County Kildare
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County Kildare

County Kildare

Contae Chill Dara
Coat of arms of County Kildare
Coat of arms
Nickname(s): 
The Short Grass County
Motto(s): 
Meanma agus Misneach  (Irish)
"Spirit and Courage"
Location of County Kildare (dark green) in Ireland
Location of County Kildare (dark green) in Ireland
Coordinates: 53°10?N 6°45?W / 53.167°N 6.750°W / 53.167; -6.750Coordinates: 53°10?N 6°45?W / 53.167°N 6.750°W / 53.167; -6.750
CountryIreland
ProvinceLeinster
Established1297[1]
County townNaas
Government
 o TypeCounty Council
 o Dáil ÉireannKildare North
Kildare South
 o European ParliamentMidlands-North-West
Area
 o Total1,695 km2 (654 sq mi)
Area rank24th
Highest elevation379 m (1,243 ft)
Population
(2016)[2]
 o Total222,504
 o Rank7th
 o Density130/km2 (340/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC±0 (WET)
 o Summer (DST)UTC+1 (IST)
Eircode routing keys
R14, R45, R51, W12, W23, W34, W91 (primarily)
Telephone area codes01, 045, 059 (primarily)
Vehicle index
mark code
KE
Websitewww.kildare.ie Edit this at Wikidata

County Kildare (Irish: Contae Chill Dara) is a county in Ireland. It is located in the province of Leinster and is part of the Mid-East Region. It is named after the town of Kildare. Kildare County Council is the local authority for the county which has a population of 222,504.[2]

Geography and political subdivisions

Kildare is the 24th-largest of Ireland's 32 counties in area and seventh largest in terms of population. It is the eighth largest of Leinster's twelve counties in size, and second largest in terms of population. It is bordered by the counties of Carlow, Laois, Meath, Offaly, Dublin and Wicklow. As an inland county, Kildare is a generally lowland region. The county's highest points are the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains bordering to the east. The highest point in Kildare is Cupidstown Hill on the border with Dublin, with the better known Hill of Allen in central Kildare.

Towns and villages

Physical geography

Looking east across the broad plains of South Kildare to the distant Wicklow Hills.

The county has three major rivers running through it: the Barrow, the Liffey and the Boyne. The Grand Canal crosses the county from Lyons on the east to Rathangan and Monasterevin on the west. A southern branch joins the Barrow navigation at Athy. The Royal Canal stretches across the north of the county along the border with Meath. Pollardstown Fen is the largest remaining calcareous fen in Ireland, covering an area of 220 hectares and is recognised as an internationally important fen ecosystem with unique and endangered plant communities, and declared a National Nature Reserve in 1986.

The Bog of Allen is a large bog that extends across 958 km2 (370 sq mi) and into County Kildare, County Meath, County Offaly, County Laois, and County Westmeath. Kildare has 243 km2 (94 sq mi) of bog (almost 14% of Kildare's land area) mostly located in the south-west and north-west, a majority of this being Raised Bog. It is habitat to over 185 plant and animal species.

There are 8,472 hectares (20,930 acres) of forested land in Kildare, accounting for roughly 5% of the county's total land area. 4,056 hectares (10,020 acres) of this is coniferous, while there is 2,963 hectares (7,320 acres) of broadleaf and the remaining area are unclassified species. Coillte and Dúchas currently own 47% of the forestry. Coillte run Donadea Forest Park which is in North-Central Kildare. The forest covers 259 hectares (640 acres) of mixed woodland (60% broadleaf, 40% conifer) and is the largest forest park in Kildare.

History

Kildare was shired in 1297[4] and assumed its present borders in 1832, following amendments to remove a number of enclaves and exclaves.

The county was the home of the powerful Fitzgerald family. Parts of the county were also part of the Pale area around Dublin.

Local government and politics

Kildare County Council is the local authority for the county. The Local Electoral Areas of Kildare are Athy (6 Seats), Celbridge - Leixlip (7 Seats), Maynooth (9 Seats), Kildare - Newbridge (9 Seats) and Naas (9 Seats). The Council has 40 members. The current council was elected in May 2019. Under the Local Government Reform Act 2014 the towns of Leixlip, Naas, Newbridge and Athy ceased to have separate town councils and were absorbed into their corresponding local electoral area.

For elections to Dáil Éireann, there are two constituencies in the area of the county; Kildare North, which returns four TDs and Kildare South which returns three TDs. In the 2016 Irish general election, Kildare North returned Catherine Murphy (SD), James Lawless (FF), Frank O'Rourke (FF) and Bernard Durkan (FG), while Martin Heydon (FG), Fiona O'Loughlin (FF) and Sean O Fearghail (FF) (elected Ceann Comhairle) were returned for Kildare South.

As part of the Mid-East Region, it is within the purview of the Mid-East Regional Authority.

For elections to the European Parliament, it is part of the Midlands North-West constituency which returns four MEPs.

Demographics

The county's population has nearly doubled to some 186,000 in 1990-2005. The north eastern region of Kildare had the highest average per-capita income in Ireland outside County Dublin in 2003. East Kildare's population has increased rapidly, for example the amount of housing in the Naas suburb of Sallins has increased sixfold since the mid-1990s.[]

As of 2016 the population of the county was 222,504. Ethnically, the 2016 census recorded County Kildare as 84% white Irish, 9% other white ethnicities, 2% black, 2% Asian, 1% of other ethnicity, and 2% not stated. For religion, the census recorded a population that was 80% Catholic, 9% of other stated religions, 10% with no religion and 2% not stated.[2]

Health care

Naas General Hospital is run by the "Health Service Executive", and is the only hospital in the county.

Ethnic Groups

Main immigrant groups, 2016[5]
Nationality Population
 United Kingdom 10,527
 Poland 6,869
 Lithuania 1,550
 Romania 1,156
 Nigeria 1,120
 Philippines 1,088
 United States 1,082
 India 929
 Latvia 845
 Moldova 829

Urban areas and populations

Town Population 2016
Newbridge 22,742
Naas 21,393
Celbridge 20,288
Leixlip 15,504
Maynooth 14,585
Athy 9,677
Kildare 8,634
Clane 7,280
Kilcock 6,093
Sallins 5,849
Monasterevin 4,246

Transport

Road

County Kildare houses the hub of Ireland's network of major roads.

The N4 (M4) from Dublin to Sligo travels along the north of the county by-passing the towns of Leixlip, Maynooth and Kilcock.

The M7 from Dublin to Limerick runs through the county and by-passes the towns of Naas, Newbridge, Kildare and Monasterevin. This road is colloquially referred to as the "Naas Dual carriageway" because when it was originally up-graded in 1964 the road from Dublin to Naas was a double-lane carriageway, one of the first of its kind in Ireland.

The M9 is another motorway that commences at Kilcullen and ends at Waterford. It is motorway standard for its entire length.

Rail

The County is also served by the trains connecting with Dublin, South Leinster, Munster and South Connacht, with daily connections to Cork, Waterford, Limerick, and Galway. The principal Irish Rail InterCity train station in the county is Kildare, however, Newbridge, Sallins and Hazelhatch are also served by South Western Commuter services, while Maynooth, in northern County Kildare, is served by Western Commuter and Sligo InterCity services.

Waterway

River Barrow and White's Castle, Athy

Kildare is the centre of Ireland's Grand Canal network built in the late 18th century. This connects Kildare with Waterford, Dublin, Limerick and Athlone. The Royal Canal runs west from Dublin and parts of it form the boundary with County Meath.

Irish language

There are 4,491 Irish speakers in County Kildare; 2,451 attending the seven Gaelscoils (Irish language primary schools) and one Gaelcholáiste (Irish language secondary school).[6] According to the Irish Census 2006, 2,040 people in the county identify themselves as being daily Irish speakers outside the education system.

Education

  • Two third-level educational institutions - St. Patrick's College founded by King George III in 1795 to educate Ireland's Catholics and Maynooth University founded in 1997 - are located in Maynooth. They share campus space and many facilities. The two institutions were formally separated in 1997. Maynooth University is the only university in the Republic of Ireland not situated in a city.
  • Clongowes Wood College is a private secondary boarding school for boys, located near Clane. Founded by the Society of Jesus (The Jesuits) in 1814, it is one of Ireland's oldest Catholic schools.
  • Newbridge College is a co-educational fee-paying secondary school. The Dominican Order founded Newbridge College in 1852 as a boarding school for boys.
  • Leinster Senior College is a small private fee-paying secondary school geared solely towards the Leaving Certificate.
  • The town of Clane is home to another educational institute, Clane College, a provider of further education to the wider Kildare community.
  • Naas C.B.S., Saint Mary's College Naas and Piper's Hill College are the three main secondary schools in Naas.

Sport

GAA

Horses near Pollardstown Fen

The nickname for the Kildare GAA team is the Lilywhites, This is as a result of early jerseys being made from the bags of the Lilywhite Bakery. The all-white jerseys they wear are in reference to this.

In 1928, Kildare became the first team to win the Sam Maguire trophy for the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship, defeating Cavan 2-6 to 2-5. However, since then Kildare have reached the All-Ireland Football Championship Final on four occasions, the last being in 1998, but have failed on all four attempts.

County Kildare is also known as the Shortgrass County which is a reference to how short the grass is on the commons of the Curragh.

Golf

The Michael Smurfit owned K Club, situated on the River Liffey near Straffan played host to the 2006 Ryder Cup.

Carton House Golf Club is located in Maynooth. The Golfing Union of Ireland, the longest established golf union in the world, have their national headquarters on the estate. This facility also comprises the GUI National Academy, a 8.9-hectare (22-acre; 89,000-square-metre) teaching facility for up and coming golfers, as well as being a facility available to all golfers in Ireland.

Other prominent courses are located at Knockanally and Clane.

Horse racing

Kildare is famous worldwide for its horse racing.[7][8]The Curragh horse-racing course is the home to all five Irish Classic Flat races. Also located in County Kildare are two other courses, Punchestown Racecourse, home of the National Hunt Festival of Ireland, and Naas Racecourse, which runs both National Hunt and Flat meetings and is used by top race horse trainers as a test for horses preparing for the Cheltenham festival.

The county is famous for the quality of horses bred in the many stud farms to which it is home, including the Irish National Stud and many other top studs such as Gilltown, Moyglare and Kildangan Stud, and race horse training establishments, such as the Osborne Stables.

Motorsports

Kildare is the home to Mondello Park, Ireland's only international motorsport venue. Established by Martin Birrane in 1968 on 45 hectares (110 acres), and redeveloped in 1999/2000, the facility incorporates 3.5 km (2.2 mi) of race track, 24 race garages and 12 Hospitality Suites. The Circuit also has 3 km (1.9 mi) of extreme off-road driving trails and a 2-hectare (5-acre) off-road activities centre and the Museum of Motorsport. Mondello Park was awarded the FIA International race track status in 2001. It is host to National and International Race events, Motor Shows, Car & Bike Track days, Training Schools and Corporate Events.

Notable people

Sports

Writers, musicians, and entertainers

Twinning

County Kildare is twinned with the following places:

Both are major centres of the Thoroughbred breeding industry in their respective countries.

See also

References

  1. ^ "A Brief History of Co.Kildare". kildare.ie.
  2. ^ a b c d "Census 2016 Sapmap Area: County Kildare". Central Statistics Office (Ireland). Retrieved 2019.
  3. ^ http://www.cso.ie/census for post 1821 figures, 1653 and 1659 figures from Civil Survey Census of those years, Paper of Mr Hardinge to Royal Irish Academy 14 March 1865, 1788 Estimate from survey by GP Bushe. |1813 estimate from Mason's Statistical Survey
  4. ^ Otway-Ruthven, Annette Jocelyn (1980). A history of medieval Ireland. Routledge. p. 174. ISBN 0-510-27800-0.
  5. ^ "Population Usually Resident and Present in the State 2011 to 2016". cso.ie.
  6. ^ "Oideachas Trí Mheán na Gaeilge in Éirinn sa Ghalltacht 2010-2011" (PDF) (in Irish). gaelscoileanna.ie. 2011. Retrieved 2012.
  7. ^ "Passion for Horses, The New York Times". Newswoman.de. 16 April 1995. Archived from the original on 19 January 2012. Retrieved 2011.
  8. ^ "Kildarehorse". Kildarehorse.ie.
  9. ^ "About the Lexington Sister Cities Commission". Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government. Archived from the original on 15 February 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  10. ^ "Sister Cities - U.S. Embassy Dublin, Ireland". U.S. Department of State. Archived from the original on 2 August 2009. Retrieved 2009.

External links


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