Things to do in County Carlow: Discover Tranquil Gardens, Idllyic Rivers and More

Things to do in Carlow County Carlow

Updated On: April 13, 2024 by   Sara LynchSara Lynch

County Carlow is a landlocked region in the southeast of Ireland. It boasts a variety of experiences and tourist attractions and is known for its idyllic gardens that provide a tranquil escape. 

In this article, we’ll explore some things to do in County Carlow. Whether you want to experience Ireland’s rugged landscapes and historical ruins or get a taste of local craft beers, you can find all the details for your upcoming trip to the county here.

Best Things To Do in Carlow 

Carlow boasts a range of activities and experiences, from exploring past megalithic tombs to contemporary art shows, there are some great things to do in the County, check them out below!

Carlow Castle

Carlow Castle resides on the banks of the River Barrow. This 13th-century castle was initially built as a stronghold to defend the town and served as a defensive structure during various conflicts and power struggles in Ireland’s history.

things to do in County Carlow 2
Things to do in County Carlow

Today, Carlow Castle stands as an imposing ruin with significant portions of its walls and towers still intact. Visitors can explore the remnants of the keep, walk along its walls, and imagine the castle’s former grandeur.

Visual Centre for Contemporary Art & The George Bernard Shaw Theatre

The Visual Centre for Contemporary Art & The George Bernard Shaw Theatre has welcomed thousands of visitors since its €18 million development project. The theatre showcases a range of contemporary art exhibitions, of which admission is free and regularly hosts theatrical performances. 

Carlow Brewing Company

Take a tour of the Carlow Brewing Company, also known as O’Hara’s Brewery, and learn about the beer-making process. The tour will also end with a sampling session of their craft beers – a great way to experience the local brewing culture.

Carlow Golf Club

If you’re a golf enthusiast, then you need to head to Carlow Golf Club, which boasts an 18-hole championship golf course. You can enjoy a round of golf in the scenic surroundings of rolling green hills and mature trees.

Visit the Carlow Town Gaol

This former prison is now a museum that tells the story of crime and punishment in Carlow. The immersive experience allows visitors to explore the original cells and corridors, experiencing the harsh conditions and the lives of the prisoners who were once incarcerated there. 

Outdoor Things To Do in Carlow

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, then Carlow is the perfect place for you to relish in Irish natural beauty. Check out these outdoor things to do in Carlow below.

Brownshill Dolmen

Visit the Brownshill Dolmen, which is one of the largest megalithic portal tombs in Europe. This ancient structure is an intriguing archaeological site and offers insight into Ireland’s prehistoric past.

Things to do in Carlow - Brownshill Dolmen
County Carlow – Brownshill Dolmen

River Barrow

River Barrow is one of Ireland’s major rivers and is known for its scenic beauty and significance in the cultural and historical heritage of Ireland. It passes through several counties, including Carlow, Kilkenny, Laois, Kildare, and Wexford, offering diverse landscapes and charming towns along its course.

Things to do in Carlow - River Barrow
Things to do in County Carlow – River Barrow

In county Carlow, you can take a leisurely boat trip or even a kayak to explore the river at your own pace. The calm waters, surrounded by picturesque landscapes, provide a serene and enjoyable experience for water and outdoor enthusiasts.

Mount Leinster

If you enjoy outdoor experiences then you should consider climbing Mount Leinster. This mountain offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside and is a popular spot for hiking and if you’re a daredevil, you can even paraglide off the summit!

Oak Park Forest Park

Situated near Carlow town, Oak Park Forest Park is a picturesque woodland area with walking trails, picnic spots, and beautiful scenery. It’s an ideal place for a simple leisurely stroll or a family outing.

County Carlow Gardens

County Carlow is known for its range of Idyllic gardens, you can meander through the picturesque greens and embrace the peaceful settings. Check out some gardens you can visit in County Carlow below. 

Altamont Gardens

Altamont Gardens is a renowned garden located near Carlow town. It spreads across several beautiful landscapes, offering a tranquil retreat for nature enthusiasts. The gardens boast a diverse collection of plants, including rare and exotic species, set amidst serene lakes, winding pathways, and ancient trees.

Things to do in Carlow - Altamont Gardens
Things to do in County Carlow – Altamont Gardens

Visitors can wander through the enchanting flower beds, enjoy the colourful displays throughout the seasons, and relax in the peaceful atmosphere. Altamont Gardens is also home to Altemont House and is known for its captivating beauty, making it a popular destination for those seeking a peaceful and picturesque experience in the heart of the Irish countryside.

Delta Sensory Gardens

Take a leisurely stroll through the beautiful Delta Sensory Gardens, which cover four acres of land. The gardens feature an array of plants, water features, sculptures, and sensory experiences, providing a space for a peaceful retreat that enriches your senses. 

Things to do in County Carlow Town

If you happen to be staying in the charming town of Carlow, you should check out these nearby attractions and experiences to include on your trip’s itinerary. 

Duckett’s Grove

Located just a short distance from Carlow town, Duckett’s Grove is a Gothic revival mansion surrounded by beautiful gardens and parkland. Explore the ruins, wander through the gardens, and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere.

Things to do in Carlow - Duckett's Grove
Things to do in County Carlow – Duckett’s Grove

Borris House

Situated in the village of Borris, Borris House is an impressive Tudor-style mansion. You can take a guided tour of the house, stroll through the gardens, and learn about its rich history and heritage. 

Killeshin Hills

Take a hike in the Killeshin Hills, located to the northwest of Carlow town. The hills provide scenic views of the surrounding countryside and are ideal for outdoor enthusiasts seeking a bit of adventure.

Milford Mills

Located on the River Barrow, Milford Mills is a historical site that once operated as a flour mill. You can take a walk around the area, learn about its industrial past, and enjoy the riverside views.

Carlow County Museum

Discover the rich history and heritage of Carlow at the County Museum. The museum houses a collection of artefacts, documents, and displays that depict the local history and culture of the region. 

See More of Ireland’s Counties

Are you keen to explore more of the counties in Ireland? If so, be sure to give these other blogs a read: Things to do in Mayo | Things to do in Antrim | Things to do in Derry | Things to do in  Fermanagh | Things to do in Armagh | Things to do in County Down | Things to do in Monaghan | Things to do in Roscommon | Things to do in Kilkenny.

Things to do in Donegal | Things to do in Sligo  | Things to do in Leitrim  | Things to do in Louth  | Things to do in Cavan | Things to do in Longford | Things to do in Meath | Things to do in Westmeath | Things to do in Dublin | Things to do in Offaly | Things to do in Kildare | Things to do in Wicklow | Things to do in Laois.

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