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
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
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
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
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
ADMISSION CHARGES: Free admission
For further information please contact Carlow Tourist Office Tel:
14 Carlow Brewing Company
15 Railway Station
16 Garda Station
17 Tourist Office / County Library.
18 Post Office
19 Carlow Bus Park