Carlow Sugar Factory

The story of Carlow Sugar Factory begins in 1925. Carlow was selected as the best county for the sugar factory. Because it is situated in a rich tillage area. Sugar beet was a crop well suited to the local growing conditions. 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.

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

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 Carlow sugar factory closes with a loss of 190 full time jobs.

Now you can see only the tower with external spiral staircase at Carlow Sugar Factory, from Athy Road, Carlow. The former factory could be transformed in great turist attraction of County Carlow.

Many items from Carlow Sugar Factory you can see in County Carlow Museum. There is a special display about Carlow Sugar Factory.

Location of Carlow Sugar Factory (Strawhall Estate, Co. Carlow):

Below my photos taken in April 2021.

Below photos from my visit in 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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