Baile Átha Í
|Country||Republic of Ireland|
|Elevation||71 m (233 ft)|
|Time zone||WET (UTC+0)|
|• Summer (DST)||IST (WEST) (UTC-1)|
|Irish Grid Reference||S680939|
Athy (//; Irish: Baile Átha Í, meaning "town of the ford of Ae") is a market town at the meeting of the River Barrow and the Grand Canal in south-west County Kildare, Republic of Ireland, 72 kilometres southwest of Dublin.
A population of 10,490 (2011 Census preliminary results) makes it the sixth largest town in Kildare and the 50th largest in the Republic of Ireland, with a growth rate of 58% since the 2002 census. From the first official records in 1813 (population 3,192) until 1891 (population 4,886) and again in 1926–46 and 1951–61 Athy was the largest town in Kildare. In 1837 the population was 4,494.
Athy or Baile Átha Í is named after a 2nd-century chieftain, Ae, who is said to have been killed on the river crossing, thus giving the town its name "the town of Ae's ford". The earliest maps show development on the river Barrow i the area, Ptolemy's map of Ireland circa 150AD clearly names the Rheban district as Rheba.
The first town charter dates from the 16th century and the town hall was constructed in the early 18th century. The completion of the Grand Canal in 1791, linking here with the River Barrow, and the arrival of the railway in 1846, illustrate the importance of the town as a commercial centre. From early on in its history Athy was a garrison town loyal to the Crown. English garrisons stayed in the Military Barracks in Barrack Lane after the Crimean War and contributed greatly to the town's commerce. Home for centuries to English soldiers, Athy gave more volunteer soldiers to the Great War of 1914–18 than any other of similar size town in Ireland.
Local historian Frank Taaffe has written extensively about the history of Athy. His articles now run into the thousands. In the Kildare Nationalist, Frank writes the informative Eye On The Past column.
The town is twinned since 2003 with French town of Grandvilliers (département Oise-Picardy). The French twinning committee is named "La Balad'Irlandaise" . Towns official visits are each two years. Colleges are organising once a year students exchanges. Musicians from Athy often go to Grandvilliers.
Historic Places of interest
- Crom-a-Boo Bridge
Crom a Boo Bridge, built in 1796 was likely to have replaced an earlier structure but not necessarily Talbot's bridge of 1417. The Confederate Wars of the 1640s were played out in many arenas throughout Ireland and Athy was for a period of eight years was one of the centres of war involving the Royalist, the Parliamentarians and the Confederates. The town was bombarded by cannon fire many times and the Dominican Monastery, the local castles and the bridge all succumbed to the destructive forces of the cannonball. It was for this reason that the 1417 Bridge is unlikely to have survived until he existing Bridge was built in 1796 by the contractor Sir James Delahunty, Knight of the Trowel. http://athyeyeonthepast.blogspot.ie/1996/05/bridge-of-athy.html
One of the most famous bars in Ireland. Voted in the top ten of Irish bars in the Sunday Tribune. It has become a tourist attraction without impinging on the locals. It has featured in numerous books and photo essays. It has hosted politicians of all beliefs, it is unique in it's ability to allow polar opposites a harmonious meeting place. With it's old fashioned grocery at the front of the shop and it's bar at the back, it is unchanged in a century. It has hosted film stars and ambassadors, musicians and explorers, no trip to Athy is complete without a visit.
- The Cockpit
In the town of Athy a cockpit was located just off the main street in premises now occupied by Griffin Hawe, hardware merchants. The 18th century octagonal shaped building was in a state of dereliction when it first came to the notice of the Local Authority but happily it's owners agreed to restore the building.
The cockpit as constructed was 26 ft. wide and 12 ft. high to the wall plate with a further 12 ft. to the apex of the roof. A door above ground level confirms the probability of a gallery around the walls of the octagonal building to accommodate spectators. It is likely that the spectators were also accommodated at ground level as the average fighting area provided for the cocks was some 13 ft. in diameter. No doubt the working man stood in the pit while the gentry watched from the relative comfort and safety of the gallery above.
Kilkea Castle is located just 5 km (3.1 mi) northwest of Castledermot, County Kildare, Ireland near the village of Kilkea on the R418regional road from Athy to Tullow. It was a medieval stronghold of the Fitzgeralds, earls of Kildare. It is one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in Ireland. From its influence on Gulliver’s Travels to the Wizard Earl,iIt is full of legend and history with the lines between both often blurred.
- White's Castle
Whites Castle is now a private residence. It was built in 1417 by Sir John Talbot, Viceroy of Ireland, to protect the bridge over the river Barrow and the inhabitants of the Pale. Built into the wall on either side of the original entrance doorway are two sculptured slabs. On the right of the former doorway is the Earl of Kildare's coat of arms, signifying the Earl's ownership of the castle in former days. The slab on the left bears the date 1573, and the name Richard Cossen, Sovereign of Athy.
- The Moate of Ardscull
The Moate of Ardscull is famous in local myth and legend and is indeed believed by some to be the abode of the ‘little people’. It is assumed to have been built in the late 12th or 13th century. The first clear reference to the Moate is in 1654 when the 'Book of General Orders' noted a request from the inhabitants of County Kildare for the State to contribute £30 "towards the finishing of a Fort that they have built at the Moate of Ardscull". Situated in a commanding position on the main Kilcullen to Athy road, the Moate offered extensive views in all directions. The structure is a large oval-shaped mound 11 meters high, surrounded by a ditch and bank. The entrance was on the west of the Moate. Here there is an opening through the upper bank and a causeway across the ditch, which is between 6 and 7meters wide. The external bank is 10meters wide. A sub-rectangular area is visible from aerial photographs on the north side of the Moate. This may be the remains of a ploughed-out bailey. Field walking in the area uncovered shreds of post-medieval pottery and a furnace bottom.
- St. Vincent's Hospital – Athy Workhouse
St Vincent’s Hospital was formally the Athy Workhouse and a central part of the story of famine, emigration and poverty in 19th century Ireland Athy Poor Law Union was formally declared on the 16th January 1841 and covered an area of 252 square miles. Its operation was overseen by an elected Board of Guardians, 24 in number, representing its 14 electoral divisions as listed below (figures in brackets indicate numbers of Guardians if more than one): Co. Kildare: Athy (4), Ballybrackan (2), Castledermot (2), Davidstown (2), Kilberry, Monasterevan (2), Moone, Narraghmore. Queen's Co.: Ballyadams (2), Dysertenos, Killabin (2), Moyanna, Stradbally (2), Tullamoy. The new Athy Union workhouse was erected in 1842-43 on a 6.5-acre site half a mile to the north-west of Athy. Designed by the Poor Law Commissioners' architect George Wilkinson, the building was based on one of his standard plans to accommodate 600 inmates. Its construction cost £5,600 plus £1,030 for fittings etc. The site location and layout are shown on the 1907 map.
- Athy Court House
The courthouse was designed by Frederick Darley and built in the 1850s. A detached, six-bay, two-story, Tudor Revival style building with double-pitched intersecting roofs, there are two-storey offices at the south end, and the original north entrance was converted into toilets c. 1990. There are external loggias on either side of the courtroom, which is now divided. Square-headed window openings with granite lintels, stooled sills and granite surrounds contain three over three pane timber sash windows. Four centred arched doorways with granite surrounds contain timber boarded doors.
The building was originally the town's corn exchange. Reference was made to it in the Leinster Express of 25 April 1857 when that newspaper, then published in Naas and Maryboro, carried a report of a banquet in the Leinster Arms Hotel. The occasion was a celebration for the newly elected Member of Parliament, W.H.F. Cogan and the following week's headlines noted that one guest refused to stand for the customary toast to the Duke of Leinster. As landlord for the town of Athy, the Duke was accustomed to receiving unsolicited and uncritical allegiance from the subservient townsfolk and the action of the unnamed man was the first occasion such a public act of defiance was noted. The reason was the Duke's family involvement in the proposed closure of the town jail on the Carlow Road. It eventually closed in 1859 when all the prisoners were transferred to the new jail in Naas. http://www.courts.ie/Courts.ie/Library3.nsf/0/F289C30271956D9A80256FBF003C6A31
- Athy Town Hall
Early Georgian market and court house, c. 1745, originally two-storey T-plan, with open arcade. Extended to front and rear c. 1800, raised a storey in 1913, with structural alterations. Rear altered 1970, rebuilding and restoration 1983-1990, with most features repaired, replaced and replicated. Now in civic and library use. It features in the famous John Minihan portrait of Athy.
- St. Michael's Medieval Church
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. A small and very ancient cross lies within the church grounds and it is said that a cross or font is buried in a grave, within the ruins. There was at one time an arch that stood in front of St. Michael's but during some renovations many years ago, this was taken down.
- The Quaker Meeting House
Built in 1780 and standing on Meeting Lane, this beautiful period building is now a youth café. The first Quakers in Athy may have been Thomas Weston and his wife who in 1657 ‘received the truth’ from Thomas Loe, an English preacher, who was visiting some friends in County Carlow. They were soon joined by the Bonnett family, the first Quaker family to settle in Carlow. The Bonnetts stayed in Athy for a short while after leaving Carlow before taking up residence at Ardreigh on the banks of the River Barrow. A Quaker meeting was settled in Athy by 1671, the year in which Athy was included in the list of towns where the Leinster Province Meeting was held. The local Quakers met for worship once a week on the 4th day (Wednesday), and every month a district meeting was held in Carlow to transact church business. Athy, as part of the Carlow district, also sent delegates to the Province’s quarterly meetings.
- The Dominican Church
The Dominicans arrived in Athy in 1253 or 1257 (the date is in some doubt). They settled on the eastern bank of the Barrow, first in thatched huts of wood and clay, later in a stone priory and church dedicated to St Peter Martyr, one of the earliest saints of the Order. Today, it is the opposite bank of the river that is dominated by the Dominican Church, a spectacular built testament to the optimism of the church in the early 1960s.
The project was the conversion of Athy Methodist Church and Hall to a dual function centre which continues in use as a church on Sunday mornings but serves as a theatre, art gallery and workshop space for the rest of the week. This is the first such project of its kind in the country. Negotiations and development took three years. For three decades there has been a need for a community arts centre in Athy and the willingness of the Methodist community to discuss the possibility of join use made the project an exciting possibility. The project is jointly managed by Athy Town Council, Athy Arts Company Ltd, the Methodist community and supported by Kildare County Council arts service in its programming budget. The day to day running is managed by the voluntary services of the Arts Co members, drawn from local arts organizations. The aims are: to provide a community arts space; to facilitate local arts development and to provide a space for touring theatre, music and visual art shows. These are being met through the mixed use of the centre which currently houses workshops in music, theatre, visual arts and public discussion fora. The centre also an extensive programme of touring shows – classical; popular; folk; theatre companies and exhibitions. All of this is overseen by a voluntary committee working with Music Network and promoters of theatre, music and visual arts
Athy is at the confluence of the River Barrow and Grand Canal, which are amenities for Athy and enable a number of sporting and natural pursuits.Principle among these would be a thriving Inland Waterways Association, an Angler's Club, the Rowling Club and the Triathlon club
Athy Heritage Centre
Athy contains the only permanent exhibition on Ernest Shackleton, who was born not far from Athy in Kilkea House. The exhibit is housed in the Athy Heritage Centre, which has a collection of artefacts from Athy's past as well as some interesting articles from Shackleton's expeditions. Among the most impressive is a scale model of the Endurance. Each year the Centre arranges and hosts the Shackleton Autumn School, with speakers from around the world to speak on different aspects of Antarctica and Shackleton's life in particular.
Athy Film Club was established in Jan 2010, affiliated with Access Cinema. The aim of the Film Club is to give local audiences the opportunity to see a range of world and classic cinema that rarely make it to commercial cinema. Only the very best films will be screened by Athy Film Club, on the first Tuesday of every month. Refreshment facilities are provided where people can socialize and discuss the forthcoming film prior to screening. It has become popular for directors, producers and cast members to attend screenings.
This is the 6 lane, 25 metre pool and gym facility nesting on Green Hills.
A Centre of Hiberno-English
The Spoken Word
Athy has evolved as a centre for Hiberno-English, the mix of Irish and English language traditions. English words spoken on Irish structures. A dialect starting with old Irish beginnings, evolved through Norman and English influences, dominated by a church whose first language was Latin and educated through Irish. Athy in particular was a mixing pot of languages that led to modern Hiberno-English. Positioned at the edge of the Pale, sandwiched between the Irish and English speaking partitions, Athy traded language between the Landed gentry, the middle class merchants, the English working class garrison soldiers and the local peasantry. Many locals words borrow from the Irish tradition like ‘bokety’, ‘fooster’ or ‘sleeveen’ while words like ‘kip’, ‘cop-on’ or even ‘grinds’ have their origins in Old or Middle English.
This tradition of the primacy of the spoken word has led to a tradition of particularly lyrical approach to composition and suggests a reason for the disproportionate amount of writers Athy produces. Athy becomes subject and object of creative endeavours throughout history, Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye is a prime example. recounts devastated and damaged soldiers returning from the Isle of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) to their loved ones in Athy in the late 18th century. Other songs in this tradition would include Lannigan’s Ball and Maid of Athy. Another song of note from the area is called The Curragh Of Kildare, The song first collected by Robbie Burns. Both (F)Lannigan's Ball & Johnny I Hardly Knew Ya featured on the American Billboard hit album; The Meanest of Times by Boston band The Dropkick Murphys.
Athy is referenced by James Joyce is Portrait of the Artist and by Patrick Kavanagh; Lines written on a Seat on the Grand Canal, Dublin", describing it as a "far-flung town" This lyricism is evident in the everyday spoken traditions of the town, place names, nicknames or local idiosyncrasies. Family nicknames like Bargy suggests a family occupational tradition while place names like Barrack Street, Garter Lane, the Dry Dock or the Abbey all represent shadows of former existences.
Athy People in the Arts
John Minihan is an Irish photographer, born in Dublin in 1946 and raised in Athy, County Kildare. At the age of 12 he was brought to live in London, and went on to become an apprentice photographer with the Daily Mail. At the age of 15 he won the Evening Standard amateur photography competition. At 21 he became the youngest staff photographer for the Evening Standard. For thirty years he remained in London, returning every year to his hometown of Athy to record the people and their daily lives. In between documenting Athy on visits home, Minihan continued his career on Fleet Street, which included the iconic snap of the 19-year-old Lady Diana Spencer in the garden of the nursery at which she worked, the morning sun to her back, her legs in silhouette through her skirt. Diana had just been announced as the Prince of Wales's love interest and photographers raced to take her photo, Minihan having the fortune to turn up first.
Over the years Minihan developed a close relationship with many writers and his photographs of Samuel Beckett show a particular affinity between the two men. Minihans photos of Beckett are some of his best known, one in particular is described as one of the greatest photos of the twentieth century. William S. Burroughs once referred to Minihan as "a painless photographer".
Liam O'Flynn (Irish: Liam Ó Floinn, born 15 April 1945) is a master uilleann piper and prominent Irish traditional musician. In addition to an impressive solo career and his work with the group Planxty, O'Flynn has recorded with many prominent international musical artists, including Mark Knopfler, Kate Bush, the Everly Brothers, Emmylou Harris, Mike Oldfield, Mary Black, Enya, Sinéad O'Connor, Dónal Lunny, and Christy Moore. O'Flynn is acknowledged as Ireland's foremost exponent of the uilleann pipes and has brought the music of the pipes to a worldwide audience. In 2007, O'Flynn was named Musician of the Year at the TG4 Gradam Ceoil Awards, considered to be the foremost recognition given to traditional Irish musicians
Frank Taaffe Prolific writer and historian, Frank Taaffe has become the great chronicler of the history of the region through his copious volumes, festivals and newspaper contributions. His weekly column 'Eye on the Past' is an essential part of the Kildare Nationalist and is widely followed internationally at his blog.Athy Eye on the Past
Ewan MacKenna, 2012 Irish Sports Journalist of the Year. Author of the autobiographies of Kenneth Egan, Oisin McConville, Darragh O Se and Kenneth Egan. Short-listed for Sports Journalist of the Year in 2009 and Sports Book of the Year at the Irish Book Awards in 2008. Based between Brazil and Ireland
Erin Anttila, Erin Helena Maureen Anttila (née Koivisto, born Helsinki, Finland 2 July 1977), known in Finland as simply Erin, is a Finnish singer who rose to fame with the pop group Nylon Beat. Born of Irish/Finnish parents, her family have their roots in Athy.
Bill Hughes has been an independent producer since June 1985 and in that time has produced and/or directed over 1000 hours of television for the domestic market and for cable, satellite, and terrestrial broadcasters around the world. He has also written and produced "Hallelujah Broadway" as well as all three of the TV specials featuring the Irish Tenors, LIVE in Dublin, Belfast, and Ellis Island for RTE, PBS, CBC Canada, ABC Australia, TV2 NZ, and SABC3 South Africa. He, along with Bernadine Carraher, produced Radharc and European Journalist Award winning documentary series “Music Changes Lives” for RTÉ in 2010.
Niamh Boyce, award winning writer whose debut novel The Herbalist, has received dramatically enthusiastic reviews. The Irish Times for example said; 'Boyce’s subject matter may be dark, and she treats it with the seriousness it deserves, but she writes with a lightness of touch not often seen in the genre; this is the most entertaining yet substantial historical novel I’ve read since Joseph O’Connor’s Star of the Sea. You may not expect a book about fear and repression to be not only enjoyable but funny; The Herbalist often is.' Anna Carey Irish Times. Niamh Boyce has been named the Irish Independent's New Writer of the Year 2013 
John MacKenna (born 1952, Castledermot, Co Kildare) is an Irish playwright and novelist. MacKenna taught for a number of years before working as a producer at RTÉ Radio in 1980. Between then and 2002, when he left the station to spend more time writing, and acting with Meeting Lane Theatre Company, he worked in a number of areas - including music, education, current affairs, documentaries, features and religion - as a senior producer and commissioning editor.
Jack Lukeman (born Seán Loughman February 11, 1973), usually simply known as Jack L, is an Irish songwriter, musician, record producer, vocal artist and broadcaster known to perform in English, Irish, French, German, Czechoslovakian and Maori. Lukeman established himself as a solo artist with his live shows and his breakthrough 1999 album Metropolis Blue, touring extensively in the U.S. and Europe.
Brian Hughes has established himself as one of the finest tin whistle players in the tradition, a fact confirmed by his successful albums of vibrant whistle music. Brian’s earliest introduction to music was through his grandfather Christy Bracken, a noted bagpiper in the area, who transmitted his love of traditional music to his grandson. His albums include Whistle Stop, The Clear Air, The Best of the Breath and Whirlwind.
Ger Gilroy, current broadcast sports journalist of the year and presenter of ‘Of the Ball’ on Newstalk 106. Ger is one of the most renowned journalist in Ireland
Robbie Robinson, eclectic artist, musician and film maker, the only Athy person mentioned in Montague’s AtoZ of Britain and Ireland. Award winning movies include, Seer and The Irish Exorcism described as brilliant on IMDB.
Seamus Malone, Oscar, Bafta and Ifta winning animator. Malone worked on the Oscar winning Wallace and Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit and the Emmy and BAFTA winning Shaun the Sheep. Malone was supervising director on Arthur Christmas release and he is currently directing 15 one-minute episodes of a Shaun the Sheep series.http://www.accesscinema.ie/news/athy-film-club-to-honour-local-animator-and-shaun-the-sheep-director-seamus-malone.html
Cathy Callan, internationally recognised artist, The Royal Hibernian Academy celebrated artist, Cathy Callan exhibited at RHA annual show. The work was a portrait of John Spillane, the singer/songwriter from Cork
People of History
Ernest Shackleton Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton, CVO, OBE FRGS (/ˈʃækəltən/; 15 February 1874 – 5 January 1922) was a polar explorer who led three British expeditions to the Antarctic, and one of the principal figures of the period known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. Born in County Kildare, Ireland, Shackleton and his Anglo-Irish family moved to Sydenham in suburban London when he was ten. His first experience of the polar regions was as third officer on Captain Robert Falcon Scott's Discovery Expedition, 1901–04, from which he was sent home early on health grounds. Determined to make amends for this perceived personal failure, he returned to Antarctica in 1907 as leader of the Nimrod Expedition. In January 1909 he and three companions made a southern march which established a record Farthest South latitude at 88° 23′ S, 97 geographical miles (112 statute miles, 180 km) from the South Pole, by far the closest convergence in exploration history up to that time. For this achievement, Shackleton was knighted by King Edward VII on his return home.
Philip Crosthwaite One of the most notable and memorable of early American settlers and prominent in business and political life - Former mayor of San Diego Took part the turbulent establishment of the US rule in San Diego, served at many levels of government and is remembered by the San Diego Historical Society.
Mary Leadbeater (December 1758 – 27 June 1826) was an Irish author and diarist. Mary Leadbeater, of a Quaker family, was the daughter of Richard Shackleton of Ballitore in Ireland, Edmund Burke's schoolmaster. In 1791 she married William Leadbeater, who kept a farm near Ballitore. She narrowly escaped when Ballitore was sacked during the 1798 rebellion. Among her acquaintances were Maria Edgeworth, William P. Le Fanu, and Melisina Chenevix Trench, whose tenants she assisted. Among Mary Leadbeater's correspondents were Edmund Burke and George Crabbe.
Archbishop Paul Cullen was a Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin who became the first Irish cardinal, but is more controversially remembered for his Ultramontanism which spearheaded the Romanisation of the Catholic Church in Ireland. A trained biblical theologian and scholar of ancient languages, Cullen is best known for his crafting of the formula for papal infallibility at the First Vatican Council. Depending on one's view, Cullen is largely credited with, or blamed for, ushering in the devotional revolution experienced in Ireland through the second half of the 19th century and much of the 20th century.
William Russell Grace (May 10, 1832 – March 21, 1904) was the first Roman Catholic mayor of New York City and the founder of W. R. Grace and Company. Grace was born in Ballylinan outside the town of Athy, to James and Eleanor May Russell (Ellen), and raised in Rivertown near the Cove of Cork, on Grace property at Ballylin. He was a member of the prominent Grace family. William Russell Grace was a renowned philanthropist and humanitarian, at one point contributing a quarter of the aid delivered to Ireland aboard the steamship Constellation during the famine of the later 1870s. In 1897, he and his brother, Michael, founded the Grace Institute for the education of women, especially immigrants.
Thomas Lee (1551/1552 - 13 February 1601) was an English army captain, who served under Queen Elizabeth I and spent most of his career in Ireland during the Tudor conquest of that country. He is often refereed to as Queen Elizabeth's Assassin. Although of middle rank, he played a turbulent role in the factional politics of the time and was highly active during the Nine Years' War (1595-1603). He was put to death at Tyburn for his involvement in the treason of the 2nd Earl of Essex.
George Lyttleton-Rogers (10 July 1906 – 1963) was an Irish tennis player, promoter and coach. He held the Irish National Championships title for 13 consecutive years from 1927 to 1940. He was the Canadian and Argentine champion as well. He was a three times runner-up for the Championships of Monaco (now known as the Monte-Carlo Masters). In 1931 he was the eleventh on the French rankings
The birth of motor racing
On Thursday, 2 July 1903 the Gordon Bennett Cup ran through Athy. It was the first international motor race to be held in United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, an honorific to Selwyn Edge who had won the 1902 event in Paris driving a Napier. The Automobile Club of Great Britain and Ireland wanted the race to be hosted in the British Isles, and their secretary, Claude Johnson (managing director of C.S. Rolls & Co), suggested Ireland as the venue because racing was illegal on British public roads. The editor of the Dublin Motor News, Richard Mecredy, suggested an area in County Kildare and letters were sent to 102 Irish MPs, 90 Irish peers, 300 newspapers, 34 chairmen of county and local councils, 34 County secretaries, 26 mayors, 41 railway companies, 460 hoteliers, 13 PPs, plus the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, Patrick Foley, who pronounced himself in favour. Local laws had to be adjusted, ergo the 'Light Locomotives (Ireland) Bill' was passed on 27 March 1903. Kildare and other local councils drew attention to their areas, whilst Queen's County declared That every facility will be given and the roads placed at the disposal of motorists during the proposed race. Eventually Kildare was chosen, partly on the grounds that the straightness of the roads would be a safety benefit. As a compliment to Ireland the British team chose to race in shamrock green[a] which thus became known as British racing green, although the winning Napier of 1902 had been painted olive green.
The route consisted of two loops that comprised a figure of eight. The first was a 52-mile (84 km) loop that included Kilcullen, The Curragh, Kildare, Monasterevin, Stradbally and Athy, followed by a 40-mile (64 km) loop through Castledermot, Carlow and Athy again. The race started at the Ballyshannon cross-roads ( ) near Calverstown on the contemporary N78 heading north, then followed the N9 north; the N7 west; the N80 south; the N78 north again; the N9 south; the N80 north; the N78 north again. Competitors were started at seven-minute intervals and had to follow bicycles through the 'control zones' in each town. The 328 miles (528 km) race was won by the famous Belgian Camille Jenatzy, driving a Mercedes in German colours.
The town is located on the N78 national secondary road where it crosses the R417 regional road. In 2010 the N78 was re-aligned so that it no longer heads from Athy towards Kilcullen and Dublin via Ardscull, but now connects with the M9 motorway near Mullamast. The old Athy-Kilcullen section of the road previously known as the N78 is now the R418.
Athy is connected to the Irish rail network via the Dublin–Waterford main line. Athy railway station opened on 4 August 1846 and closed for goods traffic on 6 September 1976. There is a disused siding to the Tegral Slate factory (formerly Asbestos Cement factory). This is all that is left of the former branch to Wolfhill colliery. This side line was built by the United Kingdom government in 1918 due to wartime shortage of coal in Ireland. The concrete bridge over the River Barrow on this branch is one of the earliest concrete railway under bridges in Ireland. Bus Éireann and JJ Kavanagh's also provide frequent services to Athy.
- Athy GAA, celebrating a long and proud tradition
Athy Gaelic Football Club was formed on the 1st of September 1887. The first Chairman of our club was a local priest Rev. J Carroll and the first Captain was P.J. Lawlor. The club has continued each year since 1887.
It is on record that the first football tournament organised by Athy G.F.C. was in 1889 and the chief organiser of this tournament was Thomas Deegan - who was employed in Minch’s Malting firm – a native of Cork. Four teams participated in this tournament – Monastervin, Kellyville, Mountrice and the host club, Athy. Athy were the victors.
The playing pitch in these early days changed several times until 1905. In 1905 the club rented a field at the Dublin road from the South Kildare Agricultural Society – the present day Geraldine Park. The club had the initiative in those early days to erect a paling around the pitch and were the first club in Leinster to do so. This initiative and club’s effort were rewarded when the All Ireland finals were played in Athy in 1906 and 1907. This proud tradition carries on to today, where many local players play regularly for the Kildare County team.
On 5th April 1990 the Athy Gaelic Football Club held a celebratory dinner in the Geraldine Park Clubhouse to salute past players and officials. Honorary Club memberships were presented that night to Barney Dunne, Tom Forrestal, Johnny McEvoy, Mick Birney, Tom Wall, Joe Byrne, Ned Wynne, Matt Murray, Willie Chanders, Lal Murray, Danny O'Shaughnessy, Mick Murphy, Finbar Purcell, Tim O'Sullivan and Denis Wynne.
A full history of the club and it's victories is available from the club website.
- Athy Golf Club 
Athy Golf Club was formed in 1906 as a nine hole course and was extended to 18 holes in 1993. The course had a Par of 71 and it extended to 6,400 yards from the medal tees. It is situated at Geraldine, a mile from town on the Kildare Road
- TriATHY – Ireland's Fastest Triathlon 
Tri-Athy is held in Athy, Co Kildare, on the June Bank Holiday weekend. The initial idea was to create a course that was easy and accessible to new comers to Triathlon. Swimming in the calm waters of the Barrow, cycling along the flat closed roads of Kildare and running along the picturesque riverbank in Athy, all combine to make this not only the easiest Irish triathlon, but also the fastest. The Irish Record was broken by Olympic hopeful Gavin Noble, on this course. It has since become an important date on the Olympic qualification calendar.
- Athy Rugby Club, founded in 1880 and five time winner of the Provincial Towns Cup
Athy Rugby Football Club is based in the town of Athy, about forty five minutes from Dublin, in the southern part of County Kildare. The club was founded in 1880 and has had a long and distinguished history with 16 appearances in the final of the Provincial Towns Cup, the blue riband competition for Leinster Provincial Clubs.
The club currently fields Senior Mens teams at 1st, 2nd, 3rd, Senior Womens 1st and underage teams at U7, U8, U9, U10, U11, U12, U13, U14, U15, U16, U17, U18 and U19 levels. 2013 will also see the introduction of an underage girls structure to the club. The club also comprises a Badminton section. The 1st XV currently play in the Leinster League Division 2B. The clubs main focus is on fielding rugby teams, however Athy R.F.C. also prides itself on a thriving social scene from the now infamous Halloween fancy dress party to the clubs formal end of season banquet you are guaranteed many good nights throughout the season. The clubs pitches are some of the best in Leinster and the club also has a fully floodlight astro turf pitch. Athy R.F.C. is a club that is run on a voluntary basis, without the support of these volunteers and the community at large we would not be in existence.
- Inland Waterways Association – North Barrow Branch 
The highly successful organisation run festivals, training programes and administration of this stretch of the river Barrow. The organisation is made up of river enthusiasts and canal users.
- Athy Tennis Club 
From its very humble beginnings, where sheep had to be chased off the grass (tennis court) the Athy Tennis club has grown into the club with a membership of over 120 members and welcomes juniors, seniors, social and competitive players for a enjoyable game of tennis
- Athy Town AFC (Association Football Club)
Athy town football club
- St Michael's Boxing Club
Ireland's most respected amateur boxing club, the club has achieved unparalleled success in National, European and World championships.
- List of abbeys and priories in Ireland (County Kildare)
- List of towns and villages in Ireland
- Market Houses in Ireland
- Duke of Leinster
- A Short History of Athy (1999) by Frank Taaffe, published by Athy Heritage Company Limited
a. ^ According to Leinster Leader, Saturday, 11 April 1903, Britain had to choose a different colour to its usual national colours of red, white and blue, as these had already been taken by Italy, Germany and France respectively. It also stated red as the color for American cars in the 1903 Gordon Bennett Cup.
- Athy. (2001). In Merriam-Webster's Geographical Dictionary . Retrieved 17 February 2007. The dictionary does not use IPA notation, but the pronunciation given, \ə-ˈthī\, is apparently equivalent to IPA /əˈθaɪ/.
- , To find the population of Athy, you must add Athy East Urban, Athy West Urnan, Athy Rural (Part Rural), and Athy Rural (Part Urban).
- Entry for Athy in Lewis Topographical Dictionary of Ireland (1837)
- Census for post 1821 figures.
- Lee, JJ (1981). "On the accuracy of the Pre-famine Irish censuses". In Goldstrom, J. M.; Clarkson, L. A. Irish Population, Economy, and Society: Essays in Honour of the Late K. H. Connell. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.
- Mokyr, Joel; O Grada, Cormac (November 1984). "New Developments in Irish Population History, 1700–1850". The Economic History Review 37 (4): 473–488. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0289.1984.tb00344.x.
- Sunday Tribune 3 Oct1 999
- Christy Moore, Paddys On The Road. Mercury Records 1969, produced by Dominic Behan
- History Ireland http://www.historyireland.com/20th-century-contemporary-history/nicknames-a-directory-of-occupations-geographies-prejudices-and-habits/
- Examiner nets sports reporter award By Seán McCárthaigh October 26, 2012 Irish Examiner
- Joe Duffy, Ger Gilroy and Jim Jim Nugent among the big winners at PPI Radio Awards Irish Independent 5 OCTOBER 2013
- A To Z Of Britain And Ireland: (Almost) Everything you ever needed to know about the history and heritage of … by Trevor Montague ISBN 1847440878 Publisher: Sphere (29 Oct 2009)
- Cathy Callan Leinster Leader Nov 10 2011
- Miranda, Salvador. "Paul Cullen". The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. Retrieved 2009-06-23.
- Circle Genealogic and Historic Champanellois
- Leinster Leader, Saturday, 11 April 1903
- Forix 8W – Britain's first international motor race by Brendan Lynch, based on his Triumph of the Red Devil, the 1903 Irish Gordon Bennett Cup Race. October 22, 2003
- The Gordon Bennett races – the birth of international competition. Author Leif Snellman, Summer 2001
- Bleacher report, The Birth of British motor racing
- "Athy station". Railscot – Irish Railways. Archived from the original on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 4 September 2007.
- BE Timetable
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Athy.|
- Athy, Kildare County Council
- TriAthy website (triathlon information)
- Cuan Mhuire Web Site
- Official site of Grandvilliers twinning committee
- Official site of Athy Rugby Football Club
- Aontas Ogra Official Website
- Athy Film Club
- AthyLive.com – Information about community groups and upcoming events
- – Local free monthly glossy magazine also available as a paper edition
- Athy Town AFC
- St. Michaels Roman Catholic Parish, Athy