Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mountains, Glorious Countryside & River Valleys - County Carlow

County Carlow, Ireland
With mountains, glorious countryside and river valleys all close at hand, Carlow offers an array of outdoor activities ranging from horse riding and canoeing to walking and golf.

The Rivers Barrow and Slaney and their many tributaries provide exciting activities for the passive and active water enthusiast. The wares of the Barrows are suitable for canoeing and coarse angling while the track line and woodlands beside the river offer a superb walking environment. The River Barrow is Ireland's second longest river system running for 192 km from its source to the sea. Fringed with reeds and river flowers, and harboring a wealth of wildlife in her banks, the River Barrow bears boats and barges along 68km of navigable waterway past pretty riverside villages and through 23 original locks. The River Slaney in the eastern part of the county is an important recreational waterway for canoeists.

With its rich Celtic past, Co Carlow is steeped in historical and archaeological artefacts from pagan sites such as the Brownshill Dolmen to ecclesiastical settlements at St. Mullins and Conmore. County Carlow could claim the title of the most gentrified county in Ireland. Until the early decades of the 20th century, as many as 60 gentry houses dominated the landscape of the county. While only three of the original families still live in their ancestral homes, a surprisingly high total of 40 hourses remain occupied. The stories surrounding some of these houses are interested and recount a rich variety of personal and historic events, in some cases spanning a period of over 400 years from the 16th century onwards. Princial houses of interest whose grounds or the houses themselves are presently open to the public include Atlamont Gardens, Borris House, Duckett's Grove Historic House and Huntington Castle.

Carlow offers a number of dedicated trails for the visitor to enjoy and explore. The Carlow Garden Trail currently features 16 different gardening attractions including great old gardens that have been lovingly restored and maintained throughout the years, and smaller gardens which are maturing beautifully with time. Award winning garden centers and forest parks complement the joy of a visit here. Ranging from small to very large gardens, garden centers and forest parks and from old to new, there is something to stimulate both the novice and experienced gardener.

Carlow is a county with an exceptionally rich ecclesiastical heritage containing a number of sites of national significance. These include the monastic site at St. Mullins, the Romanesque doorway at Killeshin, the medieval Cathedral at Old Leighlin, the 18th century College and the 19th century Catholic Cathedral in Carlow Town as well as the impresive Adelaide Memorial Chapel at Myshall. Three trails - St. Patrick's in north Carlow, St. Laserian's in Mid-Carlow and St. Moling's in South-Carlow explore the heritage of Carlow's rich ecclesiastical history.

Situated in the south east of Ireland, approximately 90 kms from the ferry and airports of Dublin, Rosslare and Waterford, Carlow is one of Ireland's most charming inland counties. Its central location also offers the perfect base to explore the bordering counties of Wexford, Kilkenny, Wicklow, Kildare and Laois. Start planning your vacation to Ireland with Celtic Tours World Vacations

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