About Carlow County Museum

We are Ireland's newest County Museum, displaying the varied history & archaeology of County Carlow, Ireland. Our exhibitions are housed over four galleries and we are open all year round. Our Blog will cover our extensive displays, featuring research done by staff and the community. The Museum has free admission. www.carlowmuseum.ie

Chinese Delegation visits Carlow County Museum

1 April 2019

County Carlow extended the hand of friendship to Chinese partners from the Hunan Province in the People’s Republic of China with an 18 strong delegation visiting the County.


Representatives from Hunan and Carlow in Carlow Town Hall.

The programme commenced with a formal introduction lead by Cathaoirleach of Carlow County Council Cllr. Brian O’Donoghue (Cathaoirleach) and signing of a friendship agreement by Kathleen Holohan (Chief Executive, Carlow County Council) and Wang Qun (Secretary General, Hunan Provincial People’s Government) witnessed by Xu Dazhe (Governor Hunan Provincial People’s Government).


The delegation shares a story in our Archaeology Department.

Their whistlestop tour of Carlow Town included a visit to Carlow County Museum, where staff were delighted to show-off the history and heritage of County Carlow.


The delegation learns the history of our 19th Century Pulpit from Carlow Cathedral.

The visit was supported by the Ambassador & Embassy for the People’s Republic of China and Mr Huang He, Political Counsellor and DHM representing the Ambassador at the visit said: 

2019 marked 40 years of formal relationships with Ireland and the Peoples Republic of China and is committed to supporting this friendship to develop and grow to its full potential”


The agreement will commence a series of engagements with partners in China in order to explore opportunities for County Carlow from a cultural, social, economic and educational viewpoint. The visit commenced with an experience exchange of County Carlow hosted by Carlow County Council in partnership with Institute of Technology Carlow, Carlow College, Carlow Tourism, County Carlow Chamber and Carlow Cathedral.

CHAS History Project Winners

On Wednesday 27th March 2019 the  Carlow Historical and Archaeological Society held their annual History Project Competition. Entries were received from primary school children all across County Carlow.


Pictured L-R: Pat O’ Neill, President of CHAS; Reuben McCarthy (Third Prize); Kate Somers (First Prize); Kevin McKeon (Second Prize); and Richard Codd, CHAS Committee Member, and Chair of Judging Committee.

First prize was awarded to Kate Somers from Ballon National School, with an outstanding project on St. Columbanus.

Second prize went to Kevin McKeon from Carlow National School for his excellent work on William Dargan.

Third prize was collected by Reuben McCarthy from Scoil Pádraig Naofa, Tullow, for his splendid project on John Tyndall.

The children were recognised and awarded for their work at a special event in Carlow County Museum, attended by their family, friends, and teachers.

All the projects are on display in Carlow County Museum for the public to see.

Well done to all for their incredible work! Carlow won’t be in short supply for future historians!


Some of Kate Somers excellent work on St. Columbanus of Bobbio blew the judges away. You can read more about the saint here.


Kevin McKeon produced amazing work on William Dargan and his contributions to Irelands railways. 


Reuben McCarthy amazed the judges with his knowledge of John Tyndall.

International Women’s Day 2019

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we’ve decided to run a competition honoring the wonderful ladies of Carlow.


Part One:

Carlow has no shortage of incredible women, and we’re asking you to name some of them – the first part is to name all nine amazing Carlow women below. All the women were either born in Carlow, or have strong Carlow connections.

International Womens Day 2019


Part Two:

Once you’ve identified them, use them as a reference for our Cryptic Carlow Crossword below.

For example, the Woman in Picture No. 1 will relate to Clue No. 1 etc.

carlow county museum international womens day crossword

You can also download the crossword here: IWD 2019 – Carlow Crossword

Best of luck to everyone – when you’ve finished the crossword email the completed crossword to museum@carlowcoco.ie – we’ll select 3 random winners from all the correct completed crosswords.

Deadline Friday 15th March 2019.


Carlow and the Oscars

This Sunday will see the 91st Academy Awards aka The Oscars, and Carlow has more Oscar connections than you might think. Let’s take a closer look at some of Carlow’s Oscar Contenders in the lead up to the big night…


Saoirse Ronan

So let’s start with the most obvious – Saoirse Ronan. Raised in Carlow, Ronan attended Ardattin National School and when she was just 13 years old she was nominated for her first Academy Award (Best Supporting Actress) for her role in ‘Atonement‘ in 2008.

Ronan has been nominated twice since – in 2016 for ‘Brooklyn‘ (Best Actress) and in 2018 for ‘Lady Bird‘ (Best Actress).

three images of saoirse ronan in formal wear attending the oscars

Saoirse Ronan at the Academy Awards the years she was nominated.

GB Shaw

Next on our list is GB Shaw, the first person to win both a Nobel Prize and an Academy Award (Bob Dylan is the only other person who has won both). Shaw wrote many plays over the course of his lifetime, and his play ‘Pygmalion‘ was adapted into a screenplay – twice!

The first was in 1938 when ‘Pygmalion’ was remade for the silver screen, and Shaw won an Oscar for ‘Best Adapted Screenplay‘.

Then in 1964 ‘Pygmalion’ was adapted again, this time retitled as ‘My Fair Lady‘. This film became an awards juggernaut – it was nominated for 12 Oscars and won 8, including ‘Best Picture‘. The film was nominated for ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’ but unfortunately didn’t win this time around!

GB Shaw’s mother, Lucinda Gurly, was from Carlow and Shaw donated various properties to Carlow for the benefit of Carlow people. The George Bernard Shaw Theatre in Carlow is named in his honour.


The posters for ‘Pygmalion’ (1938) and ‘My Fair Lady’ (1964).

Granny O’ Grimm

Kathleen O’ Rourke from Ballyhide, Carlow, was the writer and voice of ‘Granny O’ Grimm‘, a short animated film about Granny O’Grimm, a seemingly sweet old lady who loses the plot as she tells her version of Sleeping Beauty to her terrified grandchild.

‘Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty’ received an Oscar nomination for ‘Best Animated Short Film‘ at the 2008 Academy Awards.

Kathleen very kindly donated some items from her trip to the Oscars, and they are on display in the museum in our “Arts and Entertainment” display.

Granny O’ Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty – created by Brown Bag Films.


visit today and see what you're missing - small

Museum volunteer recognised by Carlow GAA for outstanding service.

January 2019

On Saturday the 19th January Carlow GAA held their 29th annual Awards Night in Mt. Wolsley. One of Carlow County Museums own volunteers, Seán O’ Reilly, was recognised and awarded for his outstanding service to Carlow GAA.

Seánie has also been a volunteer with the Museum for several years, proving that his spirit and generosity to Carlow knows no bound!

From all of us here in the museum and across Carlow, well done Seánie! You’re an incredible example to us all – keep up the great work!


You can see the rest of the winners on Carlow GAA.


visit today and see what you're missing - small

Carlow County Museum moonlights as Carlow County Cinema!

January 16th 2019 marked the 142nd birthday of Michael O’ Hanrahan. Born in Wexford but raised in Carlow, O’ Hanrahan played a highly important role in the 1916 Easter Rising, and was executed by firing squad in Kilmainham Gaol in May 1916. To mark the occasion An Ciorcal Gaeilge watched a special bi-lingual documentary detailing the life of Michael O’ Hanrahan.

dark interior of carlow county museum, several people sit with their backs to us watching a tv screen erected on a wall

An Ciorcal Gaeilge enjoy a multi-lingual documentary on the life of Michael O’Hanrahan who helped found Conradh na Gaeilge in Carlow in 1898.

Continue reading

New book about Nano Nagle

We recently got our hands on a copy of “Nano Nagle – The Life and the Legacy“. The book is the first biographical study of Nano Nagle (foundress of the Presentation order of nuns) and looks at her position within Irish social history and assesses her international legacy.

Carlow County Museum is housed in the former Presentation Convent in Carlow, and Continue reading

Museum Board says goodbye!

Two people holding a green book between them and they smile at the camera

Noreen Whelan and Séamus Ó Murchú, Chairperson of the Board of Carlow County Museum.

A few weeks ago the Museum Board bid a fond farewell to board member Noreen Whelan. Noreen joined the board in 2008, and in 2013 served as chairperson. She was a Carlow Historical and Archaeological Society (CHAS) representative, and is the current acting President of CHAS. She still works in the museum as a volunteer. Continue reading

Trip to Utrecht

November 2018

A stone Tower with trees in the front

Dom Tower, Utrecht



In November, we were delighted to be invited by the St. Jakobus und Johannes Gilde, Emmerich am Rhein, Germany (Guild of St. John and St. James Rhineland), to attend their conference in the town of Kalkar to present a paper on St. Willibrord and his County Carlow connection. St. Willibrord and his missionaries spent time in that area and his influence is still there to this day. St. Willibrord was appointed the first Archbishop of Utrecht, the Netherlands, which borders the Rhineland. Dermot Mulligan, Museum Curator, presented a paper in which he explained St. Willibrord’s training at Rath Melsigi, Co. Carlow and the influence of Irish monks in the 6th and 7th centuries. The Guild are planning a visit to Carlow and Ireland in the Autumn of 2019. Close to Kalkar is the town of Emmerich which is home to the Church of St. Martin. Contained in the church is a beautiful 7th century Relic that was presented to St. Willibrord by Pope Sergius in AD 695 in Rome when Willibrord was installed as the first Archbishop of Utrecht. Continue reading