Gordon Bennett Route
"Relive The Race"
Bennett Route Map

Towns and Villages


CARLOW: Carlow town with a population of 22,000 is the county capital and gateway to the South-East standing at the confluence of the Barrow and Burrin rivers. Tradition has it that the junction of the two rivers once covered such a large area of ground that a lake was formed, or, as some believe four lakes, hence the name Ceatharloch or City of the Four Lakes.

A vibrant college and market town, Carlow enjoys a thriving arts and crafts community, an exciting nightlife, a strong tradition of Irish language and culture and a superb range of shops, boutiques and restaurants.

Walking Tour of Carlow Town

Jason there is a lot of information here so perhaps a link to the Walking Tour of Carlow Town would work best - I will leave that decision to you. I am also forwarding you a map which corresponds to the town tour.

The following walk takes us by many fine buildings and takes approximately one hour.

1 Carlow Courthouse at the end of Dublin Street is where our tour begins. Considered to be one of the finest courthouses in the country it was designed by William Vitruvius Morrison in 1830. The Courthouse, based on the Temple of Llissus in Athens, gives the impression of a temple set on a high plinth, but this obscures the fact that the basement is a maze of cells and dungeons. A cannon from the Crimean War stands on the steps.
Walk south-east down College Street to St. Patrick's College.

2 St. Patrick's College. Built before the French Revolution, Carlow College is one of Ireland's oldest educational institutions. The college first opened its doors to students five years before the Irish rebellion of 1798. Originally founded as a lay college, Carlow functioned as a college of the humanities and a seminary from 1793 to 1892. From 1892 until 1989 it was principally a seminary for the education of priests. During its 200 year old history Carlow College has educated generations of politicians, priests, poets and leaders in the public life of their day. Distinguished among its past students were James Fintan Lalor, the Fenian John O' Leary, pioneering priests in Australia and America John Therry and John England, the poet Richard D'Alton Williams and the impressionist artist Frank O' Meara.

3 Carlow Cathedral - located immediately beside St. Patrick's College. The Cathedral, started in 1828 and completed in 1833, at a cost of £9,000.00, was the brainchild of the energetic Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, James Doyle - J.K.L., the prominent champion of Catholic emancipation. The design of the Cathedral is attributed largely to Thomas Cobden, who drew his inspiration for the Carlow building from European models, particularly the Beftroi tower in Bruges, Belgium.

Visit our new state-of-the-art tourist office located beside the Cathedral where you will receive information on all local attractions and events, as well as a copy of our county promotional brochure and a comprehensive range of guidebooks. Accommodation for the local area and all of Ireland may be booked here.
Walk further south and turn right into Tullow Street. Take the first turn to the left.

4 The Liberty Tree commemorates those who were killed in the 1798 insurrection in Carlow and who lie interred in the nearby Croppies Grave . It was designed by John Behan who has skilfully created a fine memorial and an ambience round which people gather to relax, particularly in the summer months.
Turn back into Tullow Street.

5 This is the main shopping street in Carlow, pedestrianised in recent years. The houses that contain the many shops on this street still have some historical and architectural importance, retaining their original uppers.
Cross Dublin Street onto Castle Street.

6 St. Mary's Church of Ireland. This church dates from 1727, though the tower and spire, reaching 195 feet were added in 1834. The interior retains its traditional galleries. There are also several monuments including ones by Sir Richard Morrison, the important neo-classical architect.
Walk westwards down Castle Hill. Carlow Castle may be seen from the lane (Mill Lane) on the south side of Castle Hill.

7 Carlow Castle, now a ruin stands on the eastern bank of the River Barrow. It is thought to have been built by William de Marshal, Earl of Pembroke and Lord of Leinster between 1207 and 1213 and is similar in design to Ferns Castle in Co. Wexford. Today, two battered towers and part of an intervening wall are all that remain after a local physician tried to remodel it as an asylum in 1814. In an effort to demolish the interior he placed explosive charges at its base and demolished all but the west wall and towers.
Continue westwards to the River Barrow.

8 Graiguecullen bridge is one of the oldest and lowest bridges on the River Barrow. An attractive five-arched stone structure, this bridge was built in 1569 and widened in 1815.
Continue straight through the traffic lights on Graiguecullen bridge.

9. St. Clare's Roman Catholic Church (on the left hand side) Graiguecullen, built in 1852 by John Derrick, was dismantled at its original site on the Athy road and re-erected on its present Killeshin road site.
Returning in the direction of town, turn left at the traffic lights into Chapel Street. Croppies Grave is at the end of street on right hand side.

10. The Croppies Grave. A handsome monument rises above the site of an old sand pit where in the aftermath of the disastrous rising of the United Irishmen in 1798, the bodies of 640 slaughtered Carlow insurgents were thrown and covered in quicklime in a mass grave. The Croppies was the name given to the United Irishmen after the habit of cropping their hair to mark their allegiance.
Proceed to the Town Park, cross the Millennium Bridge over the River Barrow, go through the car park into Haymarket.

11 On the north side of the Haymarket is the Town hall designed by the Church architect William Hague in 1884. Immediately opposite is the Millennium Bridge which spans the river Barrow.

12 Continue east until you reach the 'Cigar Divan'. It has a Victorian shop front with elaborate iron panels below the windows and several engraved glass advertisements.

Other local attractions include:

13 Oak Park Forest Park

The development of 127 acres at Oak Park provides a wonderful woodlands experience for the general public and specifically for children. The park is a mature mixed species woodlland with a predominance of beech, ash, scots pine, larch, ash and sycamore. Colour coded walkways extend over 4 kilometres and include Butlers Wood Loop (700 metres), Lake Path (800 metres), Fox Covert Track (1100 metres) and Sally Island Trail (1700 metres). The lakes and their surrounds provide a habitat for swans and ducks, while the islands shelter many wild and game birds. Informal leisure areas, picnic sites, parking for 100 cars and designated toilet facilities are all provided at the park.
OPENING TIMES: 8.00 a.m. - 9.00 p.m. 7 days per week
For further information please contact Carlow Tourist Office Tel: 059-9131554

14 Carlow Brewing Company
15 Railway Station
16 Garda Station
17 Tourist Office / County Library.
18 Post Office
19 Carlow Bus Park














Attractions By Stages
Ballyshannon To Carlow
Carlow To Athy
Athy To Kildare
Kildare To The Heath
The Heath To Athy

    Site Tools

Sign The Guestbook
Print the Brochure
    General Information
County Carlow
County Kildare
County Laois

  © Gordon Bennett Route
Designed by