The Barrow Way is considered one of the most scenic and picturesque inland waterways. The Barrow River is the second-longest river in Ireland at 192 km after the Shannon. The Barrow along with River Nore and River Suir forms the three sisters of Ireland.  

Passing through Ireland’s most scenic countryside the River Barrow Walkway is a delight for tourists, starting in Country Laois and flowing through counties Kildare, Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford, and Wexford. The river and its reedy banks abound in river flora harbouring a wealth of wildlife and fish. Canal boats, barges, and canoes.

The riverway is fringed with reeds and river flora, harbouring a wealth of wildlife on its way. People have replaced cargo on the Barrow in boats and barges along its 68 kilometres of navigable waterways. 

It’s an award winner!

Paddle Boarding on Barrow near Graiguenamanagh

The Barrow way in recent years has seen a lot of rejuvenation. Several sporting activities ranging from adventure water sports like kayaking and rafting to leisure activities like walking and biking on the river trail are rising.  

In a competition organised by Irish Times and Discover Ireland in 2015, Barrow Way made the shortlist in the top 5 best days out in Ireland category. This is “a place to share and to create treasured memories.” On a hot day in summer, Barrow Way will give you the experience of being in the south of France.

The Barrow Canal

The ‘Barrow Way’ is a walking trail that is long-distance, it follows the original towpath of the river. It is one of Ireland’s most scenic and iconic trails which still remains not discovered by many.  Why not explore an undiscovered piece of Ireland by walking the barrow way walking trail. This glorious walking trail has the promise to take your breath away and fill you with peace and calm. 

Fenniscourt Lough on the Barrow Way

The Walking Trail

The Barrow Way walk is 114 km that is 70 miles long following the towpath which was historically used by horses to pull barges full of cargo. These would bring wheat upstream to the Guinness brewery in Dublin and later the finished product would travel downstream to its thirsty customers.  
The walking trail will take you through various historic towns and will show you the old town charm of Ireland.

The walking Tours

Scenic Barrow River view

The Barrow way route can be achieved in a four days hike but can be broken into small manageable sections panning over a week. The grassy trails and flat terrain are ideal for walks abundant with architecturally interesting sights like ancient bridges, arches, and tiny houses.  
Currently, Barrow Way is famous amongst day-walkers who prefer to cover areas of the path rather than the entire trail.  Here is how you can plan an ideal Barrow Way Walking Holiday and enjoy the best it has to offer. 

The Barrow Way Walk is set up in easy to manage stages. At Walking Holiday Ireland we offer a five-day package and an eight-day package. Indeed we also offer a 2-week package where we include both The Barrow Way and the Wicklow Way. The entire route is peppered with welcoming bed and breakfasts. Here you can rest your weary feet and recharge your battery and continue your walk the next day. 

Towpath along the Barrow River in Ireland

Below are the stages of the Barrow Way

Stage 1: Robertstown to Monasterevin

The Barrow Way walk starts from Lowtown in County Kildare just west of Dublin. The first stage of the walk is leading you into the town of Monasterevin. The trail follows the Barrow Canal’s raised banks and offers you picturesque views of the Irish countryside. The first stretch covers the historic ruins of the fortress of Dunamase, the scenic countryside views of Hill of Allen, and the Wicklow Mountains. Overnight near Monasterevin.

Stage 2: Monasterevin to Athy

Stage two of the trail will take you from Monasterevin to the heritage town of Athy. Athy was developed in the 13th-century by the Anglo-Normans to secure the river crossing and has several interesting heritage walks. The walking trail also covers many architectural interest points like quaint bridges and traditional houses along the way.

Stage 3: Athy to Carlow

From Athy, we will join the Barrow river, and this track will pass through the county of Carlow Along this stretch you will pass many interesting old mills and lifting bridges before you reach the historic town of Carlow. Carlow is the largest town on River Barrow, make sure you check out the Castle and Cathedral while in town. Overnight in Carlow.

Stage 4:  Carlow to Bagenalstown

This stage of the Barrow Walk will take you from Carlow to Bagenalstown. Milford, about 7km south of Carlow, is arguably the most picturesque area on the Barrow river. Set in a peaceful location with 3 bridges, a large wooded area, and large mill buildings, the town of Milford is a perfect antidote to the fast-paced modern world. Overnight in Bagenalstown

Stage 5: Bagenalstown to Borris

Leaving Bagenalstown and its many historic sites we make our way south to Borris which also lies on the distance trail; The Leinster way. At Ballytiglea Bridge we leave the Barrow Way to reach your accommodation in Borris 2 km). Overnight in Borris.

Stage 6: Borris to St. Mullins

The final stage of the tour leads into the religious settlement of St. Mullins which is surrounded by a robust ecclesiastical theme and beautiful woodlands. St. Mullins is set on a fabulous stretch of the Barrow Valley. This walk will conclude your glorious, scenic and picturesque Barrow Way Walking Holiday.

The Barrow Sign

Things to consider while planning your Barrow Way Walking Holiday:

  • Please don’t overdo it, prepare for taking it in stretches and book accordingly
  • Carry a comfortable pair of shoes, and this will include a lot of walking
  • Carry a bottle of water and some snacks with you while you are on the trail
  • Don’t litter this beautiful piece of heaven