Join the Celbridge Heritage Trail and stroll through history, from early Christian Tea Lane, resting place of the Grattans; to Speaker Connolly’s Castletown, Ireland’s finest Georgian residence; then onwards to historic Celbridge Village, by the tranquil riverside trail or the stately tree-lined avenue. Just beyond lies Celbridge Abbey, home of Swift’s Vanessa.
Relax with a pint in one of the fine hostelries along vibrant Celbridge Main Street, birthplace of Arthur Guinness, perhaps Ireland’s best known name. Visit his life-size statue, marking this iconic location.
There’s much more in Celbridge, so return for a leisurely feast of heritage and hospitality, or a golfing break with unrivalled choice of great courses nearby to suit every standard.
A Free Celbridge Heritage Trail Audio Guide is available for download here
Guided Tours of North East Kildare
For free entertaining informative guided walks, taking in Castletown House, Birthplace of Arthur Guinness / Arthur’s Way, Famine Graveyard, Courting Grounds of Jonathan Swift, Carton House Parklands and Grand Canal.
Walks vary from one to three hours on relatively flat ground. Tours are tailored to suit the interest, age and fitness levels of all walkers.
For more information just click the link or contact Brenda of Celbridge Guided Tours at 087 9630719
A little History…
Straddling the River Liffey in County Kildare, and easily accessible from Dublin and the rest of Leinster, Celbridge is an ideal gateway to Ireland’s Ancient East. It is home to a host of interesting stories and historic buildings and has connections with an array of significant figures from the past, including William ‘Speaker’ Conolly, Jonathan Swift, Arthur Guinness and Henry Grattan. We will hear more about their stories later in our guide.
The name Celbridge derives from the Irish Cill Droichid, meaning the church of the bridge, and there are references to this name in documents from the 13th century. The current name of the town represents a partial translation of the Irish form. With the anglicisation of Irish place names in the 12th and 13th centuries, Cill Droichid became known as Kildrought. That name was further anglicised in the mid 18th century to Celbridge.
As its name suggests, Celbridge originated as an ecclesiastical settlement. Saint Mochua is said to have founded a religious community here about 600 AD. His church was probably located on the site of the later medieval church at Tea Lane Graveyard close to the village centre. In the 13th century, the Augustinian Abbey of Saint Wolstan was founded on the opposite bank of the river at Donaghcumper.
Ireland’s finest Palladian Country House and Celbridge Abbey Grounds, home of Vanessa Van Homrigh during her relationship with the 18th century churchman and satirist Jonathan Swift, are located in Celbridge. Celbridge Abbey was built by Bartholomew Van Homrigh, Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1697. He secured the chain of office from William of Orange which is still worn by Lord Mayors of Dublin today. His daughter Vanessa planted the grounds for her friend and admirer Jonathan Swift. Following the death of Vanessa, Celbridge Abbey came into possession of the Lord Chief Justice, Thomas Marley, grandfather of Henry Grattan.
Much of Celbridge town was rebuilt after 1798. In the 1870’s two mills had been opened in Celbridge, one for the manufacture of women’s hair clips and the other, which employed 300 people, was for the making of linen tape. In the 1830’s Celbridge was home to 270 houses and the population was estimated at 1,647. There was a Parochial House, four private schools and a fever hospital.
In the early 18th century, the fortunes of Celbridge improved greatly. The arrival of William Conolly, who was Ireland’s richest and most powerful man at the time, was a catalyst for development and growth. He and his descendants exerted a major influence on the development of Celbridge over the next one hundred years and more. Their most enduring legacy is the magnificent Castletown House. They also sponsored educational institutions in the town and ensured that buildings on the village street were constructed to a high architectural standard.
By virtue of its location on the River Liffey, Celbridge also developed as a centre of industry in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Mills employing hundreds of men and women sprang up along the riverbanks. The focus of industry was on textiles and clothing, in particular a unique and famous Celbridge hat.
Amenities, Facilities and Attractions
Monument to Speaker Connolly
When visiting Celbridge, you must seek out the Monument in the Protestant church to William Connolly, Speaker in the Irish house of commons when Queen Anne reigned.
At the end of a long tree lined avenue lies Castletown House, one of Ireland’s most imposing mansions, built in the year 1722. Much of its internal design was the work of Lady Louisa Lennox who married into the Connolly family at only 15 yrs of age. From the back of the house, roughly two miles, an Obelisk can be seen. It is mounted on a series of stone arches and stands 140ft high and is known as, ‘Connolly’s Folly’. Castletown House has recently undergone refurbishments and is open to tourists.
Facts & Figures
Although it has grown rapidly in recent decades, Celbridge maintains the rural ambience of a village. Its main street, historic buildings and pleasant riverbank walks provide an opportunity for relaxation and a chance to explore and understand the history of the area.
Celbridge has a population of almost 20,000 people.
One of Irelands renowned musicians Damien Rice is from Celbridge.
Access and Transport
From K Club, via R403
From Dublin, via M4 motorway at junction six.
Dublin bus 67/67X from Pearse Street, Westmorland Street, etc, Dublin
Bus Eireann No 120: Dublin – Celbridge – Clane – Prosperous – Edenderry – Tullamore
Heuston to Hazelhatch station, feeder bus to Celbridge Village