Carlow is a town in Ireland, and is home to 20,000 people. A small town that's easily navigable by foot, it offers an attractive blend of scenery, history and modern attractions. It is in the northwest corner of County Carlow. It is located approximately 50 miles southwest of Dublin. The M9 motorway means Carlow is about an hour's drive from Dublin. The proximity of Carlow to Dublin helps to explain the massive growth the town underwent from 1995 until 2008. The river Barrow flows through the town from north to south. Carlow town predominantly lies on the east bank of the river. Graiguecullen, regarded as a suburb of Carlow, lies on the west bank of the river. Carlow is a pleasant country town with all the modern amenities both residents and visitors require. It's not a touristy town per se, but has some hidden gems. These include the Courthouse, Cathedral of the Assumption, and a quaint Railway Station. There are interesting pockets of Georgian architecture on Burrin St, and Montgomery St. Tullow Street which runs from west to east and Dublin St which runs south to north dictate the central layout of the town. Tullow st starts at the southern tip of Dublin St. Tullow st was traditionally the prime shopping street in the town. However with the emergence of shopping centres and retail parks, this has been diluted to a large degree.

Get in

With Carlow being the county seat, public transportation to County Carlow tends to be centred around the town itself. This makes the town the most accessible one in the county for those using public transport, making it easily accessible to visitors travelling along the east coast ot who arrive at Dublin Airport.

By plane

Carlow doesn't have a public airport, but can be easily reached from Dublin Airport, the largest in the country - see the Get in section of the Dublin article.

The most straightforward way to get to Carlow from Dublin Airport is to travel by JJ Kavanagh / Rapid Express Coaches or by Bus Éireann - see the By bus section below.

By boat

If you are travelling by car and you arrive at the sea port of Rosslare, Carlow town is about a 60 minute drive away. Those who leave the car behind can get the train to Carlow, however you will have to change services, usually at either Waterford or Dublin. More information and concise timetables are available from the Irish Rail website.

If you arrive at Dublin Port, you can either get the train direct from Dublin Heuston to Carlow, or you can travel by bus. Bus Éireann services depart from Busáras or you can get the JJ Kavanagh service, which leaves from its bus stop on George's Quay. Check out their websites for more.

By bus

Buses arrive and depart from Carlow's coach park after 07:00 each morning. This is located within the town centre, at the junction where Kennedy Avenue and Barrack Street meet. Before 07:00, some buses will arrive and depart from the bus stop outside Deane's newsagents, which is a short walk away on Barrack Street.

A small fee-paying car park is located at the coach park, although this is rarely full, so finding a space shouldn't be a problem.

Get around

By car

Travelling by car in Carlow is straightforward enough. Minor traffic jams are common, particularly around Upper Tullow Street.

Browne Street, Castle Street, Charlotte Street and Church Street all have a one-way system, as well as the area around the Courthouse. Lower Tullow Street is also one-way, while most of the street is closed to traffic completely from 08:00-18:00 Monday to Saturday.

Carlow has over 3,000 car parking spaces, so there's never a shortage. The majority are fee-paying during the day, and most of these must be paid in advance. Unlike other towns and cities where 'parking discs' have to be purchased in shops (Waterford for example), parking tickets in Carlow are purchased from vending machines on the street, which have the time stamped on them.

There are two multi-storey car parks, the largest of which is located at Carlow Shopping Centre. The other is on Dublin Street. Patrons at these car parks are issued with tickets on the way in, which must be 'validated' before you return to your car.

By taxi

Due to government legislation, taxi fares are the same in every part of Ireland. Therefore, the price of a taxi will usually depend on the length of the journey. Some companies are exploiting a loophole in this legislation, and charge a minimum fare of €6 within Carlow town's boundaries, (you must sign a waiver form to allow this to happen otherwise you will not be insured in the taxi), although generally the cost of a taxi from one end of town to the other is about €5-8. Customers have the right to have all fares calculated by the taximeter and get a printed receipt at the end of the journey. You will need the receipt if you wish to make a complaint about the Taxi service.

The initial fee incurred by passengers is roughly €4. For the next 14 km or 40 minutes, each additional kilometre is about €1 or 40 cent per minute. The exact fares vary on the time of the day, and a €2 booking fee may be placed at the driver's discretion where taxis are ordered by phone. Second and additional passengers are €1 each. An exact breakdown is available on the Taxi Regulator's website .

Carlow's sole full-time taxi rank is located on Potato Market. With room for eight taxis, the small size of the rank has been repeatedly criticised, however recent measures have been introduced whereby loading bays are used as taxi ranks between 6PM and 8AM, so as to alleviate the pressure on taxi operators and provide extra facilities around the town overnight.


Carlow Cathedral

Carlow town is fortunate to have some excellent working examples of architecture from the 1700s and the 1800s, many of which are open to the public. As the town is navigable by foot, the Carlow Tourism website details a walking tour of the town, which incorporates many of the buildings and monuments included below.

Buildings and monuments

The Liberty Tree in Carlow Town.

Walking Tour of Carlow Town

Start at the Haymarket off Dublin St. Ahead of you is the pleasant Town Hall. Turning right around you will see the spire of the Church of Ireland. Keeping left, the church on your right, enter Castle St talking a right. The church is notable chiefly for its spire. At the end of the hill take a left onto Kennedy Avenue. At the traffic lights Burrin St crosses Kennedy Avenue. Take a left and on your left is Deighton Memorial Hall. A curious building which occupies a corner of Burrin St/Kennedy Ave. Continuing up the hill you enter Dublin street beyond where Tullow St and Castle St meet. Along Dublin St, note Kehoe's Auctioneers housed in a lovely grey stone building. The Franciscan Friary is a fine broad building on the same side of Kehoe's up towards the Courthouse. Further along is the old library in a lovely Georgian themed building. The courthouse lies at the top of Dublin St. Keeping left of the courthouse you enter Athy Rd. A short distance on Montgomery St is to your left. Its worth a quick look for its fine Georgian buildings. Further along Athy Rd is the Masonic hall on your right housed in a quirky buildings topped off with urns! Take a right and cut across by St Dympna's Psychiatric Hospital. It is a massive classical stone building. More impressive for scale than detail. After leaving the grounds of the hospital cross the road and continue straight along. You will see the Railway Station. It's worth the walk to the top of the road to enjoy this fine building. Double back and take a left onto Old Dublin Road. On your left is a group of fine three storey, single storey bay houses. Further along is St Leo's School in a neat Georgian building featuring some lovely wrought iron decoration. Just as the Courthouse appears on your right swing left onto College St. College St is long and narrow . Towards the Tullow St end is St Patrick's College set back from the street in its own grounds. Beside it is the Cathedral of the Assumption (RC). Where College st meets Tullow St there is a nice old convent building on your left. It now houses Carlow library and Carlow County Museum.




Sport and leisure



Carlow town offers one of the best shopping experiences in the region. Although retail often tends to be centred on the town's two major shopping centres, the town centre, Tullow Street and Dublin Street in particular, offer a wide variety of shops, from locally-owned outlets to larger nationally-recognised businesses.

ATMs are located throughout the town. There are three in the Fairgreen Shopping Centre, one inside Carlow Shopping Centre as well as several others located throughout the town in shops, banks and other establishments. Note that during high peak shopping days, e.g. during the week before Christmas, few ATMs are in working order, simply because many ATMs run out of cash. A Cirrus ATM is located at the Permanent TSB Bank on Upper Tullow Street.

Tullow Street

Carlow's traditional shopping thoroughfare, "the heart of Carlow" has undergone extensive redevelopment over the past decade. Lower Tullow Street, the main shopping area, has been pedestrianised during business hours since 2002.

Shopping Centres







Music and Entertainment



In 2004, the local area code for Carlow changed from 0503 to 059. Some of out-of-date literature still carries the old area code. For Carlow town, simply dial 059 91XXXXX instead of 0503 XXXXX.

As of April 2007, wireless broadband has been provided for the entire town centre, making Carlow the first town in Ireland to provide such a service. It's available (with varying degrees of success for the moment) at a fee of €3.50 for each use, or at €15 for a monthly subscription.

Internet cafés

Wireless Hotspots

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, March 04, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.