Léim an Bhradáin
The Wonderful Barn, Leixlip
Léim ar Aghaidh
|Council||Kildare County Council|
|Dáil Éireann||Kildare North|
|Elevation||46 m (151 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC±0 (WET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+1 (IST)|
|Telephone area code||01|
|Irish Grid Reference|
Leixlip (// or //; Irish: Léim an Bhradáin) is a town in north-east County Kildare, Ireland, near Dublin. Its location on the confluence of the River Liffey and the Rye Water has marked it as a frontier town historically: on the border between the ancient kingdoms of Leinster and Brega, as an outpost of The Pale, and on Kildare's border with County Dublin. Leixlip was also a civil parish in the ancient barony of Salt North.
The placename comes from the Old Norse lax hlaup (Younger Futhark: ᛚᛅᚼᛋ ᚼᛚᛅᚢᛒ; pronounced [laks l̥ɔup]) which means "salmon leap". The name in Irish (Léim an Bhradáin) is a direct translation of this, and was first adopted in the 1890s. In Latin, it is Saltus salmonis, from which comes the names of the baronies of North Salt and South Salt.
Leixlip was a possible site of the Battle of Confey, in which the Viking King Jamie Daly of Dublin defeated the Irish King of Leinster around the year 917. The first settlement at Leixlip was an outpost of Early Scandinavian Dublin, built at the furthest point where longships could be rowed up the Liffey. Its status as an outpost of Dublin continued for centuries, marking a border of The Pale.
The first history of the town was published in 2005.
Between 1988–2014 Leixlip had a nine-member Town Council (formerly Leixlip Town Commissioners), headed by a Cathaoirleach (chairperson). In 1990, the town's coat of arms was presented by minister Pádraig Flynn. The Local Government Reform Act 2014 abolished town councils, including Leixlip's, in 2014.
Dublin Bus provides services to Leixlip. Between the 66a, 66b, and 66e, Leixlip has bus service in either direction typically at 15-minute intervals.
From Dublin city centre: the number 66 goes to Maynooth via Leixlip village; the 66a goes to Leixlip Confey via Leixlip village; and the 66b goes to Leixlip HP via Leixlip village. All buses have equivalent return routes back to Dublin.
The 66x "Xpresso" provides express bus service from some parts of the town directly into Dublin City centre in the mornings, and return in the evenings. The 66n "Nitelink" provides a late-night service on Friday and Saturday night from Dublin City centre to Leixlip.
Leixlip is connected to the Irish railway network on the Dublin-Sligo railway line, running from Dublin Connolly to Sligo, with two stations, Leixlip (Louisa Bridge), opened on 1 September 1848, and Leixlip (Confey), opened on 2 July 1990, located at either end of the town. While InterCity services to Sligo do not serve the town, the Maynooth/Longford Commuter services do, the frequency of the trains peaking in the mornings and evenings. Some of these services continue outbound to Mullingar and Longford. Leixlip has the distinction of being the only town in the Republic of Ireland with two operational train stations.
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Built on a rock at the confluence of the River Liffey and the Rye Water, the central part of the castle dates from 1172, just after the Norman Invasion of 1171 and is one of the oldest continuously-inhabited buildings in Ireland, pre-dating Dublin Castle by 30 years. It was used as a hunting base by King John when Lord of Ireland in 1185. It was not of major military importance but withstood a 4-day siege by the army of Edward Bruce in 1316.
Leixlip and 809 acres around it (excluding the castle) were bought by William Conolly of nearby Castletown House for approximately £12,000 in 1728. The castle was bought by Conolly's nephew and heir, William James Conolly, in 1731. His family sold it in 1914. Various famous tenants of the Conollys in the castle included Archbishop Stone, the Protestant Primate (1750s), the Viceroy Lord Townshend (1770s), Lord Waterpark, and Baron de Robeck (who drowned at the Salmon Leap). In the 1920s it was the residence of the first French ambassador to the Irish Free State. In 1945 the castle was sold to William Kavanagh, prior to the purchase in 1958 by The Hon. Desmond Guinness.
Castletown House & The Wonderful Barn
Located off the main street of nearby Celbridge, Castletown House is the first grand Palladian House in Ireland – the design of the building led to the construction of Leinster House and from thence to the White House in Washington, D.C. Begun in 1722 for Speaker William Conolly (1662–1729), Speaker of the Irish House of Commons, the lands and the house itself lie in Celbridge, however, there is also an entrance from Leixlip, hence there are two modern housing estates bearing the Castletown name, one in each town. To mark the eastern vista of Castletown a conical shaped building – The Wonderful Barn – was constructed in 1743 with the stairs ascending around the exterior of the building.
St. Catherine's Priory
British publisher and cartographer Samuel Lewis mentions Confey Castle in the first volume of his 1837 work A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland. In it, he comments that Confey's (or Confoy as he spells it) population was 165, had formerly had a town and a castle of some importance, which were noticed by Camden. Of the tower's remains were a massive five-storey structure with turrets at the north and west angles; that at the north angle containing a winding staircase opening through pointed arches into each storey. The principal entrance was under a semicircular archway. In the war of 1688 the castle is said to have been strongly garrisoned, and to have sustained an attack.
Leixlip's main attraction in the past[when?] was the Salmon Leap, from which the town is named, a 5-metre waterfall on the Liffey just upstream from the then village. A hydroelectric dam was completed in 1945, and its lake flooded the waterfall. The dam generates 4 Megawatts.
Leixlip is divided into two Roman Catholic Church parishes, Leixlip (Our Lady's Nativity) and Confey (St. Charles Borromeo), each with its own parish church. The Church of Ireland parish of St Mary's also has a church in Leixlip, located in Main Street. This medieval church was restyled in the 1750s with Gothic windows, and its belltower clock dates from 1720. People from Our Lady's Nativity parish also have their own identity separate from people in the Confey parish. The Confey parish members are known as 'Hillers' and people from the Our Lady's Nativity parish are known as 'Farenders'. There is the usual local rivalry associated with two different parishes which is particularly evident during sporting events.
Education and library
As with religion and sports, education in Leixlip is divided by the two Catholic parishes of Leixlip (Our Lady's Nativity) and Confey (St. Charles Borromeo).
The respective schools in the Confey district are Confey Community College (a community school), Scoil San Carlo (Junior), and Scoil San Carlo Senior School (both national schools). The community school of Confey College has approximately 750 pupils in total, and similarly to Coláiste Chiaráin is mixed gender and non-denominational. The name "San Carlo", while used as the Irish names of the national schools in the St Charles Borromeo parish, is actually the Italian rather than actual Irish translation (which would be "Naomh Cathal").
Leixlip also has one of the few Primary Montessori Schools in Ireland, Weston Primary Montessori School. Established in 2016 by the parents and teachers of the former Glebe School, this school provides Montessori education to children from 3–12 years and is located on the grounds of Barnhall Rugby Club.
A public library opened in Leixlip in May 2006. It is situated in Confey beside the Town Council Office. It is also near both Scoil San Carlo and Confey Train Station. Leixlip Library hosts a variety of events and activities as well as free Internet access to library members.
Shopping and local businesses
The town has four supermarkets – a SuperValu, Eurospar, Aldi, and Lidl. As well as Eurospar, there are also three Spar convenience stores, Mace and a Tuthill's in Leixlip. The Liffey Valley Shopping Centre is a short drive down the N4, and Leixlip is also within reach of Dublin's shopping areas, including Blanchardstown Shopping Centre.
In addition to local supermarkets and convenience stores, there are several other local businesses. This includes businesses in the professional services sectors, such as solicitors, architects and insurance firms.
The Leixlip Festival (previously known as the Salmon Festival) has taken place every year since 1990 on the June bank holiday weekend. It offers live entertainment in pubs, a number of open-air concerts, street carnival and fireworks display.
Leixlip Salmon Festival Limited also provides a youth training scheme in association with Foras Áiseanna Saothair.
The festival has played host to bands such as The Coronas, Aslan in 2011, The Blizzards in 2017, The Hothouse Flowers, Republic of Loose, Delorentos in 2015 and The Riptide Movement in 2011, 2015 and 2019. Solo artists have also performed including Damien Dempsey and Niall Breslin.
Local Leixlip employers include Intel, who own a complex consisting of Fabs (fabrication plant) 10 & 14 (IFO), 24, and 24-2 of Intel's manufacturing operations. Hewlett Packard Enterprise was also a local employer, from 1995 until the closure of the facility in 2017. Most other employment in Leixlip is in retail businesses.
- Lily Allen, English recording artist, actress and fashion designer lived in Leixlip as a child and attended school there.
- Trevor Brennan, Irish international rugby player
- Emma Byrne, Republic of Ireland women's national football team and Arsenal goalkeeper
- Jake Carroll, professional footballer, attended secondary school at Confey College in Leixlip.
- Nathan Collins, professional footballer
- Thomas Conolly, MP of both the Parliament of Great Britain (1759-1780) and Parliament of Ireland (1761-1800), was born in Leixlip
- David Geraghty, musician and member of Bell X1
- Matt Goff, soldier during the Irish War of Independence and full-back for Kildare in six All-Ireland finals
- Steven Gray, former professional footballer in the League of Ireland and in Australia.
- Arthur Guinness, co-owner with his brother Richard of the brewery business in Leixlip. Richard lived on the town's Main Street, and was the landlord of the Salmon Leap Inn.
- Ana Kriégel, schoolgirl murdered in May 2018; the murderers were the youngest people convicted of murder in Ireland.
- Fiachra Lennon, Irish international tennis player
- David Matthews, athlete and holder of the Irish 800 metres record
- Catherine Murphy (politician), politician, member of Dáil Éireann and co-leader/co-founder of the Social Democrats (Ireland)
- Enda Murphy, former Kildare Gaelic football captain, and has represented Ireland in the International Rules Series
- Gerard Nash, former professional footballer with Ipswich Town and current manager with Ipswich Town Reserves.
- Andrew Omobamidele, professional footballer with Norwich City grew up in Leixlip from the age of 12 and played for Leixlip United originally.
- Jack O'Shea, Kerry Gaelic footballer
- Arthur Price, Archbishop of Cashel, and benefactor of Guinness is buried beneath the aisle of St Mary's Church, Leixlip
- Olamide Shodipo, professional footballer with Queens Park Rangers.
- Eoghan Stokes, professional footballer
Le Chéile Athletic Club was founded in 2003 to offer the youth of Leixlip, and trains at their facility at the Leixlip Amenities Centre.
Salmon Leap Canoe Club founded in 1961 is located on the banks of Leixlip Lake. The club won the Ribadesella trophy in 2017. One inspiration for the club was the international Liffey Descent canoe race from Straffan to Dublin, which passes through Leixlip and celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2009.
There are five amateur football clubs, Confey F.C., Leixlip United F.C., Leixlip Town FC, Barnhall Rovers and Liffey Athletic. Confey FC and Leixlip United FC both participate in Dublin District leagues (or in the case of both clubs' senior teams the Leinster Senior Football League). Leixlip Town FC on the other hand participate in the UCFL Dublin League. While Barnhall Rovers and Liffey Athletic compete in the Kildare & District Football League.
Liffey Celtics Basketball Club is the local basketball club for girls aged 7–18, and boys aged 7–18. Liffey Celtics' underage basketball teams compete in the Dublin Area Board League and Cup competitions. Training and home matches take place at the Leixlip Amenities Centre, Confey GAA hall, and Colaiste Cois Life (Lucan). The club has a senior women's team competing in the Basketball Ireland Premier League.
Leixlip has been the host to coarse fishing competitions due to the permanently pegged stretch of the Royal Canal. The Leixlip stretch consists of 62 marked pegs and there is also the Confey stretch consisting of sixty pegs. The Rye river runs through Carton Demesne and through the Intel Ireland site. The Leixlip stretch is controlled by the Leixlip and District Angling Association.
Golf, Pitch & Putt
Golfing facilities are available at Elm Hall Golf Club on the Loughlinstown Road as well as two 18 hole pitch & putt courses.
Twin towns – Sister cities
Leixlip is twinned with the following towns:
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