The Barrow Way follows the towpath, originally a path alongside the River Barrow where horses pulled barges and goods for transport. Nowadays, visitors can enjoy excellent flat walking, passing good land where tillage and cattle farming is predominant. The path offers much of architectural interest to the visitor – bridges, many arched, and pretty lock houses, some still in use. The full length of the Barrow Way from Robertstown in Kildare to St. Mullins in Carlow is 113 kilometres. Accommodation is available at regular intervals and varies from hotels to self-catering and B&B.
The details in this post are mainly taken from the Guide to Carlow from carlowtourism.com and details the many walks and trails to discover around Carlow. The Barrow Way is divided into 6 stages and this post details the final stage, Stage 6, which is also the shortest.
Start point: link
End point: link
A full list of the stages are below:
STAGE 1 of the Barrow Way starts in Robertstown, Co. Kildare and a distance of 23km takes you to the town of Monasterevin. The raised banks of the canal offer beautiful vistas of the surrounding countryside with views of the Hill of Allen and the Wicklow Mountains.
STAGE 2 covers the stretch from Monasterevin to Athy – 23km. This stretch offers the visitor much of historical and architectural interest with many old bridges and houses.
STAGE 3 runs from Athy to Carlow – 19km. This is the first of four stretches which pass through the county of Carlow. Starting from the heritage town of Athy, the route passes many interesting lifting bridges and old mills before reaching Carlow Town.
STAGE 4 Carlow to Bagenalstown – 16km. 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, mill buildings and a large wooded area, it is famous as an aquatic triangle with regular spottings of herons and kingfishers. This stretch of walk is rich with historical buildings and castles including the Black Castle at Leighlinbridge and the many architectural and industrial gems in the town of Bagenalstown, where this section of the walk ends.
STAGE 5 takes the walker from Bagenalstown to Graiguenamanagh – 26km. This route passes the pretty villages of Goresbridge and Borris before ending in Graiguenamanagh, a picturesque abbey town and a popular boating centre. Overlooking the River Barrow is Duiske Abbey founded by Norman monks from Stanley Abbey, Wiltshire in 1204.
STAGE 6 Graiguenamanagh to St. Mullins – 8km. This stretch has beautiful woodland surroundings with a strong ecclesiastical theme in the religious settlement at St. Mullins. The lower settlement is set on a glorious stretch of the Barrow Valley and includes a picnic area.