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9 things to do in Carlow on your next visit
Visit the impressive Huntington Castle on your visit to Carlow.
Whether you’re on the hunt for adventure or looking for a few days of quiet contemplation, there are plenty of surprises to be found on a visit to Carlow. Bursting with natural spaces, gorgeous gardens and vibrant experiences, it’s no wonder that people rave about this enchanting county.

Here are some top things to do on your next trip to Carlow.

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1Huntington Castle and Gardens

Jump back in time to 1625 with a trip to Huntington Castle and Gardens on the outskirts of Clonegal village. Venture into the historic garrison and wander down the Lime Tree Avenue and Yew Tree Walk. Tour the castle’s impressive art galleries, see the notable architecture in all its glory and take a trip to the basement for a rather curious visit to the Egyptian Temple of Isis, created as a place of worship to the goddess Isis. 

Outside, explore the serene grounds, ornamental ponds and one of the earliest water turbine houses in Ireland. You may be lucky enough to come across their resident peacocks, along the way.

Interior of Huntington Castle in County Carlow with blue chairs and white walls.
Experience the grandeur of Huntington Castle.
2Duckett’s Grove

Explore the vast gardens and ruins of Duckett’s Grove, the former 19th century great house on a 12,000-acre estate. Take a free guided tour and learn all about the rich history of the family, the gothic mansion, its expansion and the hardworking people who worked there.

Nature unfolds from every corner, so amble through the upper walled garden laden with historical varieties of shrub roses and peonies, then the lower walled garden which is home to the rejuvenated orchard of figs and traditional Irish apples.

Ducketts Grove ruins in Co Carlow
Learn about the history of Duckett's Grove.
3Altamont Gardens

Be wowed by the colourful blaze of flowers in bloom in Altamont Gardens. Often talked about as the jewel in Ireland’s gardening crown, Altamont’s green meadows, rhododendrons and rose gardens are something to behold. 

Visit in February to find these gardens at their best during the Snowdrop Gala, where the 200 varieties of the delicate flower planted on-site are fully in bloom. 

Flowers and topiary in Altamont Gardens in County Carlow
Admire the immaculately maintained Altamont Gardens.
4Blackstairs Eco Trails and Walking Tours

Get down with nature on the Blackstairs Eco Trails and learn about the secret life of the mountain range and the birds, mammals, flora and fungi that complete the ecosystem. Guides will showcase the best of what rural Carlow has to offer, through lowlands, boglands, lovely lanes and gushing streams, as you make your way from the foothills along the River Barrow. Catch glimpses of dolmens, standing stones and cairns from our ancient past, as well as lichens, mosses and ferns that form this fascinating landscape.

After your walk, take a short drive to Mullichain Café in St Mullin's for a bite to eat. Set in a restored grain store building along the River Barrow, it's a lovely spot to relax with a hot coffee and a freshly made scone.

5Rathwood Forest Walks

Take a well-deserved break on the tranquil Rathwood Forest Walk trails, which cover more than 4km of routeways. Enjoy a leisurely stroll by the pond and around the Molloy loop walk, named after the local historian and farmer Joe Molloy, who helped plant the forest more than 50 years ago. Get lost in the variety of trees, from beech and oak to Sitka spruce and Douglas fir, and expect to spot a few friendly creatures along the way - deer, rabbits, foxes, pheasants and even mink have been known to join walkers on their trails.

6The Chocolate Garden of Ireland

Heaven for chocolate lovers and ice-cream fiends, The Chocolate Garden of Ireland is a wonderland, serving up hot chocolate, snacks and mouthwatering ice cream. Not just for kids, everyone can get hands-on with a pre-booked workshop to create your own chocolate masterpieces. Of course, regular tastings are as necessary as they are delicious – you certainly won’t go away hungry.

7Delta Sensory Gardens

Recharge your batteries with a calming experience at the Delta Sensory Gardens. A feast for the senses in the Strawhall Estate, it’s built in a series of interconnected gardens, mixing formal and informal landscapes with multi-sensory experiences.

The gardens change with the seasons from thousands of daffodils in spring to double flowering gorse in the summer and onto the rustic colours that appear during autumn and winter. The grounds feature splashing fountains, cascading waterfalls and a ‘kugel’ of pink marble that floats on a cushion of water to create that sense of peace.

People in the Delta Sensory Gardens in Co Carlow
Find inner peace in the Delta Sensory Gardens.
8Go with the Flow River Adventures

If you’re looking for some adventure, Go with the Flow River Adventures in Borris will get you out on the water. With a fleet of Canadian canoes, kayaks and river surfers for hire, follow their incredible water trails, take off on an eco-safari or for the adrenaline-hungry among you, try a white-water adventure. Embrace the beauty of Ireland’s waterways from the place with the best view – on the waters of the River Barrow or the River Nore themselves.

People canoeing with Go With the Flow Adventures in Co Carlow
Explore the county's waterways with Go with the Flow River Adventures.
9Kilgraney House Herb Garden

Explore the secluded grounds of Kilgraney House and its string of herbal gardens, including an enclosed kitchen garden which supplies the attached guesthouse with organic fruit, vegetables and herbs all year round. Take a whiff as you’re surrounded by the aromatic herbs, which are particularly strong along their tea walk. Open at weekends from May to September by prior appointment, this exclusive tour includes a circular cosmic garden that will bring you closer to the ancient belief there’s a connection between people, plants and space.

Exterior view of Kilgraney House in Co Carlow
Savour the aromas of Kilgraney House's herb garden.
Start planning your trip to Carlow now

A relaxing trip full of fresh air, stunning scenery and ancient connections awaits, so check out our top tips for a short break away in Carlow.

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