Emigration and Education Statistics, 1931, Co. Kildare


Kildare an inland county in the province of Leinster, is bounded on the north by county Meath, on the east by counties Dublin and Wicklow, on the south by county Carlow and on the west by Offaly (King’s county) and county Westmeath. Its greatest length from north to south is 42 miles and its greatest breadth from east to west is 26 miles.


The name of the county and of the town is derived from a little church called Cill-Dara (the Church of the Oak) built under an oak tree at the end of the fifth century by Saint Bridget. This church grew into a large religious establishment which flourished for many years afterwards. The ancient territory called Hy-Faelen comprised the baronies of Salt, Ikeathy and Oughterany, Clane and part of the baronies of Naas and Connell. This formed the original territory of the O’Byrnes, who, however in the twelfth century were driven into the mountain fastness of Wicklow. A great part of the south of the county was anciently called Hy-Murray, the original territory of the O’Tooles who were, like the O’Byrne’s, driven over the border to Wicklow by the Anglo-Normans in the 12th century. Offaly was in the north west and Leix running in to Queen’s county in the west. The plain of the Liffey was anciently called Lifé or Moy Lifé, which gave its present name to the river whose old name was Rurthach. There were in ancient times three Royal Residences in the county, one near the town of Naas, one on the hill of Knockaulin, near Kilcullen and the most famous one on the hill of Allen, five miles north of Kildare. This was the residence of Finn MacCumhal, the greatest of all Irish heroes. The forts at Ardskull and Mullaghnast were the residences of Kings or Chiefs.


Kildare is the most level of all the Irish counties, the only mountains of any height being on the borders of Wicklow. A range of hills to the north west of the town of Kildare, called the Red Hills or Dunmurry Hills is terminated by the Hill of Allen (676’), a landmark conspicuous by a tall pillar erected on its summit and giving its name to the Bog of Allen. Knockaulin (600’) near Old Kilcullen is remarkable for its antiquities. The Bog of Allen occupies a considerable portion of the county towards the west and north-west.

Between the towns of Kildare and Newbridge lies the undulating plain of the Curragh, six miles long and two broad and containing 4,858 acres. Horse racing has taken place here from time immemorial. There is a large permanent military camp, the ground being suitable for training and evolutions. There are several forts or raths scattered over the plain.

The Rivers are the Liffey which rises in county Wicklow and flows into Kildare near Ballymore-Eustace, forming near the border the beautiful falls of Poulaphuca; and shortly before it enters county Dublin, it forms another pretty waterfall called the Salmon Leap, near Leixlip. The Boyne rises near Carbury Hill in the north west and first flows through this county before it forms the boundary for 3 ½ miles between it and Laois (Queen’s) county, and then for 7 ½ miles with Meath county, through which it flows for the rest of its course to the sea. It is not generally known that in its course the Boyne is crossed as well by those coming to Dublin from the West of Ireland as well as those coming from the north, for it runs across the Midland Great Western main line between Moyvalley and the Hill of Down train stations. The Barrow first forms the boundary with Laois (Queen’s) county for a mile; next runs two miles through Kildare; and then makes the boundary with Laois for 7 ½ miles, again runs through Kildare for 6 miles and forms once more the boundary of Laois for 7 ½ miles before it finally leaves the county Kildare. The Rye Water, which flows through the Duke of Leinster’s demesne, joins the Liffey at Leixlip. Small tributaries of the Barrow are Figile, the Funery, the Greese and the Lerr. The Blackwater and the Garr join the Barrow.





Total Pop.

49,988 49,077 99,065

54,472 53,952 108,424

58,030 56,458 114,488

48,528 47,195 95,723

48,960 41,986 90,946

44,946 38,668 83,614

40,701 35,103 75,804

38,407 31,799 70,206

34,703 28,863 63,566

37,684 28,943 66,627

31,982 26,053 58,035

Families and Houses in 1926

The number of families in the county was 9,787 the average number in each family being 4.6. The number of inhabited houses was 11,910, showing an average of 4.9 persons to each house. The special inhabitants of public institutions are omitted from these calculations.

There were in the county 9,278 Occupiers or Heads of Families, who were in occupation of less than five rooms, being 94.8% of the total for the county. Of these 490 or 5% of the families in the county occupied one room; 2,328 or 23.8%, two rooms; 4,042 or 40.3%, three rooms; and 2,418 or 24.7%, occupied four rooms.

There were in the county 188 tenements in which the room had only one occupant; 228 cases where the room had 2-4 occupants, 71 cases in which there were 5-7 occupants and 3 cases where the occupants of one room exceeded 7 in number, including one case where eleven persons occupied the same room.

Birthplace of Inhabitants

Of the population in 1926, 69.95% were born in the county, 26.31% in other counties in Saorstat Eireann. 1.4% in Northern Ireland, 2.16% in Great Britain, and 0.58% were born abroad.


In 1911 there were in the county 54,920 persons aged 9 years and upwards; of these 50,128 or 91.3% could read and write; 1,373 or 2.5% could read only and 3,149 or 6.2% were illiterate. As this census is the starting point where the age was raised from 5 years to 9 years; no comparison can be made with previous figures from other censuses. The report states that the percentage of those of 5 years and upwards who were unable to read and write was 14.1% in 1891, 11.2% in 1901 and in 1911 had fallen to 9.3%.

IRISH SPEAKING (1861-1911)

of people
1861 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911

Irish only
0 0 0 0 0 0

Irish & English
554 260 634 381 1,198 1,677
% of
0.6 0.8 0.8 0.5 1.9 2.5

RELIGIONS, 1871-1926 (% of population)

1871 1881 1891 1901 1911 1926

1.1 1.0 1.9 1.08 0.92 0.38

Church of Ireland
12.0 11.2 12.9 11.63 15.76 5.50

Roman Catholic
86.0 87.0 84.1 86.31 87.02 93.75

0.6 0.5 0.8 0.66 0.86 0.21

0.3 0.3 0.3 0.32 0.39 0.16

EMIGRATION (1861-1911)

1861 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911
12,257 7,149 5,883 8,249 2,113 2,630