Altamont Gardens are an enchanting blend of formal and informal gardens with riverside walks covering over 40 acres (16 hectares). Lawns bisected by sculpted yews, slope down to a lake surrounded by rare trees and rhododendrons and lead in turn to a very different garden featuring exotic shrubs and trees.
A fascinating walk through the Arboretum, Bog Garden and Ice Age Glen with its canopy of ancient oaks and huge stone outcrops leads the visitor to the River Slaney. “Every visitor says it has a special atmosphere, that’s why so many people come back. Every element you want from a great garden is here, from lovely lawns, floral beds and beautiful woodland going down to the river, to a walled garden and really superb collections, such as the snowdrops, rhododendrons and the fabulous oaks in the Arboretum” – Paul Cutler, head gardener at Altamont Gardens.
Car park fee of €2 per vehicle applies. Gardens – free individual admission. On site is the Corona North Commemorative Border, Altamont Plant Sales and the Sugar and Spice Café offering tasty drinks and treats in the beautiful surroundings of the plant sales area.
Always renowned for its extensive range of herbaceous perennials, Altamont Plant Sales boasts of having one of the largest collections of old shrub roses available for sale to the gardening public year round.
Open: Year round, daily. May to September 9.30 a.m. – 6.30 p.m. 7 days per week
The judges of the Irish Times Best Day Out in Ireland competition 2015 selected the Barrow Way as one of the top five finest and impressive visitor attractions in the country.
The Barrow Way follows the towpath, originally a patch alongside the River Barrow where horses pulled barges and goods for transport. Nowadays, visitors can enjoy excellent flat walking, passing good land where tillage and cattle farming is predominant. The path offers much of architectural interest to the visitor. The full length of the Barrow Way from Robertstown to St. Mullins is 113km.
Please click here for more details
For an outdoor adventure for all the family, enjoy an open-boat trip on the beautiful River Barrow. Take time to immerse yourself in nature and heritage, experiencing life as it was for the river folk of a bygone era. There is something for all to explore. Kids will enjoy spotting all manner of wildlife such as kingfishers, otters, dragonflies and shoals of fish as they glide past the boat.
For those with a busy lifestyle, it’s the perfect occasion to switch off the mobile phone and relax inches above the waterline, unwinding to a more soothing pace of life. Hear the tales and legends of the river’s boatmen and gently touch the cool waters they plied while flowing through the ancient arteries of a once glacial Ireland.
Trips are suitable for all, from the very young to the young at heart. For previous customer reviews, check out google maps or see www.boattrips.ie
Open: Summer months 7 days per week – prior booking essential
Are you a fan of the Tudors? Then you’ll love this Tudor gothic mansion. Borris House was modelled after an 18th century house and a former 15th century castle, making it a landmark of Irish architectural history. Borris
There is so much to enjoy during a visit here including access to the granary, a looped film detailing the history of the family and the estate, the lace garden and wonderful woodland walks.
Please call 059 97 71884 before visiting Borris House and Gardens to help manage the number of visitors and ensure the safety of visitors and staff alike
The Borris Railway Viaduct with its sixteen arches supported by soaring limestone pillars is one of Ireland’s best example of pioneering 19th century railway engineering. Designed by the engineer William Le Fanu (1816– 1894) and built by M. Talbot, the viaduct rises to 60ft high and spans the Borris and Mountain River Valley. It was built at a cost of £20,000 and completed in 1860.
Step back in time and follow the track of this historic and unique landmark viaduct on an aerial walk. The people of Borris are proud and delighted to welcome you to this unique Visitor Experience Site and share with you the grandeur and magnificence of one of the most admired and celebrated railway structures in the country.
Please click here for more details and directions
If you enjoy outdoor activities, then this is the place for you. Go With The Flow Adventures has canoe fun for every level. This includes water rapids and a river safari. Please call Charlie at 087 252 9700, so that he can plan your tour/activity with you.
Paddle Your Own Canoe (087 4140461) offers you the opportunity to rent a canoe and camping gear and organise your multi-day trip down the River Barrow. With trails between Monasterevin in County Kildare and New Ross in County Wexford it is possible to paddle for up to six days passing through beautiful countryside, villages, towns and historical sites.
Pure Adventure (087-2265550) is based in Graiguenamanagh. Located on the banks of the River Barrow, Pure Adventure offers a range of activities that include exhilarating white water kayaking trips, scenic canoe tours and chilled out Stand Up Paddle Board adventures along with guided walks.
Spanning four galleries, the museum has a wide collection of items and artefacts from County Carlow including the original gallows trapdoor from Carlow Gaol; the 6 metre carved pulpit from Carlow Cathedral; items from Carlow’s Sugar Factory, which operated for almost 80 years; the smoking pipe of Captain Myles Keogh, killed at the Battle of Little Big Horn; items relating to John Tyndall, the Carlow scientist who discovered the greenhouse effect; a 340 million-year-old fossilized squid; a special exhibition on St. Willibrord, an English monk who trained in Carlow before becoming the Patron Saint of Luxembourg; the last cigarette smoked by Kevin Barry, an 18-year-old medical student who was executed for his role in the Irish War of Independence; the printing press used by The Nationalist newspapers… and so much more!
Pre-booking in operation – please click here for more information
While it is regrettably not possible to grant all of our long-held childhood wishes, there is one that Carlow offers that you have to experience to believe.
The Chocolate Garden of Ireland, a family-run business that has gone from strength to strength, is a modern chocolate and ice cream factory in Tullow, County Carlow.
Established by Jim and Mary Healy in 2001, the premises also accommodates a visitor experience, café and ice cream parlour and attracts visitors of all ages to explore the joy of chocolate-making for themselves.
June: Saturday and Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday’s 12.30 p.m. – 4.30 p.m.
July – August: Monday to Friday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Saturday and Sunday 12 noon – 5 p.m.
Please click here or call 059 6481999 for more information
Delta Sensory Gardens are an oasis of peace and tranquillity, with sixteen interconnecting gardens set on 2.5 acres close to Carlow Town. Stroll and admire the beautiful limestone sculptures throughout the gardens, bask in the tranquillity of the water features and marvel at the one–tonne of pink marble floating on a cushion of water.
Visitors can delight in a mix of formal and informal landscapes. The Sensory Gardens are highly acclaimed and have received many awards over the years, and are suitable for visitors of all abilities and age groups. There is nowhere quite like the Sensory Gardens, and no trip to Carlow would be complete without a visit here.
Monday to Friday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Weekends and Public Holidays: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Café Thyme open for outdoor dining and take-away teas, coffees and snacks
Duckett’s Grove, the 18th, 19th and early 20th century home of the Duckett family, was formerly part of an estate that has dominated the Carlow landscape for over 300 years. Even in ruin, the surviving towers and turrets of Duckett’s Grove Walled Gardens and Pleasure Grounds form a romantic profile making it one of the most photogenic historic buildings in the country and a castle in Ireland to visit. The revival of two old walled gardens has been completed by Carlow County Council, the old paths revealed and the beds and borders reinstated. Open daily, daylight hours.
Enjoy free guided tours from Thursday – Sunday. The FREE guided tour of Duckett’s Grove retrace the centuries of history in this special place. Learn about the origins of the Duckett family who first arrived here in 1695, the subsequent expansion of the estate and building of the Gothic mansion and its eventual sad demise. Discover the stories of the family who lived here and the people who worked for them. As the principal seat of one of the most prominent families in Carlow of that time, Duckett’s Grove remains an important and powerful reminder of a former period, rich in history and deep in tradition.
Originally constructed in 1625 by Sir Laurence Esmonde, Huntington Castle screams authenticity, so much so that the relatives of Esmonde still live there today.
While tours of the castle are not yet permitted under COVID-19 restrictions there is still a multitude to discover and explore in this special place from the extensive woodland walks featuring a number of champion Irish trees to the playground area, gardens and the beautiful Victorian tea rooms offering take-away and outside dining options.
Open: May to September 2 – 6 p.m. daily
Experience your world in a new way, in the largest art gallery in Ireland. VISUAL is a cultural gem in the middle of Carlow Town and displays local and international contemporary art with free admission.
Be inspired and challenged by great art, both inside and outside the building this summer. Woman in the Machine, co-created by VISUAL and Carlow Arts Festival, features 50 original arts projects and the work of hundreds of artists.
The exhibition including all commissioned work can be experienced at VISUAL all summer long. Sky Fold, a commission by architects Emmett Scanlon, Jeffrey Bolhula and Laurence Lord, brings the inside out and playfully dissolves parts of VISUAL’s exterior with mirrored surfaces, connecting with the natural world.
In the Lobby Gallery, Wet Signal Voice Gardens is an online landscape made by Karl Robertson. Audiences are invited to press the big red button and speak into the microphone. Their sounds are recorded and the recording is transformed into a colourful shape with the form and characteristics determined by the pitch, length and volume of the voice. A taster of the many events and exhibitions happening in VISUAL over the summer months.
Please click here for the pre-booking procedure in place at VISUAL Carlow, and the Covid-19 guidelines to follow.
The safety of visitors and staff is our highest priority so there are some changes in place so that you can enjoy VISUAL safely, in a relaxed atmosphere.
Book your ticket for an allocated 2 hour time slot. 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., 1 p.m. – 3 p.m., 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
If you arrive at VISUAL without a booking, you will be asked for your contact details at reception.
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