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The Best Hotels in Carlow

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Best Hotels in Carlow

Carlow Introduction

Straddling the confluent Barrow and Burrin rivers, the county town of Carlow in southeastern Ireland is a place drenched in history. Ancient tomb monuments called dolmens stand in silent witness to the town's prehistoric past, while relics dating back to the 14th century recall the time when it was the capital of the Lordship of Ireland. Yet for all its history, Carlow also exudes a youthful vibe, thanks to a vibrant international student population and a lively arts and music scene.

Hotels in Carlow

While Carlow isn't bursting at the seams with tourist accommodations, there are nevertheless a few good choices in town and in the surrounding villages. Guests seeking an upscale experience can opt for luxury hotels in Carlow, where they can expect to stay in spacious, well-appointed guestrooms, indulge in fine dining and enjoy a relaxing massage in full-service spas. Some hotels also offer indoor pools, fitness centres and business facilities. Booking a room in a B&B or guesthouse is another option. Wi-Fi, parking and breakfast are usually free – making these accommodations good value for money – and there's often a charming garden where guests can unwind.

Where to stay in Carlow

Most Carlow hotels are conveniently located on streets that are just a few minutes' walk away from the town centre, offering easy access to restaurants serving up Irish and international dishes, traditional Irish pubs and modern shopping centres. If you prefer a location away from the hustle and bustle of the town centre but close enough to enjoy its attractions, consider a place on Kilkenny Road, a relaxing locale on the banks of the River Barrow. Or if a countryside getaway sounds appealing, try the village of Arles, about 10 kilometres away from Carlow. With its lovely woodlands and pristine ponds, it's the perfect spot for a rural retreat.

Things to see in Carlow

History buffs won't run out of things to appreciate in Carlow. Arguably one of the most interesting is the megalithic portal tomb called the Brownshill Dolmen, whose entrance is sealed by a capstone that's estimated to weigh 100 metric tonnes. Situated 3 kilometres east of town, it was erected sometime between 4,000 and 3,000 BC and has never been excavated. St Patrick's College is another historic area of interest, a major part of what makes Carlow a college town of note. Established in 1782, it used to serve as a seminary but now offers degrees in the Humanities and Social Care fields. Carlow Farmer's Market, held every Saturday morning in the centre of town, attracts plenty of locals and tourists. Aside from fresh organic fruit, vegetables and meat, you can also find goodies like handmade chocolate, fine cheese and tasty jams, as well as ornamental plants and flowers for sale.

How to get to Carlow

Many visitors travel to Carlow by flying in through Dublin Airport or by boat via Dublin Port. Both the airport and the port are about an hour and 15 minutes to the north. From Dublin, travellers can take buses operated by JJ Kavanagh/Rapid Express Coaches and Bus Éireann that stop directly at Carlow's coach park in the town centre. Some Carlow hotels offer a free airport shuttle service, something to keep in mind when you're looking for a place to stay. And since it's part of Irish Rail's InterCity network, Carlow can also be reached by train from Dublin and Waterford.