Carlow Tourism has launched ‘Trail of the Saints’  which features  51 ecclesiastical attractions, including the medieval Cathedral of Old Leighlin and the monastic site of St. Mullins.  Download booklet.

click on link to download – Carlow – trails of the saints

Ecclesiastical heritage

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Carlow is a county with an exceptionally rich ecclesiastical heritage with a number of sites of national significance. These include the monastic site at St. Mullins, the Romanesque doorway at Killeshin, the medieval Cathedral of Old Leighlin, the eighteenth-century College and the nineteenth-century Catholic Cathedral in Carlow and the exquisite Adelaide Memorial Church at Myshall.

However, in developing a trail of Carlow’s religious history the intention has also been to take in examples of less well-known sites, to bring visitors to parts of the county that are less-travelled and introduce them to places which have an equally important place in the ecclesiastical history of the county. We do hope you enjoy your visit.

The Three Trails

‘Carlow – Trails of the Saints’ is made up of three separate driving routes which between them cover the entire county of Carlow and feature some 51 ecclesiastical attractions.

St. Patrick’s Trail in the northern part of the county covers a distance of 77km (48 miles) while St. Laserian’s Trail in mid-Carlow is 69km (43 miles) in length. St. Moling’s Trail which takes in south Co. Carlow is 70km (44 miles).

St. Patrick’s Trail

Named after St. Patrick, who is reputed to have baptised the King of Leinster in north Carlow, this trail takes in the county’s two largest urban settlements of Carlow and Tullow. Both towns have a rich ecclesiastical tradition and were in the forefront of the nineteenth-century revival of Catholic places of worship and education. The beautifully carved doorway at Killeshin and the crosses and holy well in the peaceful village of Clonmore are excellent examples of the county’s early Christian and medieval heritage while a stopover at the O’Meara tomb in Bennekerry churchyard will introduce the visitor to a famous Carlow artist.

St. Laserian’s Trail

A visit to one of Ireland’s finest medieval churches, St. Laserian’s Cathedral in Old Leighlin, makes a perfect start to this trail which meanders through the heart of the county towards Myshall at the foot of the Blackstairs Mountains. In Myshall, the visitor can admire the exquisite Adelaide Memorial Church with its exuberant decorative work. The trail also includes the Quaker burial grounds at Ballykealey and Ballybrommell which remind us that the county included communities whose belief systems operated outside the mainstream Catholic and Church of Ireland faiths.

St. Moling’s Trail

St. Moling, the seventh-century saint, ranks among ‘the four great prophets of Ireland’. The monastery he founded at St. Mullins, beside the River Barrow, is the highlight on this trail which bears his name. There are, however, other exceptional experiences awaiting the visitor. The isolated Temple Moling in Ballinree and the diminutive early medieval church at Killoughternane are set in breathtaking scenery and surrounded by the calming sounds of nature. The trail also includes the beautiful medieval Cistercian church in Graiguenamangh, now adapted for modern worship.