If you are traveling between Dublin and Kilkenny, you’ll unknowingly pass through a section of the Barrow Valley. If you have time, turn off the motorway and head down to the riverside venues of Leighlinbridge, Milford, Bagenalstown or Graignamanagh and take a deep breath. (Junction 6, M9 motorway).
An hour or two by the river is the perfect antidote to a hectic travel schedule. Plus you’ll see what most visitors miss out on, namely rural Ireland going about it’s daily life at a slower pace in a breathtaking, unspoiled setting away from the tourist trail.
No tour buses or paddywhackery here, just authentic Ireland at it’s best – beside Ireland’s second longest river. There are also hills all around the valley..
If you fancy a hill walk, why not venture up to the Blackstairs Mountains for spectacular views over this fertile river valley? You can drive up from Borris village or Bagenalstown or head to Ballymurphy for the Blackstairs Mountain Walk. See our Walking page.
Bing Maps- Leighlinbridge. Nice place to start your tour:
Clashganny viewpoint map link From here, head downhill and take first left, signposted Clashganny House Restaurant to reach the lock. Great place to visit with car park & toilets (not always open !)
Getting here by air & sea. Approximately 1.5 hours drive from Dublin Airport / Rosslare Ferry Port. 2 hours from Cork.
Let’s talk about Eircodes & Autoaddress App
It has always been a hassle with Ireland not having postcodes (zipcodes). Good news – the Republic now has “Eircodes” allocated to all homes & businesses. (cue fanfare!) So, if you get your accommodation’s Eircode you can use the free Autoaddress app for your smartphone or tablet to navigate. I use this all the time to find more remote addresses, as do couriers and delivery men. If you get an Eircode you can go to this website to use it. If your destination doesn’t have one, find the nearest red dot and use that to navigate there.
“Get lost in ancient tranquillity” County Carlow is filled by ancient footsteps, deep lakes and echoes of holy endeavour”, reports Malcolm Rogers.
“Maybe it’s because Carlow doesn’t attract the same number of tourists as Kerry, Cork or Clare, but somehow a feel of old Ireland pervades the place. It’s an enchanting, often overlooked county — but none the worse for that. Places to stay abound, loads of pubs are available to linger in, and above all a countryside to rival the Haute Gironne or the Tuscany uplands. Its past takes in ancient Gaelic history, the arrival of the Anglo Normans and on through to the 1798 Rebellion…
There’s no shortage of heritage and culture here. You can wander round the environs of the early 13th century Norman castle in the town, or venture over to Browne’s Hill. This is the largest Neolithic, pre-Christian dolmen in Europe — around 3,500 years old. (see below). Many stone and bronze axes have also been found in the area of the town and along the banks of the Barrow river. Journey throughout the county and you’ll see standing stones, dolmens, stone forts and burial chambers dating back to 2500 BC.
Moving swiftly forward, in the 5th and 6th centuries Carlow became an important early Christian centre. Throughout the county monastic settlements were set up — the beautiful village of St. Mullins, for example, was where St. Moling’s abbey was founded. There are still some remains of the monastery to be seen nestling beautifully in countryside which hasn’t changed much in 1500 years.You’ll be wanting to know more about the afore-mentioned countryside and what diversions are to be had throughout the county. Well, there’s fishing in the River Barrow, birdwatching along the River Burren, rambling in the Blackstairs Mountains…
The other charms of Carlow are not hard to find. Given its mild climate the place is a haven for gardens and gardeners. If flowers are your particular interest then head for Carlow’s Floral Festival Trail which takes place in August. The towns and villages of Carlow — picturesque places like Clonegal, Clonmore, Hacketstown, Kildavin and Killeshin — are set in beautiful pastureland. The place couldn’t be more Irish, with friendliness, and hospitality high on the agenda. It’s a pastoral place, but with enough charms to guarantee a beautifully tranquil holiday.” source: Irish Post
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