Caves, Castles and Gardens Touring Route 2
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From Kilkenny to Carlow, Kilkenny City, Kilkenny,
This drive is based around Caves, Castles & Gardens in Kilkenny, Carlow, Bunclody. Ancient caves, haunted castles and dramatic dolmens are all dotted along this drive.The distance is Approx 140km.(87 miles).
Explore the Caves, Castles & Gardens around Kilkenny, Carlow, Bunclody, and back to Kilkenny City. Distance: 140km. (87 miles) approx.
The open road, rolling mountains and river valleys, ancient caves, haunted castles and dramatic dolmens are all dotted along this drive. And there’s cutting edge art,gardens and a reptile village too. The first highlight of this drive lies in Dunmore Cave which contains some of the finest calcite formations in Ireland, and some intriguing Viking links too.
Continue on (via N78) towards Castlecomer Discovery Park. and view its mining story ‘The Footprints in Coal’ exhibition. The park also includes looped walks, a fishing lake and craft workshops.
Proceeding towards Carlow Town (via R431/0), and visit the stunning Visual Centre for Contemporary Art and the Carlow Museum before visiting the 5,000 year old Brownshill Dolmen outside the town on the Hacketstown/Rathvilly Road (R726).
The N80 between Carlow Town and Bunclody incorporates several stops on the magnificent Carlow Garden Trail, including Altamont Gardens. Nearby, there’s a wonderful yew tree walk at Huntington Castle.
Beyond Bunclody, carry on through the Blackstairs Mountains before crossing the River Barrow at Bagenalstown. A stop here opens up a stroll along the towpaths of Ireland’s second-longest river, and the old mills, warehouses and locks of its industrial heritage. Before reaching Kilkenny City visit Shankill Castle Gardens at Paulstown and The Reptile Village at Gowran - a mini-zoo with a difference.
Place to see on route:
Dunmore Cave | Castlecomer Discovery Park | Brownshill Dolmen | VISUAL at Carlow | Carlow Museum | Altamont Gardens | Huntington Castle | Newtownbarry House | The River Barrow Way |Reptile Village, Gowran.