Family (2 Adult + 3 Children) €25
The Castletown Experience
Student/Child (Over 3 years) €3
Family (2 Adults + 3 Children) €18
Address: Castletown House and Parklands, Celbridge, Co. Kildare W23 V9H3
Phone:+353 1 6288252
2.Lullymore Heritage Park, Rathangan
Located at the farther end of Kildare, Lullymore Heritage Park is a quiet well-preserved spot of Irish history and culture. It is also considered an ideal resource for educating both adults and kids about biodiversity and environmental sustainability, making it one of the best things to see in Kildare.
Make sure you visit the Peatland Biodiversity Trail, a raised boardwalk trail through the bog, where you get to enjoy the stunning scenery, the unique flora, and fauna of the peatlands, as well as an 18th-century farmhouse, a famine cottage, and a stone age settlement.
March 16th, 2019 every day until 29th September 2019.
Monda-Sunday 10 am-6 pm (last admission is 4.30pm)
Single Adult €9.00
Senior Citizen €8.00
Under 2 years (baby in arms) FREE
Special Needs €8.00 – Carer Free on presentation of Carers ID Card (HSE, IAA, FC)
Peatland Heritage Railway €5.00 (Adult) €2.50 (Child)
2 Adults – 2 Children €32.00
1 Adult – 3 Children €32.00
1 Adult – 2 Children €24.00
2 Adults – 1 Child €24.00
1 Adult – 1 Child €16.00
Extra Child €8.00
Address: Lullymore Heritage Park Lullymore, Rathangan, Co.Kildare.
Phone: +353 45 870238
3.Irish National Stud & Gardens
A must visit for horse-lovers, especially if you visit during spring which is foaling season, and seeing the little ones find their feet through a frolic in the fields is quite a treat! The National Stud Farm located in Tully, Co. Kildare, is the beating heart of Ireland’s thoroughbred industry, and one of the best places to see in Kildare.
Home to several of Ireland’s finest thoroughbreds, the stud also features a horse racing museum and two of the prettiest gardens to be found anywhere in the world.
There’s the Japanese Garden, designed by Japanese master horticulturist Tassa Eida and is known to be the finest of its kind in Europe. The second garden is dedicated to the patron saint of gardeners, St. Fiachra, and is said to represent Ireland in its natural state during the monastic period.
Monday -Sunday (including Bank Holidays)
9.00am- 6.00pm-Last Admission 5.00pm
Daily Guided Tour Times
10.30am, 12.oopm, 2.00pm and 4.00pm
Car Park Closes-6.15pm Sharp
Admits one child (Aged 5- 16 years old) -€7.00
Children under 5-Free
Family Ticket (2 Adults & Up to 4 Children 16 years of age and under)-€29.50
Season ticket price
Family Ticket-2 Adults and up to 4 Children under 16 years old-€110.00
Address: Irish National Stud And Garden, Kildare County, Kildare Ireland R51 KX25
Phone: +353 (0) 45 521 617
4.Get to Know St. Brigid
St. Brigid is Ireland’s patroness saint, equal to St. Patrick in significance to many Irish people. She is also known as the founder of Kildare, and her influence remains. A tour of the town exploring the many St. Brigid sites is one of the best activities to do in Kildare as it gets you acquainted not just with the patroness but bits of local history as well.
Around Kildare, there’s the Saint Brigid cathedral which was consecrated in 1230, also a National Monument and holds regular services. It has a 12th century round tower that still stands, a replica of the Fire Temple, known for being the original location of St. Brigid’s perpetual flame, and nearby, the Solas Bhride, a center celebrating the legacy of St Brigid of Kildare.
5.Newbridge Silverware Visitor Center & Museum of Style Icons
A haven for pop culture fans and anyone interested in fashion and accessories, the Newbridge Silverware Visitor Center & Museum of Style Icons is one of the more unique places to see in Kildare.
Owned by the Kildare family, Newbridge Silverware is synonymous with modern Irish glamour, design, and jewelry. It has gone through so much until it became an internationally successful Irish brand.
During the 2000s the chance acquisition of an iconic dress belonging to Audrey Hepburn led to the creation of Newbridge’s Museum of Style Icons.
The silver shop is now home to fashion collections, accessories, and artifacts of some of the most famous style icons in history such as Audrey Hepburn, Princess Grace, Judy Garland, Michael Jackson, Greta Garbo The Beatles and Marilyn Monroe.
A definite must-visit, it is now one of the most popular attractions outside Ireland’s capital city.
Monday- Saturday: 9 am-4.30pm
Sunday & Public Holidays: 10am-4.30pm
Factory Tour Admission Times
Monday-Sunday: 10:30, 11:30 and 14:00
Address: Newbridge Silverware Athgarvan Road, Newbridge, Co. Kildare, Ireland, W12 HT 62
Phone: +353 (0)45-431-301
6.Kildare Heritage Center
Located in the center of Kildare in the area often referred to as Market Square, you can’t miss the Heritage Center. Housed in a charming refurbished 19th-century market house, it fits just right in its location.
One of the top attractions in Kildare, the Heritage Center has a multimedia exhibit on the history of Kildare town and its surrounding areas.
If you’re up to seeing more of Kildare they can also make arrangements for a guided heritage walk through the town which includes St. Brigid’s Cathedral and holy well, and the remains of Kildare Castle. The center also provides information for other attractions in the area.
Monday-Saturday- 9:30 am-5pm
Address: Market Square, Kildare, Ireland
Phone: +353 45 530 672
7.The Bog of Allen Nature Center
A national center of excellence for peatland education, research, and conservation — the Bog of Allen Nature Center features a peatland museum, exhibitions about the Bog of Allen, a research library, habitats and gardens including the largest collection of carnivorous plants in Ireland and the U.K.
A must visit and one of the best things to do in Kildare on weekends, there’s a lot that tourists of all ages can do here such as pond dipping, nature crafts, frog hunt, bog walk, checking out insect-eating plants, a creepy-crawly search, as well as a museum and garden tour.
The Bog of Allen Nature Center is run by the Irish Peatland Conservation Council.
Address: Lullymore West, Rathangan, Co. Kildare, Ireland
Phone: +353 45 860 133
8.The Curragh Racecourse
Home to some of Ireland’s most famous and exciting racecourses, watching an actual horse race in Curragh is one of the best things to do in Kildare. The famous racecourse plays host to 19 international horse racing matches from March to October, which includes all 5 Irish classic races.
A must-see is the Irish Derby Festival, which happens every June. It’s a definite must-see for family and friends, as you enjoy a day of excitement, equine athleticism, and glamour, good food and drinks.
Address: Curragh Racecourse, Co. Kildare, R56 RR67, Ireland.
Phone: + 353 (0) 45 441 205
9.The Steam Museum
One way of getting to know a place you visit is to learn about its industrial heritage. In Kildare, there’s a specific place where you get to know more about the age of steam, and it offers interesting discoveries.
We may be familiar with steam locomotives because of their role in many movies, but a trip to The Steam Museum will tell you that steam once powered more than train engines. Being the main power source for a lot of things almost a century and a half ago, knowing more about steam technology is one of the best activities to do in Kildare.
Not much of it remains today as many technological advancements have occurred since then, but the Age of Steam lasted for 150 years during the Industrial Revolution.
A tour of the Steam Museum takes you through an impressive collection of steam engines used for different purposes, from washing machines in a Dublin laundry to beam engines from the Jameson Distillery, and even an engine for degaussing military ships to counteract magnetic mines.
There are also demonstrations of different types of steam processes which are quite fascinating to watch for kids and adults alike.
2:00pm – 6:00pm
2:00pm – 6:00pm
Steam up every Sunday
Sunday – Sunday
2:00pm – 6:00pm
Last entry: 5:00pm
Any other time by arrangement.
Child / OAP / Student /
Group of Twenty-€5:00
Horticultural / Technology student with card- FOC
Address: The Steam Museum & Lodge Park Walled Garden Lodge Park Straffan Co. Kildare Ireland
10.Curragh Military Museum
Ireland being neutral during WWII for a number of different reasons, maybe one of the last places to seek any sort of World War II tourism. Back then, they’ve just won their independence from Britain and barely into the recovery from centuries of oppression. However, Ireland’s position adjacent to Britain, and as an island nation, often resulted in soldiers coming to the island. In 1939 the K-Lines internment camp was built to detain these soldiers until the end of the war, making Ireland party to a bit of WW2 military history.
A place run by soldiers and one of the best things to do in Kildare whether you’re into history or just wanted to see something different, the Curragh Military Museum features a number of displays about military history in Ireland and a bit about the camp. Drop by for a visit and stay for a chat with experts who can give more in-depth information at any time.
Monday to Wednesday
Friday, Saturday, Bank holidays
Address: Curragh, Co. Kildare, Ireland
Phone: 00 353 45 445342
The Grand Canal is not unique to County Kildare, as it is part of the Irish Waterways, which connects the River Liffey in the east to the River Shannon in the west. It is a very important part of the region’s history as well as a nice place for a stroll while enjoying the scenery.
This Grand Canal runs 64 kilometers and used by walkers, cyclists, fishermen, and hosts various festivals and events. One of the best things to do in Kildare is to either stroll or bike along the canal, take in the. picturesque townscapes and discover flora and fauna through the bogland.