County Carlow Information
From the Irish Contae Cheatharlach, County Carlow lies on the South-East of Ireland, in the province of Leinster. It is the second smallest county in the country. The settlement of Carlow town pre-dates written history, and it was the site of the country´s central government during the 1300s.
Dublin Airport is a 90 minute drive away from Carlow town. Bus Eireann offers regular services to Waterford and Dublin and J.J. Kavanagh's Bus offers services to Dublin airport and city, Kilkenny, and other towns in Carlow county.
The nearby Rosslare and Dublin ports are connected by Stena Line and Irish Ferries with other ports in England and mainland Europe.
Carlow Town Attractions
The oldest landmark around Carlow town, dating from the megalithic period, is the Brownshill Dolmen which can be found 3 km east of Carlow, on the side of the R726. A National Monument, the stone weighs 100 tons, and it is said to be the heaviest of its kind in all of Europe. This Portal tomb was built between 4,000 and 3,000 BC.
On the banks of the River Barrow, Carlow Castle, which dates from the 13th century, was originally a Norman fortification. Towering majestically over the river, the ruins of the castle have been preserved and salvaged after much destruction.
Once a renowned family's imposing Georgian style home, Duckett’s Grove was later rebuilt as a Gothic revival castle with towers and turrets that still endow the landscape with a romantic aura. The magnificent adjacent walled gardens and pleasure grounds have been carefully restored to their original splendour, and they are open to the public. There is also a charming tea garden in the premises.
The Arts have a safe haven in Carlow Town in the Visual Centre for Contemporary Art and the George Bernard Shaw Theatre. The modern building that houses these Art centres on the grounds of Carlow College has won one of the most prestigious architectural awards in the UK. Exhibitions and shows are of the highest quality, featuring artists from Ireland and around the world.
Nature and Heritage
The Carlow Garden Trail boasts 16 attractions for the nature and gardening enthusiast, including impressive old gardens to small modern gardens of exquisite charm, garden centres and forest parks. The trail can be completed in a day, and there are a couple of additional stops in some of the neighbouring counties.
Gardening enthusiasts will also enjoy Rose Week at Altamont Gardens in Tullow, which takes place in June and the Carlow Garden Festival in July-August.
The Carlow Trails of the Saints, which celebrate the county's rich ecclesiastical heritage, features 51 ecclesiastical attractions. Among the most important are the Romanesque doorway at Killeshin, the medieval cathedral at Old Leighlin and the monastery in St. Mullins. With over 20 important Saints associated at some point with the history of Carlow, there is much to see across the county. There are three different trails, each celebrating one of the more influential Saints: St. Patrick's Trail, St. Moling's Trail and St. Laserian's. Architectural and natural beauty and religious significance make the Trails of the Saints one of County Carlow's finest attractions.
Barrow River and Other Adventures
Surrounded by beautiful vegetation and abundant wildlife, the River Barrow is part of one of the longest river systems in Ireland. Its 68km of navigable waterway pass through charming villages and 23 Victorian locks. Barges can be rented from the Barrowline Cruisers company for the whole family's cruising enjoyment. The more active tourists will find opportunities to practise water sports or walk along the Barrow Way long distance walking route which follows the river all along its course.
One of the world's prime locations for hang-gliding and paragliding, Mount Leinster offers multi-directional flight possibilities. Providing an opportunity to observe the area's breathtaking scenery from a unique perspective, the sports run from March till October, generally on Sundays.
Woodlands falconry is a great option for the whole family. Located in Tullow, the Birds of prey centre offers the opportunity to see these magnificent birds up close while learning a bit about them. Featured birds include hawks and a variety of falcons and owls, such as the Turkey Vulture and the Red Kite and Golden Eagle.
The recently inaugurated Southern County Fishing & Family Resort in Garryhill, Bagnelstown spans 45 acres of panoramic surroundings where the seasoned fisherman will find adequate challenges for his sport fishing skills and the beginner can learn the sport.
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"The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page" - Saint Augustine