South & Mid-Kildare Touring Route
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For further information contact, KildareTourist Information Office, Kildare Town, Kildare,
The route traverses over through the middle and southern half of County Kildare. The visitor will experience many places of interest. Examples include visiting two heritage towns, one of Ireland’s largest visitor attractions and three racecourses.
The route traverses over through the middle and southern half of County Kildare. The visitor will experience many places of interest. Examples include visiting two heritage towns, one of Ireland’s largest visitor attractions and three racecourses and the National Stud contains a Horse Museum.
Starting in Naas, the principle town of the county has much to offer the touring visitor. With an abundance of shops, accommodation, restaurants and other facilities the town has plenty to offer the touring visitor. On the Dublin side of the town is the Naas Racecourse. Just off the R410 to Blessington is Punchestown, home of Irish National Hunt Racing. It also is the National Centre for Equestrian & Field Sports and host of an International 3 Day Event venue.
From here, head in the direction of the N7, going southbound, until to reach The Curragh Racecourse. The Curragh is the HQ of flat horse racing in Ireland. All five Classic Races including the Budweiser Irish Derby are held in the Curragh. Further on up the N7 is Kildare Town, a designated Heritage Town. The Heritage Centre in the market square helps to interpret the town history. Adjacent to the Heritage Centre is St. Brigid’s Cathedral & Round Tower. It is on this site that St. Brigid is reputed to have founded a monastery in 480AD. In addition the Irish National Stud, Japanese Gardens & St. Fiachra’s Garden is located in the town. This is one of Ireland’s most popular attractions. The National Stud contains a Horse Museum. The gardens are themed to symbolise different aspects of life. Why not stop of in the Visitor Centre here for a break and visit the craft shop.
Rathangan on the R401. Built upon the Grand Canal Rathangan one can hire canal boats. Moving towards Monasterevin one can view an Aqueduct, which carries the Grand Canal over the Barrow River. Travel the R417 towards the Heritage Town of Athy. A visit to the Heritage Centre is a must. The centre is a museum to the famous artic explorer Ernest Shakleton. Also in the centre is one can trace the history of famous Gordon Bennett Road Race which was held in Athy 100 years ago this year. A short distance from Athy is a little village called Ballitore. The same village saw the first Quakers to settle in Ireland back in 1685. Today there is a Quaker Museum, which contains a collection of artefacts on the Quaker settlement.