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KILDARE, a market town and the county town of county Kildare, Ireland, in the south parliamentary division, a junction on the main line of the Great Southern & Western railway, 30. m. S.W. from Dublin, the branch line to Athy, Carlow and Kilkenny diverging southward. Pop. (1901), 1576. The town is of high antiquarian interest. There is a Protestant cathedral church, the diocese of which was united with Dublin in 1846. St Brigit or Bridget founded the religious community in the sth century, and a fire sacred to the memory of the saint is said to have been kept incessantly burning for several centuries (until the Reformation) in a small ancient chapel called the Fire House, part of which remains. The cathedral suffered with the town from frequent burnings and destructions at the hands of the Danes and the Irish, and during the Elizabethan wars. The existing church was partially in ruins when an extensive restoration was begun in 1875 under the direction of G.E. Street; while the choir, which dated from the latter part of the 17th century, was rebuilt in 1896. Close to the church are an ancient cross and a very fine round tower (its summit unhappily restored with a modern battlement) 1055 ft. high, with a doorway with unusual ornament of Romanesque character. There are remains of a castle of the 13th century, and of a Carmelite monastery. From the elevated situation of the town, a striking view of the great central plain of Ireland is afforded. Kildare was incorporated by James II., and returned two members to the Irish parliament.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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