Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Kilteel Castle & Old Church Co Kildare

                               Above Image: Part of the old monastic site
                             Above Image: Monastic ruins with Castle in background
                           Above Image: The walled Church ruin & Graveyard

                               Above Image: One of the stone head carvings

The imposing ruin of Kilteel Castle stands on private ground near the small Village of Kilteel in Co Kildare. The Castle dates from the 15th century although a preceptory was built earlier on this site by Maurice Fitzgerald for the Knights Hospitallers of John of Jerusalem. The Castle has five storeys and a spiral staired extended Tower on it's right hand side. This Tower is still possible to climb.
The Castle lands changed hands many times during it's history, from the Earl of Tyrconnell in 1669 to the Fownes Family until 1838 and the Kennedy Family thereafter. The Castle was laid siege by cromwellian forces in the mid 1600's and subsequently began it's descent into ruin. In the fields adjacent are the ruins of a Monastic settlement, some parts dating back to the 8th century.
We approached the Castle on a Summer's evening and parked our car by the gate to the land on which it stands. There was a notice on the gate stating private property and no trespassing. We knocked on the door of the house beside the castle and a pleasant lad said it was no problem to have a look around and seemed pleased that We had bothered to ask.
There is a large archway in the Castle wall and within this there is a gated door with access to the Tower. The owner holds the key. Beyond the Tower We found a Farmyard with what looked like some ancient cottages now being utilised as storage. There was a resident Dog who eyed us from his kennel but never bothered us while We were within the grounds. The Tower and front wall are all that remain of the Castle but in the fields behind are a number of ruins from the former Monastic settlement that are well worth a look. The field is a bit spongy in places and you will need to cross a dried up River bed, so appropriate footwear is recommended. Here you will also discover a walled Graveyard with Church ruin that has a number of interesting stone carvings. The wall has a stone stile for access.
To find Kilteel Castle, take the N81 from Tallaght towards Blessington. After passing through Brittas you will see a sign for a left turn to Kilbride (Manor Kilbride). Just after this turn on the right is a narrow local road. Take this road and after about a mile or so the road forks. Take the right hand route and this will lead you to a T-Junction. You will see the Castle on your left. Turn left at the junction and you can park easily enough by the roadside. Please ask for permission to enter, as the Dog mentioned earlier has a different opinion of people trying to open the gate!.



    1. Hi John

      Yes one of the better ruins around. Glad to share with you. Hope you can get out there soon.

  2. Hi, Thanking your blog, we've visited those ruins and we had a great discussion with the farmer who open us the door. We are a french family and we visited it (and other places indicated in your blog) the 21st of April 2017. I'll have a look on your blog,next year, to discover untouristic and wondefull ruins. Thank you again for your great job.

  3. My grandparents and my great grandparents came from around kilteel. My father used to tell me a story when he was young his grandmother would send him there to pick black berries. If you look at the photograph of the wall church runs and graveyard my grandparents are buried there. As you can see the graveyard is overgrown and not maintained. It is a lot worse to day. I am in my sixty now and I don’t live in kildare. I come up to visit my grandparent’s grave a number of times a year to try and keep the weeds back and stop it from being over grown. For me to gain access to my grandparent’s grave I have to climb that wall you see in the picture because the gate at the road has a lock on so you have to climb gate or fence to get into the field. And when you reach the graveyard gates it also has a lock on it and has not being open for a very long time .there is step on the wall beside the gate but graveyard is so overgrown you can’t go that way. The only way is over the wall you see in the picture. There are only tree graves that are maintained there and I believe this is because families are locked out. And cannot clime the graveyard wall to visiting there family members who are buried there. There is a lovely tradition in Ireland where there is a mass said in graveyards once a year up and down the country sadly this graveyard is not one of them. I live in the country side and I have lots of family buried in old graveyards around the country and surrounded by farm land. Sadly this old graveyard in Kilteel is the only one with locks on it gates
    Yours sincerely AJ

    1. Dear AJ. There was a necessity to lock the gates because the gates were being left open by visitors & farm animals were then entering the graveyard & breaking out on to the road. We have never refused anyone entry to the various historic sites on our grounds and over the past few years have made great improvements to the site at our own cost. If you require entry at anytime please call to the house beside the Castle. It is disappointing to read such posts when we have always being welcoming to visitors.

    2. The landowners have always been friendly and obliging in gaining entry to Kilteel