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County Kildare History and Heritage

Churches of County Kildare

The Gaelic name for county Kildare is "Cill Dara"; Cill meaning church, and Dara meaning oak (tree), thus "church of the oak tree". The name derives from the foundation of the first church in county Kildare by St. Brigid, under an oak tree. There are many religious sites in the county, which illustrate the course of its religious development.

Kildare Cathedral
As a place of interest both historically and religiously, Kildare Cathedral is second only to that of the Cathedral Church of Armagh. St. Brigid, the founder of the church, was born in 453 A.D., and is one of the three most famous Irish saints, along with St. Patrick and St. Columcille. A deeply religious person, even as a child, she was the first woman who engaged in church work in Ireland...

St Michael's Church, Athy
Of the many church ruins in Athy, St. Michael’s is perhaps the most ancient. It was built in the fourteenth century. Some of the vestry and sidewalls have disappeared, but there is still some of the original church remaining. The dedication to St. Michael is derived from the St. Michael family who were lords of Athy and it is quite probable that it was this family who were the founders of the church.

St David's Church, Naas
St. David’s Church is perhaps one of the most important buildings of antiquity to be found in Naas. It is thought that the site, upon which the church was founded, is connected with St. Patrick and his missionary work. Indeed, there is a belief that a church dedicated to St. Patrick or St. Corban stood here, although there are no traces of such a church.

Oughterard Church
The first recorded reference to the church of Oughterard occurs in a list of the deaneries of the diocese of Dublin in the latter part of the thirteenth century. This list revealed that Oughterard belonged to the common fund of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Donaghcomper Church, Celbridge
The ruins of Donaghcomper church, situated in the district of Celbridge, are believed date from around 1150.

St Michael & All Angels Church, Millicent
The beautiful church of St Michael & All Angels stands in the townland of Millicent, about a mile outside the village of Clane.