In 1783, work began on the Barrow Line, which was designed to link the Grand Canal with the Barrow, Ireland's second longest river.
The Barrow Way starts by following the Grand Canal west from the village of Robertstown, in the north of Co Kildare.
The Barrow Way leaves the main line of the Grand Canal at Fenton's Bridge, by the 19th lock, where there is an interesting lock house. You cross the bridge and go left, following a branch canal known as the Old Barrow Line.
The Barrow Way follows this canal for a few kilometres (passing the Traveller's Rest pub at Littletown Bridge). Soon the Milltown Feeder canal veers off from the far bank. This branch canal draws on the freshwater springs at Pollardstown Fen, supplying the whole Grand Canal system with crystal clear water.
Soon you come to the junction where the Old and New Barrow Lines combine. Cross Skew Bridge here and go left. You are now walking the Barrow Line of the Grand Canal. Just before Ballyteige Castle, the trail crosses the bridge to the left bank of the canal.
Ballyteige Castle is a typical example of the Irish fortified house of the 14th to 16th century, and it is believed that the rebel leader Silken Thomas took refuge here after the battle of Allen in 1535.
After the 21st lock the towpath gives way to a grassy trail, and you pass through rough fields, scrub and forestry. Away to the north, unseen from the canal, is the vast Bog of Allen.
The towpath joins a quiet road by a stone house. You may notice a strange square boat here, which is used by farmers to get across the canal. You come to Glenaree lock and bridge, where there is a fine Georgian farmhouse off to the left.
Beyond here the canal turns wild again as forestry and scrub dominates, and the waterway is carried on an embankment high above the surrounding countryside. The scrub and wetland at the base of the embankment is rich in plant life.
After a little while you arrive at Rathangan Bridge, by old canal warehouses. Rathangan has some fine Georgian townhouses that were built at the same time as the canal, and is well worth