Clonegal: A Quaint Irish Village Steeped in History and Charm




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Clonegal, or Cluain na nGall in Irish, meaning ‘meadow of the foreigners,’ is a picturesque village in the southeast of County Carlow, Ireland. Situated in a rural setting, the village is close to the border between counties Wexford and Carlow, just 5 km from Bunclody, County Wexford, and 22 km from Carlow town.

It is also just over a mile north of where the River Slaney and the River Derry meet. Clonegal boasts a smaller “twin” village, Watch House Village, across the River Derry in County Wexford.

The village is served by a primary school and is the center of an agricultural hinterland. Evidence of ancient settlement includes ringfort, bullaun stone, and holy well sites in the surrounding townlands of Clonegall, Abbeydown, and Huntington.

One of the key attractions in Clonegal is Huntington Castle, also known as Clonegal Castle, a 17th-century tower house close to the village center. Built by Laurence Esmonde, 1st Baron Esmonde on the site of an earlier structure, the castle was further extended in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Clonegal’s Church of Ireland church, St Fiaac’s, was built around 1819 on the site of a much earlier church and ecclesiastical enclosure. The nearby rectory, now a private house, was the residence of the local yeomanry commander during the 1798 Rebellion. The local Roman Catholic church, St Brigid’s, was built around 1845.

The village was once home to eleven malt houses, a wool and corn store, a police station, and other shops. Clonegal won the “tidiest village” category in the 2014 and 2015 National Tidy Towns competitions.

As of 2016, the population of Clonegal was 278. Notable people from the area include radio and television broadcaster Peter Murphy and 19th-century Irish nationalist revolutionary and journalist Patrick O’Donoghue.

Travel to Clonegal

The village is conveniently located near the border of counties Wexford and Carlow, just 5 km from Bunclody and 22 km from Carlow town.

Getting to Clonegal is relatively easy, with several options available:

By Car: Clonegal can be easily accessed by car, being well-connected to nearby towns and cities. If you’re driving from Dublin, take the M9 motorway and exit at Junction 5 for Carlow. Follow the signs for Tullow and then Bunclody, before turning onto the R746 to reach Clonegal.

By Bus: There are bus services connecting Clonegal to Carlow town, Wexford town, and other nearby towns. While direct bus services to Clonegal may be limited, you can take a bus to the nearby town of Bunclody and then take a taxi or arrange for local transportation to Clonegal.

By Train: The nearest train stations to Clonegal are Carlow and Muine Bheag (Bagenalstown), both approximately 30 km away. From either station, you can take a taxi or arrange local transportation to reach the village.

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