St Brigid's Cathedral

Cathedral in Kildare Town

The solid presence of 13th-century St Brigid's Cathedral looms over Kildare's Market Sq. Look out for a fine stained-glass window that depicts Ireland's three principal saints: Patrick, Brigid and Colmcille. The church also contains the restored tomb of Walter Wellesley, Bishop of Kildare, which disappeared soon after his death in 1539 and was found in 1971. One of its carved figures has been variously interpreted as an acrobat or a sheila-na-gig (a carved female figure with exaggerated genitalia).

The 10th-century round tower in the grounds is Ireland's second highest at 32.9m, and one of only two in Ireland that you can climb (the other is in Kilkenny), provided the guardian is around. Its original conical roof has been replaced with an unusual Norman battlement. Near the tower is a wishing stone – put your arm through the hole and touch your shoulder and your wish will be granted. On the north side of the cathedral are the heavily restored foundations of an ancient fire temple.

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