Naas has been recorded in three forms which are written in Irish: Nás na Ríogh, translating as Place of Assembly of the Kings, An Nás translating to the Place of Assembly and Nás Laighean translating to Place of assembly of the Leinster Men.
In the Middle Ages, Naas became a walled market town and was occasionally raided by the O'Byrne and O'Toole clans from the nearby area which became County Wicklow. Naas features on the 1598 map by Abraham Ortelius as "Nosse".
A mayor and council were selected by local merchants and landowners. Naas became known as the "county town" of County Kildare because of its use as a place for trading, public meetings, local administration including law courts, racecourses and the army's Devoy Barracks (closed 1998).
Naas has a hospital Naas General Hospital, Naas Racecourse, Mondello Park International Motor Racing Circuit, a library, the 200-seat Moat Theatre, five-screen 3D Odeon cinema, RSA driving test centre, tax office, local authority offices, five supermarkets, several pubs, and a number of schools, hotels and nightclubs.
The town centre of Naas includes shops, restaurants, nightclubs, boutiques and shops. Other retail outlets have been developed in new retail parks and shopping centres on the outskirts of the town.
A shopping centre on Monread Road was completed in 2010 with Ireland's largest Tesco Superstore as the anchor tenant. Other retail parks serve the town on both ends - northern and southern - with outlets such as Harvey Norman, PC World, B&Q, Smyths Toys, and Halfords.
The Naas/Sallins area is served by two Aldi supermarkets, two Lidl stores, two Supervalu supermarkets, a Tesco Extra supermarket, a smaller Tesco Metro in the town centre, and (as of August 2019) a new Dunnes Stores food hall. Danish home retail group JYSK, a competitor for Sweden's IKEA, opened their first Irish store Newhall Retail Park in Naas during April 2019. Several smaller foodstores are scattered around the town.
The town has two Roman Catholic churches, one Church of Ireland church, and one Presbyterian church. The original parish church, St David's Church, is Church of Ireland. The Roman Catholic parish church, the Church of Our Lady and St. David, dates from 1827. In 1997, the second Catholic Church opened in Ballycane on the east side of town and is dedicated to the Irish Martyrs. Naas is part of the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin which is run by Bishop Denis Nulty since August 4, 2013.
County Kildare's local radio station Kfm 97.3FM - 97.6FM is based in Naas.The Leinster Leader, regional newspaper, and Kildare TV, a local station, are also based in the area.
"Perpetual Motion", located at the north end of the Naas bypass, created by Rachel Joynt and Remco de Fouw in 1995.
Naas railway station, which opened on 22 June 1855, closed for passenger traffic on 27 January 1947 to be re-purposed for goods trains. It reopened on 10 March 1947, but was closed 12 years later on 1 April 1959. The Sallins and Naas railway station, located in nearby Sallins, is now used by many residents of Naas and the surrounding area for the daily commute to Dublin, with travel times averaging around 30 minutes to Dublin's city centre.
The main bus transportation companies serving the area are Bus Éireann, JJ Kavanagh and Sons and Dublin Coach. Naas's main bus routes include Bus Éireann's service from Kildare to Dublin city centre (which passes through Naas), a JJ Kavanagh route to Blanchardstown, and Dublin Coach and JJ Kavanagh services to Dublin Airport.
The N7 Naas Road was upgraded in 2006 to a six-lane carriageway with grade-separated interchanges. Additional plans have been laid out to construct a large interchange at Osberstown-Millenium Park as part of the M7 upgrade. A ring road is also being constructed and several sections of the project have already been completed.[needs update]
(South Outer Ring) - Connects Limerick Road at Primrose (West Naas) with Blessington Road at Mountain View (East Naas)
(Millennium Blvd Ring Road) - Connects Limerick Road at Newhall Interchange M7 with Monread Road at Millennium Roundabout
Naas has five secondary schools, St. Mary's College Naas, a girls' convent school, Meanscoil Iognáid Rís Nás na Riogh (Naas CBS), for boys, Piper's Hill College (formerly St. Patrick's Community College), Naas Community College and Gaelcholáiste Chill Dara, a mixed Irish speaking Secondary School. Naas has many primary schools, including the Convent of Mercy, a girls' school, St. Corban's Boys National School, a school for boys, Scoil Bhríde, a mixed school, Ballycane, another mixed school teaching classes from Junior Infants to 2nd class, St. David's, a mixed school, Gaelsoil Nás na Ríogh (located at the Piper's Hill campus), Kilashee National School and Naas Community National School is located at Cradockstown.
Naas has a public library which is located in the canal harbour area.
Sport and leisure
The Moat Theatre is a 200-seat performance and visual arts centre in Naas, which hosts local and national stage productions, live music and other events.
Local association football (soccer) clubs include Naas AFC Soccer Club, Redwood Naas FC, Monread FC Soccer Club, and Naas United FC Soccer Club, several of which play in the Kildare and District Football League.
Other sports clubs include Naas Rugby Club, Naas Hockey Club, Naas Cycling Club, Naas Panthers Gymnastics Academy, Naas Lawn Tennis Club (with 11 courts) and Naas Athletic Club on the Caragh Road.
Naas Golf Club, one of three local golf clubs, is actually located in Sallins.
There are several equestrian facilities in the area, with Naas Racecourse (about 1 km from the town centre), and Punchestown Racecourse (just to the south west of the town at Eadestown). Osborne Stables is also based at Craddockstown, Naas. The annual Punchestown Race Festival is a major event for a full week in April. The Oxegen music festival was held at Punchestown during the summer for a number of years but hasn't been rescheduled since it were cancelled in 2014.
There are also a number of swimming pools and leisure centres in the area.