Explore – Carlow
Castles and rivers and mountains in one county? Yes, you heard right; Carlow might just have it all.
Things To Do
Carlow has played a leading role in Irish history and has a story that pre-dates it. There have been people living there for a very long time, long before the people of this island started using written Irish. Evidence of settlements that pre-date recorded Irish history can be found all over Carlow in the dolmens dotted around the county. Brownshill dolmen, located 3km to the east of Carlow town was built between 4000 and 3000 BC by some of the island’s earliest inhabitants and is thought to have the heaviest capstone of any such monument in the world, at over 100 metric tons. They were made of strong stuff back then.
In relatively more modern times, Carlow town served as the capital of Ireland in the 14th century. Still standing in the town centre are the west wall and two of the cylindrical towers belonging to the once mighty Carlow Castle, which served as the capital building.
Another castle well worth a visit is Huntington Castle. Originally built as a garrison in 1625, it was captured by Oliver Cromwell as he marched on Kilkenny in 1650, was used as a prison by the IRA in 1921, featured as the setting for Stanley Kubrick’s film Barry Lydon and is the base for the Fellowship of Isis, Ireland’s often overlooked Egyptian religion. I’m not making this up
Carlow also has natural features to explore. The Barrow River runs through Carlow town and has a scenic walk along it’s tow path, originally used to tow barges by horse. There are also mountains waiting to be conquered. The Blackstairs mountain range which includes Mount Leinster, offers a challenging ascent to avid mountain walkers and the Killeshin Hills, dividing counties Carlow and Laois, provides a view from it’s summit that takes in 10 counties.
There are many reasons to visit Carlow, more still to stay a while.
Places to Stay
Hidden Ireland Historic Country Guest Houses
Bed and Breakfast
Lorum Old Rectory
Dating from 1863, Lorum Old Rectory sits beneath Mount Leinster in the peaceful valley of the River Barrow. A warmand welcoming family home. The owner, Bobbie Smith, specialises in home cooking, she uses locally grown and organic produce where possible. Lorum is the base for Celtic Cycling, which runs self guided cycling tours in the South East. It is also a perfect location for touring the medieval city of Kilkenny, Carlow, Waterford and Wexford. Nearby there are beautiful riverside walks along the unspoilt countryside and pretty villages through which the river Barrow ﬂows. The renowned golf courses atMount Juliet and Mount Wolsley are within easy reach.