Famous worldwide for its horseracing and its golf, County Kildare is located southwest of County Dublin. Racing at the Curragh, Punchestown and Naas takes place all year round, and they conduct some of the biggest events in the country’s racing calendar, including the Irish Derby in June. The name Kildare comes from the Irish word for "church oaks" and is home to several famous monasteries, including Moore Abbey, founded in the sixth century in the town of Monasterevin. Kildare is also the center of Ireland's 18th-century Grand Canal network, which connects Kildare with Waterford, Dublin, Limerick and Athlone.
In 2006, County Kildare was center stage in the golfing world when the Palmer Course at the K Club, owned by Michael Smurfit, hosted the Ryder Cup. The K-Club is also the site of the Smurfit European Open, while the (Colin) Montgomerie Course at Carlton House has been the site of the Nissan Irish Open. Other courses of notoriety include The Curragh Golf Club, Dunmurry Springs, PGA National at Palmerstown House and Kilkea Castle Golf Club, which lies on the grounds of a medieval castle.