Clogrennane Wood Looped Walk near Carlow Town.
Clogrennane Wood near Carlow Town offers the user a gentle sloping 4km walk on forest roads with magnificent views of Carlow Town and the River Barrow on a clear day. The area is an old wood and has had forestry cover present since the 1800’s. The predominant tree species in Clogrennane are beech, spruce, larch and oak with vegetation consistent with that of an old woodland – bluebells, ferns, wild garlic and herb rocket.
Clogrennane – the stone castle of the palace
GPS: 52.795113, -6.991109
Rochforts of Clogrennane
Clogrennane was formerly an estate owned by the Dukes of Ormonde of Kilkenny Castle. From the mid 17th century the Rochfort family owned a 3,000 acre estate based around Clogrennane. Robert Rochfort was Speaker of the Irish House of Commons in 1695 and in 1707 he was appointed Chief Baron of the Exchequer. During the 1798 Rebellion John Staunton Rochfort and Robert Cornwall from Myshall were key local gentry figures to over see law and order in Carlow. Earlier in 1798 Colonel Rochfort had established Carlow’s first Orange Lodge. According to some sources Carlow hosted the first formal game of cricket played in Ireland. Horace William Rochfort founded Carlow’s first cricket club in 1831 while in 1873 he founded the Carlow Polo Club. That same year he was elected the first President of County Carlow Rugby Football Club.
Clogrennane Castle and House
Clogrennane Castle was built sometime in the 15th century in order to defend a pass that wound along between the River Barrow and the extensive woodlands that were all along the side of the hills. It is believed to be in ruins since the 18th century and in the 19th century it was converted into the entrance to the then newly built Clogrennane House. The ruins bare little resemblance to the original Castle and seem to incorporate stone from a near by ancient church.
Built in the early 19th century the now ruined home of the Rochfort family was described in 1825 as a house of modern erection and is a plain building, respectable in character, and extremely commodious, but scarcely worthy of its situation on a demesne of such distinguished beauty. All the materials for the building came from the area – limestone, granite, timber, marble and shale for roof. It was the building of the house that led to financial ruin for the Rochfort’s. The house was noted for its large ballroom and hosting regular parties. The last ball was held in January 1922 just before the house was sold. It has been roofless since 1945.
Clogrennane has been an important centre for the quarrying of Limestone for centuries. There is a number of limestone quarries located in this area of County Carlow. Many buildings and monuments both in Carlow and further a field are made of limestone cut from these quarries. Lime is also used as an important fertiliser for farming. Located close to here is Clogrennane Lime and it is a specialist chemical lime producer supplying products for use in agriculture and construction as well as the pharmaceutical & environmental sectors. The Rochfort family started the limeworks and an excellent example of an early lime making facility with five kilns dating from 1816 is to be found on the road leading from here to Carlow town.