Hill Walking

Carlow is home to three of Ireland's key national routes. The Wicklow Way, the Leinster Way and the Barrow Way which links with the Slieve Margy Way in Co. Laois. Experienced walkers will enjoy the invigorating challenge of Carlow's way-marked mountain treks, whilst novices will find peace and tranquility on quiet country walks. The walks listed here are just a sample of the many available to the visitor to Co. Carlow.

Wicklow Way

Variety is the great characteristic of this route, which starts in Dublin suburbs, climbs into the foothills of the Wicklow mountains, and switches from glen to glen through dramatic mountains to Aughavannagh. Views of Luggala, Glendalough, and wild Glenmalure eventually give way to lower ground, with sheltered snug farms and tillage land. The stonewalled stronghold of Rathgall, said to be a residence of the Kings of Leinster, and the Mill of Purgatory - a cupboard in Aghowle Church - are amongst the many places of historical interest.

The Barrow Way

The Barrow Way follows the towpath, originally a path alongside the river to allow the pulling of barges or boats for transport. The ground is level throughout and most of the walking is away from the roads passing good farming land where tillage and cattle farming are predominant. There are plenty of small friendly villages where the welcome of the locals is renowned, canoeists to watch as they shoot the weirs and anglers to have a chat with. The Barrow Way allows for sightings of a rich variety of river life - swans, mallard, heron, kingfisher and hen pheasant are regularly to be seen. The path also offers much of architectural interest to the visitor - bridges, many arched, and pretty lock houses, some still in use. Many interesting historical features are also located in close proximity to the river including castles, abbeys, old bridges and derelict mills.

Click for Area Guide - Barrowvalley.net (offsite)


The Leinster Way

This varied trail leads the walker between some very fine lofty summits in County Carlow, and along forest tracks over the northern slopes of Mount Leinster. The trail then drops down into the neat little town of Borris and, from there, follows a towpath along the River Barrow where life sometimes seems to stand still in old world solitude. Graiguenamanagh (the out farm of the monks) soon comes into view, with its graceful 18th century bridge and medieval Abbey Church. Far above the town, Brandon Hill beckons, and then the Nore Valley at Inistioge, an ancient place with a fine bridge and medieval church. The final section to Carrick-on-Suir crosses wide, lonely uplands, with horizons stretching to Waterford and Tipperary.

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Some places to visit in Kilkenny

  • Black Abbey Kilkenny: Don't miss the Black Abbey, a Dominican Church founded in 1225 by William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke, this Domincan Church has been restored to its original splendour with a spectacular stained glass window.
  • GRACE'S COURTHOUSE: The remains of this fortress, which was built in 1210 and converted to a prison in 1568, are now incorporated into the basement area of the 19th century courthouse in Parliament Street, Kilkenny.
  • JERPOINT ABBEY: The abbey was built around 1160 by the King of Ossory, Donal MacGillapatrick, for the Benedictine monks. In 1180 it was taken over by Cistercian monks from Baltinglass Abbey. The Cistercian order was founded in 1098 in Citeaux. In 1228 there were 36 monks and 50 brothers in the abbey.
  • KELLS PRIORY: Kells Augustinian Priory Kells An Augustinian Priory founded in 1193. It is situated alongside King's River beside the village of Kells, about 15km south of the medieval city of Kilkenny.
  • Kilkenny Castle: Kilkenny Castle Kilkenny City Go back in time to a 12th Century castle, remodelled and restored and set in 1830's splendour and extensive parklands: includes art gallery and playground. It is a complex structure of various architectural styles.
  • Rothe House: Rothe House is a unique Irish merchant's townhouse, built between 1594 and 1610. The property comprises of three houses, three enclosed courtyards and a large garden. John Rothe, who was a wealthy merchant and landowner in Kilkenny. He built the first house in 1594 and as his family grew (to 12 children) he built the second and third houses.
  • SHEE ALMS HOUSE: Shee Alms House Kilkenny City In 1981 was reopened as the present tourist office in the city. It is one of the few remaining Tudor alms houses in Ireland. In 1582, Sir Richard Shee founded the alms house
  • St Canice's Cathedral: St. Canice's Cathedral Kilkenny City Built between 1202 and 1285, St Canice's has been preserved in its original style and form. See the wonderful stained glass and the largest collection of ancient monuments. View Kilkenny and the surrounding area from the 9th century round tower.
  • THE THOLSEL: The Tholsel Kilkenny City with its lantern clock tower and 'Big Ben' chime, it is a distinctive image of Kilkenny. Built in 1761. Now used for art exhibitions, and street theatre companies regularly perform there.
  • DUNMORE CAVES: (near Castlecomer, County Kilkenny) History and geology blend at Dunmore Cave to give an interesting and unique insight into this landmark. Consisting of a series of chambers formed over millions of years, it contains some of the finest calcite formations found in any Irish cave.

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