Barrow Way

Walking
County Carlow
3.9/5
21 reviews
Grade Easy
Length 120 km
Time 4 days
Format Linear
Dogs Allowed Under effective control
Waymarking Yellow arrow on black background
Start Point
Robertstown
Finish Point
St. Mullins
Nearest Town to Start Robertstown
Grid Ref. N 790 250 / S 728 378
Lat. and Long. 53.26985, -6.81597 / 52.48748, -6.928

The River Barrow vies with one of its sister rivers, the Suir, as the second longest river in Ireland. It rises in the Slieve Bloom Mountains in the southern midlands, and flows to join its two €˜sisters', the Nore and the Suir, before flowing into the Celtic Sea at Waterford Harbour. The Barrow was made navigable in the eighteenth century by the insertion of short sections of canal along its course, and the 114km long Barrow Way follows surviving towpaths and riverside roads from the canal hamlet of Lowtown in County Kildare to the beautiful monastic site and village of St Mullins in south County Carlow. It is a peaceful route through a quiet sylvan landscape, with the constantly expanding river, growing more majestic every mile, for company. Terrain consists mainly of grassy towpaths, tracks and quiet roads. Overnight accommodation options are good: the route is frequently punctuated with villages and towns, many of which were founded at fording places by the Normans soon after the invasion. Among the interesting places the route passes through and walkers might wish to linger a while are the towns of Rathangan with its great hosting place, and Athy and Carlow. Borris in South County Carlow is a fine place that grew up around Borris House, the homeplace of the McMurrough Kavanagh clan, and Graiguenamanagh, a quaint old monastic town where a book festival is held every year, is Ireland's Hay-on-Wye.

Trail Management

Waterways Ireland,
Floor 2 Block C,
Ashtowngate,
Dublin 15
Tel 01-8680148
Email: info@waterwaysireland.org

Facilities

Car parking
At Start - on street in Robertstown.
At End - on riverbank or near Abbey in St Mullins.

9 kms or 9% of the Way follows local roads.
***Dogs under effective control allowed, please clean up after your dog***

Map Guides

Map Guides

Guide to the Barrow Navigation of Ireland - Inland Waterways Association of Ireland. Informarion also available from Waterways Ireland.

OSI Maps

OSI Maps

Discovery Series Sheets 49, 55, 61 and 68
Public Transportation

Public Transportation

At Start: Bus to Robertstown.
Check with Bus Eireann.
At End: None at present.

21 trail reviews
3.9/5
Write your own review of this trail
4/5
08/19/2015

Paul from Dublin

My brother and I cycled the Barrow Way over two days in August 2015. It was a lovely experience - really worth doing. We got a lift to Robertstown and proceeded from there.

The first day took us from Robertsown to Carlow Town, a total of about 60km (6.5 hours). We stayed in the Seven Oaks (with pool) and were very well looked after.

The scenery is lovely - I printed off the maps from this website (it roughly takes one hour to traverse each map), which were helpful if a little lacking in detail (canal locks / numbers etc.). The towpath was in part road, in part stoned track but mainly it is grass track - in fairness this was well cut throughout and did not slow us down unduly. The Barrow Way does alternate between the left and right banks so it is worth sticking to the maps and watching for the 'Barrow Way' markers.

The second day took us from Carlow to Graiguenamanagh - about 40km (4 hours). We had planned to go on to St. Mullins but this would have meant doubling back to Graiguenamanagh and on to Thomastown. So we cut the way a little short and headed for the 3pm train to Dublin from Thomastown. This was a 15km cycle, half uphill, half downhill (one hour).

This is a beautiful track, up there with the Royal and Grand Canal Ways, but sadly we met very few walkers or other cyclists. With a little bit of investment (narrow tarmac strip ?) and good marketing this track could really draw in tourists to the region. Even so it is well worth doing, in part or in full.
5/5
08/11/2015

Loretto from Kilkenny

The best part of this trail/walk is from Clashganny to Tinnahinch & Graiguenamanagh and from there on to St. Mullins. It's just a pity the trail does not go on to New Ross.

Graiguenamanagh is a lovely town with shops, pubs, coffee shop etc. a nice town to take a break in.
07/07/2015

Henry from Cork

Bagenalstown Lock Detour. Travelling downstream, the waymarks bring you to a dead end. A drawing of a detour (Waterways Ireland) is on the security fence. I'd suggest that you study this carefully before you retrace your steps - there is no signage to help you on the route.
5/5
05/23/2015

Martin from Tyrone

Did the Carlow to Bagenalstown part of this trail while in the area recently. Have to say I really enjoyed it. It's great to be able to walk a traffic free route in trainers and not have to worry about navigating - you just keep walking. The scenery became more pleasant and open further south but there were some lovely features throughout. Stopped off at a pub in Leighlinbridge then walked the short distance on to Bagenalstown and took the train back to Carlow (which only takes about 13 mins), great to be able to walk a decent distance and not have to retrace your steps. Some feedback: there probably could be more benches, especially in the earlier part of this section. Had to walk a few miles before there was anywhere to sit down for a rest. Also some rotting and overgrown benches just north of L'bridge. Some public art might add a bit of interest too (there was some coming into B'town). All in all, a great half day's walking - will definitely be back to do more of the trail.
05/05/2015

Roddy from Dublin

Beautiful bike ride from Lowtown to Athy, the view from the aqueduct at Monastrevin is something special. On coming closer to Athy a number of loose horses grazing on the towpath, you need to be on your toes when approaching them.



Very interesting where canal meets Barrow, particularly the Horse bridge which really is a bridge for horses across the Barrow. Great view from the bridge of the river and canal.



Quite a number of groups drinking and very obviously drunk at start of the river tow path (this was at 3 in the afternoon on Friday, what a great country!).

Decided to come back early in the morning and do the balance Carlow to St. Mullins.
4/5
10/19/2014

Martin from Waterford

Beautiful. Went by MTB from St.Mullins to Carlow a couple of times this summer, done a bit by road from Waterford to get to the lovely setting of Mullins & An Mullichan cafe there was well worth the stop for coffee & grub. Good paths along route, ground was firm & easy manage. 50+k from Mullins to Carlow. Lovely scenery & towns on the way, plenty of food & accommodation available. Plenty of canoes, kayaks, barges & lads fishing along the way so never got bored. Well worth the trip.
4/5
10/19/2014

Martin from Waterford

Beautiful. Went by MTB from St.Mullins to Carlow a couple of times this summer, done a bit by road from Waterford to get to the lovely setting of Mullins & An Mullichan cafe there was well worth the stop for coffee & grub. Good paths along route, ground was firm & easy to manage. 50+k from Mullins to Carlow. Lovely scenery & towns on the way, plenty of food & accommodation available. Plenty of canoes, kayaks, barges & lads fishing along the way so never got bored. Well worth the trip.
01/06/2014

Senan from Dublin

You might amend your info re public transport to say that one of thee early departures of Bus Eireann Route 123 goes to Robertstown from Bus Aras via Heuston Station, Celbridge, Clane and Prosperous
11/19/2012

Jean from Dublin

The reviews by Dermot from Dublin on 7 October and Deirdre from Dublin on 17 November suggest that summary details for individual stages of the Barrow Way would be helpful in planning a day's walk on the trail.

On the website, the Way is broken up into sections of between about 4 and 10 km which are listed as separate entries in the county where they are located and are given in both directions, e.g. "Barrow Way - Bagenalstown to Leighlinbridge" and "Barrow Way - Leighlinbridge to Bagenalstown ". Detailed informaton is included for each entry.

11/17/2012

DEIRDRE from Dublin

I agree with the last comment. I have not done the trail but want to plan a day's walk this weekend but your website gives me no specific information on what part of the route is walkable - when I go into the individual sections there is again no information that would enable me to plan a day's walk. I need to know what part of the route has a path that is walkable beside the river.

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