This year, government initiative Creative Ireland is highlighting some of the best projects, events, and initiatives that are bringing culture and the arts to the forefront in every Irish county and Co. Carlow is no different. 

The home of Ireland’s largest music education program, Music Generation, with a proud bilingual status, Co. Carlow is a county that makes an investment in creativity a top priority.

With a nationally-recognised progressive arts infrastructure, Co. Carlow and its rich network of cultural amenities - from world-class arts center “VISUAL” to outstanding museum and library services, and nationally recognized Youth Arts initiatives - will contribute greatly to a vibrant and distinct Creative Ireland Culture and Creativity Plan.

Here are some of the best events and long-term initiatives you should know about in Co. Carlow: 

Annual Pattern Festival

Photo: Facebook

Photo: Facebook

St. Mullins Pattern has been held on the Sunday before the Feast of St. James (July 25) for 1400 years. A great family day out, enjoyable for all with an interest in history, heritage and the stories of Ireland’s Ancient East. The Graiguenamanagh Brass Band will provide a backdrop for a carnival atmosphere with stalls selling all manner of goods and music in the local pubs. July 23, 2017, St. Mullins Village.  

Carlow Town Narrative Project

Carlow town. Image: Tourism Ireland

Carlow town. Image: Tourism Ireland

VISUAL are collaborating with IT Carlow to lead a project on developing a narrative for Carlow town using creative and participatory methodologies.  The project will develop throughout 2017 and will be shared in VISUAL and online over the year. More details can be found on

Carlow Garden Festival

For novice gardeners to garden connoisseurs, the Carlow Garden Festival features interactive themed workshops and guided tours in gardens and garden centers throughout Co. Carlow. 21-30 July, 2017.

Music Generation Carlow

Image: Music Generation Carlow

Image: Music Generation Carlow

Music Generation Carlow provides music education throughout county Carlow, delivering the culture and art of music to 4,500 children across various childcare, primary, secondary, and community initiatives weekly. During 2017, the initiative will launch a new vocal popular music group for 5th and 6th class children, host weekly instrumental tuition, and weekly Rock school tuition. 

Carlow Town Bilingual Festival

At the Carlow Town Bilingual Festival, there is an abundance of things to look forward to. One of Ireland’s biggest community festival filled with great music, comedy, drama, discussion and debate. There are just some of the activities that will be held at the festival to be enjoyed by all. Takes place August 3-13.

An Gairdín Beo

In September 2014 a group of people came together to discuss the idea of creating a community garden in the center of Carlow town on land that would be leased by the Sisters of Mercy next to St Leo's Convent. 

The overall vision of the project is for a space in which diverse people can connect more to nature, to the growing and making of food and to each other. 

Carlow Arts Festival 2017

Image: Facebook/Carlow Arts Festival.

Image: Facebook/Carlow Arts Festival.

An annual event, Carlow Arts Festival fosters culture and the arts in all its forms, promoting the growth of visual art, theatre, music, dance, spectacle, multi-disciplinary arts and entertainment by offering wide-ranging artistic experiences and activities to appeal to a diverse domestic and international audience of all ages. O'Hara's Festival Pavilion, Carlow College St Pats, College St Carlow - look for its return in July 2018. 

Carlow Heritage Week

Heritage Week, a week of family-friendly activities such as fairs, night-time bat walks, wildlife tours, lectures, music recitals, historical re-enactments and outdoor activities. Highlights include the Tullow Agricultural Show, Forest Bathing in Clongrennan Woods, nature walks, and exhibitions galore. August 19-27.

You Can’t Feel What you Feel, a County Carlow Youth Theatre Initiative with Yvonne McGuinness

You Can’t Feel What You Feel - Yvonne McGuinness working with Carlow Youth Theatre. Image: Visual Carlow

You Can’t Feel What You Feel - Yvonne McGuinness working with Carlow Youth Theatre. Image: Visual Carlow

Reflecting on the nature of feeling, visual artist Yvonne McGuinness is working with County Carlow Youth Theatre members to create a performance for the gallery spaces. Commissioned by VISUAL in response to the summer season’s themes, the work explores how the languages of visual arts, theatre and spectacle can combine to communicate with and affect both participants and audiences.

County Carlow Youth Arts Development Strategy

Image: iStock

Image: iStock

Carlow County Council, through its Arts Office, will develop and implement a Youth Arts Policy over the coming three-years which will provide for a pilot -model for integrated Youth Arts provision.  This will focus on the development of an inclusive model of arts and cultural provision targeting children and young people across the county. This is a result of a recently completed rigorous consultation process that involved twenty-two stakeholders that included national and local youth arts, community and education partners, as well as local arts organizations and the cultural team in the local authority.

Pen Fest 2017

In its seventh year, Carlow Library’s literary festival will focus on emerging writers will take place over the weekend September 23 – 24 (TBC) and will feature music, fun, and workshops for aspiring and new writers of all ages. An intimate venue, focused workshops and a chance to meet masters of Ireland’s literary world are amongst the treats on offer at Pen Fest 2017 in Carlow for one weekend in September.

Check out Co. Carlow's full culture and creativity plans here.

Is there an upcoming event in Co. Carlow you think people should know about? Tell us in the comment section.