Welcome To Athy

The town of the ford of Ae, as itís known from Irish translation, is a County Kildare market town and the sixth largest town in County Kildare. Athy was at times the largest town in Kildare according to census records that date back to 1813.
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Information Athy Ireland

Athy is named after a second century chieftain. Ae is said to have been killed crossing the River Barrow, and so the place is named in his honour. Athy sits on the Grand Canal, which flows some seventy kilometres northeast to Dublin, and the River Barrow. With a population of 8,000, it may now be regarded as one of the many commuter belt towns of Dublin. Athy has seen its population leap by a third or more in the last decade. Developing out of an Anglo Norman settlement, the town acted as a garrison on the border of the Pale, the area of British influence on the eastern seaboard of Ireland. Beyond the Pale lay the lands of the Gaelic and Gaelic-Norman chiefs who held little truck with British control of their territories. The town sits on the N78 national secondary road where it meets the R417 regional road. It can also be reached by train from Dublin. As a location where a canal and a river meet, it has various outdoor pursuits and it is home to the only permanent exhibit of the Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton who was born not a great distance from Athy. This can be seen at Athy Heritage Centre, which also houses other Athy related memorabilia and artefacts. Athy itself is home to a number of ruins Ė St Michaelís Church is the oldest, dating back to about the fourteenth century. With the granting of its first town charter in the sixteenth century, the importance of Athy to the British cannot be underestimated. As a buffer on the edge of the domain under which the Crown held sway in Ireland, Athy had services that went beyond its size, with the development of canals and railways that may not have been provided had the British placed less significance on the town.

Attractions Athy Ireland

Butterfly Farm - Straffan

Located at Ovidstown, Straffan, come and walk through a tropical Butterfly House with colourful butterflies flying around you. View a collection of reptiles, stick insects, tarantulas and bird eating spiders - safely behind glass! You can also learn about the interesting life and conservation of butterflies in the Exhibition centre, featuring butterfly collections.

Castletown House - Celbridge

Located at Celbridge, the most significant Palladian style country house in Ireland. Built c.1722 for the Speaker of the Irish House of Commons, William Connolly, the designs of a number of important architects were used, notably Alessandro Galilei, Sir Edward Lovett Pearce and later Sir William Chambers. The entire estate was sold by the Connolly-Carew family in 1965, and in 1967 the house and some parkland were purchased by Hon Desmond Guinness. Both Mr Guinness and subsequently the Castletown Foundation, who acquired the house in 1979, devoted considerable effort and resources to the maintenance and restoration of the principal rooms.

Celbridge Abbey - Celbridge

Located at Clane Road, Celbridge and set amid the magnificent Celbridge Abbey Grounds, features of the abbey include historical guided tours, nature study tours, flora and fauna, themed walks and a model railway. There's also a restaurant, children's playground, natural woodland gardens and garden centre.

Coolcarrigan House & Gardens - Naas

Located at Naas, these gardens are approached by a long, woodland avenue with a large collection of rhododendrons and azaleas. The formal gardens around the house have a good herbaceous border, rockeries and fine Victorian greenhouse. The rest of the garden, divided by various paths and covering some eight acres, has a very interesting collection of shrubs and trees, mostly chosen by plantsman, Sir Harold Hillier.

Peatland World Museum - Rathangan

Located at Lullymore, Rathangan, you can explore the fascinating history and science of Ireland's boglands at Peatlands World Museum. Housed in a beautifully restored nineteenth century courtyard, it helps to explain the development of bogs, their exploitation and future importance. A series of trails have been established around the centre and guided walks are offered to visitors.