|— Town —|
|Elevation||105 m (344 ft)|
|Irish Grid Reference||N726124|
Kildare (Irish: Cill Dara, meaning "church of the oak") is a town in County Kildare, Ireland. Its population of 8,412 (2011 Census) makes it the eighth largest town in County Kildare and the 55th largest in the state, with a growth rate of 8.0pc since the 2006 census. Although Kildare gives its name to the county, Naas is the county town. The town lies on the R445, some 50 km west of Dublin – near enough for it to have become, despite being a regional centre in its own right, a commuter town for the capital.
Rich in heritage and history, Kildare Town dates from the 5th Century, when it was the site of the original ‘Church of the Oak' and monastery founded by St. Brigid. This became one of the three most important Christian foundations in Celtic Ireland.
It was said that Brigid's mother was a Christian and that Brigid was reared in her father's family, that is with the children of his lawful wife. From her mother, Brigid learned dairying and the care of the cattle, and these were her occupations after she made a vow to live a life of holy chastity. Both St. Mel of Ardagh and Bishop Mac Caille have been credited with the consecration of Brigid and some companions, after which the woman established a community beneath an oak tree, on a hill on the edge of the Curragh. Hence the name Cill Dara, the church of the oak.
Not too far away, on Dun Ailinne, lived the King of Leinster who had donated the site to the holy woman. A story told was that the King offered Brigid as much land as her cloak would cover. When she spread her garment it miraculously stretched out to embrace the entire Curragh. True to his promise, the King gave her the fertile plain, and there the new community grazed their sheep and cows.
Birth of British motor racing 
On Thursday, 2 July 1903 the Gordon Bennett Cup ran through Kildare. It was the first international motor race to be held in Great Britain, 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, 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[b] 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, 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.
Annalistic references 
- AI697.1 Kl. Repose of Forannán of Cell Dara. [AU 698].
- AI733.1 Kl. Repose of the daughter of Corc, coarb of Brigit.
- AI758.1 Kl. Murthán, abbots of Cell Dara, fell asleep.
- AI964.1 Kl. The plundering of Cell Dara by the foreigners of Áth Cliath; and the female erenagh died in the same year.
- AI1031.9 Cell Dara and Port Láirge were burned.
Places of interest 
- St. Brigid's Cathedral and Norman tower House in the town center
- St Brigid's Well on the outskirts of the town,
- Father Moore's Well on the Milltown Road
- The National Stud and Japanese Gardens.
- The Curragh Race Course Just outside the town
Sports Clubs 
|Round Towers GAA||Gaelic Athletic Association||Senior Football Championship||Kildare||1888|
|62 Reserve Artillery Regiment||Field artillery||Army Reserve||Curragh|
|Kildare Town A.F.C||Football||Kildare & District Underage League||Rathbride Road||1966|
|Cill Dara RFC||Rugby Union||Leinster League||Beech Park||1976|
Bus Eireann operates an expressway service between Dublin and Cork which calls at Kildare, whilst Dublin Coach operate services to Dublin Airport and Portlaoise.
See also 
- List of abbeys and priories in Ireland (County Kildare)
- List of towns and villages in Ireland
- Market Houses in Ireland
a. ^ (This footnote is from the collapsed "Historical population" side-bar. It becomes visible, along with references, if the bar is expanded).
1813 estimate of population is from Mason’s Statistical Survey For a discussion on the accuracy of pre-famine census returns see JJ Lee “On the accuracy of the Pre-famine Irish censuses Irish Population, Economy and Society edited by JM Goldstrom and LA Clarkson (1981) p54, in and also New Developments in Irish Population History, 1700-1850 by Joel Mokyr and Cormac O Grada in The Economic History Review, New Series, Vol. 37, No. 4 (Nov., 1984), pp. 473–488.
b. ^ 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.
- "Census 2006 – Volume 1 – Population Classified by Area" (PDF). Central Statistics Office Census 2006 Reports. Central Statistics Office Ireland. April 2007. Retrieved 2011-06-12.
- CSO census
- Historic Population for post 1821 figures
- Census 2006 - Table 14A - Towns 10,000 population and over
- 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
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Kildare|
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- The Irish National Stud
- The Irish National Stud - Japanese Gardens