History

Naas is a cosmopolitan town of approximately 16,000 inhabitants. In recent years it has experienced explosive growth with the commuter population moving into the expanding housing developments in and around the town.

Naas has a long and colourful history. In annals and records the name appears in three forms namely, An Nás, meaning "The Place of Assembly", Nas Laighean meaning "The Place of The Leinstermen", and Nás na Riogh meaning "The Place of Assembly of the Kings".

Nás na Riogh is the Irish form of the name now used. The last King of Naas to be recognised as King of Leinster was Cearbhall who died in 989 AD. In the mid second century AD the King of Leinster married one of the two beautiful daughters of the King of Ireland. When the Leinster King grew tired of his wife he decided to pretend that she was dead, and so arranged to marry her sister. He succeeded, but the new queen soon discovered the truth. Both of the women died of grief, and their father looked for revenge on the Leinster King. The territory of Leinster was ravaged, the King was beheaded and there was endless trouble for several hundreds of years.

In the royal meeting place of Naas, the people assembled for special occasions, games were held, laws made and tributes paid. While there is now no physical evidence of this great gathering place the name of the town keeps that distant glory alive.

Tradition tells us that during his ministry St. Patrick made several visits to Naas. He established himself on the green of the Dun and there the first church in Naas was built. St. David’s Church now occupies the site and the ancient baptismal font preserved there is from early Christian times. During one of his visits here, Patrick baptised the children of the King and the well in Oldtown where the ceremony was performed was afterwards termed holy and named after the saint. He also baptised at Sunday’s Well near Millbrook.
The Town Hall which exists in Naas today was, until 1833, a jail. It became the Town Hall in 1858 when it was purchased from the Grand Jury by the Town Commissioners.