County Carlow

Carlow or “Catherlough” originally part of the Norman Palantine-county of Leinster, became a separate county probably around 1306. At that time it was larger than today, extending to and including the coastal area around Arklow, though control of this area became disputed with the Irish chieftains of the area. These areas were given over to County Wicklow in 1606-07

Baronies There are seven historic baronies in the county: Carlow, Forth, Idrone East, Idrone West, Rathvilly, St Mullin’s Lower and St Mullin’s Upper.

Towns and villages

  • Ballinkillin
  • Ballon
  • Ballymurphy
  • Borris
  • Carlow
  • Clonmore
  • Clonegal
  • Fennagh
  • Hacketstown
  • Kildavin
  • Muine Bheag
  • Myshall
  • Nurney
  • Old Leighlin
  • Rathvilly
  • Royal Oak
  • St Mullin’s
  • Tinryland
  • Tullow

Local government and politics:
Local government in County Carlow is governed by the Local Government Acts, the most recent of which (Local Government Act 2001) established a two-tier structure of local government. The top tier of the structure consists of Carlow County Council. The second tier of local government consists of town councils. Outside the borough, the county council is solely responsible for local services.

Two towns in the county have town councils: Carlow and Muine Bheag. There are 21 councillors in the county council who are returned from five local electoral areas: Borris (3), Carlow East (4), Carlow West (5), Muine Bheag (4) and Tullow (4).
As the county is part of the South-East Region, some county councillors are also representatives on the South-East Regional Authority.

For elections to Dáil Éireann, Carlow is part of the Carlow–Kilkenny constituency which returns 5 TDs. The present form of the constituency was created for the 1948 general election.


  • Lisa Burke – weather forecaster on Sky News.
  • Pierce Butler – soldier, planter, and statesman, recognized as one of United States’ Founding Fathers. He represented South Carolina in the Continental Congress and the United States Senate.
  • Myles Keogh – American Civil War military officer and later Captain of Company I, U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment – Fought in Indian Wars and was killed at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876. He was born in Orchard, Leighlinbridge in 1840.
  • William Dargan – engineer, often seen as the father of Irish railways.
  • Richie Kavanagh – comic songwriter, from Raheenwood, Fenagh, Co. Carlow.
  • John Tyndall – the 19th century scientist who was the first to explain why the sky is blue.
  • Saoirse Ronan – Oscar and Golden Globe nominated actress.
  • Kathryn Thomas – RTÉ presenter.
  • Samuel Haughton – polymath, in 1866 published a formula for calculating the drop needed to cause instantaneous death at hangings.
  • Peter Murphy – radio and television broadcaster, presented RTÉ’s Cross Country Quiz, was born in Carlow