Carlow Big Houses Festival

Borris House – Altamont Gardens – Duckett’s Grove – Huntington Castle – Lisnavagh House

The Carlow Big Houses Festival is your chance to peek behind the doors of some of Ireland’s most lavish manor houses. Part of this autumn’s Taste the Island campaign, the festival allows visitors enjoy authentic food and drink, made using high quality local ingredients. Discover the splendour of Altamont Gardens, a jewel in Ireland’s gardening crown, and delve into the mysteries of the temple at Huntington Castle. Take a wildlife walk at Borris House or simply enjoy a guided tour of any of these fabulous houses and their historic gardens.

Renowned national speakers provide a rare and entertaining insight into the great houses of Carlow, the secrets and stories of the people who owned them and their significant roles in Irish and international history. A Day with the Ducketts will bring visitors back a century or more at the magical location of Duckett’s Grove with a bustling and vibrant recreation of life as it was for the family and estate workers. Experience traditional methods of bread, butter and basket making, weaving, clothes washing and horse shoeing while viewing magnificent horse-drawn carriages, ponies and traps and stabled horses.

We finish off this year’s festival with something special: a historical play set against the stunning backdrop of Lisnavagh House.

Borris House and Gardens


Talk with Hugh Wallace: Ireland’s Big Houses

Date: 5 October | Time: 3pm | Adm: €12 Pre-booking essential at www.carlowtourism.com/bighouses

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Tour of Borris House

Date: 5 and 6 October | Time: 12 noon, 2pm and 5pm Adm: €10 Pre-booking at www.carlowtourism.com/bighouses

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Wildlife Walk – Borris House & Gardens

Date: 6 October | Time: 11am | Adm: €10 Pre-booking essential at www.carlowtourism.com/bighouses

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Lacemaking workshop

Date: 6 October | Time: 9.30am registration | Adm: €40 including lunch. Spaces limited – early booking advised, email: borrislacemakers@gmail.com

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Talk/ Tour & Victorian Tea Party

Date: 6 October | Time: 12 noon | Tours before and after included in fee | Adm: €25 Pre-book at www.carlowtourism.com/bighouses

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Altamont Gardens


Historical talk with gardening expert Fionnuala Reid

Date: 12 October | Time: 2pm | Adm: FREE but pre-booking is advised at www.carlowtourism.com/bighouses

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Guided tour of Altamont Gardens

Date: 12 October | Time: 12 noon and 3pm | Adm: FREE pre-booking is advised at www.carlowtourism.com/bighouses Light Lunch – T: 053 937 6388 to pre-book a light lunch in the Garden Café €15

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Duckett’s Grove Historic House & Walled Gardens


A Day with the Ducketts

Date: 13 October |Time: 12-5pm | Adm: €10 Adults/Kids FREE pre-booking is available but not essential at www.carlowtourism.com/bighouses / Tickets available on the gate.

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Huntington Castle


Talk With Kevin Myers: The Irish: D Day Landings and Normandy

Date: 19 October | Time: 3pm | Adm: €12 pre-booking essential at www.carlowtourism.com/bighouses

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Long Table Candlelit Dinner with Kevin Myers

Date: 19 October | Time: 7.30pm | Cost: €65 pre-booking is advised at www.carlowtourism.com/bighouses

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Talk by Dr. Kevin Whelan: Huntington Castle, Clonegal and Surrounding Areas: 1600-1900

Date: 20 October | Time: 3pm | Adm: €12 pre-booking essential at www.carlowtourism.com/bighouses

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Huntington Castle Tours

Date: 19th  & 20th October | Time: 1-5pm | Adm: €10 pre-booking is advised but not essential at www.carlowtourism.com/bighouses

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Lisnavagh House and Gardens


Talk with Dr Terence Dooley: The Burning of the Big Houses in the Irish Revolution 1920-23

Date: 26th October | Time: 5pm | Adm: €12 pre-booking is advised but not essential at www.carlowtourism.com/bighouses

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Long Table Banquet

Date: 26th October | Time: 8pm | Cost: €65 pre-booking is essential at www.carlowtourism.com/bighouses

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Guided Tour of Lisnavagh House

Date: 26th & 27th October | Time: 11am – 4pm | Adm: €5 tours are by arrangement only, contact 087 987 5104

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Big House Play

Date: 27th October | Time: 7pm, play starts at approx. 8pm pre-booking essential at www.carlowtourism.com/bighouses

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Taste the Island