2013 MARKS a historic occasion in Carlow Town as it is the 800th anniversary of the construction of Carlow Castle.
Built for William de Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, and Lord of the Manor of Carlow, the castle is located at the meeting of the rivers Barrow and Burrin. Its purpose was to protect the river crossing and the town of Carlow.
Among its many subsequent owners one Dr Middleton stands out, as in 1814 he blew up a substantial part of the castle to accommodate the building of a lunatic asylum.
At last week's Carlow Town Council meeting town clerk Michael Brennan revealed that Carlow Town Council, in partnership with Carlow Tourism and Carlow Historical and Archaeological Society, Carlow IT, and many others, is organising a dedicated programme of events to celebrate our culture and heritage in 2013. This programme will involve a number of events throughout the year.
He said: 'Carlow Town Council will partner with a number of festivals, such as Pan Celtic International Festival and Éigse, throughout the year which have agreed to include a Carlow 800 strand within their own programming.
These festivals will take place in April and June but August 22 to 25 has been identified as an opportune time to host a four-day event dedicated to the celebration of Carlow 800, thereby maximising the tourism potential and economic benefits to Carlow Town.'
Events will include a two-day international taste of Carlow craft beer, food and craft fair, a major musical performance at Carlow Castle and a reunion of Mimes Nightclub, a very popular venue during the 1970s and '80s featuring a celebrity DJ.
Cathaoirleach Eileen Brophy also revealed plans for the Greening of Carlow town, when 80 trees will be planted in the town – 10 trees for each decade.
She explained: 'It will be a positive and meaningful legacy and we are very lucky that we own the site so the project will be starting very soon and move quickly.'