Clane’s Heritage

Clane Abbey (Small)Clane (“the slanted ford”) is a place of legend and history. As a crossing point of the Liffey, it has been settled since the Stone Age and was on the “Road of Kings” between Tara and Naas. Legends include the killing of King Mesgegra in battle in 33 AD and how his queen, Buan, screamed so hard on being shown his severed head that her heart burst. Clane people have been involved in many of the great events of Irish history, as recorded in the plaques in The Abbey’s Garden of Remembrance.

Browse under the Heritage menu for various maps and other resources specifically related to Heritage in Clane. For the most recent Heritage related news please see the articles below.

  • Report published on Sunday’s Well With the support of Kildare County Council a report was recently prepared by consultants on Clane’s Sunday’s Well which used to exist by the Motte beside the Cois Abhainn apartments. Read all about the well here…
  • St. Patrick’s Day 2016 Congratulations to Clane’s St. Patrick’s Festival Committee who pulled off such a great week of festivities yet again. Clane Community Council’s float which was powered by volunteers from Clane Tidy Towns, Clane and Rathcoffey Community Games, Clane Friary and Abbey Cemetery, Clane Heritage and the Abbey Community Centre…
  • Introducing Clane’s New Heritage Signage The Heritage subcommittee of Clane Community Council and Clane Local History Group have been working together to deliver a new set of Heritage signage for the village of Clane…
  • Introducing the Heritage of Clane The Heritage Committee of Clane Community Council in collaboration with Clane Local History Group are delighted to introduce some of the wonderful heritage of Clane via a set of Heritage Site maps. Do you know the oldest man-made object in Clane? Discover this and more…
  • Clane Heritage – Seeking Your Photos Do you have old photographs of Clane that you think might be of interest? How about having some of them published through Clane Community Council Heritage Group? We would be delighted to receive any old photos of Clane, its people and environs that you may have. Please read on for all the details…
  • Celebrate Heritage Week … in Clane The week starting August 18th is National Heritage Week and this year we are delighted to announce it can be celebrated in Clane. On Sunday August 19th a Nature Walk by the Liffey is planned, whilst on Tuesday 21st August a talk on Main Street Clane: Its Buildings and People is being presented. Why not ...
  • Clane Nest Box Scheme 2012 – the results!! In early 2012 Clane Tidy Towns launched a Nest Box Scheme in association with the Kildare Branch of Birdwatch Ireland. Now that the season is over (for these nest boxes at least) we are delighted to share the results. These include some video highlights starring Annabelle, Apollo, and their nest-full of chicks…
  • Launching Coiseanna… Clane Local History Group is creating its own piece of history this April 18th in Clane GAA’s Conneff Park at 8pm. Mario Corrigan of Kildare County Council’s Art and Heritage services will launch their new journal, Coiseanna. All are very welcome to attend this special occasion.
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Heritage Sites in and around Clane

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Heritage Sites in and around Clane: 53.303800, -6.689987
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The Abbey Community Centre

Clane AbbeyThe site of one of Ireland’s oldest monasteries, said to be founded by St. Ailbe around 520. It hosted the famous Synod of Clane in 1162 and was the Church of Ireland’s home until a new church was built in Millicent in 1883. It’s basically medieval structure was restored in the 1970s by Clane Community Council. Its Garden of Remembrance records those buried there as well as a surprising number of renowned Clane people.

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Fr. John Sullivan Memorial
Fr. John SullivanThis memorial was erected in memory of Fr. John Sullivan, a saintly Clongowes Jesuit whose beatification is currently being considered. A nearby information panel on Historic Clane highlights a walk which takes in some of the sights detailed here.
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Friary and Abbey Cemetery

FriaryFounded by Gerald Fitzmaurice Fitzgerald in 1258, this Friary was one of Ireland’s earliest Franciscan monasteries. It was suppressed by Henry VIII in 1536, but Franciscans still return each year to celebrate Mass. An information board at the site provides more detailed information.

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Abbeylands House
AbbeylandsAbbeylands House. Now sadly uninhabited, this listed building was constructed in 1828 for the local Church of Ireland minister. Sold to Mr. Penryn in the early 1900s it was purchased by the O’Neill family in 1934 for £200 and they lived here until the lands were sold for housing in the late 1990s.
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McCracken's Woollen Mills
MillThe River Liffey in Clane is substantial enough to power machinery and in times past a working mill existed on both sides of the river at Alexandra Bridge. Today the derelict building to the north of the bridge is all that remains of the dyehouse for McCracken's Woollen Mills. The channel for the mill race remains under the road, and can be seen from the Liffeyside Nature Park opposite.
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Norman Motte
MotteNow in the grounds of Cois Abhainn, this  impressive Norman earthworks is termed a “motte” and is reputed to be built on an earlier mound said to be King Mesgegra’s burial place. Sunday’s Well, a hot spring now covered over, is at its base.
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Bullaun Stone
BullaunOn the bank of the stream, 50m upstream from the Friary, is the oldest man-made object in Clane. This enigmatic hollowed-out stone was probably used in druidic ritual, and marks where Mesgegra is said to have been slain.
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Millennium Cross
MillenniumCrossUnveiled by President Mary McAleese in 1999 this cross is a replica of that which marks the burial place of St. Ailbe in Emly, Co. Tipperary. It sits on the base of a medieval wayside cross, known locally as the “wart stone”, which once marked a boundary of the monastery or Friary.
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Dr. Flanagan's House
DrFlanaganThis late 18th Century house built as an inn by Mathew Donnellan, a friend of Wolfe Tone who suffered imprisonment for his role in the 1798 rebellion. It marked the start of what was to be straight road via Prosperous to Limerick, commenced in 1770 but never completed.
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Old Garda Barracks
GardaBarracksThe building now housing a barbers and a jewellery shop was used as a Garda station from 1923 to the 1970s. It was previously the home of the paternal family of Blessed Columba Marmion, beatified in 2000 by Pope John Paul II.
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1798 Memorial
1798The very first battles of the 1798 Rebellion occurred here in Clane and in Prosperous, where many died. Dr. John Esmonde, who was later hanged from Carlisle Bridge in Dublin, led these local forces. Kildare rebels were led by Painstown man Wm. Aylmer and the two national leaders of the rebellion also lived locally, Wolfe Tone and Hamilton Rowan.
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Church of St. Patrick and Brigid
RC1The Presentation sisters established a convent in 1839 at this orphanage site and gave land for this fine church, designed by William Hague and built by Fr. Turner in 1884, on the site of an earlier church, for £7000. At the front is the one-roomed Old Girls School (1818), one of the oldest Catholic primary schools in Ireland.
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The Old Court House
CourthouseThe Parish Office was once the local Court House, housing the Sinn Fein courts during the War of Independence. It later formed part of the local school.
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RIC Barracks
RICBarracksMarron’s Pharmacy was the location of the Royal Irish Constabulary barracks until 1920. In the 1930s it was purchased by Sergeant Marron of An Garda Síochána as a family home.
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Bodenstown Graveyard
Wolfe Tone lived in Blackhall. He died in gaol in 1798 and a trip to where he is buried in Bodenstown, the focus of regular national commemorations of “the father of  Irish republicanism”, is definitely worthwhile.
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Heweston School
Hewetson School relocated from Betaghstown to here in 1882, amalgamating with the Protestant Parish School.
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Church of St. Michael and All Angels
This wonderful Celtic Revival Hiberno-Romanesque church with its lovely lych gate was built at quite enormous cost by Thomas Cooke-Trench. The architect was J.F. Fuller and it was consecrated in September 1883 by Archbishop Richard Chevenix Trench.
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Clongowes Wood College
This famous Jesuit school, where James Joyce, John Redmond and Thomas Francis Meagher all studied, was a 15th Century Eustace Castle, built to defend The Pale - a double ditch separating English settled land from Gaelic Ireland. Sections of the Pale can still be seen here. Clongowes and Rathcoffey Castles were home to the remarkable Browne and Wogan families, commemorated in the Abbey Garden .
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Mainham Cemetery
The ruins of a medieval church stand on this early religious site. Adjacent is the 1743 Browne mausoleum with its fascinating inscription over the door. Close to the mausoleum is a tree-covered tumulus, said to be Queen Buan’s grave.
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Donadea Forest Park
Turn off the Kilcock Road for Donadea and enjoy a walk in this lovely forest park,  the grounds of the 17th Century Aylmer castle until Caroline Aylmer’s death in 1935. The evocative ruins of the castle with its lake, ice-house and St. Peter’s church all grace the park still.