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County Carlow

Tiny County Carlow is located in the Southeast Region of Ireland. It is a quiet place, steeped in history along with natural beauty. The River Barrow flows languidly through the brilliant green countryside. 

County Carlow Highlights

Although County Carlow offers much to guests in the way of historical interest sites, modern Carlow Town is an expanding, vibrant market town located a little more than an hour's drive from the bustle of Dublin. As well as historic buildings such as its impressive 19th century Cathedral, the town hosts the large and growing Institute of Technology, as well as a thriving community of resident artists and craftspeople.

To connect with the past, visitors can marvel at nearby Stone Age Browne's Hill Dolmen, which dates back to 2500 B.C. They can go to the site of Carlow Castle, built in the 12th century, for beautiful views of the River Barrow Valley.

Croppies Grave marks the place where local freedom fighters gave their lives for the cause of an independent Ireland in the late 18th century, and a tour of St. Mullins Monastery offers a glimpse into the religious heritage of County Carlow.

Natural beauty is easy to find and enjoy along the banks of the River Barrow, in numerous parks and gardens, bird watching, and walking along South Leinster Way. 

County Carlow History

The remnants of a powerful Celtic history remain visible throughout most of County Carlow. Early weapon fragments and tools belonging to settlers from as long ago as 6000 B.C. have been discovered in the valley of the River Barrow. Browne's Hill Dolmen is just one of the relics of the Celtic civilization that is long gone but not forgotten here in the smallest county of Ireland.

A land of powerful chieftains, one in particular, called Art McMurrough Kavanaugh, fought off the Normans, leaving County Carlow in relative peace until Cromwell's forces took over the land and the Penal Laws of the 17th century became effective.

County Carlow, and particularly Carlow Town, sits within an area historically referred to as the English Pale, a perimeter set up by the British around Dublin to protect the city from the onslaughts of attackers from the countryside. Carlow was therefore witness to many a battle and skirmish from the Elizabethan period forward. 

Popular Carlow Surnames

Common County Carlow surnames include:

  • Brennan
  • Butler
  • Doyle
  • Kavanaugh
  • McDonald
  • Mullins
  • O'Flynn
  • O'Shea
  • Ryan
  • Whelan


Sunset in Carlow, by Safa Topal[/caption]


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