In Irish, the name means ‘grange of the monks’. Known locally as ‘Graig’ the waterside town is home to former Barrow bargemen’s families even today. Graiguenamangh is in Co. Kilkenny, while Tinnahinch, on the east bank, is in Co. Carlow. The beautiful bridge links the two counties and dates from 1767 when a canal system was being built on the Barrow to improve river navigation.
Before the bridge and perched above the town is historic Duiske Abbey, now beautifully restored. Norman monks from Stanley Abbey, Wiltshire, founded it in 1204. Take time to walk through the town with its great selection of shops, pubs and music. Those of you who like long walks can take the road to Brandon Hill or head for Tinnahinch bridge and join the South Leinster Way long-distance walking trail. Each August, Graiguenamanagh hosts a very good Book Fair – search “Town of Books”.
The huge working barges carried up to 60 tons of cargo with a crew of 3-4. Working in all weathers against the clock, the bargemen needed immense physical strength (no cranes to load or unload) and great skill to manage the barges. Boats were timed through the locks by Grand Canal Company inspectors.
Heritage Barge 78M shown below still has it’s hybrid diesel/steam Bollinder engine which had to be started with a blow lamp!
See the walking guide for more information