Things to do in Maynooth Ireland - Historical Sights, Carton House and other Activities
Maynooth is a historical meets modern planned town established in the 18th century and is also known as Ireland’s University Town due to vast number of students attending the resident college, NUI Maynooth.
Over the years Maynooth has welcomed the modern era and has all the benefits of the modern town, but it still retains culture and its celebrated rich historical past with ancient historical sights and period architecture.
Located in the north east of County Kildare it has easy access to Dublin and DublinCity with constant Dublin bus services, no. 66 and 67, and Irish Rail services.
Below is a list of historical sightseeing in Maynooth as well as some extra curricular activities from Golf to sight seeing.
1. Maynooth Castle – FitzGerald’s Castle
Located directly at the end of main street Maynooth, is the impressive ruins of the Fitzgerald’s castle, built in the late 12th and 13th century by the Fitzgerald family.
The Fitzgeralds were extremely powerful in the area and were appointed Earls of Kildare by the King of England which was later upgraded to Duke of Leinster.
In the early 1500’s Maynooth became the most significant centre of political power in the country due to the presence of the Fitzgeralds and also because of it’s location on the edge of The Pale.
This Medieval castle is mainly untouched and left in its ruins but there is a visitor centre on the premises which offers FREE tours of the grounds while giving a history lesson of the castle and area.
The castle is open to the public from June to October, 10.00 a.m. - 5.45 p.m.
Link for Maynooth Castle
2. Golf at Carton House
Located on the grounds of the 4 star Carton House Hotel (which appeared in the movie Leap Year) is the renowned Carton House Golf Course, which gained the title the European Golf Resort of the Year 2008 and which hosted the Nissan Irish Open in 2005 and 2006.
Hotel + Golf packages can be purchased through their website and sometimes at a discounted price depending on the occasion.
Other than hosting a great game of golf, it also hosts magnificent scenery and wildlife and is a great location for walking or sightseeing.
Link for Carton House
3. Horse Riding in Maynooth
Maynooth being in Kildare - The Thoroughbred County, means it naturally has Horse Riding activities in its vicinity. The equestrian centres are generally located on the outskirts of Maynooth, for obvious reasons, and if you choose not to walk the kilometres to reach them, you can reach them easily by car.
Clonfert Maynooth Equestrian Centre, one of Ireland's premier Equestrian centres is just a few minutes away from Maynooth town centre by car and caters for both adult riders and children aged five and older. It also caters for children aged three to four years old with pony riding. The centre is open everyday but make sure to call beforehand to schedule your day.
Link for Maynooth Horse Riding
4. Canal Walks along Maynooth’s Royal Canal
Construction began on this magnificent waterway over the space of 27 years, from 1790 to 1817 and to became a main freight and passenger transportation system from the River Shannon in the West to the River Liffey in Dublin in the East and vice versa.
The canal is maintained by Irish waterways and provides amazing scenery, greenery, wildlife and aquatic life. Walks along the canal are quite pleasant and safe and many old bridges will be seen along the way, some dating back to the 1800’s as well as antique locks.
Link for the Royal Canal
5. Fishing – Royal Canal plus Maynooth Fisheries
If you’re a lover of fishing, and more specifically angling or fly fishing then you’ve come to the right place. The vast stretches of the royal canal have many ideal angling spots where you can catch many Carp species, Perch and even Pike. The Royal Canal is very easily accessible with Irish Rail train stations all along its stretch and the Maynooth station located directly in the harbour of the canal.
If the Royal canal is not for you there is also the option of spending a lovely day out at the Maynooth Fisheries which hosts 4 fully stocked lakes, 2 for Fly Fishing and 2 for Course fishing. On the premises, there are 2 rivers which both contain native Irish fish including Brown Trout.
BBQ’s are permitted plus food is available on the Club’s menu, so Maynooth Fisheries is an ideal day out for yourself, friends or family.
Link for Maynooth Fisheries
6. Maynooth College Bi-Centenary Gardens
Located on the south campus of NUI, Maynooth/St Patrick’s College, is a fabulous man made water garden, with a collage of steps, rocks and boulders which allow you to trek through the gardens. At certain spots in the garden you’ll find tiny fountains each with a different name and purpose, plus a central fountain which can be reached by stepping on semi-submerged slabs. Because of all the steps and stones located in this garden, the locals of Maynooth refer to the Bi-CentenaryGardens as the “Stepping Stones”, so if we don’t understand you when you ask us for directions to the Bi-CentenaryGardens, please mention the name “Stepping Stones”.
The Bi centenary gardens, are located on the premises of the cathedral which I’ll mention below.
Link for Bi-Centenary Gardens
7. Maynooth College South Campus
(Gothic Architecture to Celtic Crosses)
Again, located on the south campus of NUIM/St. Patrick’s College stand impressive Gothic Architecture and of course Ireland’s main Roman Catholic Seminary which is definitely worth a look around. The main Cathedral is a sight to behold and is equally beautiful and impressive on its interior as well on its exterior, also connected to the Cathedral you’ll find many long corridors which on the walls contain original paintings of priests and religious figures dating back from hundreds of years to the present.
In all, the South Campus has been referred to as Hogwarts from the Harry Potter serious due to it’s magnificent Gothic architecture.
Along the open playing fields at the father end of the South campus, which are ideal for walking, is the tiny south campus graveyard which hosts massive Celtic crosses and also Latin inscriptions on the crosses and entrance.
You find this graveyard directly behind a statue of Jesus in the grounds of the old college where you’ll have to walk through a mysterious and slightly ominous entrance of interlinking Yew Trees to reach it.
Link for Maynooth College
8. Shopping in Maynooth
On a slightly different note, Shopping is also a to do while in Maynooth, with clothes shops ranging from well known to chains to small boutique shops where you’ll find only one of a kind clothes.