1. The Liberty Tree
The Liberty Tree commemorates those who were killed in the 1798 insurrection in Carlow and who lie interred in the nearby Croppies Grave. It was designed by John Behan who has skilfully created a fine memorial and an ambience round which people gather to relax. Continue along Kennedy Avenue.
2. Deighton Hall
Up untill the early 1830s this building functioned as the County Courthouse and seat of the Grand Jury (forerunner of the County CounciI). The prisoner holding cells were located in the basement with direct access to the courtroom. In 1909 businessman Joseph C. Deighton handed this building over to St. Mary’s Parish to use as the Parochial Hall. Cross Dublin Street onto Castle Street. 6. St. Mary’s Church of Ireland. This church dates from 1727, though the tower and spire, reaching 195 feet were added in 1834. The interior retains its traditional galleries. There are also several monuments including ones by Sir Richard Morrison, the important neo-classical architect. Walk westwards down Castle Hill. Carlow Castle may be seen from the lane. Continue along Kennedy Street to Carlow Castle (Mill Lane) on the southside of Castle Hill.
3. Carlow Castle
Now a ruin stands on the eastern bank of the River Barrow. It is thought to be have been built by William de Marshal, Earl of Pembroke and Lord of Leinster between 1207 and 1213. Originally the castle was a rectangular block, containing the castle’s principle rooms protected by cyclindrical towers at its corners. Today, two battered towers and part of an intervening wall are all that remain after a local physician tried to remodel it as an asylum in 1814. In an effort to demolish the interior he placed explosive charges at its base and demolished all but the west wall and towers. Continue westwards to the River Barrow.
4. River Barrow and Graiguecullen/Wellington Bridge
The River Barrow is Ireland’s second longest river flowing for over 190km. There is much speculation of when and how many bridges were built before this present bridge was constructed in 1815. The five arched bridge was named in honour of the Irishman, The Duke of Wellington who had defeated Napoleon’s army at the famous Battle of Waterloo. The bridge is more commonly referred to by the local population as Graiguecullen bridge, which incidentally, for boats, is the lowest bridge on the River Barrow. Continue sraight through the traffic lights at Graiguecullen / Wellington Bridge.
5. St. Clare’s Roman Catholic Church and Poor Clare Monastery
St. Clare’s Roman Catholic Church and Poor Clare Monastery (on the left hand side) was originally built in 1852 as St. Anne’s Church of Ireland Church on the Athy Road in Carlow town. In 1927 after a period of disuse, the church was sold to the Catholic Parish of Graiguecullen and stone by stone was brought across the River Barrow and rebuilt by local company Thomas Thompson. In 1893 the enclosed order of the Poor Clare’s came to the town and in 1900 they moved here to their purpose built monastery.Â Turn left at the traffic lights into Chapel Street. Turn right at the end of the street, into 98th Street. The Croppies grave is on the left hand side.
6. The Croppies Grave
A handsome monument rises above the site of an old sand pit where in the aftermath of the disastrous rising of the United Irishmen in 1798, the bodies of 600 slaughtered Carlow insurgents were thrown and covered with quick lime in a mass grave. The Croppies was the name given to the United Irishmen after the habit of cropping their hair to mark their allegiance. The site is commemorated with a replica high cross. The battle took place on the original site of the Liberty Tree and in the Potatoe Market area. See No 1 above. Proceed to the Town Park.
7. Carlow Town Park
A fine attraction for all the family, this 12.8 acre site on the banks of the River Barrow completed to the highest standards with a safe and secure children’s playgound. The children’s play area is open daily daylight hours year round. Cross the Millennium (Jimmy Murnane) Bridge over the River Barrow in the Town Park, go through the car park into Haymarket.
8. Town Hall
On the north side of the Haymarket is the Town Hall designed by the Church architect William Hague in 1884 and opened in March 1886 by Carlow Town Commissioners. For over 120 years The Town Hall continues to be the centre of local government administration in Carlow.Cross the Haymarket mara to St. Mary’s Church.
9. St. Mary’s Church of Ireland
St. Mary’s Church of Ireland is located in the area of long standing religious importance. In the sixth centry St. Croneybeg had her religious cell located in this general area. This church dates from 1727, though the tower and spire, reaching 195 feet were added in 1834. The present St Mary’s Church is the third Church of Ireland church to have been build on this site and was completed in the 1830’s by Thomas Cobden, the noted 19th century architect. The interior retains its traditional galleries. There are also several monuments including some by Sir Richard Morrison, the important neo-classical architect. Turn right at gate, left into Castle Hill and left into Dublin Street in the direction of the Courthouse.
10. The Assembly Rooms
In 1899 well known literary figure George Bernard Shaw inherited this property from his uncle, Walter Gurly. It is thought that the Assembly rooms were built in 1794 and were used by the nobility and gentry of the county to host dinners, balls and musical performances. In 1918 George Bernard Shaw offered Dr. Foley, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin and Chairman of the County Carlow Technical Institute Committee, the building as a school, which opened in 1923. The building is now owned by Carlow County Council and its exterior is of significant architectural importance. Continue straight on to the Courthouse from Dublin Street.
11. Carlow Courthouse
Noted William Morrison designed this building in the late 1820s. It is one of Ireland’s finest examples of ancient Greek revivalist architecture. The Courthouse located on the site of a former quarry, has two large court rooms contained within the impressive granite decagonal shaped building. it is said to have cost £30,000 to construct. The Courthouse, based on the Temple of Llissus in Athens, gives the impression of a temple set on a high plinth, but this obscures the fact that the basement is a maze of cells and dungeons. A cannon from the Crimean Way stands on the steps. The Court House is operated under the Department of Justice. Walk south-east down College Street to St. Patrick’s College.
12. Carlow College and VISUAL Centre
Built before the French Revolution, Carlow College is one of Ireland’s oldest educational institutions. The college first opened its doors to students in 1793. Originally founded as a lay college, Carlow functioned as a college of the humanities and a seminary from 1793 to 1892. From 1892 until 1989 it was principally a seminary for the education of priests. During its 200 year old history Carlow College has educated generations of politicians, priests, poets and leaders in the public life of their day.
The new VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art and George Bernard Shaw Theatre is situated the grounds of Carlow College. A dynamic, multi-disciplinary arts facility, VISUAL, presents the best of local, national and international work in the visual and performing arts. The galleries boast four principal exhibition spaces with the main gallery recognised as Ireland’s largest and most spectacular contemporary art space.
13. Carlow Cathedral of the Assumption
Located immediately beside St. Patrick’s College. The Cathedral, started in 1828 and completed in 1833, at a cost of £9,000.00, was the brain-child of the energetic Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, James Doyle – J.K.L., the prominent champion of Catholic emancipation. The design of the Cathedral is attributed largely to Thomas Cobden, who drew his inspiration for the Carlow building from European models, particularly the Beftroi tower in Bruges, Belgium. Local materials were used in the construction, the stone coming from a quarry on the Tullow Road, while Colonel Bruen from Oak Park supplied the white granite from his Graiguenaspidogue quarry and oak timbers from his Oak Park forests. This is the cathedral for the Catholic Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin and is known offically at the Cathedral of the Assumption.
14. Carlow County Museum and Tourist Information Office
Carlow County Museum displays artefacts representing a wide range of periods and topics. The exhibitions include natural history specimens, stone and bronze age archaeological objects, coins, medals, stamps, religious objects, military and police artefacts and memorabilia, agricultural implements, trade, craft, industrial items, sporting memorabilia and a large collection of photographs and archival material. It is a good representative collection of the county, containing many interesting objects some of which are of national and international importance. The museum premises has two temporary exhibition galleries covering aspects of Carlow’s history and heritage. carlowmuseum.com
Visit our state-of-the-art tourist office located beside the Cathedral where you will receive information on all local attractions and events, as well as a copy of our county promotional brochure and a comprehensive range of guidebooks.
Other local attractions and amenities include:
15. Tullow Street: one of the principle shopping streets in the town.
16. Oak Park Forest Park
17. Garda /police Station
18. Post Office
19. Carlow Bus Park
20. Railway Station