Athy Heritage Centre-Museum

Athy Heritage Centre-Museum

Heritage Centre-Museum, Tourist Office and Gift shop.

  • Address
    Town Hall, Emily Square


Located in the former 18th Century Market House (now Athy Town Hall), the Athy Heritage Centre-Museum traces the history of Athy, the Anglo Norman town on the Marshes of Kildare.

You can discover the history of Athy from its Anglo-Norman foundations to the involvement of Athy men in World War 1, which unfolds in an exciting mixture of sound and vision.

Discover also the effects of the 1798 Rebellion and the Great Famine on Athy and its people, and find out about the Quakers of South Kildare and the Kellyites of Athy.

Here you can also enjoy the thrills and spills of the 1903 Gordon Bennett motor race, which took place on a circuit centered around Athy.

You can follow the exploits of the famous Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton.  Athy Heritage Centre has the only permanent exhibition devoted to him. Its highlights include an original sledge and harness from his Antarctic expeditions, and a 15ft. model of Shackleton's ship Endurance. A statue of Shackleton is to be unveiled in Athy on 30th August 2016, to mark the centenary of the rescue of the men of Endurance from Elephant Island.

An exhibition of unique photographs and an audio visual display featuring Frank Hurley's original film footage of the Endurance expedition.

The Shackleton International Autumn School was established to commemorate the Explorer in the county of his birth.  It is held each year on the October Bank Holiday weekend and is the only Polar School in Ireland.

The Autumn School provides a forum for the discussion on polar exploration and the presentation of artistic work relevant to Shackleton, local history and polar exploration.

Lectures, Exhibitions, Drama, Film, Music and excursions are all part of the activities of the school.

The internationally renowned website has described the Shackleton Autumn School as "the best polar gathering in the world".

It is acknowledged that the Athy Heritage Centre-Museum provides the only base for international research involving overseas participants in Ireland. This, combined with the Heritage Centre/Museum's current membership of the Museum Accreditation Programme, is important in promoting the centre as a valuable resource both nationally and internationally.

View our original audiovisual film footage relating to the exhibits in our 30 seater audio room and use our audio guides which are in Irish, English, French and Polish which brings the whole experience to life.

Guided walking tours of St.John's Graveyard take place every Monday 11:30am - 12:30pm.

Award winning Medieval Town guided walking tours take place every Wednesday 11:00am - 1:00pm.