Among the existing relics of antiquity are five ancient round towers, situated at Kildare, Taghadoe, Kilcullen, Oughterard, and Castledermot; the first is the most remarkable. Raths are numerous. Three miles southeast of Athy, that called the Moat of Ardscull stands prominent. A mile farther is the Hill of Carmon, which was the Naasteighan, or place where the assembly of the states of the southern part of Leinster was held: near it are sixteen smaller conical hills, supposed to be the seats on which the elders sat. Near the rath is a single pillar stone, called Gobhlan, about seven feet high, supposed to have been erected for the worship of Baal. Stones similar to that at Mullimast are to be seen at Kilgowan, Furnace, and Punch's Town, all in the vicinity of Naas. At Harristown, near Kilcullen, is another of those taper upright stones, with a conical top; and about two miles from Jigginstown are two others, known by the name of the Long Stones.

The rath of Knock-Caellagh, near Kilcullen, consists of a tumulus surrounded by a circular intrenchment, 20 feet wide and ten deep, with a rampart outside the trench. Cromwell is said to have encamped here on his way to the south. Others less remarkable, yet worthy of notice, are to be seen near Rheban, two miles north of Athy, at Kildare, at Naas, near Kilkea Castle, at Moon, at Clane, at Lyons (across which the boundary line of the counties of Kildare and Dublin passes), and at Rathsallagh, near Duncavan. On the Curragh are numerous earthworks, most of which appear to be sepulchral, forming a chain of fourteen small raths or circular intrenchments without ramparts, in a line of nearly three miles, extending east and west. A tradition has long prevailed of a stupendous heathen monument of huge stones existing here; but no vestige of it can now be discovered.

There were many celebrated and richly endowed monastic institutions in the county. At Athy was one for Crouched friars and another for Dominicans. Castledermot possessed a priory for Regular canons, a house of Crouched friars, and a Franciscan abbey, the ruins of which still serve to attest its former magnificence. The ruins of another Franciscan abbey are to be seen at Clane, where there was also a house of Regular canons. At Graney are the ruins of an Augustinian nunnery. A gateway and some other remains of a monastic building, said to have belonged to the Knights Templars, are still shown there. The ruins of Great Connell abbey are on the banks of the Liffey, near Newbridge. In Kildare was a nunnery and abbey united, founded by St. Brigid, and of which the ruins are still pointed out; also an abbey of Grey friars, situated south of the town, and a house of Carmelites or White friars.

At Old Kilcullen is a monastery as old as the time of St. Patrick, which in 1115 was elevated to the dignity of an episcopal see, but it does not appear that it long retained that rank. Near the ruins of the old church are the remains of two crosses, one of which still retains some very curious specimens of ancient sculpture. Maynooth had a convent of Black nuns, and a college of priests founded by the Earl of Kildare; the abbey of Killossy has been converted into the parish church, and is remarkable for the singularity of the architecture of its steeple tower; the monastery of Kilrush was surrounded by a broad ditch faced with masonry ten feet high; the abbey of Monastereven has been converted into the residence of the Moore family, the representative of which is the Marquess of Drogheda.

At Moone was a Franciscan friary, the brotherhood of which retained possession of it subsequently to the Reformation. Here is a fragment of a very old cross, one of the most curious in Ireland, covered with numerous grotesque figures. In Naas were three religious establishments, namely, a convent of Augustinians, another of Dominicans, and one for friars eremites of the order of St. Augustine. Some remains of the buildings of New Abbey, on the banks of the Liffey, are still to be seen; and of St. Wolstan's, also on the Liffey, near Celbridge, two towers and two gateways yet exist. Timolin had a monastery of Regular canons, and also a nunnery; at Tully, a mile south of Kildare, was a commandery of the Knights Templars, the possessions of which are held in commendam with the bishoprick of Kildare; the abbeys of Clonagh, Cloncurry, Disert-Fulertagh, Glasnaoidhun, Grangenolvin, Kilbeggs, Knocknacrioth, Leixlip, and Tulachfobhair, are known only by name.

The remains of many castles are scattered through the county: the principal were Kilkea, Athy, Castledermot, Rheban, Kilberry, Woodstock, Timolin, Castle Carbery, Ballyteague, Clane, Rathcoffy, Donadea, Lackagh, Kildare, Leixlip, Corifig, Morrestown-Nenagh, Cloncurry, and Maynooth.

Kildare, County of | Kildare Baronies | Kildare Topography | Kildare Agriculture | Kildare Geology | Kildare Rivers | Kildare Antiquities | Kildare Social History | Kildare Town | Kildare, Diocese of

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