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

Athy - Maganey

  • 10.5km
  • 2.5 - 3.5 hours
  • Easy





Trail Quality:


Walking Trail


National Way Marked Way



Estimated Time:

2.5 - 3.5 hours

Start point:


End point:


Dogs Allowed:



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


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


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


Athy is a busy town with pubs, shops, restaurants and a wide range of services. There is a shop and petrol station at Maganey.

Public Transport:

Athy is served by a good range of bus and rail services. See www.transportforireland.ie for a routes and timetables. There is no public transport to Maganey.

Map guide available:

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


​From here south the Barrow Way grows increasingly more dramatic. From Augustus Bridge on the canal in Athy, the trail follows the right bank of the canal south past a factory to the 28th lock. You cross the footbridge on the lock, then go over an old bridge where the canal meets the River Barrow. From here south, the Barrow Way follows the river for which it is named.

The towpath goes under a rail bridge, as the river turns quiet and wooded. This bridge once carried a railway line that served the old coalfields in Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny, but today it is derelict.

Soon the Barrow Way leaves the river and joins a side canal. These canals were built to bring boats around shallow and hazardous sections of the river, with weirs providing sufficient depth of water to keep these channels deep.

Soon you come to Ardleigh Lock. There was once a large flour mill across the canal here, on Lord's Island. Beyond the lock, the towpath rejoins the wooded river, which forms the border between Kildare on the side and Laois on the far bank.

As you continue on your walk, look out for the ruins of Kilmorony House on the far bank and the site of Grangemellon Castle on this side.

You will come to a long side canal, the Levistown Cut, which is lush and green, with two bridges crossing it to give access to the island of pasture between the canal and river.

Beyond Tankardstown Bridge, you come to a huge old mill and lock at Levitstown, which was destroyed by a fire in the 1940s. The mill once produced malt that was brought by barge to the Guinness brewery at St James's Gate in Dublin.

The towpath rejoins the river through pasture, and up ahead the river splits around a narrow island. Then you come to the sprawling expanse of Maganey Bridge. Here in 1642, 8,000 troops from the Confederacy of Irish Catholics, and alliance of native chieftains and old English settlers, were defeated by the Earl of Ordmond's forces. There is a shop and petrol station just east of the bridge here. 

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