Town in the northeast of County Kildare, Republic of Ireland; population (2002) 14,300. It is situated on the River Liffey, 19 km/12 mi west of Dublin. Nearby is Castletown, a mansion in the style of Andrea Palladio, built in 1722.
The old Irish name for Celbridge was Kildrought or Kildroighid. This was an anglicized version of the original Gaelic name Cill Droichid, ‘the church of the bridge’. There is evidence that the Celbridge area has been inhabited for over 5,000 years and artefacts have been found dating from the Stone Age and Bronze Age. Castletown developed around corn and wool industries and was largely designed by the Italian architect Alessandro Galilei for William Connolly, speaker of the Irish House of Commons. It has fine plasterwork, murals, and an 18th-century print room and is the headquarters of the Irish Georgian Society.
Features include Teach Tua, a 6th- century monastery which survived until the 11th century and is now the site of a church built in 1831; a monastery (1201), founded by the Norman knight Adam de Hereford; and Celbridge Abbey, the home of Esther Vanhomrigh (1690–1723), the ‘Vanessa’ of Jonathan Swift's poem Cadenus and Vanessa. On the Lyons estate (now owned by University College Dublin), 5 km/3 mi south of Celbridge, is Lyons Hill (197 m/645 ft), an Iron Age hill fort and once a seat of the kings of Leinster. Lyons House was built in 1797 and was once the home of Valentine Lawless, 2nd Lord Cloncurry (1773–1853), an active member of the United Irishmen. Castletown house in the town is Ireland's largest 18th-century country house.