History

Kilkea Castle is an important landmark of Irish history located in the small village of Kilkea, in county Kildare. The castle is situated in the parish of Kilkea, on Kilkea Demesne, and was in the barony of Kilkea and Moone, south Kildare. Kilkea village is known for its beautiful landscape and at the centre is Kilkea Castle. Kilkea Castle was erected in 1180 by Hugh de Lacy, the Earl of Ulster and the Chief Governor of Ireland, for Walter de Riddlesford, a Norman knight, who arrived during the Anglo-Norman invasion of 1169. The land was once in the Barony of Kilkea and Moone which was owned by Richard de Clare, known commonly as Strongbow, who played a key role in the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland. The land was ‘granted by Strongbow to Walter de Riddlesford, Baron of Bray’.2 The exchange of the land is mentioned in an old French poem:

‘Twent fiefs in Ormurethy,
The noble earl (i.e Strongbow) in the same way,
Gave to the warrior,
Walter de Riddlesford.