Castledermot, County Kildare    7th – 18th century a. d.   

Castledermot packs a big punch for having historical buildings. This small town was originally called ‘Diseart Diarmad’; meaning ‘Dermot’s Hermitage’. This was once a very important ecclesiastical centre and there are many fine ruins in the area. These include the remains of a round tower, two High Crosses, an Abbey and a Franciscan friary. Kilkea Castle is also nearby. This was once the residence of the Dukes of Leinster. The earliest known Irish Parliament also met here on 18 June 1264 and a building called the Irish Parliament stood in the town square up until the 18th century. The Franciscan Monastery has the oldest intact stone window in Western Europe. This ‘frontier’ location at the edge of the Pale attracted many unwanted visitors over the years. It was attacked by Vikings in 841 and 867, the Normans in 1169, Edward the Bruce in 1316, the McMurroughs in 1405 and 1427, the Crown forces in 1530 and of course good old Cromwell whose forces destroyed most of the place in 1650. The town had been so important at one stage that it was allowed to mint its own coins. By the mid-19th century however Castledermot was described as having ‘neither trade nor manufacture’ and is now wholly dependent on agriculture.