Welcome to Co. Kildare Hotels Guide

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Lying to the west and southwest of Dublin, County Kildare comprises rich, green and fertile farmland in the south and the vast expanse of The Bog Of Allen in the northwestern corner. Nearly all of Ireland's principal road and rail arteries cross Kildare, connecting the south, west and north west of the country with Dublin, as do the Royal and Grand Canals, both dating from the 18th Century and enjoying a new lease of life.

Kildare is a delight for equestrian enthusiasts, home to more horses per square kilometre than any other Irish county as well as staging the largest meetings in Ireland's racing calendar. Travelling through this fertile county, visitors will notice a wealth of private studs (closed to the public) and have the opportunity to visit a state-owned stud in Kildare town. The county is renowned for the Curragh Racecourse where you can experience a day at Ireland's most prestigious race meetings including the 1000 and 2000 Guineas in May, The Irish Derby in June and the Irish Oaks in July.

Kildare Town is the perfect base for exploring the surrounding countryside and market towns due to its convenient position in the centre of the county. Easily accessible from Dublin by regular bus and rail services, the town of Kildare is home to an imposing 13th Century Cathedral named in honour of one of Ireland's much-loved saints, Saint Brigid. St Brigid's Cathedral's 10th Century round tower is a must see attraction, being the second highest in Ireland at 33 metres. The town's delightful Japanese Gardens adjacent to the Irish National Stud is certainly well worth a visit, impeccably maintained in accordance to the stringent rules of Japanese gardening and horticulture. Look out for the ruins of Black Abbey and St Brigid's Well in Kildare Town.

To the north of County Kildare, The Bog of Allen and a host of charming picturesque market towns and villages are worth exploring. The Bog of Allen bordering Offaly, Meath and West Meath is the most renowned raised bog in Ireland, comprising a huge expanse of peat spanning most of the Irish Midlands. Today, like other peat bogs around the country, its resources are being reduced for compost and fuel purposes, ranking it as one of Ireland's most fragile ecosystems.

Visitors can learn about Ireland's fragile peat bog ecosystems at Peatland World, housed in a converted farm in the village of Lullymore near the market town of Rathangan. This interpretive centre presents a host of interesting displays and audio-visual screenings relating to flora, fauna, fuel, conservation as well as archaeological finds. The nearby hill of Allen also offers a good vantage point where the flatlands of Kildare change from green to desolate brown of the peat bog.

In the rich fertile lands in the south of County Kildare brim with prosperity and affluence as a result of the multi-million pound equestrian industry that the county is world-renowned for.The village of Ballitore near the Curragh was a former Quaker Settlement during the 18th and 19th Century and today visitors can view traces of its past at the Quaker Museum or marvel at the history of milling and baking at the fully functional Crookestown Watermill and Heritage Centre. Relax and admire the grandeur and classic medieval charm of the beautifully restored Kilkea Castle near the town of Castledermot. Now an exclusive hotel, Kilkea Castle is an idyllic retreat for a weekend break or unwinding with a drink or meal with friends in elegant surroundings.

Whatever you choose to do during your visit to County Kildare, you can be assured of genuine warm Irish hospitality and a host of captivating antiquities and cultural gems to marvel at, all over an hour's drive from Dublin.

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