Leixlip , situated on the River Liffey , 17km west of Dublin on the M4, is Kildare's youngest and most populous town.
It is served by regular city bus and suburban rail services from Dublin .
The Annual Leixlip Festival (previously the Salmon Festival) in June is a very popular festival attracting tourists from all over the world.
For more information about what Leixlip has to offer visitors - visit the Leixlip Town Council site.
Leixlip has been transformed from a small village of 700 inhabitants into the largest in County Kildare with a population of over 15,000. This remarkable transformation has taken place in a very short time, and the growth and importance of Leixlip have been acknowledged in recent years. In 1910, Leixlip was described in Porter's Directory as "a pretty village pleasantly situated on the confluence of the Rivers Rye and Liffey".
Unlike today Leixlip had it's own police station in 1910. It was located on the main street, in the house now owned by Dr. Boyd. The village also had plenty of "Tea Rooms". The name Leixlip derives from the old Norse for Salmon Leap and indeed the river Liffey as it flows through Leixlip frequently yields the first salmon of each years new fishing season.
Things To Do
A medieval castle on a rock above where the Rye water flows into the river Liffey, partly rebuilt in the 18 th century and with an 18 th century interior. Founded in the 12 th century by one of Strongbow's followers; the massive round tower, which is still the castle's dominant feature, dates from this period. Later it belonged to the crown, but was granted in 1569 to Sir Nicholas Whyte, Master of the Rolls. In 1731, it was sold by John Whyte to Rt. Hon William Connolly, nephew and heir of Speaker Connolly, the builder of the nearby Castletown House, whose widow continued to live at Castletown after his death. William Connolly left Leixlip for Castletown after his aunt's death in 1752; but it remained in the Connolly family until 1914.
The Honourable Desmond Guinness bought the property and he has resided there since 1958. He has carried out much renovation and restoration of the castle and has furnished it in a most fitting style.
The Wonderful Barn, dating from 1743 was built as part of Castletown Demesne, just west of Leixlip village. It was built to give employment to the local tenants during the severe winters of 1741 -1742 when early and prolonged frost destroyed crops. Standing 70 feet tall, this conical structure with five floors is surrounded with an outside winding staircase of 94 steps. It is flanked by two smaller towers. The barn was used for storing grain. Each floor contains a circular opening where sacks of grain could be raised or lowered. The Barn was so eye catching that it's design was soon imitated by a Major Hall, who built a similar structure in Rathfarnham, Co. Dublin.
St. Mary's Church
St. Mary's Church, Leixlip, was built on the site of an ancient church soon after the Normans, under Strongbow invaded Ireland in 1172. The church stands at the confluence of the Liffey and the Rye rivers, which here forms the historic boundary between the Kingdoms of Leinster and Brega. However it was attacked as early as 1317 by Robert Bruce, King of Scotland who destroyed all but the tower. The tower which dates from the 12 th century is a fine example of Norman architecture and has national monument status. It is believed that it was constructed at the same time as Leixlip Castle in 1172. Local folklore suggests that there exists an underground passage which connects the tower to the castle although no evidence has been uncovered to substantiate this. Several important figures have been buried in the graveyard, this includes Archbishop Price who was responsible for helping Arthur Guinness set up his brewery. In the 17 th century a major reconstruction of the church took place. Restoration of the church began again in late 1994 with the assistance of FÁS. The ancient boundary wall has been rebuilt, the graveyard and headstones have been repaired. Church Service takes place on Sunday Mornings at 11.30.