National monuments in the area include the ‘Rath of Mullaghmast’ and Kilkea Castle, the ancestral home of the Fitzgeralds. The name "Kilmead" is believed to be derived from a term meaning "middle church". The lands of Kilmead were in the possession of the Fitzgerald family until the rebellion of Silken Thomas in 1534.
Bus Éireann route 130 serves Kilmead once a day Mondays to Fridays inclusive at 06.51 - the bus continues to Kilcullen, Naas and Dublin. There is no return service to the village; passengers have to catch a return bus to Athy. South Kildare Community Transport operate a twice a day route Mondays to Fridays inclusive into Athy. Rail services can be accessed at Athy railway station.