Culture Tourism

Visit the Award-Winning Carlow County Museum

The Carlow County Museum is an award-winning experience in Carlow Town’s Cultural Quarter. The Museum, found on College Street, distinguishes itself by both being open year round and offering free admission. The Carlow County Council works in association with the Carlow Historical & Archaeological Society (C.H.A.S.) to maintain the four galleries worth of exhibitions available to visitors. The Museum can be accessed through Carlow Tourist Offices and shares a building with the County Library and Archive.

Once inside the museum, patrons can find a wide and unique variety of artifacts that celebrate the history of Carlow County. One of the most notable items is the famous hand carved, nineteenth century pulpit from the Carlow Cathedral. Standing at six metres tall, it’s impossible to miss. Also from the nineteenth century, and slightly more ominous, is an original gallows trapdoor used for public executions at the Carlow Gaol.

The diversity amongst exhibits doesn’t stop there. The Museum also holds the following items: multiple pieces from the Carlow’s Sugar Factory, which was in business for nearly 80 years; a fossilised squid that’s celebrating its 340 millionth birthday; and the Nationalist Papers’s very own printing press. For those more interested in exhibitions related to historical figures, there are a plethora of choices. The Museum highlights Captain Myles Keogh’s (killed at the Battle of Little Big Horn) smoking pipe, Kevin Barry’s (a medical student executed for partaking in the Irish War of Independence) last cigarette, and multiple items relating to John Tyndall (the scientist who first discovered the greenhouse effect).

In addition to its permanent fixtures, the Carlow County Museum currently has two special exhibitions. The National Museum of Ireland and the National Roads Authority are in association with the Museum for ‘Journeys in Time – The Archaeology of the Carlow By-pass,’ bringing attention to important archaeological finds made along the M9 Carlow By-pass. The second exhibition is titled ‘St. Willibrord, Patron Saint of Luxembourg and his Co. Carlow Connection’ and follows St. Willibrord’s lasting impact on Luxembourg, Germany, and the Netherlands. Trained and ordained right in Carlow, St. Willibrord remains one of the most important European saints.

The Museum’s engagement with the public doesn’t stop with its exhibitions. It continually offers multiple free events, workshops, and contests that draw participants of all ages and build a sense of community. Whether you’re a local or simply passing through Carlow County and looking for something to do, take a moment to stop by the Carlow County Museum and appreciate being immersed in a rich world of history.  


September — May

Monday through Saturday: 10am 4.30pm

June — August

Monday through Saturday: 10am – 5pm

Sundays and Bank Holidays: 2pm – 4.30pm

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