The historic town of Maynooth is Ireland’s only university town and a centre of education and research. It is bookended by Maynooth Castle at one end of the town, and 17th century Carton House at the other – both former seats of the Dukes of Leinster.
This 12th century stronghold of Maynooth Castle was built by Gerald Fitzmaurice, 1st Lord of Offaly and became home to the Fitzmaurice and Fitzgerald families. Its most famous resident was Thomas FitzGerald, the 10th Earl of Kildare, or otherwise known as Silken Thomas who lived there in the mid-16th century. Following capture of Silken Thomas after a ten-day siege, the castle was left in ruins until it was restored in 1630-1635 by the 1st Earl of Cork, Richard Boyle. During the 11 Years War, much of the castle was destroyed. Restoration work began in 2000 by the Office of Public Works and it became a Heritage Site.
Maynooth was an important stopping point on the Royal Canal for barges before the railway was constructed in 1847. Today it is the starting point for the Royal Canal Greenway, a 130km off-road walking and cycling trail connecting Maynooth with Longford Town.
Maynooth University consists of two connected campuses, one dating from the 19th century and sharing a location with St Patrick’s College, founded in 1795, and the other a modern campus.
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