Coat of arms for County Carlow
Situated in the sunny southeast of Ireland, Co. Carlow's greatest claim to fame is its collection of dolmens, or megalithic portal tombs covered by capstones. In fact, the capstone of Brownshill Dolmen, located a few kilometres outside of Carlow Town, is meant to be the heaviest of its kind in Europe, weighing in at a massive 100 metric tonnes.
The county's unusual, point-ended shape is due largely to the fact that it is hemmed in on the east side by mountain ranges, namely the Wicklow Mountains in the northeast and the Blackstairs Mountains in the southeast. The Carlow Autumn Walking Festival, which is held in October, is a good option for hikers to test their legs in Carlow's scenic countryside, with a number of graded walks based on skill level that are led by local guides.
Co. Carlow is generally a pretty quiet place, keeping to its attractive villages and green countryside. The River Barrow flows right through Carlow Town, the county town, and provides locals and visitors with one of the most beautiful waterways in Ireland, including ample chances for boating, rowing and angling, including salmon fishing. Gardens also abound around Carlow, which hosts several garden events each year, including the Carlow Garden Festival in August. Meanwhile, the Carlow Garden Trail leads to the many gardens and parks around the county.
Bagenalstown is a village in the west of Co. Carlow built by an English lord in the 1700s, who wanted to create a version of the French Versailles in Ireland. The courthouse, the plans for which were mistakenly sent to Carlow instead of Cork, is modelled after the Parthenon in Athens.
A poppy field in Carlow.
Co. Carlow has produced almost no famous people throughout history, owing to the fact that Carlow people have such easy-going and gentle lifestyles. One exception is the film actress Saoirse Ronan, who was born in New York City but was raised and still resides in Co. Carlow.