So we’re nearly at the end of our journey around Ireland’s counties. Dublin will be our final destination but before we get to the capital, we’re going to explore the gorgeous county of Kildare and some of it’s many delights. County Kildare is home to our National Stud, stunning gardens and beautiful buildings. Furthermore, it is also the county where you will find one of our best loved makers at here at The Irish Store.
Lulu’s Top Places Visit To Visit in county Kildare
1. Newbridge Silverware
Newbridge Silverware in county Kildare is a visitor attraction in itself. Apart from producing some of Ireland’s finest giftware, The Museum of Style Icons is also housed here. Well worth a visit if you’re in the mood for some old school Hollywood glamour! The hugely impressive collection of fashion and movie memorabilia features pieces worn by Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor to name but a few. Most noteworthy for being able to boast the world’s largest collection of garments worn by the iconic Audrey Hepburn.
Newbridge Silverware are best known for their stunning collections of homeware and jewelry. Below are their gorgeous Tara Earrings which I just love. The combination of age old Celtic design with a contemporary twist has become their trademark.
2. The National Stud
Ireland’s National Stud is a horse lovers paradise. It’s also a nature lovers paradise! You can see the stunning thoroughbreds in this idyllic setting and visit the horse museum where the center piece is the skeleton of legendary racehorse, Arkle. The gardens are simply idyllic. St. Fiachra’s garden was designed in 1999 and is a tribute to the Patron Saint of Horticulture. It celebrates the natural setting of woodland and waterways and is incredibly peaceful. Then there’s my next attraction which deserves a spot all to itself.
3. The Japanese Gardens
The Japanese Gardens at The National Stud are among the finest of their kind in the world and are considered the best in Europe. Colonel William Hall Walker bought the Tully Estate in 1900. In 1915 he presented the estate to the Irish State. It was he who established the stud farm and created the magnificent Japanese Gardens.
The Colonel had visited Japan and shared the enthusiasm for all things Japanese that was spreading throughout Europe at that time. The swampy conditions at Tully as well as natural springs were the perfect site for a Japanese garden. The Colonel set about enlisting the services of Tassa Eida and the original gardens were set out between 1906 and 1910. Plants, bonsai, stone lanterns and a tea house were all shipped from Japan to give a truly authentic feel to the gardens. A definite must-see on any visit to county Kildare.
4. St Brigids Cathedral
The impressive St. Brigid’s cathedral commemorates Ireland’s most famous saint after St.Patrick. St Brigid established a church at the site in 480 AD which would have been most likely made from wood. In fact the name Kildare comes from the Irish “cill” meaning cell or small church and “dara” meaning oak. The present building is a beautifully restored version of the Norman construction and was completed in 1896. A 12th century round tower is also present in the grounds. It is the second highest in Ireland and you can climb to it’s 33m height and enjoy stunning views of the surrounding county Kildare countryside.
5. Lullymore Discovery Park
Lullymore is a fantastic place for all the family and is set in the heart of The Bog of Allen, Ireland’s largest bogland. The kids will love the pet farm and the crazy golf while everyone can enjoy their stunning exhibitions charting 9000 years of Irish history. The Biodiversity Boardwalk (pictured) takes you on a mesmerizing walk through this unique bogland setting strewn with heather and bog cotton.
6. Castletown House
Our last stop is Celbridge and the awesome Castletown House. The house was built in 1729 for the then speaker of The House of Commons, William Conolly. It is the largest Palladian style country house in Ireland. The Palladian style was named after it’a Italian creator, Andrea Palladio and was hugely popular at this time. The grandeur of the place is undeniable with it’s imposing colonnaded front connecting the two pavilions to the central building. And we mustn’t forget the gorgeous surrounding parklands. The perfect place for an Irish country walk that will transport you back in time.
Well it’s goodbye for now to the beautiful county Kildare. I hope you enjoyed our trip as much as I did.
Next week sees our last stop on our journeys around Ireland’s counties. Please join me then for a festive trip to Dublin!
Slán go fóill!