In this blog we want to reflect on how it feels good to be a Carlovian all the time, but especially at this moment. The County is doing great in the GAA and the annual Arts Festival has just finished for another year so we wanted to talk about how Carlow has a strong link with the arts.

First of all it must be commented on how well Carlow are performing in the GAA. Of course we are the premier junior All Ireland Camogie Champions, a great achievement by the Carlow women last September when they beat Armagh by 9 points to win the Kathleen Mills cup. After a great showing in the division 2 league reaching the semi-final, the ladies had a strong start to their first ever season in the intermediate championship when they drew 3.11-3.11 with Down, and we all wish them well in their next outing on June 24th when they host a very strong Cork team.

The same day as the ladies had their first intermediate game the Carlow Senior Hurlers were also in action. Playing at Croke Park in an absolute score-fest against Antrim, the lads succeeded in winning the Christy Ring Cup. Having last done so back in 2009, they matched Westmeaths record of three Christy Ring cup victories in total. Securing their place in the All Ireland Championship for the first time in 8 years Carlow were rewarded by being drawn against our closest rivals Laois who they will play in O’Moore Park, Portlaoise on Sunday June 25th.

The lads Christy Ring win brings the total to 3 All Ireland titles won by Carlow teams in the past 9 months as The Myshal ladies also bagged the intermediate club championship back in March.

Not to forget the big ball game the Carlow Footballers are also having a great run of form. Beating Wexford in the first round of the Leinster championship it was the team’s first championship win in years and set them up for round 2 clash against the mighty Dubs. The Carlow lads played a concentrated game to frustrate Dublin as best they could and came away with a respectful result, far from the absolute hammering many pundits predicted. So for the first time since 2011 Carlow get a third run out in the Championship as they head for London to take on the Exiles on June 24th.

Another great boost for Carlow GAA has been hosting the 2017 Feile Na nGeal alond with Wexford and Kilkenny. We as a hotel were immensely proud to be the headquarters for the Feile and would like to congratulate everyone who helped organise, host clubs, take part and make it a fantastic event.

The Carlow GAA social media tag is #CarlowRising and it has to be said, it really is. Come on the ‘scallioneaters!’.

When it comes to the arts Carlow is a vibrant and diverse place for various disciplines of art. The VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art and The George Bernard Shaw Theatre have been a major boost for Arts in Carlow hosting many diverse exhibitions of all aspects of human life through, visual, audio and physical art, and also performances of all kinds. Carlow is host to a number of theatre production companies including Striking Productions, Carlow Youth Theatre, Carlow Little Theatre, Slapdash Theatre Co, and of course SpotLight Stage School and Productions and they all create fascinating and entertaining shows from Christmas pantomimes to serious and dark thrillers, brand new shows and the classics.

The Pan Celtic festival always brings a great splash of colour that suggests to us Winter is over and Summer is on its way. Dancers, musicians, writers, poets and bards descend on the town from all corners of the Celtic nations of Scotland, Wales, The Isle of Man, Brittany, Cornwall and of course Ireland. With organised shows and informal sessions the festival is a wonderful celebration of Celtic culture and we are lucky to host this special congregation every April.

Of course the Carlow Arts Festival has just finished its 38th annual extravaganza of local, national and international art across a wide spectrum of disciplines and it has to be said that year on year the festival gets bigger and better. Setting up camp once again in Carlow College a multitude of huge acts to the stage in the O’Haras pavilion including Irish rock stars The Strypes, local girl Sarah O’Gorman launching her EP, dynamic Kilkenny Drummer R.S.A.G., and many others. Over 70% of the festivals programme are free to attend events such as C’era Una Volta (Once Upon A Time) by Italian performance troupe, Ondadurto Teatro performed in front of the Carlow College building, this was a tour de force of dancing, performance and display, with lighting, smoke, water all contributing to a magical show in the dark. Of course the highlight for many are the amazing pyrotechnics that take place on the Saturday of the festival. The fireworks illuminate the sky and can be seen (and heard) for miles around the town. Although it is just over, the people of Carlow are already anticipating what the festival producers have in mind for next year.

We are always proud to be Carlovians but right now with the summer ahead of us and all the feel good factor around the town and county we are especially so!

It's time for you to discover Carlow

Carlow Up Close blog by Woodford Dolmen Hotel

An up close look at the activities and amenities in and around Carlow as recommended by the Woodford Dolmen Hotel Marketing Team. This blog will look at different events and places of interest and recommend timely and seasonal things for both tourists and Carlovians to explore.

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