Carlow is a small inland county, one of the 12 counties in Ireland that are land-locked. It is situated south of county Kildare and south-west of county Wicklow; its eastern part is, in fact, an extension of the granite area of Wicklow.
If you were a sightseer or a sportsman, this would be the ideal place to go. The main thing Carlow has to offer is scenery, especially in the south of the county. The River Slaney flows through its eastern part, and along the banks of the other two rivers that cross the county, there are several walking routes: the Barrow Way, the Wicklow Way, and the South Leinster Way. The best way to see the county is by bicycle, as the details show themselves to the eye much better than when travelling by car.
Most of the county is farmland, indeed, but Carlow has a rich history, and there are many castles and ruins that attest to it: Ballymoon Castle a 14th century ruin, accessible by timber foot bridge and Ballyloughan Castle (Bagenalstown), Clonmore Castle (a 12th century granite fortress in Clonmore), Huntington Castle (in Clonegal), the Black Castle in Leighlinbridge and Rathnageeragh Castle in Myshall, to name a few.
In Tullow, there are several field monuments to visit: Cloch-a-Foil, a megalithic site about which the legends say that it has the power to cure sick children; Rathgall Stone Fort with walls built in the 8th century; and last but not least, Haroldstown Dolmen, a neolithic portal tomb. While in Tullow, also take the time to see The Tullow Museum, a former church that houses local memorabilia, and The Cottage Collection, that presents household or domestic implements from the rural Ireland of bygone times.
The main town is Carlow, both a bustling market and a town with ancient history and tradition. The one-time strategic importance of this town is pointed out by the ruins of the 12th century Norman Keep. Long before it was a Viking and Norman settlement, Carlow was a Gaelic stronghold. Nowadays, there are many ruins attesting to its history: Carlow Castle, a 13th century on the banks of the river Barrow, Duckett's Grove (an ivy-covered, turreted Georgian homestead), and Browneshill Dolmen, outside Carlow Town, a granit prehistoric tomb.
Spare time may be very pleasantly spent: there are golf clubs all over the county (in Carlow, Tullow, Borris, Crossneen, Hacketstown), adventure centres ("Country Quads" in Borris all-terrain vehicles), gardens ("Altamont Gardens", "Hardymount" and "Tobinstown" in Tullow, "Arboretum Garden Centre" in Leighlinbridge, "Hermitage" in Carlow Town) and open farms. One can also go walking, swimming ("Graiguecullen Swimming Pool" in Graiguecullen, part of a leisure centre), even horse-riding ("Carrigbeg Horseriding Stables" in Bagenalstown, with both indoor and outdoor arenas). In mid-June, there is also the Eigse Carlow Arts Festival, during which street events are held, and one can enjoy visual arts displays, theatre and music.