Carlow County Museum is located on College Street, Carlow town, Ireland. The museum which is operated by Carlow Local Authorities was founded in 1973 by the Old Carlow Society. The Old Carlow Society was formed in 1946 to encourage the study of the history and antiquities of the town and county of Carlow. The society, which changed its name to the Carlow Historical & Archaeological Society in 2001, organises an annual series of lectures. It also publishes Carloviana, the annual journal of the society. Carlow County Museum is part of what is known as Carlow Town’s Cultural Quarter. It is operated by Carlow local authorities in association with the Carlow Historical and Archaeological Society and admission is free of charge.
As well as material related to famous Carlow people such as John Tyndall, Samuel Haughton and Captain Myles Kehoe, the Carlow museum also houses a diverse collection of archaeological and historical objects. These include items such as the pulpit from Carlow Cathedral which was made in Bruges, Belgium in the 19th century. The museum also houses material related to the Carlow Sugar Factory and an exhibition celebrating Rural Electrification in Ireland.
What is described as ‘an exquisite eleventh century piece of Irish silver and which is part of the Jackson Collection’, is also on display in the museum. The Jackson Collection was put together by Robert Jackson and later added to by his brothers William and Adam. The Jackson family lived in what was then Carlow Graigue now Graiguecullen. Robert was an official in the military barracks in Carlow during the early 1800’s. His sister, Ms Frances Jackson, in her will in 1859 left “in trust for the public” what became known as the Jackson Collection.
Prior to building the Carlow town by-pass, archaeological investigations were undertaken at 57 sites along the route of the motorway. The excavations produced evidence of settlers in Carlow from the Mesolithic era, of houses belonging to people of the Neolithic period and sites relating to the Bronze Age. Material relating to the discoveries were put on display in County Carlow Museum.
Carlow County Museum founded 1973 by Carlow Historical and Archaeological Society was officially opened at its new premises by Mr Phil Hogan, Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, in the year 2012 On This Day.