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

Monasterevin - Vicarstown

  • 12km
  • 3 - 4 hours
  • Easy





Trail Quality:


Walking Trail


National Way Marked Way



Estimated Time:

3 - 4 hours

Start point:


End point:


Dogs Allowed:



Grassy towpaths (may be overgrown in some parts), gravel tracks, quiet roads.


Moore Abbey, Monasterevin House, Barrowline Cruisers


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


Monasterevin has a small selection of shops, pubs and eateries. There is a pub at Fisherstown and one at Vicarstown.

Public Transport:

Monastrevin has bus and rail services. There is no public transport to Vicarstown. Visit www.transportforireland.ie for routes and timetables.

Map guide available:

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


In 1785, the Barrow Line of the Grand Canal reached Monasterevin, once a major centre of industry. From the harbour in Monasterevin, follow the canal south. The grassy towpath swings right and you cross the road by an old lifting bridge.

The Barrow Way follows the canal on an aqueduct over the River Barrow. But the trail sticks with the canal for now, and will join this river later in Athy. The original plan was for the canal to join the Barrow here, but there were doubts over whether the river could be navigated by boats.

Look out for the abandoned Mountmellick Branch of the canal which diverges to the west immediately after the aqueduct. By the 25th lock the Barrow Way crosses over Moore's Bridge by a small harbour, and you follow a track out to a road, then go under the Portlaoise road bridge. The towpath can be quite overgrown here.

Up ahead the towpath turns grassy and the canal becomes quiet, hidden from roads by hedgerows of willow. You will come to a farmstead marked by a line of beautiful cherry blossom trees, then join a quiet road and pass a timber footbridge, continuing on the right bank.

The towpath goes under a motorway and you pass some cattle sheds, where are there hedgerows thick with hazel. At Fisherstown Bridge there is a fine thatched pub 400m up the road to the right.

The towpath is grassy here, but on the far bank there is a quiet road with some quaint farmhouses. You pass Courtwood Bridge as the canal opens into wide pasture.

Soon the Grattan Aqueduct — named for the 19th century MP Henry Grattan —carries the canal over the Glasha River on the softly wooded waterway.

You come to Vicarstown, a pleasant canalside village, where barges and cruisers are moored. There is a pub here that opens in the evenings. 

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