Culture

A calm Kildare haven near a hub of Irish and cosmopolitan culture.

Cliff at Lyons could not be better placed for cultural pursuits.

It is situated just a half-hour drive from Dublin, one of the most celebrated cultural centres in the world, with a wealth of top-class museums, art galleries, theatres, gardens and concert halls, not to mention Trinity College with its prestigious library.

Kildare itself is at the centre of the Irish horse industry, and also the birthplace Arthur Guinness, inventor of his eponymous stout.

 

National Concert Hall

One of Europe’s greatest music venues.

The National Concert Hall’s resident orchestra puts on an excellent weekly programme.

Performances from visiting artists include jazz, opera, pop and classical.

Driving time: 30 minutes

 

National Museum of Ireland

Arguably Ireland’s most culturally significant collection.

The National Museum of Ireland is the oracle on Irish heritage, from archaeology and natural history to the nation’s rich decorative arts.

Driving time: 30 minutes

 

Irish Museum of Modern Art

Modern Irish and international art.

The Museum of Modern Art includes photography, painting, sculpture, performance and conceptual work from the 1940s onwards, are all permanently housed in the fine 17th-century Royal Hospital Kilmainham.

Driving time: 30 minutes

 

Trinity College

Widely acknowledged as one of the world’s finest universities.

No visit to Dublin is complete without a trip to the old library at Trinity College to see The Book of Kells – a famous ninth-century Gospel manuscript.

Driving time: 30 minutes

 

3 Arena Dublin

A state-of-the-art entertainment venue.

The 3 Arena Dublin is well regarded for its world-class acoustics and attracts giant acts from Cirque du Soleil to Jerry Seinfeld.

Driving time: 35 minutes

 

Guinness Storehouse

Discover the fascinating history of the drink that defines a nation.

The Guinness Storehouse is worth a visit just to stand inside the world’s largest pint glass, rising up seven floors through the storehouse’s atrium.

Driving time: 30 minutes

 

Castletown House

Music recitals, outdoor theatre and other cultural pursuits.

All take place at the magnificent Castletown House, an 18th-century Palladian house in Celbridge.

Child-friendly events such as art sessions and theatre camps are also included.

Driving time: 20 minutes

 

Japanese Gardens

Renowned for their meditative nature, vivid hues and tinkling water.

Devised by Colonel William Hall Walker, a Scotsman from a brewing family, and laid out between 1906 and 1910 by Tassa Eida, a Japanese master horticulturist and his son Minoru.

The Japanese Gardens symbolise the ‘Life of Man’ and take some 150,000 visitors a year on the soul’s journey from oblivion to eternity.

Driving time: 30 minutes

 

National Botanic Gardens of Ireland

The gardens form a beautiful oasis from the buzzy metropolis.

Established in 1795, The National Botanic Gardens hold over 15,000 plant species and famous for conservation – they are home to more than 300 endangered species, including six that are extinct in the wild – and for their fabulous glasshouses.

Driving time: 30 minutes

 

Riverbank Arts Centre

From drama to circus performances, and music to the visual arts, comedy and cinema.

The Riverbank Arts Centre in Newbridge has plenty of events to keep everyone in the family entertained.

Driving time: 25 minutes

 

Irish National Stud

The farm is world famous as the source of thoroughbred racehorse champions.

Many of these champions were conceived, born and raised on Tully’s Stud Farm.

Visitors can see the nine stallions who, after having been victorious in some of the most prestigious races, now have a cushy life in retirement, alongside some of their foals, other superstar horses and future champions.

The on-site Horse Museum is also fascinating, and is where the skeleton of Arkle, the greatest steeplechaser of all time, can be seen.

Driving time: 30 minutes

 

Old Jameson Distillery

On Bow Street in Dublin.

The Old Jameson Distillery was the original home of John Jameson’s first Irish whiskey shop, set up in 1780.

Guided tours and tasting experiences familiarise visitors with the production processes and history of the spirit.

Driving time: 30 minutes

 

Celbridge Guided Tours

Friendly and absorbing guided tours of the local area for walkers of all ages and levels of fitness.

Led by trained volunteers at Celbridge Guided Tours. Itineraries include Celbridge Abbey grounds, Castletown House parkland, and the burial grounds of Arthur Guinness.

Driving time: 10 minutes

 

Arthur Guinness Burial Place

Arthur Guinness, the founder of Ireland’s national beer, is buried just a 20-minute walk from Cliff at Lyons.

The burial site is in a small country graveyard at Oughterard, thought to date from the sixth century and containing the remnants of a Round Tower.

The site, forgotten for many years, has recently become something of a mecca for visitors, inspired by the annual Arthur’s Day celebration.

Be warned: the grave is not easy to find and is not signposted. We recommend taking a guided tour of the area (see Celbridge Guided Tours, above).

 

The Grand Canal

Cliff at Lyons owes its conception to the Grand Canal, on whose banks it was built.

The main line is entirely navigable, and a towpath along its full length offers walkers and cyclists wonderful exploring, right into Dublin.

For the intrepid, the Grand Canal Way is a 117km trail that follows the towpath from Lucan Bridge to Shannon Harbour and is typically completed in five days.

 

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