Ireland's smallest inland county, Carlow is a place of rich pastures and rural landscapes, situated in the south east of the country beside counties Wicklow, Wexford, Kilkenny, Laois and Kildare.
Carlow is largely a county of rolling farmland, with the scenic Blackstairs Mountains bordering the county to the south and the historic Barrow River Valley running through the centre of the county.
The county town is Carlow Town, an up and coming market town, located centrally, on the banks of the River Barrow. The most prominent building in the town is the courthouse, modelled on the Parthenon in Athens. This grandiose building was originally meant for County Cork, until the plans got mixed up!
Carlow is regarded as the Celtic Centre of Ireland and dotting the hills are a number of stone monuments dating back to the Megalithic period. The most prominent is Browne's Hill Dolmen, some 5,000 years old and said to have the largest capstone in Europe, weighing in at some 100 tonnes.
During the 1100's when the Normans invaded Ireland, they built their first castles in the country along the Barrow River Valley. The two towers and fortified walls that remain of Carlow Castle is the best example of a Norman castle in the province of Leinster.
Famous people from Carlow include engineer William Dargan, regarded as the father of Irish Railways, songwriter Ritchie Kavanagh and Michael Flatley's mother.