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Counties of Ireland - Carlow

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Coat of arms for County Carlow

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.

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.

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

A poppy field in Carlow.

Our list of '101-Must-Visit' Locations

Our team of researchers and genealogists at has put together the following '101-Must-Visit' locations and trips for you for Carlow. We only pick the best locations to visit, dine in or stay at, and the best ancestral research resources we can find in that area. Enjoy!


#6 Stephen Treacy

...this another Irish paradise for walkers and fishermen. Excellent kayaking too.

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8 Day Carlow Region and Best of Ireland Tour
€2,239 - 7 Nights | 5 Star
Look beyond the amazing landscape Ireland has to offer and launch your own personal journey to the heart of Ireland with experiences crafted around your interests. Find out more »
Carlow Irish 4 Day Getaway
€989 - 3 Nights | 5 Star
Step back in time. Step forward in your understanding of who you think you are. Get a taste of what is at the essence of Ireland. Find out more »
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