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The Barrow Valley is one of Ireland’s best-kept secrets, comprising as it does an unspoiled passage through the South East’s most beautiful landscapes. Despite being the second longest river in Ireland, the River Barrow area lacks the visitor overkill of the Shannon region and that’s what makes it so special. This is the Ireland you yearned to see.

“The most beautiful riverside walk in these islands”Dick Warner


Where is it? – Located roughly between Dublin and Kilkenny (one of Ireland’s favourite tourist routes) it’s the perfect place to discover some of South East Ireland’s unspoiled, hidden treasures in authentic Ireland. (M9 Motorway, bale out at Junction 6, head to Leighlinbridge village to begin).

Information & inspiration:

St Mullins, Ireland, barrow valley

Roadside view near St Mullins

south east Ireland, river Barrow, 18th century cut stone bridge, wild flowers, Goresbridge. Photo by James Burke

18th century cut stone bridge with wild flowers at Goresbridge. All Photos by James Burke


The river lock at Tinnahinch Lower

About the river & Barrow Way walk The river was made navigable some three centuries ago by the addition of weirs, navigation canals and locks. These wide locks once allowed the safe transport on huge barges of grain, sugar beet, coal, porter and other more fragile goods. As elsewhere, the railways subsequently took much of the trade away from the river and it’s commercial traffic slowly declined.

Nowadays the river is a priceless resource for anglers, boatmen, kayakers, swimmers, walkers, cyclists, artists, photographers and wildlife enthusiasts. The locks have been restored, as has the Barrow Way – the former towpath for the earliest horse-drawn barges. You can choose to walk, cycle or travel by car on the roads between the many riverside towns and villages, each with a charm of their own, threaded like pearls on a silver necklace. You won’t see any jet skis or the like. Translations are on our Activities page

Ballyellen Lower Lock, Goresbridge

Ballyellen Lower Lock, Goresbridge. Dippers nest in the wall crevices of the lock and a large dog otter is often seen at the weir nearby. Twenty minute’s walk from Goresbridge.

Like the one above, several of the navigation canal locks can only be reached on foot or by boat, which makes them all the more rewarding to discover. The wider Barrow Valley, away from the river, offers a chance to see authentic rural Ireland off the main tourist drag. As with much travel in Ireland, your journey is likely to be as pleasantly memorable as your destination. Stop to ask directions and you may meet some unforgettable people too – Bon Voyage !

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Irelande, river barrow, walking, south east ireland,

Translations are here


  • Fenniscourt Lock & Gordon Bennet Rally

See more photos here


Barro Valle, Barrow Way, walking, cycling, fishing, activities, heritage, South East Ireland,

About barrowvalley.net

This website features the photography & writing of James Burke, who now lives locally and has been enchanted by the River Barrow since arriving some 16 years ago. All images & videos are copyright James Burke and are not for reproduction without written permission. High-res versions may be available for print so please address enquiries via the contact form

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