The Barrow. Our River Your Journey


Carlow Town

In Carlow Town the visitor is presented with a rich tapestry of history dating back a millennium and beyond, many associated famous names and an architectural heritage telling the story of the town’s evolution since the Normans first came here in the 12th century. With a population of over 20,000, it is the county town and gateway to the South-East standing at the confluence of the Barrow and Burrin rivers.

Tradition has it that the junction of the two rivers once covered such a large area of ground that a lake was formed, or, as some believe four lakes, hence the name Ceatharloch or City of the Four Lakes. As a strategic river crossing, the town was the scene of a number of important battles and the Anglo Normans signalled its importance by building the great Carlow Castle in the 13th century. Famous names associated with Carlow include George Bernard Shaw, the dramatist and critic whose mother Lucinda Elizabeth Gurley was born in Carlow. The famous impressionist artist Frank O’Meara was born at 37 Dublin Street on March 30th 1853, sharing that birth date with Vincent Van Gogh.

A vibrant college and market town, Carlow enjoys a thriving arts and crafts community, an exciting nightlife, a strong tradition of Irish language and culture and a superb range of shops, boutiques and restaurants.


Carlow Town Heritage Trail – Discover Carlow town in a 1 hour self-guided walking trail. The route allows visitors to view some fine historical buildings and starts from the Liberty Tree on Kennedy Avenue in the town centre. Follow the identifiable finger signposts.
Carlow Town Park – a 12.8 acre park on the banks of the River Barrow offering a host of amenities for all the family.
Brownshill Dolmen – Europe’s largest portal dolmen, with a capstone weighing 101 tonnes, 5km from the town on the R726.   Visual Centre for Contemporary Art and 290-seater George Bernard Shaw Theatre on the grounds of Carlow College.


Carlow town enjoys a well-earned reputation for lively festivals including Éigse, a 10-day extravaganza of visual arts, theatre, comedy, dance, literary events, crafts and street entertainment which takes place from June 7th – 16th.

The town’s rich association with its waterways is celebrated in the annual Carlow Regatta which this year commemorates its 154th anniversary on June 2nd – 3rd. Golf courses, Barrow Way walking route and Graiguecullen Swimming Pool.