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11 excellent things to do in Kildare
The Japanese Gardens are just one of the great places to visit in Kildare.
It may have some of the finest historical sites in Ireland, but there’s more to County Kildare than Norman strongholds and ancient churches. From wild boglands to colonial estates, horse racing empires to Antarctic explorers, prepare to be surprised by all you can do in Kildare town and beyond.

Here are 11 of the best places to go in Kildare.

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1The Irish National Stud and Japanese Gardens

Ireland is a world superpower when it comes to thoroughbred horse breeding, and a trip to the Irish National Stud is a chance to peek behind the curtain and see what goes into rearing these magnificent animals. This is the only stud farm in Ireland that’s open to the public and you can get up close and personal with future champion horses.  

You can also explore its Japanese Gardens, which draw on aesthetics, philosophy and natural beauty to create a tranquil space that offers a peaceful sanctuary from the outside world.

A girl feeding a horse at the Irish National Stud in Kildare.
Get up close with the horses at the Irish National Stud.
2Horse racing at The Curragh

The former meeting place of ancient kings and chieftains, The Curragh needs no introduction. This is the home of flat racing, the scene of amazing highs and lows, and the setting for many a good yarn. Embrace the roar of the crowd, the thrill of the race and that unmistakable atmosphere with a day at The Curragh.

Group of horses and jockeys racing on a grass course
Feel the excitement of horse racing at The Curragh.
3Newbridge Silverware

Style icons like Marilyn Monroe, The Beatles and Princess Grace of Monaco may not have visited Kildare, but you can see iconic pieces they once wore in Kildare at the Newbridge Silverware Visitor Centre. At the Newbridge Silverware factory, you can also go behind the scenes to see the craftsmanship that goes into their famous jewellery, homeware and giftware. Getting to see firsthand the incredible designs that these celebrities wore is one of the best things to do in Newbridge.

Friends browsing Newbridge Silverware.
Tour the Newbridge Silverware factory.
4Shopping at Kildare Village

Who doesn’t love a bargain? There are over 80 designer boutiques at Kildare Village, from Ralph Lauren and Kate Spade to Prada and the Nike outlet store, with reductions of up to 60 percent on luxury goods throughout the year. Make a day of it and grab some authentic Italian food at L’Officina restaurant or sample the Asian flavours at Alchemy Juice.

Book an appointment with the one of the Village's personal shoppers and find exactly what you're looking for, whether it's a dress for a special occasion or a brand new wardrobe. Personal shopping appointments are also available online.

5Castletown House

Ireland’s largest and earliest Palladian-style estate, Castletown House in Celbridge is a striking building that is well worth a visit. The spectacular gardens are perfect for a stroll and the tour will take you through the estate’s rich 300-year history. The magnificent Portland stone staircase is worth the price of admission alone. Make sure you walk down to the river to get a perfect view of the house.

A couple walking through the grounds of Castletown House.
Take a stroll through the grounds of Castletown House.
6Shackleton Museum Athy

Kildare man Ernest Shackleton led three expeditions to the Antarctic, became a survival legend on the Discovery expedition and is one of the greatest adventurers of all time. The permanent Shackleton exhibition in Athy Heritage Centre relives his exploits, features artefacts from his expeditions and takes you to the ends of the Earth and back in his footsteps.

7Lullymore Heritage Park

The award-winning Lullymore Heritage Park in Rathangan charts 9,000 years of Irish history and heritage, covering everything from rebellion to our relationship with the natural environment. The Biodiversity Boardwalk takes you through lakes, peatland and gardens while there are plenty of family-friendly distractions like its forest-themed play centre, the pet farm or train trips.

Ducks in a pond at the Lullymore Heritage Discovery Park.
Visit the residents at Lullymore Heritage Park.
8St Brigid’s Cathedral

This 800-year old cathedral in Kildare Town is believed to be where St Brigid formed a nunnery and you can sense the history in every stone. Restored in the 19th century, St Brigid’s Cathedral contains older vaults with early Christian and Norman carvings. Its 12th century round tower is the second tallest in Ireland and the views from the top are every bit as impressive as you’d imagine.

The interior of St Brigid's Cathedral.
Explore the grand St Brigid's Cathedral in Kildare town.
9Donadea Forest Park

With 243 hectares of mixed woodland, Donadea Forest Park is a perfect natural playground for all ages. Amazing views, incredible natural beauty and historical relics like the castle remains, walled gardens and Lime Tree Avenue make it a magical place to explore. There is also a 9/11 memorial dedicated to New York firefighter Sean Tallon, whose family emigrated from these parts.

10The Bog of Allen Nature Centre

The Bog of Allen Nature Reserve in Rathangan is preserving a portion of Ireland’s boglands for the future while also revealing their importance to previous generations. You can relive a piece of the past with a visit to its traditional cottage from the 1960s. The self-guided tour will show you the vital part that boglands played in Irish life and the rich ecosystem they have supported for thousands of years.  

A hare sitting in the peatland in Kildare.
Say hello to the wildlife at the Bog of Allen.
11Burtown House Gardens and Green Barn

This early Georgian villa outside Ballitore is surrounded by beautiful parklands, vegetable gardens and farmland walks. Take in the explosion of colour in the flower gardens, soak up the wild beauty of its walks and see if you can find its secret gardens. Just inside the gates, the Green Barn is a popular restaurant that serves up organic, seasonal produce straight from the gardens. While you’re in the area wander through the streets of Ballitore, Ireland’s first planned Quaker village.

Discover more things to do in Kildare

No matter what you’re looking for on your short break to Kildare, the Thoroughbred County has something to suit everyone. Our Kildare destination page has all the best places to go on your next trip.

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