I am ready to serve and obey our new leaders in the sunny south east of Ireland!
The Carlow 800 festival kicks off this week, celebrating all things Carlow Castle related. The festival is part of the nationwide programme of events Heritage Week, which will see counties across Ireland re-discover their roots.
Of course I am particularly looking forward to the Carlow 800 festival. 800 refers to the 800 years since Carlow Castle was first built. Sadly only part of the castle remains today. Ironically the reason for the partial destruction of the castle is similar to the reason I feel Carlow Castle is not the significant presence it should be in Carlow Town.
In the 1800′s a leasee of the castle undertook some badly planned reconstruction resulting in the destruction of a large part of the castle. Roll forward 200 years and further bad planning has hidden the historic structure from the Carlow skyline and perhaps the minds of locals. Characterless, modern developments jutting into the sky that will be incapable of surviving a fraction of Carlow Castles’ lifespan surround the castle and nearby bridge. Access to castle is via two understated roads. It is almost as if the once powerful presence is shying away, no longer wanted by its surroundings.
‘Medieval Town’ is a phrase often used to attract tourists. It is rarely a phrase used in relation to Carlow Town. The Carlow 800 festival is a chance to tell the world about our medieval history but it is also a chance for locals to restore Carlow Castle to its former glory as a centre piece for the town. Learn its history, appreciate its age and ensure it lives long into the future.
Carlow is the second smallest county in Ireland. Despite its dimensions, Carlow has a diverse range of accents and dialects. This generates some very entertaining local phrases. Some of which are unique to Carlow, others are varied across the country.
Enjoy the list below, comment below to add your favourite Carlow sayings. Also #carlowsayings
Derelict houses on Barrack Street, Carlow rightfully hold the title of ‘the town’s ugliest eyesore‘. However this row of houses is just one of many elements that makes Barrack Street a fascinating snapshot of the changes Ireland has experienced.
Growing up, Barrack Street was such a significant fixture in Carlow. The cattle mart, the bowling alley, Carpenters pub and funeral home, Doyles Of The Shamrock, buses to every match and concert you ever went to, Deanes shop, traffic jams on the way home from Dublin, a perfect row of parking, late night kebabs at Abra. Door to door, colourful, low rise shop fronts that screamed Irishness. As Irish town streets go, it had it all.
Sadly Barrack Street now resembles an aging glamour model with several botched plastic surgery procedures. At the ‘Top Of The Town’ side of the street, the Carlow skyline is now dominated by a new development which replaced the bustling yard of Doyles of the Shamrock.
Cross the street to a building that I am sure once served a purpose. However it has been gutted for so long, its original purpose is completely gone from my memory. Picture below is slightly dated as the building now has board windows and subtle orange paint job.
Last orders have long been called at the John Tyndall bar. A small row of paint flaking shop fronts remain with many businesses coming and going. The bowling alley, like many businesses, is now conveniently located out of town on easily accessible ring road. The Cattle Mart and New Oak pitch are now a distant memory, replaced by the international brand names at the Fairgreen Shopping centre.
Abrakebra perseveres, now wafting the smell of kebab meat on to Fairgreen shoppers walking by. Carpenters is one of few local Barrack Street strongholds remaining. A rare constant through the good old days, the building boom and the recession.
Traffic has improved, largely due to the M9 bypass. Carlow Town is no longer one of those towns on a major route where traffic is can be brought to a standstill by a single pedestrian at a level crossing. For those that to take the Barrack Street route, two new roundabouts interrupt your passage through the street and hurry you on your way. Which given the streets current state, may not be a bad thing.
While every town undoubtedly has areas suffering a similar fate, Barrack Street manages to cram so much in to such a small space. The fading Irishness, the poor planning and the boarded windows skirting the global brands. Despite some investments in town improvements recently, it is hard to imagine Barrack Street ever regaining its former glory.
Answer me this, where is the biggest field in Carlow?!
A new Event in the Carlow calender, something that I hope becomes an annual event, happened last weekend. The Carlow Christmas Market.
With all the splendor of a European Christmas Market(Me, with first hand experience of them ), it kicked off in front of the Town Hall, in Hay Market square. Really was a good day, free pizza, some lovely choral and festive singing, and ,most of all, the tree lighting up for Christmas!
Anyway….. I made a little video. Not the greatest. Was meant to make another video, and wasn’t prepared for doing this one. Have a little look anyway^^
P.S. apologies for the length in updating, busy few months for us admins! Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Crazy Kanza
The Carlow People has long competed with The Carlow Nationalist for dominance of the local newspaper market in Carlow. Persuading Carlovians to switch from the established Nationalist was always going to be a difficult ask. Finding enough news in the county to warrant purchasing both was also going to prove difficult.
In 2010 they attempted to charge for their online content. In 2011, their content, online and paper, is free. The Carlow People is now a ‘free sheet’. Once a week you can collect your free Carlow People from various stores around the county. Yes, that’s right, free Carlow People!
The parent company of the Carlow People are also responsible for Metro Herald, a free sheet frantically distributed on the streets of Dublin every morning. So they have form to make this a success. Social media is being used to generate interest and drive up circulation. I quite like the Twitter and Facebook pages. News in a small county is limited but it is still nice to have daily updates to read as opposed to waiting for the once a week publication.
I am unsure if the switch to free sheet is an effort to reduce costs or if it is a considered changed in strategy. Time will tell if it is a success, what do you think?
The Deep River Rock ad has been on the telly box for some time now, but I never realised the picturesque bridge at the beginning of the ad is Carlow. A friend informed me it was, I didn’t believe him and consulted with the interwebs for a more trustworthy source of answers. The Monte Carlow Facebook page confirmed it was indeed the picturesque bridge at Milford.
On may 16th, 2011, A dear friend of this website, Richard Patrick Leslie, aged 89, some weeks before his 90th birthday. He was found dead in bed in London. It was believed that he past away peacefully in his sleep. His last diary entry was may 1st. What does this have to do with us?
Well Mr. Leslie was a Carlovian to the bone, and in the Christmas last, we at MonteCarlow were contacted by a close friend of his, to find the grave of his mother as he is to be buried there. We found the grave, and sent pictures of it him to him. We also, as a mark of respect left flowers on the grave. In return he sent my self letters and information as to his history.
I only recieved word a few days ago that he had died, and it saddened me greatly. Mr. Leslie had no direct family, and any connections in Carlow are long gone. I would ask that any people available in Carlow today, that they would be available to attend the mans burial. The details are: St. Mary’s Cemetery, @2.30pm Unfortunately I am not around, and I cannot attend myself, but I am sending my family, who are available to attend. Mr. Leslie, a great Carlovian, sadly missed.