Please check out the list of Towns, Castles, Monuments too.
Updated December 2002. If you have comments, please let us know. Thanks.
Decent cycles can be rented from Coleman's in College Street, Carlow T: 059 9131273 or Celtic Cycling, c/o Lorum Old Rectory Tel:+353 (0)59 9175282
Cyclists are always advised to take care; wear HELMETS and suitable clothing.
Note traffic and road conditions and terrain. Keep a watchful eye on weather conditions. Cycling is a DANGEROUS SPORT.
Walkers are always advised to take care; wear suitable footwear and clothing and keep a watchful eye on weather conditions.
Some of the most exciting and satisfying walks to suit all tastes and levels of ability are available, whether one wishes to pursue a hard day's walk or take life at a gentler pace. Visitors have walked the Barrow, South Leinster and Wicklow Ways for years loving their uncrowded and quiet nature. The walks featured here are just a sample of the many available.
The Blackstairs and Mount Leinster are a ridge of rounded granite peaks lying between the beautiful Barrow valley and the rich lowlands of Co. Wexford. It is an ideal region for walking and features everything from the long walk along the ridge to pleasant strolls in the woods and vatfeys. There are delightful vistas over the countryside and as you travel you will enjoy a great variety of birds, butterflies and flowers. It is not overcrowded and if you meet people, they will probably be locals whom you will find both friendly and helpful.
Walk I - The Knocksquire Circuit This one won't test your stamina, but it is a pleasant stroll, mostly on quiet roads, suitable for a summer evening, or for a day when the weather rules out higher things. Starting point - Tomduff Crossroads; Distance 5.6km; Time I 3/4 hours.
Walk 2 - Sfiabb Khan - A pleasant short walk, which contrives to get you high on the hills with fine views all round with the minimum of effort. Starting point The Nine Stones; Distance Time - 2 1/2 hours.
Walk 3 - Killbrannish Woods - This a fairly low level walk, mostly through woods, around the head of the Clody valley and including the little village of Kelly's Quarter. It may suit the not-so-brilliant day when the mountain tops are in cloud, but it certainly shouldn't be written off as second grade. It straddles the Borris-Bunclody road, and if you want a shorter walk, you can simply omit the northern loop. Starting point -Kilbrannish Woods; Distance - 12km; Time - 4 hours.
Walk 4 - Mount Leinster from Raheen - It has to be admitted that if your sole object is to get to the top of Mount Leinster, then the easiest way is to follow the television mast road (not open to cars) from the Nine Stones summit. But its pretty dull, and the suggested walk is a little more adventurous and a lot more interesting. Starting point - Raheendarragh Farm; Distance -12km; Time - 5 hours.
Walk 5 - Barnahaskin and Killtennely - A pleasant little summer's evening walk, which includes a fine viewpoint, but it has some rough going, and there are stepping stones which might be submerged after heavy rain. Starting point - Barnahaskin Cross; Distance -9.5km; Time 3 hours.
Walk 6 - Knockroe from Scuihge The Sculloge Gap carves a deep gash through the middle of the Blackstairs Mountains, offering good access both north and south which we shouldn't neglect. This walk utilises the road through the Gap to get quickly onto the southern slopes of Mount Leinster and to take in its southern outlier, Knockroe. Starting point - Sculloge Gap; Distance - 9km; Time-3 1/2 hours.
Walk 7 - Cullentragh - Here is a short walk based on Kiltealy, on the east side of the mountains. There is quite a lot of road, but it also climbs Cullentragh, an outlier of Blackstairs Mountain with good views. The section on the hill is quite rough, so good footwear is essential. It would be tricky in mist unless you can use a compass. Starting point - Kiltealy village; Distance -7.5km; Time 2 1/2 hours.
Walk 8 - Blackstairs Mountains The whole Blackstairs ridge from the Sculloge Gap to the south end is a long hard walk, but this circular route starting above Ballymurphy takes in the best of the ridge, including Caher Roe's Den and Blackstairs Mountain itself. The return is along pleasant and varied country lanes. Starting point - 3km from Ballymurphy village; Distance - 13km; Time - 5 hours,
Walk 9 - The BallyCrystal Circuit - The pleasant Ballycrystal valley ends in a quadrant of hills dominated by Mount Leinster itself. This walk combines what is perhaps the best way up that mountain with an opportunity to visit a remote valley, which, though partly taken over by forestry, still has several hill farms hidden in its recesses. Starting point -near Boladurragh Cross roads; Distance - 11,3km; Time 4 hours.
Walk 10-The Blackstairs Walk - This is the real walk of the region. Not to be undertaken unless you are reasonably fit, well-equipped, well-shod, and have a good idea of how to get back to your starting point. But if you have all these attributes, it is a great walk, with wonderful views. It is long but does not have too much climbing; once you get onto the ridge, the Sculloge Gap is the only deep descent. North to South is recommended - St. Mullins on the Barrow is a great place to finish. Starting point - Travel from Bunclody onto the east shoulder of Black Rock Mountain;
Distance - 30km; Time - 8 to 12 hours.
Full details and maps of these walks appear in Joss Lynam's guide Walking in the Blackstairs, edited by Mary White, and published by The Friends of Mount Leinster. This guide is an essential companion for walkers in this region and is available from leading bookshops, stationers and the Carlow Rural Tourism office, College St., Carlow.
The South Leinster Way is a long distance walking route which mns from Kildavin, Co. Carlow to Carrick-on-Suir in Co. Tipperary covering 102 kilometres (64 miles) in length and ascending some 1600 metres.
The predominant features in the landscape are Mount Leinster, Brandon Hill and the river valleys of the Barrow, Nore and Suir. This stretch can be comfortably walked in five days but strong walkers can finish it in three days.
The County Carlow stretch of this varied trail from Kildavin to Graignamanagh leads the walker between some very fine lofty summits, follows the towpath along the River Barrow and passes through medieval towns and ancient sites.
STAGE 1: Kildavin - Borris 14 miles (22km). From Kildavin our way takes us along quiet country roads but soon ascends via steep dirt roads to the forest. Magnificent views of the surrounding lowlands may be had on a fine day. The way now changes as we leave the dirt tracks and head along quiet country roads and across the slopes of Mount Leinster before reaching the town of Borris. The "Nine Stones" at Mount Leinster offers amazing views of the Barrow Valley and Brandon Hill.
STAGE 2: Borris - Graigue-namanagh 7 1/2 miles (12km). This stretch follows the towpath along the River Barrow, and is particularly attractive as it passes through rich deciduous woodland and old mills.
STAGE 3: Graiguenamanagh - Inistioge 10 miles (16km). This walk crosses the slopes of Mount Brandon by a series of forest walks. Our stop is in Inistioge - a pretty village with a fine market square and interesting buildings and sites including the Augustinian Priory and St. Columcille's in county of Kilkenny but connected via a bridge over the River Barrow to its twin village of Tinnahinch in Co. Carlow. Famous films shot here include Widow's Peak and Circle of Friends.
STAGE 4: Inistioge - Mullinavat 19 miles (30km). Suitable for the seasoned walker. This section of the way starts along the banks of the River Nore and continues via forest roads over several hills to reach Mullinavat. It is long and quiet hilly in nature.
STAGE 5: Mullinavat - Carrick-on-Suir 14 miles (22km). This stretch crosses the River Blackwater and passes the village of Piltown to the end of the walk in Carrick-on-Suir.
The full length of the Barrow Way, from Lowtown to St. Mullins is 70 miles (113 km). You can cover this distance in a single journey in less than a week or explore shorter sections of the walk in a number of easy strolls. Accommodation is available from 2 to 12 miles and varies from hotels to self-catering and bed & breakfasts. Most accommodation providers are delighted to transport you to and from your starting and finishing point. Towns offer a full range of services while villages have good facilities that are designed to meet the needs of the walker.
STAGE 1 of the Barrow Way starts in Lowtown and a distance of 14 miles (23 km) takes you to the town of Monasterevin. The raised banks of the canal offers beautiful views of the surrounding countryside and of the Hill of Alien andJhe Wicklow Mountains.
STAGE 2 covers the stretch from Monasterevin to Athy -14 miles (23km). This stretch offers the visitor much of architectural interest with many old bridges and houses.
STAGE 3 runs from Athy to Carlow -12 miles (19km). This is the first of four stretches which pass through the county of Carlow. We start off from the heritage town of Athy and pass many interesting lifting bridges and old mills. A break at Maganey bridge is recommended and if it's liquid refreshment you require the Three Counties Pub is located closeby. The counties referred to are Kildare, Laois and Carlow which meet hereabouts.
STAGE 4 Carlow to Bagenalstown 10 miles (16 km). Milford, approximately 7km south of Carlow is one of the most attractive stretches along the River Barrow. Set in an idyllic location with three bridges, large mill buildings and a large wooded area it is famous as an aquatic triangle. Herons and kingfishers are often to be seen here. This stretch of our walk is rich with historical buildings and castles including the Black Castle at Leighlinbridge and the many architectural gems in the town of Bagenalstown, where our walk ends.
STAGE 5 takes you from Bagenalstown to Graignamanagh -16 miles (26km). Today we pass via the small villages of Goresbridge and Borris. The village of Borris nestles in the foothills of the Blackstairs Mountains and has retained its charms of former days. Many shops have kept their traditional fronts and the local public houses have earned nation-wide recognition for their friendly, old world atmosphere. Our walk ends in Graignamanagh, a picturesque abbey town and a popular boating and craft centre. Overlooking the River Barrow is Duiske Abbey founded by Norman monks from Stanley Abbey, Wiltshire in 1204. The "Early English" design boasts a lofty nave and it is the largest of Irish Cistercian monastery churches. Duiske Abbey is open daily and group tours can be arranged on 0503-24238
STAGE 6 Graignamanagh to St. Mullins - 4 miles (6km). This stretch has beautiful woodland surroundings with a strong ecclesiastical theme in the religious settlement at St. Mullins. The complex includes a medieval church ruin, the base of a round tower and the former Church of Ireland church, built in 1811, which now hosts a heritage centre. The lower settlement is set on a glorious stretch of the Barrow Valley and includes a picnic area,and restaurant where excellent traditional fare is served.
Please allow plenty of time for your journey and beware of unusual road conditions, eg mud, tractors, animals, potholes. Thank you.
Carlow via west bank of Barrow to Milford - Old Leighlin - Leighlinbridge - Bagenalstown Goresbridge - Graignamanagh - Thomastown - Inistioge - The Rower - New Ross via east bank of Barrow to - St. Mullins - Tinnahinch - Borris - Leighlinbridge - Carlow.
Carlow Museum & Carlow Brewing Co., Carlow; Black Castle & Bridge, Leighlinbridge;
Bagenalstown; Dunleckney Manor; Duiske Abbey, Graignamanagh; Jerpoint Abbey, Thomastown; St. Mary's Church; Galley cruising restaurant; John F. Kennedy Park & Arboretum, New Ross; St. Mullins Heritage.
Rathvilly - Hacketstown - Tobinstown - Ballon - Carlow.
Brownshill Dolmen, Carlow; Lisnavagh Gardens, Rathvilly; Haroldstown Dolmen, Altamont Gardens, Tullow; Tullow Museum, Tullow; Cottage Collection, Ardattin; Clonmore Church.
MOUNT LEINSTER DRIVE,
Borris - Mt. Leinster - Bunclody - The Watch - Clonegal - Kildavin -Myshall - Fenagh - Bagenalstown - Borris.
Mt. Leinster viewpoints; Huntington Castle, Clonegal;
Church of St. Paul (1812) Kildavin; Ballykeenan Pet Farm and Adelaide Memorial Church, Myshall; Country Quads, Borris.
Carlow - Maganey - Athy - Timolin - Moone -Castledermot - Carlow.
Athy Castle & Ancient Church; Pewter Mills, Timolin; Moone High Cross;
Castledermot High Crosses, Viking burials and Round Tower.
THE RIDGE DRIVE,
Carlow - Royal Oak - Paulstown - Kilkenny - Castlecomer -Newtown - Killeshin - Carlow.
Wells Church, Wells; Shankill Castle & Gallery; Paulstown; Kilkenny Heritage
Town & Kilkenny Castle; Jenkinstown Forest Park; Dunmore Cave, Castlecomer;
Killeshin - 12th century church with 5th century Romanesque doorway.
THE PLAINS DRIVE,
Carlow - Stradbally - Portlaoise - Abbeyleix - Killeshin - Carlow.
Stradbally Steam Museum; Rock of Dunamase;
Abbeyleix Heritage Centre; Killeshin Church;