South East Ireland Tourism
Travel guide to Ireland's south east
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Leighlinbridge, Carlow

Much of the town of Leighlinbridge on the River Barrow has the air of an earlier century, with its ruined castle standing guard over the 14th century bridge and the old malt houses rising behind it.

The town's original Black Castle, built in 1181, was one of the earliest Norman fortresses in Ireland. It was granted to John de Claville by Hugh de Lacy, the powerful Norman baron who governed Ireland for Henry II. The present castle was built by Sir Edward Bellingham in 1547 and fell to Cromwell's forces in 1650.

The wonderful nine-arched bridge across the Barrow, built in 1320 by Maurice Jakis, is said to be the oldest functioning bridge in Ireland. Close by the castle is the site of Ireland's first Carmelite monastery, built in 1272.

Leighlinbridge has produced many famous sons. The dashing Captain Myles Keogh, of the Battle of Little Big Horn fame, was born there, as were Cardinal Patrick Moran (1830 - 1911), Archbishop of Sydney and Australia's first cardinal, and Professor John Tyndall (1820 - 1893), a brilliant physicist, who, in 1867 succeeded Michael Faraday as President of the Royal Institution in London. Among many other achievements, Tyndall explained why the sky looks blue. The ancestors of Canada's former Premier Martin Brian Mulroney also hail from Leighlinbridge.

What to see and do in Leighlinbridge

The Arboretum Garden Centre near Leighlinbridge features an extensive array of garden furniture, barbecues, hot tubs, giftware and an exclusive range of statuary and water features, aswell as many quality plants, trees and shrubs. Designed for the Millennium and incorporating the changing needs of the public, the Arboretum offers a new concept in today's gardening world.

The Millennium Garden, located in Ballyknockan in the village of Leighlinbridge, was built and designed by the people of the town to commemorate the New Millennium. The Garden consists of seven, small individual gardens, each with its own theme represented by trees, shrubs and stones to symbolise aspects of life from birth to death.

Anglers will enjoy fishing in the river Barrow. The river holds good stocks of various coarse fish species. A new marina offers berthing for up to 25 boats on the banks of the river.


Leighlinbridge has been the deserved recipient of many environmental awards in recent times including regional winner in the National Tidy Towns Competition, first in the Barrow Awards and Carlow's Floral Pride, and overall national winner in Ireland's Green Town. The village was a gold medal winner in the European, Entente Florale competition for its display of brilliant flowers, magnificent trees and relaxing parks.

Leighlinbridge Map

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