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County Kildare History and Heritage

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.

Picture of St David's Church, NaasThe Norman church, which was erected by William Fitzmaurice in the twelfth century, is dedicated to St. David. While being of great importance to the Welsh, St. David was also revered by the Irish, as he was thought to have Irish connections through his mother. The feast of St. David is celebrated on March 1st. It was customary in Naas until the end of the eighteenth century, to wear a leek on St. David’s Day in honour of the saint. The present day church was founded in 1620 and incorporates parts of the Norman church. Restoration work has been carried out a number of times, revealing a number of interesting artefacts, including glazed pottery from the medieval period and also three vaults.

Excavation of these vaults also revealed many artefacts of historical interest, including five wooden coffins, some which were lined with gold velvet cloth. The church tower erected by Lord Mayo in 1781 remained incomplete as the steeple was never added. The bell hanging in the tower was dated to 1674. The church has associations with many prominent families of the area, including the Eustaces, Burghs and Bourkes.