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Video of Athy, County Kildare, Republic of Ireland

From the first official records in 1813 (population 3,192) until 1891 (population 4,886) and again in 1926-46 and 1951-61 Athy was the largest town in Kildare. In 1837 the population was 4,494.

Arhy or Baile Átha Í is named after a 2nd century chieftain, Ae, who is said to have been killed on the river crossing, thus giving the town its name "the town of Ae's ford".

The town developed from a 12th century Anglo-Norman settlement to an important stronghold on the local estates of the FitzGerald earls of Kildare, who built and owned the town for centuries.

The first town charter dates from the 16th century and the town hall was constructed in the early 18th century. The completion of the Grand Canal in 1791, linking here with the River Barrow, and the arrival of the railway in 1846, illustrate the importance of the town as a commercial centre. From early on in its history Athy was a garrison town loyal to the Crown. English garrisons stayed in the Military Barracks in Barrack Lane after the Crimean War and contributed greatly to the town's commerce. Home for centuries to English soldiers, Athy gave more volunteer soldiers to the Great War of 1914-18 than any other of similar size town in Ireland.

The town is twinned since 2003 with French town of Grandvilliers (département Oise-Picardy). The French twinning committee is named "La Balad'Irlandaise" . Towns official visits are each two years. Colleges are organising once a year students exchanges. Musicians from Athy often go to Grandvilliers.

Of the many church ruins in Athy, St. Michael's is perhaps the most ancient. It was built in the 14th century. Some of the vestry and sidewalls have disappeared, but there is still some of the original church remaining. The dedication to St. Michael is derived from the St. Michael family who were lords of Athy and it is quite probable that it was this family who were the founders of the church

White's Castle, a tower house was built in 1417 by the Gerald FitzGerald, 8th Earl of Kildare.

Athy  Irish: Baile Átha Í, meaning "town of the ford of Ae") is a market town at the meeting of the River Barrow and the Grand Canal in County Kildare, Ireland, 72 kilometers southwest of Dublin.

A population of 10,490 (2011 Census preliminary results) makes it the sixth largest town in Kildare and the 50th largest in the Republic of Ireland, with a growth rate of 58% since the 2002 census.

Athy Town

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