New Naas Library and Cultural Centre

History of Naas Town Hall

Naas Town Hall old photo postcard

Naas Town Hall stands on the site of White’s Castle which was pulled down in 1792 to make way for a jail. The gaol building was built in 1796 by Naas Town Commissioners and it is a Protected Structure listed in the Kildare County Development Plan and is rated as of National Importance in the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

The building ceased to be a jail about 1833 but did not become a Town Hall until 1858. It was extensively renovated in 1904, with façade remodelled in Italianate Classical style and continued to be used as town hall. It was renovated again in 1905, with right ground floor converted to use as a Carnegie Free Library.

Essentially, Naas Town Hall has been at the hub of civic and community life in Naas for over 130 years. As well as its prime function of meeting chamber and offices for the town council (the Town Commissioners from 1858 and the Urban District Council from 1900), the Town Hall has fulfilled many other roles.

Naas cinemagoers saw their first films in its assembly rooms in the early years of this century (projected by gas light at one time). It hosted many travelling shows in the assembly room, while upstairs the ballroom’s dancefloor was the location for Hunt Balls and Dances run by a wide variety of organisations. Naas GAA was founded in the Town Hall in 1887 and it was also the venue for question times and debates and meetings of various groups such as the League of the Cross, the Catholic Institute and the Naas Workingmen’s Club which occupied committee rooms fitted out for billiards and card-playing.

The Christmas market was also held in the yard for years and more recently Naas Country Market relocated from the Town Hall after more than 65 years hosting its weekly market.