Newbridge Heritage Trail


Planning for an Arts and Heritage Trail for the town of Newbridge has been on-going for some time. The trail was installed in phases and gives information on the many historic and significant sites which exist in our town. In addition two new pieces of sculpture / public art have been commissioned and erected / installed in 2010.

The Arts and Heritage Trail was planned and funded by Droichead Nua Town Council and Kildare County Council. Kildare's Heritage Officer Bridget Loughlin spearheaded the project with the assistance and support of James Durney (Kildare County Library) and Newbridge Tidy Towns Association. Text researched and prepared by James Durney.

The plaques are oval in shape, manufactured from zinc; the inscriptions are etched into the plaque. Locations have been agreed in the majority of the sites, and where agreement has been reached these signs have been erected.

Further Heritage Signage will be erected once the site owners agree the wording / content prior to final proofs being produced and are amenable to the erection of a plaque on their premises.

Heritage Trail Signage Locations

St. Conleth's Abbey Convent
John O’Callaghan, F.R.I.A.I, unquestionably one of the foremost architects of his day, designed St. Conleth’s Abbey. He worked on the design of the convent in 1872, when he was president of the Architectural Association of Ireland. The foundation stone was laid on Ascension Day, 22 May 1873. The convent became home to the Sisters of the Holy Family who arrived in Newbridge in May 1875.






St. Conleth’s Parish Church
Building began on this church in 1848, and was completed in 1852. The church was dedicated to St. Conleth, the first Bishop of Kildare, and Patron Saint of Newbridge Parish, and the Diocese of Kildare. The original structure was Gothic in style, but from 1894-7 various improvements were made, with the building enlarged to almost twice its original size. A new High Altar was erected in 1929, and beautiful plate glass windows were installed behind the High Altar of the church.

Patrician Primary School
The Patrician Brothers came to Newbridge in 1939 to run the local Primary School - then called St. Conleth’s Boys’ School. The present school, built in 1914, was extended in 1965 and again in 1979.

St. Conleth's Bridge
This three arch road bridge replaced an 18th century five arch structure, though construction of the arches retained their original shape. A bridge was first erected on the present site in the 1780’s, when the previous bridge – located somewhere near the watering Gates – was damaged by a flood: the main road being re-aligned to accommodate moving the bridge. The modern bridge, built in 1936, is of considerable historical and social significance as a reminder of the road improvement schemes in Ireland in the early 20th century. The bridge was significantly modernised in 2006, when the walls were removed and a boardwalk added.

The Watering Gates
A road once lead from the barrack stables, through an archway of the central tower, eastward between the parade grounds of the British Army Cavalry Barracks to the River Liffey where the horses were led to drink at what is still known as the “Watering Gates” on the bank of the Liffey, near the road crossing opposite Liffey Terrace. The Watering Gates were used as a drinking station for the estimated 1,000 Cavalry Horses who were stabled in the Newbridge Barracks.






Ryston Social Club
Ryston was the birthplace of novelist Millie Keane. The Ryston Sports and Social Club, formerly the Irish Ropes Social Club, was established in 1949 as a result of a friendly match between Irish ropes and Goodbody's of Clara. While the social club enjoyed early success, it was some years before it acquired its own premises. All social club meetings were initially held in Irish Ropes, but in the late 1950’s the company handed over the land at Ryston to their workers in order to build a sports and social club. Over the years Ryston has developed to cater for a large and diverse range of activities, from badminton, boxing, bowling and bridge to pitch and putt and pigeon racing.


Newbridge & County Library
Opened on the 20 August 1936, the old Library Headquarters is an attractive and prominent structure - a fine example of an 'Art Deco' building, which is distinguished by the reserved modern detailing. The library was purpose-built in an effort to improve the education of the population in the locality and to administer library services throughout the county. It was also the home of the first Co. Librarian John Connolly.

Old Barrack Gate Archway
The town of Newbridge virtually grew up around the British Army Cavalry barracks, which was completed in 1819. It accommodated some 1,500 men and 1,000 horses until it was evacuated in 1922. Built on 39 acres, the barracks stretched from the Main Street to Ryston and from the Athgarvan Road to the limits of the modern Whitewater Shopping Centre. During the Civil War, Newbridge barracks was used as an internment camp for 1,200 Anti-Treaty republican prisoners drawn from all parts of Ireland including many from Co. Kildare. On the night of 15/16 October 1922, 112 prisoners escaped from the camp, making it one of the biggest prison escapes in Irish History. Hundreds of republicans went on hunger strike in the camp in 1923: and Comdt. Denis Barry of Cork died while on hunger strike here. The archway is one of the few remaining features of the original barracks.

Irish Ropes / Curragh Tintawn Carpets
The Irish Ropes Group was started in 1933 as a small enterprise employing six people, but later became one of the most important employers in the town. Originally situated in the former Cavalry Barracks Riding School, the “Ropes” as it was known, soon expanded to cover a large proportion of the former barracks site. Its growth was crucial to the development of Newbridge, and at its height, the Ropes employed 1,100 workers from Newbridge and the surrounding areas. Curragh Tintawn Carpets was originally established as the carpet manufacturing division of Irish Ropes in 1937, the Company moved to a new site on the Green Road in 2006, and is Ireland’s largest carpet manufacturer.

St. Patrick's Church of Ireland
Prominently situated at the junction of the Old Moorefield Road and Standhouse Road, this Gothic style church was built around 1815. Extensive repairs undertaken in the 1970’s revealed evidence of a much smaller and earlier building on the present site. St. Patrick’s is of considerable historical and social significance as the ecclesiastical centre for the Protestant community in the locality. The church retains many important original features.

Old Garrison Church - Town Hall
Built in the Gothic Revival style in 1859 as a Methodist church within the military barracks, it was acquired in 1927 by Droichead Nua Town Commissioners for use as a Town Hall. The former church recalls a once thriving Methodist community in the locality, while its subsequent use as a town hall confirms its importance as one of the earliest civic buildings in the town.

Market Square
The Market Square in Newbridge is bordered on Eyre Street by the site of the former courthouse building built in 1858, and destroyed by fire in 2002. In 1859 Eyre Powell laid out Eyre Street connecting the smaller streets and Market Square to the Main Street. Fairs were held on the second Monday of each month, cattle fairs on the following day, and the markets were held on Wednesday. In 1910 Mr. Owen Boylan was court keeper and weigh-master.


Rowan Terrace
The first purpose built social housing scheme in Newbridge, named after local doctor Laurence Rowan, well known for his work on behalf of the town’s poor. These two-storey, three-bedroomed houses were built facing the River Liffey by the Town Commission around 1900.

Newbridge College & Dominican Priory
The Dominican Order first came to Newbridge in 1756 and soon established a Priory on this site. The present Church of St. Eustace was blessed and opened in 1966. It is the third church to stand on this site, having been preceded by a church built in 1870, which itself replaced the original church dating from 1819.

Newbridge College was founded by the Irish Dominicans in 1852. Junior House complete with Clock Tower was opened in 1926. The foundation stone for Senior House was laid in 1952; the centenary of the foundation of the College, and this building was completed in the Marian Year 1954.








Heritage & Arts Trail Phase Three
Now that the initial two phases of the Arts & heritage Trail have been completed, all that remains is the preparation and publication of a guide pamphlet, and erecting a map in the town centre to act as a guide to visitors to the town.

It is hoped that the Arts and Heritage Trail will be extended further, and if you have any suggestions on possible sites for inclusion in a further phase of the Arts and Heritage Trail such as historic buildings, natural features, or other items or locations of interest, please contact Newbridge Tidy Towns at email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.