North Kildare Touring Route
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When one mentions the Thoroughbred County one automatically thinks of the excellent equine facilities in Co. Kildare. However Kildare is also known as the thoroughbred county because of the quality of the attractions, facilities, heritage & gardens and activities that it can offer the tourist.
When one mentions the Thoroughbred County one automatically thinks of the excellent equine facilities in Co. Kildare. However Kildare is also known as the thoroughbred county because of the quality of the attractions, facilities, heritage & gardens and activities that it can offer the tourist. The visitor will visit many places of interest including some of Irelands finest houses & gardens, the setting for the next Ryder Cup in Europe, a 18th century university and Ireland’s only motor racing circuit to name but a few. Distance: Approximately 50 miles (80 km).
The first town you meet in Co. Kildare on the N4 after leaving Dublin is Leixlip. St. Mary’s Church was built in the 12th century. Its tower only survives today after an attack by Robert Bruce in 1317. Next one should travel the R403 to Celbridge to view Celbridge Abbey and Castletown House. The Abbey features themed walks around the grounds, model railways, picnic area’s etc., while the famous Castletown House, which was built in 1722 by the then Speaker of the House of Commons – William Connolly. The house is one of the finest houses in Ireland. Close by in Straffan is where you will find The K-Club, which hosted the 2006 Ryder Cup.
Head northwards (R406) to visit Maynooth University, which dates back to 1795. One can enjoy its unique architecture and visit the College Chapel and Gardens on a guided tour. This is an excellent location to take a break and stop off for a cup of coffee and a scone in one of the many outlets in the village. Continue your drive on the ‘old road’ (R148) towards Kilcock to see the sole example in Europe of a mid 18th century Arcadian Garden. Just of the R407 is the Donadea Forest Park, which now has three new signposted walks.
Other options available to you might be a visit to the Coolcarrigan Gardens or Mondello Park, the International Motor Racing Circuit. Coolcarrigan Gardens, just of the R403 in Timahoe is an ideal place to relax and enjoy the tranquillity of the garden. Alternatively you could travel to Mondello Park (R408) to visit Ireland’s only Motor Racing Circuit. One can learn to drive at the performance Driving Centre or visit the museum. A large number of races are held there each year. Return to the R403 and travel west toward Lullymore where you will be treated to two excellent attractions on the one site. At Peatland World you can explore the history of the bogs and peat over the ages and learn of the unique flora and fauna associated with the bog. In the Lullymore Heritage Park the story of the Irish people throughout the millennia unfolds.
Finally you can end your tour of the northern half of the county by visiting Ballindoolin House & Gardens, which is just outside Carbury town. The Georgian Country House, built in 1820 features walled gardens, nature walks in the adjoining woodland, children’s farmyard and a craft shop.