Kilkea castle was built in 1181 by Sir Walter de Riddlesford and later, by marriage, came into possession of the Earls of Kildare who resided at the stronghold for more than 700 years.
It is rumoured that the 11th Earl of Kildare, known as "Wizard Earl" is still haunting the walls of Kilkea castle. He was highly interested in alchemy which caused lots of suspiciousness at his time and so he was suspected possessing magical powers. He died in 1585 and is supposed to return to Kilkea every 7th year.
In the late 1960's the castle became a hotel/ restaurant. That's why, unfortunately, only the exterior can be admired today (unless you've got 250 €uros for a room).
Kilkea castle can also be booked for weddings and conferences and does have a golf course, too.
Donadea Forst park is situated in County Kildare about 30 miles from Dublin. To say that it is forest is stretching the definition somewhat. Quite when a wood becomes a forest I have no idea - ut tghis place still strikes me as being on the woody side.
Apart from the annoying 4 euro car parking charge, a walk around this delightful place is just the ticket. There are a couple of walks to consider. The shorter (1 mile) walk heads around the lake area, whilst the longer walk around the perimeter of the forest is just over 3 miles in length. All walks are on broad paths suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs.
A couple of other features of the place that may interest visitors :
There is a monument to the 9/11 terrorist attack. It is a moving piece - thoughful, appropriate and contemplative. This monument has led to more American visitors taking a break from the bussle of Dublin, 'recharging their batteries' at the same time.
Near the entrance to the walks there is a 'Hansel and Grettlish' cafe without picnic table and the like. Serves coffee and cake even in the depths of winter.
It was pure magic! The horses came silently out of the mist as in a dream. And, for me, it was dream come true. Not that I love the racing - no, but the idea of man and horse enjoying life together. It is obvious that the animals were eager to run, but they were calm and composed.
(There should just be 5 photos. I don't know why they copied so many times. 2 attempts to correct this were not successful. Any suggestions?)
Driving from Athlone (Baile Atha Luain) through Tullamore and Kildare (Cill Dara) to Glendalough (Gleann da Loch) is quite an adventure. You never know if the road will be a full two lanes, one and one-half, or a bridge where only one vehicle can pass at a time. Three times we came across sheep on the road. Kildare has the National Stud Farm, and the region with its many house farms is reminiscent of Kentucky. We saw several thatched cottages as well. Of course, we stopped in Kildare for our daily fix of historic ruins and churches.
photos from our trip thru here.
Kildare is one of the oldest towns of Ireland and famous mostly for St. Brigid of Kildare and the present cathedral which was built in 1223 by Ralph of Bristol.
St. Brigid, the founder of the original church that was built at this spot in the 5th century, is one of the 3 most famous Irish saints (along with St. Patrick and St. Columcille). She built the small church close to an great oak tree (Kildare derives from Cill Dara - Church of the Oak). And as the number of St. Brigid's followers grew, the church was extended into a monastery and in 484 AD St. Conleth became the first Bishop of Kildare.
The cathedral has been restored and enlarged many times since then and has, in 13th century, even been fortified to become both, a place of devotion and defence.
Today's cathedral houses many treasures, including an altar frontal designed by John Ninian Comper. At the cathedral's graveyard you can find a 32 metres high Round Tower (which can be entered and which is one of the last that has been erected in Ireland), the ancient High Cross of Kildare and several medieval tombs.
Another garden on site is St. Fiachra's Garden; the Patron Saint of Gardens.
We didn't have time to visit this garden but from what we could see it looked very peaceful. The concept of the garden seeks to present to the visitor a natural environment which inspired the spirituality of the 6th and 7th centuries monastic movement in Ireland. In the center there are monastic cells.
I can imagine that the walk through this garden takes more time if you want to fully enjoy and relax.
Surprisingly horses are not the only things to visit at the Irish National Stud. It is also the grounds for the Japanese Gardens (which seemed a bit out of place in Ireland) and the St. Fiachra’s Garden.
The Japanese Gardens were beautiful. Lovely walk.... the Gardens were planned to symbolise the 'Life of Man' and you will need the handout map if you don't want to miss anything.
Of course there is an extra fee to enter the Gardens.
Visit Ireland’s finest thoroughbreds..... Lovely visit with a guide who explains the history and the breading process. You can see the love they have for their horses. When the breeders get too old, they still have a home there for the rest of their life. Not too far from Dublin, makes a great day trip.
Their most famous thoroughbred is Indian Ridge, which is pictured on the postcard on my Kildare main page.