Borris is a beautiful, untouched town full of charm and heritage nestling in the fertile valley of the River Barrow, below the curve of the Blackstairs Mountains. It only consists of one street which is about one mile in length and slopes from top to bottom. The town prospered in the late 1800s as Arthur MacMurrugh Kavanagh, the landlord of the time, developed a saw mill and a thriving lace-making industry. He also instigated the building of a graceful 16-arch viaduct, situated at the lower end of the town. This impressive railway bridge spans the valley of the mountain river and once carried a branch line of the Dublin/Kilkenny railway of the Great Southern and Western Company. It was built between 1855 and 1865 and is made of limestone from the local area. The Borris railway station opened on December 1858 and closed for passenger traffic in 1931. It then opened for goods traffic in 1947 and finally was closed altogether in 1963. The track ran from Borris through Ballywilliam and on to New Ross. There are 16 arches along the splendid landmark, which are still in good condition. Unfortunately, the dilapidated tracks are now used only for a walking track.
Today, Borris is a picturesque town of old stone buildings, many shops have kept their traditional shop fronts while Borris bars and pubs have earned nationwide recognition for their friendly, old world atmosphere and traditional music events. It is an excellent point from which to explore the Mount Leinster Drive and Blackstairs Mountains. Moreover, Borris offers a wide range of outdoor activities. The nine hole golf course at Boris commands panoramic views. It is one of the oldest golf courses of Ireland and is still maintained to a very high standard. The Floral Festivals, excellent fishing spots, Cross Country Driving experiences, hang gliding and breath-taking walking paths guarantee family fun for everyone.
Borris House, located directly opposite the Step House, is one of the few Irish estates that can trace its history back to the royal families of ancient Ireland. Set in over 650 acres of walled Private Park and ancient oak woodlands, Borris House retains its place as the centrepiece of the village. Seat of the McMorrough - Kavanagh family, whose ancestors have lived on the site since the 15th century, it is still occupied by the family for whom it was built. It contains a great deal of its original furniture, paintings, documentary archives and other artefacts. It is a three-storey Tudor Style building and has over 50 rooms, around 30 of these have fireplaces and 17 can be visited on a guided tour. There is a classical style running throughout the house, with marble work, painted ceilings and magnificent plaster detail.
The dining room is always set for seven people, a tradition which goes back as far as the days when Thomas McMorrough Kavanagh and his wife who had 4 children, were always happy to welcome an unexpected guest.On the beautiful grounds of the house, you can visit the icehouse, a protestant church and one of the country’s oldest and best-known golf courses as mentioned above.
Visit Carlow Tourism for more information.