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Vicarstown - Athy

  • 10.5km
  • 2.5 - 3.5 hours
  • Easy
Details

Grade:

Easy

Format:

Linear

Trail Quality:

Category:

Walking Trail

Type:

National Way Marked Way

Length:

10.5km

Estimated Time:

2.5 - 3.5 hours

Start point:

Vicarstown

End point:

Athy

Dogs Allowed:

Yes

Surfaces:

Grassy towpaths (overgrown in places), quiet roads, gravel tracks

Attractions:

Barrowline Cruisers, Moate of Ardscull, Athy Heritage Centre Museum, White's Castle, Shackleton Centre

Accommodation:

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

Facilities:

There is a pub at Vicarstown. Athy is a busy town with a wide range of services.

Public Transport:

There are no bus services to Vicarstown, but Athy has good bus and rail services. See www.transportforireland.ie for routes and timetables.

Map guide available:

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

Overview


Walking south along the Barrow Way from Vicasrstown, the Barrow Way stays on the right bank of the canal. You pass a bench that commemorates the poet Patrick Kavanagh's lines: "And Look! A barge comes bringing from Athy and other far flung towns mythologies".

The towpath crosses a substantial aqueduct over the lush and green Stradbally River. Then you pass Ballymanus Bridge, as the canal skirts woods and forestry. There is a mink farm on the west bank of the canal just beyond the bridge.

You pass rich green fields, hedgerows of alder, willow and elder, and the canal landscape becomes surrounded by large tillage fields.

Soon the canal goes under Milltown Bridge. If you climb up to the bridge, you can see Bert House, an ostentatious Georgian mansion. The River Barrow flows between the house and the canal.

The towpath beyond the bridge can be overgrown, but you can also follow the road here and then rejoin the canal towpath up ahead by a gate.

You pass a couple of bridges and follow a tree-lined avenue into Athy (from the Irish Ath-Ae, meaning the ford of Ae), passing new and old industrial buildings. The canal arrived here in 1791. The Barrow Line of the canal ends up ahead, and the Barrow Way joins the river for which it is named. In the past boats sometimes used the river upstream of here, rather than the canal, to avoid tolls and fares. 


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