Newbridge / Droichead Nua Arts and Heritage Trail

Newbridge / Droichead Nua Arts and Heritage Trail
Slí Oidhreachta agus Ealaíne Dhroichead Nua

Planning for an Arts and Heritage Trail for the town of Newbridge commenced in 2009, and the trail has been installed in phases as finance allows. The original Arts and Heritage Trail was funded by Droichead Nua Town Council/Kildare County Council and planned under the guidance and management of Kildare’s Heritage Officer Bridget Loughlin and supported by Newbridge Tidy Towns Association.

The plaques are oval in shape, manufactured from zinc; the inscriptions are etched into the plaque, giving information on the many historic and significant sites which exist in our town. 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:
Location: Naas Road
Inscription:
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 Abbey Convent founded 1873

St. Conleth’s Abbey Convent founded 1873

St. Conleth’s Parish Church:
Location: Naas Road
Inscription:
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:
Location: Naas Road
Inscription:
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:
Location: Naas Road / Main Street
Inscription:
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.

St. Conleth's Bridge Built 1936, modernised 2006.

St. Conleth’s Bridge Built 1936, modernised 2006.

The Watering Gates:
Location: Athgarvan Road
Inscription:
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:
Location: Athgarvan Road
Inscription:
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. Ryston is home again for many people.

Old Barrack Gate Archway:
Location: Athgarvan Road
Inscription:
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.

Old Barrack Gate Archway Built Circa 1813/1819

Old Barrack Gate Archway Built Circa 1813/1819

Newbridge & County Library:
Location: Main Street
Inscription:
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.

Irish Ropes / Curragh Tintawn Carpets:
Location: Edward Street / Whitewater Entrance
Inscription:
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
Location: Moorefield Road / Standhouse Road
Inscription:
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
Location: Main Street
Inscription:
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
Location: Eyre Street
Inscription:
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
Location: Rowan Terrace / Friary Road
Inscription:
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
Location: Roseberry
Inscription:
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.

Dominican Priory (Est. 1756) Dominican College (Est.1852)

Dominican Priory (Est. 1756) Dominican College (Est.1852)

Sentinel
Location: Naas Road / Buckley’s Cross Roundabout
Inscription:

SENTINEL BY JAMES HAYES

This monument was commissioned in 2012 to commemorate the bicentenary of Newbridge, a garrison town. The erection of the cavalry barracks in 1812-1818 started the development of this new town, which for more than a century prospered on trade with the barracks and the custom of the troops. The withdrawal of the garrison in May 1922 caused a decade of great hardship, but recovery came in the 1930’s with the establishment of new industry, including Irish Ropes and Newbridge Cutlery.
Today Newbridge is the commercial heart of Kildare. Inspired by the town’s strong military history, this stylised abstract figure stands as a Sentinel to guard the town’s entrance. The swirling shapes at the base suggest the fires of the Phoenix, as it is reborn anew.
The shield at the front incorporates the modern Newbridge 200 design created by Graphic Designers Lisa Bothwell & Colette Vogel in 2012. The bicentenary celebrations were an acknowledgement of not only the 2012 milestone, but also the modern energy of Newbridge.

Supported by Kildare County Council and Newbridge Chamber

Remaining to be completed:
Four buildings & publication of a guide pamphlet

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About Us

 

Newbridge Tidy Towns Association is continuously working on projects designed to enhance the appearance of the town for the residents, visitors and business community.

Please explore our website - how could you become involved?

Contact us with ideas and suggestions, let us have your feedback.

Perhaps we can all work together to enhance the appearance of Newbridge

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How To Help

 

Work parties meet as follows:

October - March at the Watering Gates each SATURDAY morning at 9.30 am.

April - September - Meet at the Watering Gates each TUESDAY evening at 7.30 pm.

Please check our Twitter Feed for updates.

Monthly planning meeting:

Parish Centre, Station Road at 8.30 pm. on the first Wednesday of each month.

Meetings or work parties generally last one hour all are welcome.

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