Waterways Ireland | Places To Go | Activity Type | Activity Article

Goresbridge - Graiguenamanagh

  • 14.5km
  • 3.5 - 5 hours
  • Moderate





Trail Quality:


Walking Trail


National Way Marked Way



Estimated Time:

3.5 - 5 hours

Start point:


End point:


Dogs Allowed:



Grassy towpaths, quiet roads, gravel tracks


Duiske Abbey, Cushendale Woolen Mills, Duiske Glass Kilkenny


For accommodation around this section of the Barrow Way, please check out www.discoverireland.ie.


Goresbridge, Boris and Graiguenamanagh are small towns each with a few shops and pubs.

Public Transport:

There are some bus services to both Goresbirdge and Graiguenamanagh. See www.transportforireland.ie for routes and timetables.

Map guide available:

Guide to the Barrow – Waterways Ireland & Inland Waterways Association of Ireland


South of Goresbridge, the Barrow Way grows more spectacular as it winds through woods towards Mount Brandon. The trail stays on the left bank of the river for the full route as you head south. Be aware that this is a long walk with no services on the way, unless you take a detour to the village of Borris.

Shortly after Goresbridge you follow a side canal down to Lower Ballyellen Lock. After this on the far bank you'll see Barrowmount House, once home to the Gore family, which the village of Goresbridge is named for. The Gores were an English family who came to this area around 1700 having been granted lands seized from the natives.

Soon the river becomes dominated by tall spruce and firs as the waterway grows more dramatic. You come to Balltytiglea Lock, and pass under the bridge of the same name. If you want to explore the picturesque granite village of Boris, it's a 2.5km road walk east of the bridge. Continuing along the river, the woods start to get thicker, overhanging the still river.

You follow a side canal and arrive to Borris Lock. Borris Demesne, which boasts some of Ireland's tallest trees, is on your left now. The estate was the home of the legendary Arthur MacMurrough Kavanagh, who was born without arms or legs but nonetheless became skilled at sailing, horse riding, fishing and hunting, and travelled the world.

Back on the river, the Barrow Valley starts to deepen, as steep wooded slopes drop to the riverbank. You follow canals down to Ballingrane Lock and then Clashganna Lock, where there is a swimming area with lifeguards in summer.

You will pass forested rock walls as you continue towards Graiguenamanagh. You come to Ballykeenan Lock, and Brandon Hill towers over the river dead ahead. You arrive to the 18th century bridge in Tinnahinch, Co Carlow —  Graiguenamanagh in Co Kilkenny is on the far bank. Part of the bridge here was destroyed during the 1798 Rebellion.

Graigue, as it is locally known, is a charming and picturesque village, with the 13th century Duiske Abbey on top of its winding main street.

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