On The QT

The Barrow Line, nature’s own pathway

Blogger: Andrew Jones

The Barrow Line is a towpath that forms a natural grassy footpath along`side the River Barrow and Barrow Navigation. It runs unbroken for more than 69 kilometers from Athy in the North to St Mullins in the South, where the river becomes tidal and flows on to the port of New Ross. The Navigation system on the Barrow was opened over 220 years ago to carry grain North to Dublin and Guinness South to New Ross for export. The navigation still fully functioning, although it was last used for commercial traffic in 1969. 

There are numerous spots along the Barrow where you can access the line and experience it’s unspoilt beauty. Walking past locks and through woods and pastures, the scenery is constantly varying. Along the way you might spot an otter or a kingfisher, you will certainly see a heron stalking his prey at every weir. The only sounds will be the river flowing and the birds singing, or maybe a barge passing on the canal.

There are a number of towns and villages along the river Barrow, including Athy, Carlow, Leighlinbridge, Bagnelstown, Goresbridge, Graiguenamanagh and St Mullins. From Leighlinbridge flowing South, the River Barrow divides County Carlow and Kilkenny, with beautiful stone multi-arched road bridges at strategic points. For me though, the hub of the Barrow Line is Graiguenamanagh, a beautiful village which features Duiske Abbey, a 13th-century Cistercian monastery, restored and functioning as a church. Another significant footpath, The South Leinster Way crosses the River Barrow at Graiguenamanagh and there are Cafes, bars and accommodation there to rest those weary legs. Graiguenamangh is also a popular spot for kayaking. From Graiguenamanagh you can walk the Barrow Line South to St Mullins 8Km or North via Clashganny to Goresbridge. This is my favourite stretch of the Line, where it is at it’s most unspoilt and scenic.

Describe in 5 words: peaceful, nature, walking, cycling, boating

QT Tips:

  1. Swimming on the barrow at Graiguenamanagh
  2. Mick Doyles grocery pub at Graiguenamanagh a genuine old style grocery pub
  3. Delightful cafe on the riverside at St Mullins (Mullichain Cafe)
  4. St Molings well, church and high cross at St Mullins
  5. Delighful picnic spot with tables and chairs at Goresbridge
  6. Changing rooms, showers and toilets at Clashganny Wier


  1. As a local I’d recommend 2 restaurants near Borris for a great meal:The Stephouse Inn in Borris town for high end bar food & fine dining; and just outside borris, clashganny house restaurant serves tasty food in a lovely location.

    1. Hi Sarah. Delighted to get your local tips on the restaurants nearby. Looking forward to trying the local recommendations next time we are up. Thank you.

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