Kildare, Ireland

The Barrow Way: historic riverside trail

The Barrow Way: historic riverside trail

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35 tour stops


Big Sky Country

Wonderful wide-open country in Co Kildare

3 min

Fishing the still water, at Rathangan

Where history and wildlife combine

3 min

Bedding from the bog

Unusual industries on the bogs over the last 150 years

2 min

The Venice of Ireland, Monasterevin

Idyllic Monasterevin has an historic network of waterways and bridges.

3 min

The burling Barrow brown

Barrow inspired English poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins

3 min

The Long Level and hollow-back men

How to build a canal, and haul a heavy load.

5 min

The Grand Prix of 1903, near Athy

The noise! The cars! And they're off!

4 min

Shackleton of the Antarctic, Athy

Explorer Ernest Shackleton was from near Athy.

5 min

Handsome Jack, and river canals, Grangemellon

Handsome Jack St Leger from Grangemellon Castle

3 min

Henry VIII’s gap, Levitstown to Maganey

How an Act in 1536 helped to make the river accessible for boats.

3 min

Cursed Shrule castle, Maganey to Shrule

The tragic story of the Elizabethan Shrule Castle

2 min

Bittersweet sugar, Bestfield

Sugar, slavery and working heritage.

6 min

Carlow's lunatic castle

The surprising story of how Carlow Castle came to be destroyed.

5 min

Humane hanging -- Samuel Haughton

Carlow's role in an unusual Irish contribution to civilisation

4 min

White gold and black gold, Clogrennan

How coal and lime were once shipped out from Clogrennan on the Barrow.

4 min

Electric lights and stone fences, at Milford

The old mill that is working again, generating electricity.

2 min

Laserian’s tiny cathedral, Old Leighlin

A hidden treasure, well worth a visit in Old Leighlin.

3 min

One of Europe’s oldest bridges, Leighlinbridge

The delightful historic village of Leighlinbridge.

3 min

Greenhouse gases & Pasteur’s germs: John Tyndall

One of the greatest scientists of the 19th century was from Leighlinbridge.

3 min

Versailles by the Barrow: Bagenalstown–Muine Bheag

Walter Bagenal had great plans for his new town in the 1700s.

3 min

MacNeill’s viaduct, near Fenniscourt

The massive railway bridge over the Barrow.

2 min

Alien invaders, at Slyguff

Some of the invasive species that are colonising the river and riverbank.

3 min

Milling, digging, fishing, at Ballyellen

Now quiet, Ballyellen was once very industrious.

2 min

A coal canal to Castlecomer, Goresbridge

In 1812, there were plans to build a canal from Goresbridge to Castlecomer

3 min

Leinster Kings and a limbless man, Ballytiglea

Borris House is a hidden gem, with fascinating stories -- well worth a visit.

6 min

Shooting the rapids, Clashganna

Canoeing is one of the best ways to see the Barrow. And Clashganna is a popular spot.

2 min

The Devil’s Eyebrow & wooden cots, Graiguenamanagh

Traditional wooden boats, and an oddly-named rocky crag near Graiguenamanagh

2 min

The Crusader guards the door, Duiske Abbey

The mediaeval monastic town Graiguenamanagh, and historic Tinnahinch

3 min

Weft and warp, Cushendale Woollen Mills

Hear the sounds from the historic woollen mills in Graiguenamanagh

5 min

The lock keeper’s life, Tinnahinch

Jim Butler, 3rd-generation lock keeper, on growing up at Tinnahinch Lock.

4 min

The Highwayman’s Chair, Carriglead

Local people love this intriguing stone chair, near Carriglead Lock.

2 min

The lock keepers by the sea, St Mullins Lock

The last lock on the river -- the water is salty, and tidal from here

2 min

Lovely St Mullins & the Cursed Mill

Idyllic now, this was once a thriving port and grain mill.

5 min

The Jewel in the Crown, St Mullins

This fascinating mediaeval village is a gem -- well worth a visit.

6 min

The Devil's Eyebrow, a boatman's song

A traditional boatman's song from Graiguenamanagh, our theme song for this guide.

3 min


The peaceful Barrow Way is one of Ireland’s loveliest way-marked trails. The path stretches from the heart of Ireland to the majestic Barrow estuary at St Mullins, along 114 km of canal and river towpath -- and nearly all of it is off-road. You’ll discover history, wildlife and tranquillity on a journey rich in hidden treasures and heritage villages, ruined castles and thatched cottages, and countryside that is home to kingfishers and otters. The towpath dates from the 1700s, when the Barrow navigation and canal were built. You can now walk, cycle or paddle a canoe along this formerly working waterway. Spend a few hours enjoying part of the way, or a memorable week exploring the whole trail. NOTE: each audio track covers a stretch of the way, so in general we have placed the map marker around the mid-point of that section. This guide is brought to you Ingenious Ireland and Waterways Ireland, the guardians of Ireland's inland waterways.

Itinerary 117 km / 9:00

Offline map included

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