Greetings All from Ireland,
I hope I find you all well. After the delights of Kilkenny last week, we’re going to meander into neighboring county Carlow. The county offers yet more rolling lush countyside, mountain views and a wealth of ancient heritage sites. County Carlow is also known as the Floral County on account of it being home to one of the best garden trails in Ireland.
Lulu’s Top Places To Visit in County Carlow
1. Mount Leinster
So let’s start with the mountains. Standing at 2612 feet, Mount Leinster is the highest of the Blackstairs Mountain range and can found at the Carlow/Wexford border. The countryside in this area is truly stunning and is best viewed from the Nine Stones viewing point.
One of the stories (and there are a few-this is Ireland!) explaining the row of stones says that they are a memorial to 9 shepherds who lost their lives on a wintry night on Mount Leinster. From this spot you can see no less than 8 counties; Carlow, Kilkenny, Laois, Kildare, Wicklow, Wexford and Waterford. The vista stretches before you like a rolling patchwork quilt of lush Irish countryside. On a really clear day you can even see the coast of Wales. If you want to reach the summit of Mount Leinster, you will need your best hiking boots and a big breakfast! The mountain is also a favorite spot for hang-gliders.
2.Delta Sensory Gardens
The Delta Sensory Gardens have been voted the number one attraction in county Carlow and for very good reason. 16 interconnected gardens offer a feast for all the senses. No matter what the season, there’s always a stunning display to enjoy so whether it’s the spring show of daffodils and tulips or the breathtaking colors of autumn, a visit here is truly unforgettable.
Time to travel back to pre-historic Ireland with a visit to the magnificent Brownshill Dolmen. The colossal capstone weighs a whopping 103 tonnes. Two portal stones support the capstone at the elevated end. It is believed to have been constructed between 4900 and 5500 years ago. An unspoiled landscape of peaceful meadows surrounds this awesome monument connecting us with our ancient past.
4. Duckett’s Grove Walled Gardens
Between Carlow town and Tullow you will find the ruins of a Gothic 19th century castle. Built around 1830, it was the home of the Duckett family until the early twentieth century. It is also home to two stunning walled gardens which were opened to the public in 2007. The beds and borders have been revived and ancient pathways have been uncovered. A trip here is an absolute must on any visit to county Carlow. There’s nothing like exploring these beautiful gardens against the fairytale backdrop of the turrets and towers of the ruined castle.
5. Bagnelstown Courthouse
The charming town of Bagenalstown or Muine Bheag sits on the River Barrow about 16km south of Carlow town. Here you will find impressive churches as well as a beautifully designed neo-classical railway station. When Lord Walter Bagenal founded the town, his ambition was to remodel the town in the style of Versailles in France. He abandoned these plans however when the coach route was diverted away from Bagnelstown but not before he had completed the impressive courthouse. Sitting impressively on a height overlooking the town, it is now the town’s public library.
6. Huntingdon Castle
Another beautiful Irish castle with stunning gardens. The Esmond family built Huntington Castle in 1625. Many additions were made over centuries and to take one of the guided tours is like stepping back in time. Located in the village of Clonegal, the gardens are an absolute delight. Take a woodland walk along the River Derry at the bottom of the garden and see one of Ireland’s earliest water turbine houses at the ornamental lake. The Yew Tree walk and the Lime Tree Avenue are simply stunning. A true Irish hidden gem!
I hope you enjoyed our trip to county Carlow. We’re nearly at the end of our journeys around Ireland. Only 3 counties to go so do join me next week for a trip to county Laois!
In the meantime, keep on shopping the best of Ireland below. Today is the first day of our Countdown to Christmas holiday gift guide with up to 66% off! Happy December!
I’ll be back on Monday with my top Celtic Jewelry gifts for the festive season.
See you soon!
Slán go fóill!