Is your family looking for a quick break from the hustle and bustle of Ireland’s major cities? If your idea of a perfect family getaway includes being a scenic destination surrounded by mountains, river valleys, and heritage sites like castles and churches, then Carlow is one of the best places to be.
The County Town of Carlow, located in the South-East Region of Ireland, offers a rich rural history with picturesque countryside. Whether your family is looking for a tour filled with history, art, and culture or a getaway focused on recreational activities under the sun, you surely won’t run out of fascinating things to do in Carlow.
In this article, we list down 5 of the best things to do in Carlow Ireland with your family.
1. Stay in a family-friendly hotel
Not all Carlow hotels are created equal. Some hotels provide only basic accommodation while others go the extra mile with bigger family rooms, picturesque views, full breakfasts for everyone, and fun activities incorporated into their packages. If you’re visiting Carlow with kids, your best bet is to go for the latter.
This four-star hotel in Carlow, for instance, is complete with everything your family might need for your much-anticipated Carlow break. The hotel is set on the beautiful banks of River Barrow, providing views of the Killeshin Hills — a perfect backdrop for your stay. The property also features attractive family packages and easy access to the heart of Carlow town.
2. Enjoy a River Barrow adventure
If your family enjoys heart-pounding watersports, the River Barrow in Carlow is the perfect base for your family trip. Tour company Go With The Flow Adventures has a range of water activities, from scenic boat tours along the calm waters to exhilarating white water kayaking and canoeing trips, paddling your own vehicle.
If you’re seeking a more laidback way to explore the River Barrow, you may check out BoatTrips.ie. Enjoy an open-boat trip led by friendly boatmen with amazing tales and legends to tell. Throughout the trip, you’ll spot a wide array of wildlife (like kingfishers, otters, and shoals of fish) and marvel at the stunning natural and historical gems.
3. Join hiking and walking trips to discover Ireland’s great outdoors
One of the simplest ways to see the best of the Irish countryside is by exploring on foot. Walking for hours won’t feel like too much of an effort if you’re marvelling at a stunning landscape cloaked in a rich palette of green and blue, an abundance of wildlife, and a wealth of historic treasures.
Wear your best walking shoes and check out the following walking and hiking trails in Carlow:
- The Barrow Way
- Clashganny Forest Looped Walk
- Borris Viaduct Walk
- South Leinster Way: Borris to Graiguenamanagh
- Leighlinbridge Self-Guided Historic Town Walk
- Oak Park Forest Park
- Carlow Garden Trail
4. Travel back in time by visiting heritage sites
Carlow is home to a wealth of historical sites that have played a major role in Irish history. These include castles with picturesque gardens and tea rooms, heritage homes, churches and monasteries, and even a megalithic portal tomb dating from c.3300 – 2900 B.C. (Brownshill Dolmen) and other ancient treasures.
You may include the following attractions in your Carlow family travel itinerary:
- Carlow Castle (remains)
- Duckett’s Grove
- Huntington Castle
- Borris House
- The Borris Railway Viaduct
- Shankill Castle and Gardens
- Carlow Cathedral
- Rathgall Stone Fort
Aside from visiting the heritage sites, you may also check out museums and galleries that house Carlow (and Ireland’s) precious historical artifacts:
- Carlow County Museum
- Tullow Museum
- Carlow Historical and Archaeological Society
- County Carlow Military Museum
- The Lace Gallery
5. Treat yourselves at the Chocolate Garden of Ireland
Here’s something better than eating a chocolate bar and an ice cream cone during your family trip: visiting a real chocolate and ice cream factory!
The Chocolate Garden of Ireland is a modern working chocolate and ice cream factory in Tullow, County Carlow. The family-run business, established in 2001 by Jim and Mary Healy, produces a wide array of luxury artisan chocolates, a varied selection of desserts, chocolate spread, and premium organic ice cream.
The Chocolate Garden accommodates visitors of all ages who’d love to experience the joy of chocolate making. The workshops last just over an hour and a half. The Chocolate Garden also features a cafe and an ice cream parlour for sweet-toothed guests.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a passionate travel blogger who loves street photography, food trips, and writing articles about travel, food, and lifestyle. To know more about hotels and travel blogs, you may visit Woodford Dolmen Hotel Carlow.