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Local Studies Department

Slaters Directory - Kildare


KILDARE is a market town, the seat of a diocese, and formerly a parliamentary borough, in the barony of Offaly East, and parish and county of its name, 32 miles S.W. from Dublin, 13 by W.S. from Naas, 7 S.E. from Rathangan, 6 E.N.E. from Monastereven, and 5 W.S.W. from Newbridge; situated on the main roads between Dublin and Cork and Limerick, and on the Great Southern and Western line of rail. The town derives its name from Cill-dara, Chille darruigh, the “church or cell of the Oak,” from the circumstance of the first Christian church, founded here, having its site among trees of that kind. The town, which is partly the property of his Grace the Duke of Leinster, and partly of the church, enjoys but little trade, yet, from the numerous remains of its ancient religious edifices, it possesses an aspect of importance. James II. conferred upon its inhabitants a charter of incorporation; the municipal body consisting of a sovereign, two portrieves, and a certain number of burgesses and freeman, assisted by a recorder, with other officers; for many years theses officials have, however, ceased to exercise any judicial functions; there is now no local government for the town. Petty sessions are held every alternate Thursday in the court house, a plain structure. Quarter sessions are likewise held in April and October, in the same building.

The cathedral of Kildare has long been in a ruinous condition, but is now being restored in exact conformity with its primitive construction at an estimated cost of about £6,000. The original structure dates its existance from a very early period; and it was repaired and adorned by Bishop Ralph, of Bristol, who enjoyed the see of Kildare from 1223 to 1232. It contains the sepulchral vault of the Earls of Kildare and Dukes of Leinster. In the church yard is the lofty pedestal of an ancient stone cross, and about thirty yards west of the cathedral is the interesting “Pillar-Tower of Kildare,” one hundred and eight feet high, and thought to be one of the most perfect specimens of the curious antiquities of its class. The mode of ascent is effected by the construction if five floors, with ladders, and a projecting handrail leading from one story to another. Nearly adjacent to the tower is a small structure, locally called the “Fire House,” consisting of the small part of a chapel of ancient date, monastically ascribed to St. Bridget. Besides the cathedral, the other places of worship are the Roman Catholic church, a fine spacious edifice; and a chapel attached to a Carmelite friary. The principal charitable institutions is the county infirmary, erected in 1780, munificently presented to the county by the Duke of Leinster. It will accommodate fifty patients, and is under the able management of Samuel Chaplin, M.D. there are schools under the dean and chapter, and the National Board; the instruction of the female pupils of the latter is undertaken by the nuns of the Presentation Convent, who confer a great amount of benefit on the children of the poor, by their laudable exertions in the path of education; also a boys’ school in connection with the Carmelite. Near to the town is the celebrated “Curragh of Kildare,” one of the finest commons in Europe, containing 5,000 English acres. The military camp was opened here in 1855 with accommodation for 10,000 men. The general average of the corps are- three cavalry regiments, six infantry regiments, with military train, commissariat corps and Royal Engineers’ corps. The huts are distributed in a series of squares (ten in number) for 1,000 in each, placed thirty yards apart; the officers’ quarters are on a line advanced 20 feet in front of each square. The general line of the camp is from east to west, fronting to the north. The left division occupies the elevated ground known as the “long hill,” the site of the encampment some fifty years ago, and the right division extends considerably further to the east. In former years the greatest difficulty experienced was the want of a good supply of pure water; wells have now been sunk and waterworks erected. Races are held on the Curragh, four times a year, viz. : April, June, September and October; the military races take place in September. In September, 1821, His late Majesty George the IV., who visited these races, contributed a whip of a hundred guineas value, which was to be run for annually. The present Stand House, which was erected by the Great Southern and Western Railway Company in 1851, is a very handsome structure, with a commodious hotel in the rear. The market is held on Thursday. Fairs are held on February 12th, Easter Tuesday, May 12th, June 29th, September 19th, October 29th, and December 21st. Population of the town in 1861, 1,426, and in 1871, 1,333.

MONASTEREVEN is a small market town and parish, in the barony of West Offaly, county of Kildare, 38 miles S.W. from Dublin, 12 ½ N.W. from Athy, the like distance N.E. from Mountmellick, and 81 ½ N.E. from Limerick; situated on the main road from the metropolis to the last-named city, on the banks of the river Barrow and the Grand canal, which near here bound the counties of Kildare and Queen’s. The town, which is the property of the Marquess of Drogheda, is composed principally of a long range of buildings on one side of the road, whilst the other is beautifully laid out in gardens. The government of the town is vested in the magistrates, who hold a petty sessions every alternate Friday in an apartment appropriated to that purpose over the market house. The principal trade business establishment is that carried on by the Messrs. Cassidy & Co., who have an extensive distillery and brewery in the town.

The places of worship are the Protestant Episcopal church of St. John, a very handsome structure, with a well-proportioned tower, and a Roman Catholic church, erected in 1855, the interior of which is very highly decorated. The public schools are those in connection with the National Board, a parochial school and one under the superintendence of the Christian Brothers. Near the town is Moore Abbey, formerly an establishment for Franciscan friars, now the seat of the Marquis of Drogheda; the demesne is delightfully varied with wood and water, exhibiting some very rich and picturesque scenery. The market is held on Saturday, the fairs February 9th, March 28th, April 29th, Whit Tuesday, June 16th, July 31st, September 12th, October 5th, November 6th, and December 7th. The parish had in 1861 a population of 2,490 persons, and in 1871, 2,544, of which the town of Monastereven contained 1,040.

RATHANGAN is a small market town and parish, the latter partly in the barony of West Offaly, but chiefly in that of East Offaly, county of Kildare, 33 miles S.S.W. from Dublin, 10 S.E. from Edenderry, and 6 N. by W. from Kildare, situated on the eastern bank of the Grand canal, and near the verge of the counties of Kildare and King’s. The town, which is the property of the Duke of Leinster, is tolerably well built, and is the residence, including the neighbourhood, of several respectable families. The ruins of Offaly Castle, from which Lord Offaly takes his title, is situated within half a mile from the town. The principal trade consists of malting and corn exporting by W. Tyrell, Esq. and Messrs. Murphy Brothers. The magistrates, in whom the government of the town is vested, hold a petty sessions every alternate Monday. The Protestant Episcopal church, which is finely situated on an eminence, is rather a handsome building of stone, with a tower. The other place of worship is a beautiful Roman Catholic church. The market, a well supplied one, is held on Monday. Fairs, Whit-Tuesday, August 26th, and November 12th. Population of the parish in 1861, 2,079, and in 1871, 1,803, and the town, 682.


POST OFFICE, KILDARE, Edward Cuthbert, Post Master. –Letters arrive from Dublin and England at a quarter-past ten morning and ten minutes past nine evening and from the south at fifteen minutes past three morning and ten minutes before five evening; and are despatched to Dublin and England at three morning and four afternoon, and to the South at half-past nine morning and half-past eight evening.
Money Order and Telegraph Office and Savings Banks.
*** Messengers are despatched from this Office to Nurney, Fontstown, Rathangan, Kilcullen and Clonbulloge at morning, and return at eight evening.

Post Office, MONASTEREVEN, Joseph Storey, Post Master.-Letters arrive from Dublin and England at half-past tem morning and at a quarter-past nine evening, and from the South at three morning and at half-past four afternoon; and are despatched to Dublin and England at twenty minutes before four afternoon and at nine evening, and to the South at half-past nine morning and at nine evening.
Money Order and Telegraph Office and Savings Banks.
*** Messengers are despatched from this office to Kildangan, Riverstown, Ballybrittas, and New Inn.

Post Office, RATHANGAN, John Kelly, Post Master. –Letters arrive from all parts (via Kildare) at forty minutes past seven morning, and are despatched at forty minutes past six evening.
Money Order and Telegraph Office and Savings Banks.


Mail Car leaves Kildare Post Office for Rathangan at half-past six morning and five evening, and returns from Rathangan Post Office at eight morning and seven evening


Station, KILDARE-George V. Simmons, station master
The nearest Station to Rathangan is KILDARE, 5 miles distant, where the Great Southern and Western railway joins the Carlow branch. MONASTEREVEN Station is also the same distance, on the main line of the Great Southern and Western railway. There is no regular conveyance to meet the train.
Station, MONASTEREVEN, near Old Cock, Grand canal, on the Great Southern and Western line-Robert Reynolds, station master


The Grand canal runs through Monastereven and Rathangan for the conveyance of merchandise to and from Dublin, Limerick, Athy, &c.-Patrick Kilroy, agent Monastereven ; Murphy Brothers, agents, Rathangan