Kildare', a county of Leinster, Ireland, bounded by Dublin, Wicklow, Queen's and King's counties, Meath, and Carlow. Its chief town is Naas, and other municipal towns are Kildare, Kilcullen, Maynooth, and Athy, besides many villages. The area is 418,836 acres, or 654 sq. m.; the surface is generally flat, and the soil very productive. In the northern part the great Bog of Allen covers some 40,000 acres, intersected by elevated ridges of dry ground. From this bog rises the conical Hill of Allen, 300 feet high. Agriculture is the main occupation. The* most fertile and best-farmed districts are the valleys of the Liffey and the Greese; other rivers are the Boyne and Blackwater (both having their source in County Kildare), the Barrow and the Lesser Barrow. To the south of the town of Kildare is the Curragh (q.v.) of Kildare, an undulating plain of bright green grass covering about 8000 acres. Kildare returns two members. Pop. (1841)114,488 ; (1901) 63,469, of whom 54,794 were Catholics. Kildare is noted for its antiquities - giant stone pillars, earthworks, sepulchral mounds, a stone circle, five round towers, and the ruins of many religious houses and castles.
The town of Kildare is 30 miles SW. of Dublin. St Bridget (453-523) founded a nunnery here, and the older name Druim Criaidh was changed to Cil-dara, the cell or church of the oak, from an old tree under which she built her cell. There are remains of three other monastic institutions, and a round tower, the finest in the county, 103 feet high. The Protestant see (1550) is now united with Dublin, and the Roman Catholic see forms the diocese of Kildare and Leighlin. Kildare suffered severely in the wars of the 16th and 17th centuries. The rebellion of 1798-99 began in Kildare, which prior to the Union returned two members. Pop. 1572. See works by Rawson (1807) and O'Byme (1867).