Stuck for Staycation ideas? Discover Carlow
With the continued disruption to travel and holiday planning caused by Covid-19 we decided to highlight some of the best attractions and activities in our home county of Carlow where our flagship store is located and where it all started for Arboretum.
Carlow may not be in many people’s top five destinations for a staycation, but with so much to see and do including fabulous gardens, the beautiful Barrow river and spectacular manor houses, we think it deserves to move up the ranks. And TV presenter Kathryn Thomas thinks so too (full disclosure – she is from Carlow, so she is ever so slightly biased). The Ireland’s Fittest Family and Operation Transformation presenter is always quick to sing Carlow’s praises and she named hiking in the Blackstairs mountains one of her favourite staycation activities on Instagram recently.
Ducketts Grove and walled gardens
Located just a short drive from Carlow town, the ruins of this 19th century mansion sitting on a 12-acre estate are brimming with history. The guided tour is well worthwhile providing some great insight to the Duckett family. Not one but two walled gardens are packed full of planted beds and borders restored to their former glory. The house was designed in castellated Gothic revival style by Thomas A Cobden for the Duckett family in the 1820s. It is a particular favourite for paranormal enthusiasts. Covid 19-amended tour times are Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 12.30pm and 2.30pm
The Barrow way
The great thing about nature is that it doesn’t close down during a pandemic. The 113km long Barrow Way follows surviving towpaths and riverside roads through the counties of Kildare and Carlow finishing in the beautiful picturesque village of St Mullins in south Carlow. This fantastic amenity can be explored in many ways: on foot (either self-guided or with a walking tour), by boat, kayak or canoe. The 16km stretch between Carlow town and Bagenalstown features many historical buildings and castles including Black Castle at Leighlinbridge. The most scenic stretch is around Milford, 7km south of Carlow, with its three bridges, mill buildings and a large wooded area. Look out for herons and kingfishers!
Visual Arts Centre Carlow
Re-opened on July 23rd Visual is a beautiful arts space located in the heart of Carlow town. Currently on display is an exhibition entitled Artworks 2020 – The Sky Is Blue, new artworks created in response to Leighlinbridge native John Tyndall, one of Ireland’s foremost scientists and the man who discovered why the sky is blue. Ask about child-friendly activities. Admission is free.
Huntingdon Castle and gardens
Huntingdon Castle is a magnificent 17th century castle surrounded by 160 acres of gardens and woodland located in the south Carlow village of Clonegal. Take a guided tour which delves into the castle’s history and features the world-famous Temple of Goddess located in the old castle dungeons (tours daily at 2pm, 3pm, 4pm and 5pm). You can explore woodland walks by the river Derry or visit the manicured ornamental lawns. With tearooms and a children’s adventure playground on-site, it is perfect for a family trip.
Of course, don’t forget to pop in and say hello to us in Arboretum Leighlinbridge. Our shop, café and gardens are all fully open with large outdoor dining areas, and we welcome all staycationers!
That’s just a taster of the many things to see and do in Carlow. You’ll need more than a day to see it all, which is no problem because there is plenty of top class accommodation on hand, like The Lord Bagenal, located just a stone’s throw from Arboretum, or Mount Wolseley Hotel and Spa in Tullow. Find loads more ideas, information and accommodation options at www.carlowtourism.com
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