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Sightseeing

Borris House

The ancestral home of the MacMorrough Kavanaghs, High Kings of Leinster, Borris House is one of the most beautiful and historic Irish country houses located in the most spectacular scenery Ireland has to offer. The backdrop of the river Barrow which flows beside the beautiful woodland and gardens of Borris House make Borris House the jewel in the crown of Carlow.

Kilkenny Castle & City

This medieval city with its cobbled side streets is one of the jewels of the south east of Ireland. Kilkenny Castle was once the seat of the Butler Family. There are daily tours of the castle through out the summer months. Rothe House, St. Canices Cathedral are all within walking distance of each other.

Waterford City & Crystal Factory

Waterford is a beautiful vibrant city where visitors will be spoilt for choice with the Waterford Crystal Factory, Reginalds Tower, the Granary etc to mention just a few. There is an excellent walking city tour during the summer months.

Brownshill Dolmen

One very unmistakable monument dating back to pre-historical times is the great dolmen at Brownshill to the east of Carlow town. The dolmen has a granite capstone weighing over 100 tonnes, making it the largest of its kind in Europe. The massive capstone rests on two portal stones which flank a door stone and slopes downwards to the west where it rests on a low boulder.
The magnificent capstone has excited the interest of many antiquarians and tourists down through the years and it is thought that religious rites, possibly even human sacrifice, were performed there for four and a half thousand years (2500 BC) Signposted, direct access – 5km from Carlow town on the Hacketstown Road.

Duckett’s Grove

Duckett’s Grove, the 18th, 19th and early 20th century home of the Duckett family, was formerly at the centre of a 12,000 acre (4,856 hectares) estate that has dominated the Carlow landscape for over 300 years. Even in ruin, the surviving towers and turrets of Duckett’s Grove form a romantic profile making it one of the most photogenic historic buildings in the country.
The first phase of the revival of two old walled gardens has now been completed by Carlow County Council, the old paths revealed and the beds and borders reinstated. Stylistically the new planting schemes echo the past yet reflect changing fashions, utilising plants and planting patterns that may have evolved over time.

The Upper Walled Garden, hedged with boxwood, is planted with historical varieties of shrub roses, a collection of Chinese and Japanese peonies, a great variety of hardy and tender perennials and choice flowering shrubs.
The Lower Walled Garden, once the site of the old orchard, contains a selection of fruits, including figs and historical varieties of Irish apples amongst others. The borders also contain a variety of shrubs and perennials all echoing the past history of the gardens and people associated with Duckett’s Grove. Restored paths and the repaired sunken stone bridge plus plantings of oak, lime, hazel, spindle and laurel rekindle the spirit of the Georgian pleasure grounds.

St. Mullins Heritage Centre

The former Church of Ireland Church, originally built in 1811, now houses the St. Mullins Heritage Centre, situated beside the famous monastic ruins and cemetery. All aspects of local history including publications, church records, maps, old photographs and artefacts are housed here and provide a fascinating account of village and rural life over the centuries.

OPEN: Mon – Tues 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. weekly, all year round. June – end of October, Sunday, 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Altamont Gardens

Widely respected as the jewel in Ireland’s gardening crown, Altamont Gardens are an enchanting blend of formal and informal gardens with riverside walks covering over 40 acres (16 hectares). The estate gains much of its character from the many mature trees, natives in the avenues and woodland areas, and exotic specimens throughout the gardens. Lawns bisected by sculpted yews slope down to a lake surrounded by rare trees and rhododendrons and lead in turn to a very different garden featuring exotic shrubs and trees.
A fascinating walk through the Arboretum, Bog Garden and Ice Age Glen with its canopy of ancient oaks and huge stone outcrops leads the visitor to the River Slaney. When Corona North, who lovingly cared for the gardens for over 50 years died in 1999, the gardens were left to the State at her request. Ongoing restoration and maintenance continues under the careful stewardship of the Office of Public Works (OPW).

“Every visitor says it has a special atmosphere, that’s why so many people come back. Every element you want from a great garden is here, from lovely lawns, floral beds and beautiful woodland going down to the river, to a walled garden and really superb collections, such as the snwodrops, rhododendrons and the fabulous oaks in the arboretum” Paul Cutler, head gardener at Altamont Gardens.

FACILITIES: Toilets, outdoor picnic tables, large car and coach park, restricted wheelchair access.

Duckett’s Grove Walled Gardens & Pleasure Grounds

Duckett’s Grove, the 18th, 19th and early 20th century home of the Duckett family, was formerly at the centre of a 12,000 acre (4,856 hectares) estate that has dominated the Carlow landscape for over 300 years. Even in ruin, the surviving towers and turrets of Duckett’s Grove form a romantic profile making it one of the most photogenic historic buildings in the country.
The first phase of the revival of two old walled gardens has now been completed by Carlow County Council, the old paths revealed and the beds and borders reinstated. Stylistically the new planting schemes echo the past yet reflect changing fashions, utilising plants and planting patterns that may have evolved over time.
The Upper Walled Garden, hedged with boxwood, is planted with historical varieties of shrub roses, a collection of Chinese and Japanese peonies, a great variety of hardy and tender perennials and choice flowering shrubs.
The Lower Walled Garden, once the site of the old orchard, contains a selection of fruits, including figs and historical varieties of Irish apples amongst others. The borders also contain a variety of shrubs and perennials all echoing the past history of the gardens and people associated with Duckett’s Grove. Restored paths and the repaired sunken stone bridge plus plantings of oak, lime, hazel, spindle and laurel rekindle the spirit of the Georgian Pleasure Grounds.

Arboretum Lifestyle & Garden Centre

Commitment to excellent customer service, quality products, unbeatable choice and value for money has earned the Arboretum Lifestyle & Garden Centre the coveted title of Bord Bia Garden Centre of the Year 2011 along with achieving the 5 star Gold Medal Award and Best Customer Service Award.
Arboretum Lifestyle & Garden Centre is far more than a place for the gardening enthusiast. It’s an entire shopping experience: a place to savour the myriad of interesting items dotted throughout the store. Spacious and well laid out, the centre guides visitors through elegant displays of garden furnishing, pot plants, outdoor plants, an extensive gifts section, hand crafted furniture and lots more.
An entire day can be devoted to the visit, wandering through the fantastic range of items available, seeking expert advice from friendly staff or enjoying a delicious meal or cup of coffee in the tranquil setting of the Mulberry’s Restaurant.
The Arboretum experience has attracted other other well-known brands and offerings to the centre. Now open at Arboretum are the Edinburgh Wollen Mill Clothing and Golf Company, Lily O’Brien Chocolate Shop, Maiden Head Aquatics Super Store and ISE Garden Machinery and service Centre.