Athletics in an organised context became popular in various locations around County Carlow in the closing decades of the nineteenth century. Activity was focused in the major centres of population.

In Borris, athletics' meetings were organised under the auspices of the Cricket Club. They were inaugurated in 1872 and the Kavanagh family of Borris House were prominent in their support. The landed gentry were therefore involved in Borris Athletic Sports from the outset. Prizes were typically upper class in their variety and included opera glasses, claret jugs and the meerschaum pipe. The meerschaum pipe was a type of smoker's pipe made from magnesium silicate and originated in Turkey. The electro teapot also given as a prize, was made of electro-plated (high quality) nickel silver, commonly known as (EPNS).

Athletic sports in Carlow town are first recorded in 1884, although it is stated that it was a revived movement. The "Carlow Athletic Club" was formed at that time. The amateur sports were held at Pembroke near Carlow town centre. Sports were revived in Carlow town again in 1886.

The Greenbank track became the venue in 1887. Unlike the gentrified sports in Borris, the Carlow meetings were held under the laws of the Gaelic Athletic Association and the I.C.A. Prizes were handed out by the Administrator of Carlow Cathedral and the names of those on the committee suggest a largely Catholic profile.

In the closing decade of the Nineteenth Century an Athletics' Sports' committee had been formed in Bagenalstown. The 1891 sports were held at Eastwood close to the town. It was a popular meeting, which was, ran under the G.A.A. and I.C.A. laws. The patrons however were William Ward, Esquire, J.P. and Captain Henley, J.P.

Tullow town also contributed to interest in athletic sports. Similarly as in Borris, the sports were run under the patronage of the landed classes. D.H. Doyne and Colonel J.J.H. Eustace were prominent officials. The meeting held in 1899 was called the Tullow Cycling and Athletic Sports. A special grass track was prepared for the occasion.

Athletics' meetings throughout County Carlow attracted large gatherings of spectators. They were enticed to the events by the provision of musical recitals given by famous bands like that of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. The railway also played its part, by facilitating ease of access to those who were willing to travel. Above all, the variety of events and the keen competition between national and local athletes ensured patrons a good family day out.

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