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Located near the Laois-Kildare border, the market town of Athy in South Kildare is also a short-drive from the Wicklow border, leaving you well placed to explore three historic counties as you visit Athy. With the River Barrow running through the centre of the town, Athy is home to several heritage sites, while there are also a range of outdoor activities to be enjoyed when visiting this South Kildare town.
Athy and the surrounding area is home to several castles including the now privately-owned Whites Castle, while the 13th-century Woodstock Castle overlooks the River Barrow and was a key location during the battles between the Irish and Anglo Normans. Be sure to visit the area to get a sense of the importance of this building in Athy’s history. The 12th-century Kilkea Castle on the outskirts of Athy is another castle worth checking out when you visit Athy, and here you will also find Kilkea Castle Golf Club. Athy has a golf course of its own – Athy Golf Club – making the town a popular area for golfing enthusiasts looking a golfing break in Kildare. The famous K Club, host venue of the 2006 Ryder Cup is a 40-minute drive from Athy, while other popular course including Naas Golf Club, Newbridge Golf Club and Millicent Golf Club are all a short-drive away.
Discover more about the history of the town by visiting the popular Athy Heritage Centre and Museum, while the Athy Workhouse will give you a sense of the Famine period in the town, and the role the workhouse played in providing for the many starving locals.
Considered by many to be the equestrian hub of Ireland, Kildare is home to some of the country’s finest racecourses, all of which lie some 30-minutes from Athy. The Curragh, Punchestown and Naas Racecourse are all a short-drive north, ensuring you can soak up the atmosphere of race day in Kildare, while also taking in the history and heritage of one of the county’s largest towns. Continue your equestrian adventure by visiting the Irish National Stud in Tully. Here you will gain great insight into the history of horseracing in Ireland, and also get to see some of Ireland’s finest horses galloping along in acres of open space. The National Stud is also home to the spectacular Japanese Gardens, while St Fiachra’s Garden is a picturesque and tranquil space that provides a fitting nod to the patron saint of gardeners.
While Kildare has many historic sites, and is well-known for its race meetings, the county has become well known in recent times as one of Ireland’s premier shopping locations. The wonderful Kildare Shopping Village has put Kildare on the map as a must visit destination if you’re looking for a shopping holiday. Located just off the main M7 road to Dublin, Kildare Village is home to some of the finest designer brands and luxury fashion and homeware brands. A must-see for keen shoppers.
A short-break to Athy will allow you to easily explore much of this fascinating county, and with a wide variety of accommodation in Athy, and the surrounding area, you’ll have plenty of choice when it comes to finding hotels in Athy. Plan your Kildare adventure today.