As you explore Ireland’s Ancient East join us in Carlow a hidden gem on Irelands East coast, you will wander through 5,000 years of incredible history. Explore and experience many magical journeys through Ireland’s Ancient East. Your journey of discovery in this relaxing, off the beaten track, lush beautiful landscape, that attracted warring settlers for millennia, will be made come to life by stories from the best storytellers in the world.

From family adventures, quirky experiences and cultural gems, Ireland’s Ancient East offers plenty to see and do on a short break or longer holiday. Why not avail of a mid-week or weekend stay at the Woodford Dolmen Hotel and check out all that Ireland’s Ancient East has to offer.

Learn the stories of a place and you’ll come to understand the soul of its people. From ancient high kings to modern day poets, saints and scholars, Ireland’s Ancient East is vibrating with legendary tales. With the maps as your guide, you’re about to prepare for a real-life journey through this mystical place.

Take a ramble around County Carlow a hidden gem in Ireland’s Ancient East discover and explore its charm and characteristics that are exclusive to the area. Allow us to show you a sample of how you can fill your day or days in Carlow.

Walsh Whiskey Distillery – 15 mins drive

Feeling a little thirsty? Visit the home to The Irishman and Writers’ Tears whiskeys, on an 18th century estate, less than 15 minutes from Woodford Dolmen Hotel and 20 minutes from Kilkenny City, Walsh Whiskey Distillery is a large, manually-operated, visitor-friendly, craft distillery uniquely producing all 3 styles of Irish whiskey. This is a must-see attraction in Carlow.

Huntington Castle – 30 mins drive

Just a 30-minute drive from the hotel visit Huntington Castle, meet the owner Alex as he takes you around the stunning 17th century castle giving you a splendid account of the history of the castle, be sure to explore the fantastic gardens and have a cup of tea in the courtyard.  If you are looking for something unusual deep in the basement of the castle you will find the mysterious Temple of the Goddess.  You will not be disappointed by your visit.

Altamont Gardens – 20 mins drive

A 20-minute drive from the hotel will take you to the stunning, sweeping 40 acres of gorgeous green space, that is Altamont Gardens, take a stroll beside the Slaney river, admire the rare trees down by the lake or discover the remains of an old chapel in part of the wall. Allow your mind run wild while exploring. Enjoy a break in the very nice tea rooms.

St Laserian’s Cathedral – 13 mins drive

St Laserian’s is a wonderful example of a late-12th century cathedral found in Old Leighlin, about 15km south of Carlow Town. The house of worship stands on the site where St Gobban founded a monastery in the 7th century.

Brownshill Dolmen – 14 mins drive

One very unmistakable monument dating back to pre-historical times is the great Brownshill Dolmen the east of Carlow town. Brownshill Dolmen has a granite capstone weighing over 100 tonnes, making it the largest of its kind in Europe. The massive capstone rests on two portal stones which flank a door stone and slopes downwards to the west where it rests on a low boulder.

The South Leinster Way

The South Leinster Way is a long-distance walking route which runs from Kildavin, Co. Carlow to Carrick-on-Suir in Co. Tipperary covering 102 kilometres (64 miles) in length and ascending some 1600 metres. Imagine the gems you might find along this walking route right through the heart of Ireland’s Ancient East.

Carlow has a huge amount to offer in history, folklore and with fantastic storytellers dotted around the county ready to tell you a story, this really is a place you need to explore and enjoy. Why not ask a member of staff about more wonderful attractions to explore and hidden gems to discover in County Carlow?

Why not use the Woodford Dolmen Hotel as your accommodation hub as you explore all Ireland’s Ancient East has to offer in neighbouring counties and visit the many wonderful attractions and experiences waiting for you and your family to uncover?


Kilkenny Castle – 28 mins

Rothe House & Museum – 29 mins

Castlecomer Discovery Park – 30 mins

Black Abbey – 30 mins

Dunmore Caves – 34 mins


Burtown House and Gardens - 25 mins

Newbridge Silverware – 43 mins

Irish National Stud & Japanese Gardens – 45mins – 48mins

Lullymore Heritage & Discovery – 1hour 


The Ros Tapestry – 50 mins

Dunbrody Famine Ship – 55 mins

Irish National Heritage Park – 1 hr 5 mins

Irish Agricultural Museum – 1 hr 10 mins

Hook Lighthouse – 1 hr 30 mins


Stradbally Steam Museum – 32 mins

Rock of Dunamase – 35 mins

Abbeyleix Heritage House – 40 mins

Heywood Gardens – 41 mins

Emo Court – 50 mins


Glendalough – 1 hr 10mins

Avoca Handweavers – 1 hr 10mins

Wicklow Gaol – 1 hr 29 mins

Powerscourt Estate – 1 hr 29 mins

Powerscourt Waterfall – 1 hr 34 mins