Co. Kildare

On this page we have presented some information about other places of interest in Co Kildare. If someone was to make a pilgrimage to Kildare to follow in St Brigid's footsteps then hopefully they would explore some of the other attractions Kildare has to offer. 

The Curragh of Kildare

The Curragh of Kildare is a flat open plain of almost 5,000 acres (20 km²) of common land in County Kildare, Ireland, between Newbridge and Kildare. This area is well-known for Irish horse breeding and training. The Irish National Stud is located on the edge of Kildare town. The Curragh is known as St.Brigid’s pastures. 

Legend has it that in about 480 AD, when St Brigid became set on finding a monastery in Kildare town, she asked the High King of Leinster for the land to build it on in return for reducing the size of his ears. The king granted her as much land as her cloak would cover. So St Brigid then placed her cloak on the ground to cover the entire Curragh plain. The King thought her cloak was small until her four helpers pulled each corner in all directions making it the whole size of the Curragh. The king and his household were amazed and now knew she was truly blessed by God. He later became a patron of her monastery and assisted St.Brigid with food, money and gifts.
Other areas of Interest in Kildare 

Moone High Cross:
The Moone High Cross stands 17½ feet high (this includes the base). It is said to date from the eighth century. You can find it in the remains of an old abbey believed to have been established by Saint Colmcille. It is one of the best preserved monuments of its kind in Ireland

Leixlip Castle:
Leixlip Castle was built on a rock at the confluence of the River Liffey and the Rye Water, the central part of the castle dates from 1172. It withstood a four day siege by the army of Edward Bruce in 1316.
The Irish National Stud is based in Tully Co. Kildare. It was formally established by incorporation on 11 April 1946 under the National Stud Act, 1945 and is owned by the Irish Government. It is home to the finest Irish race horses. 

Donnelly’s Hollow

Dan Donnelly was born in the docks of Dublin, Ireland in March, 1788; He fought at a time when boxing was of the bare-knuckles variety. His second victory on December 13, 1815, was his most celebrated and a source of Irish pride because his opponent, George Cooper, was from England, which still ruled Ireland at the time. Donnelly broke Cooper's jaw in the eleventh round of the 22-minute match, and collected the prize of sixty pounds. 

A squat, weather-beaten, gray obelisk surrounded by a short iron fence marks the exact site, which has been called Donnelly's Hollow since the bout. The inscription on the monument reads: DAN DONNELLY BEAT COOPER ON THIS SPOT 13TH DEC. 1815.

St. Bridget's Well:

This well is reputedly a 'healing well', one of many in Ireland. The well is still a popular place of pilgrimage where healing liturgies are often held.
St Brigid's well is situated where the location of her double monastery once stood in Kildare Town, close to the Black Abbey.

Fr. Moore's Well:

Fr. Moore’s Well is another one of the best known holy wells in Co. Kildare and has enjoyed a huge attendance of pilgrims for over the past hundred years. The patron of the holy site, Fr. John Moore, was born in 1779 in Rathbride. John Moore (Kildare diocese) studied in 1799 in Maynooth and was ordained 26 May 1804 before being appointed as curate to the parish of Allen in Co Kildare.

Many traditions are connected with Fr. Moore’s Well and some say the site was a place of holiness even before Fr. Moore's time, having associations with St. Brigid.
It is reputed that the well was known as a Black Well where mass was said during the sixteenth century. 
Lord Edward Fitzgerald has written of Fr. Moore and states that the priest was known to have healing powers. Fr. Moore blessed the well, so that after his death, those who believed might still be cured. A parish priest Fr. P. MacSuibhne, published prayers traditionally recited when making visit to the well.

The protocol of a visit to Fr Moore's well is as follows: 
- Visits are usually made on a Friday or Sunday.
- A decade of the rosary is recited.
- Prayers are said for Fr. Moore, his parents and then one’s own intentions.
- One may bathe with the blessed water of the well to cure afflicted parts of the body.
- Finally, three Hail Mary’s are to be recited. 
(A total of three visits should be made, including communion and confession.).

Fr. Moore is buried at the west end of the chapel ruins at Allen church.

The K Club, Straffan 

550 A.D.
The origins of Straffan House go back to the year 550 A.D. After the Anglo - Norman invasion of Ireland, Straffan was granted by Strongbow to Maurice Fitzgerald, whose eldest son passed it to his younger brother Gerald, an ancestor of the Duke of Leinster. Richard the Lionheart's brother, who later became King John Of England and signed the Magna Carta in 1215, subsequently confirmed this grant.

The 16th century
Prominent titled families held ownership of the Kildare Country Club and by the 16th Century it was in the hands of the de Penkiston family. They paid dearly, however, for their part in a rebellion and forfeited the lands.

The 17th century
The lands were disposed of to the Gaydon family in the early 17th Century and in Cromwellion times, were forfeited again and granted to Thomas Bewley. The Gaydon family, declared innocent of the charges by which the property was seized from them, were eventually granted back the 700 acres, which they later sold to Richard Talbot in 1679 for the sum of £700.

The 19th century
In 1831 Hugh Barton, purchased the property, from Buttervant in Co. Cork, who had extensive vineyards in France. Hugh Barton, forced out of France during the infamous Reign of Terror, ploughed his fortune into Straffan House and other lands in Ireland. Barton started building a new grand house for his family in 1832, which forms the basis of the present day hotel.

The design of the new house, which is now the east wing of the 5 star hotel in Kildare, was based on that of a great chateau at Louveciennes, to the west of Paris. Long after the house was built, Hugh Barton added a final touch, the Italian style companile tower, still there today.

The 20th & 21st century
The House remained in the Barton family until 1949, since which time has had five owners including Steven O'Flaherty, Kevin Mc Clory, an Iranian General - Nader Jahanbani , Patrick Gallagher and the Ferguson family. The Jefferson Smurit Group then purchased it in 1988.

The K Club luxury five star hotel in Ireland was opened as a Resort in July 1991, comprising of 36-bedroom hotel, and one Arnold Palmer designed golf course. Since then a second golf course The Palmer Smurfit course was developed, and an additional 33 bedrooms, garden and courtyard suites, state of the art clubhouse with ballroom and conference facilities and a luxurious spa have been added to the resort.

Dr Michael Smurfit and Mr Gerry Gannon privately purchased
The K Club in 2005.


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