County Kildare, Ireland Genealogy

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Guide to County Kildare ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.

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History

County Kildare is a county in the midlands of Ireland, in the province of Leinster. It is named after the town of Kildare, which took its name from a small church built by St. Brigid under a large oak tree at the end of the 5th century. From this church came a large religious establishment called Cill-dara, the church of the oak. Both the town and the County were named after Cill-dara. The County’s greatest length is 42 miles from north to south and it is 26 miles in breadth from east to west. The area is 654.1 square miles (1,694.2 sq km).

The St. Brigid’s monastery survived several attacks by the Vikings during the 9th century and the religious community expanded in later centuries. In 1189, the Cistercian Abbey was formed and an Augustinian establishment was located in Naas in 1200. These settlements were centers of learning during the mediaeval times. Following the Norman invasion, the Fitzgerald’s were granted the county and they became a major force during the Middle Ages in Ireland; building the Maynooth Castle.

There were a number of rebellions and skirmishes in the 1640s. Kildare town was nearly destroyed by the Earl of Ormond and the English forces under his command in 1642. Following the rebellion of the Catholic confederacy of 1641, Cromwell confiscated the lands of many Norman families in 1654. Following the Williamite war of 1689-91, many landholders lost their lands again.

The Georgian period, 1714 – 1830, was a prosperous period for the county. Many manor houses were built including Castletown House by William Conolly of Donegal in the 1740s. The Curragh Race Track was built for horse racing and many military regiments practiced in its fields. The Industrial Revolution brought a cotton mill, a distillery, factories making farm equipment, the railroad and construction of the Grand Canal.

In 1821, the County’s population was 99,065 and increased to 114,488 in 1841. During the Great Famine of 1845-1849, the population decreased until it was 95,723 in 1851. The population continued to decrease to 58,028 in 1926, but has increased to 94,190 in 2006. County Kildare is predominately Roman Catholic. In 1891, the percentage of Roman Catholic, Church of Ireland, Presbyterian and Methodist was 84.1%, 13.0%, 1.9% and 0.8%. Overtime, the Roman Catholics have increased to 88.2% in 2006, while the Church of Ireland, Presbyterians and Methodists decreased to 2.9%, 0.5% and 0.3%, respectively, with other or no religions increasing to about 6.8%.

General Information about this county

  • The county of Kildare is an inland county of the province of Leinster and is bounded by Dublin, Meath, Offally, Laois, Carlow and Wicklow.
  • The county is partly in the diocese of Dublin but mostly in the diocese of Kildare. The county is divided into the baronies of Carberry, Clane, Connell, Ikeathy and Oughterany, Kilcullen, Kilkea and Moone, East Narragh and Rheban, West Narragh and Rheban, East Ohphaly, West Ophaly, North Naas, South Naas, North Salt and South Salt. The county contains the incorporated assize and market towns of Naas and Athy; the ancient disfranchised borough and market town of Kildare; the post and market town of Kilcock, Maynooth, Celbridge, Monastereven, Timoline, Rathangan, Leixlip, Killcullen-Bridge, and Newbridge.
  • Agriculture includes wheat, potatoes, turnips, and vegetables.

Information provided by the 1847 edition of Samuel Lewis' "Topographical Dictionary of Ireland."

Archives and Libraries

Cill Dara Historical Society
Contact: Joe Connelly
Tullywest Kildare
County Kildare
Telephone: 086-1686236

Local Studies, Genealogy Archives
County Kildare Library and Arts Centre
Riverbank
Mainstreet
Newbridge, County Kildare
Telephone: 353 (0)45 433602
Email: genealogy@kildarecoco.ie or kildaregenealogy@iol.ie
Also, localhistory@kildarecoco.ie.

Civil Jurisdictions and Parish Research Information

Land and Property

Maps

Websites