Carlow Sugar Factory

The story of Carlow Sugar Factory begins in 1925. County Carlow was selected as the best county for the sugar factory because it is situated in a rich tillage area, and, sugar beet was a crop well suited to the local growing conditions. Besides, Carlow had good rail and waterway connections. So, its produce could be conveniently transported around the country. – Source:

Historically, Carlow was the primary producer of sugar beet in Ireland.

In 1926 Carlow businessman Edward Duggan created The Irish Sugar Manufacturing Company. It was a landmark moment in the industrialization of the nascent Irish State. Next, in 1933 the newly elected Fianna Fáil government nationalized the plant. The government was pursuing a policy of autarky and recognized sugar manufacturing as a core national industry, creating a State-owned sugar company – Comhlucht Siúicre Éireann – with the Carlow plant as its headquarters.

What`s more, the Irish Sugar Beet Factory in Carlow was the first of its kind in Ireland and for decades, the sugar plant was the cornerstone of the local economy.

The plant’s forced closure in 2005 due to the introduction of EU sugar quotas was highly controversial. After 80 years in production, the factory in Carlow closes with a loss of 190 full-time jobs. The last shift at the factory was a quiet one, as all the large machinery had already been switched off.

Now you can see only the tower with an external spiral staircase at Factory, from Athy Road, Carlow.

Many items from the former factory you can see in County Carlow Museum. There is a special display about it.

I think the former factory could be transformed into a great tourist attraction in County Carlow.

Location (Strawhall Estate, Co. Carlow):

Below are photos I took in April 2021.

Below are photos from my visit to Carlow County Museum in June 2021.


Blogger. Volunteer. Enthusiast of photography, nature, architecture, and cultural events. Since 2014 living in County Carlow in Ireland.

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