HOME TO THE FARENDERS RATHER THAN THE HILLERS
My mother is 103 and when I told her that I had spent four hours photographing the town of Leixlip she said how could it take so long as there is nothing there but a few uninteresting shops. My mother is from County Meath and would never admit to being impressed by anything related to Kildare despite the fact that five of her grandchildren, from different families, are engineers working for Intel in Kildare. Local Leixlip employers include Intel, who own a complex consisting of Fabs (fabrication plant) 10 & 14 (IFO), 24, and 24-2 of Intel’s manufacturing operations. Hewlett Packard Enterprise was also a local employer, from 1995 until the closure of the facility in 2017.
Leixlip is a town in north-east County Kildare, Ireland. Its location on the confluence of the River Liffey and the Rye Water has marked it as a frontier town historically: on the border between the ancient kingdoms of Leinster and Brega, as an outpost of The Pale, and on Kildare’s border with County Dublin. Leixlip was also a civil parish in the ancient barony of Salt North. As of 2016, the population of the town was 15,504. It is the fourth largest town in Kildare, and the 29th largest in Ireland.
Leixlip was a possible site of the Battle of Confey, in which the Viking King Sigtrygg Caech of Dublin defeated the Irish King of Leinster around the year 917. The first settlement at Leixlip was an outpost of Early Scandinavian Dublin, built at the furthest point where longships could be rowed up the Liffey. Its status as an outpost of Dublin continued for centuries, marking a border of The Pale.
The town was home to Arthur Guinness’s first brewery in 1756, where he brewed ales until he moved on to St. James’s Gate Brewery, Dublin in 1759.
Leixlip is divided into two Roman Catholic Church parishes, Leixlip (Our Lady’s Nativity) and Confey (St. Charles Borromeo), each with its own parish church. The Church of Ireland parish of St Mary’s also has a church in Leixlip, located in Main Street. This medieval church was restyled in the 1750s with Gothic windows, and its belltower clock dates from 1720. People from Our Lady’s Nativity parish also have their own identity separate from people in the Confey parish. The Confey parish members are known as ‘Hillers’ and people from the Our Lady’s Nativity parish are known as ‘Farenders’.