The Barrow Way starts and finishes in St. Mullins and follows the towpath, originally a path alongside the River Barrow to allow the pulling of barges or boats for transport. The ground is level throughout, passing good land where cattle and sheep farming is predominant.
The Barrow Way allows for sightings of a rich variety of river life – swans, mallard, heron, kingfisher and hen pheasant are regularly to be seen. The path also offers much of architectural interest to the visitor – bridges, many arched, and pretty lock houses, some still in use. Many interesting historical features are located in close proximity to the river including castles, abbeys, old bridges and derelict mills.
The full length of the Barrow Way, from Lowtown to St. Mullins is 113 kilometres (70 miles) with two stages in the southern reaches of the county.
The route from Bagenalstown to Graiguenamanagh covers a distance of 26km (16 miles), passing the small villages of Goresbridge and Borris, and onwards to Clashganny, before finishing in the town of Graiguenamanagh. If you follow the road away from the towpath at Clashganny carpark, you will come to the ruins of an old mill at Clashganny. There were many such mills along the river which used water power by means of a water wheel to grind grains into flour. Barges were then used to transport the flour and grain onto the river.
Graiguenamanagh is a picturesque abbey town and a popular boating and craft centre. Overlooking the River Barrow is Duiske Abbey founded by Norman monks from Stanley Abbey, Wiltshire in 1204. The “Early English” design boasts a lofty nave and it is the largest of Irish Cistercian monastery churches. Duiske Abbey is open daily and group tours can be arranged.
Graiguenamanagh to St. Mullins – 6km (4 miles). This stretch is arguably the prettiest of the entire route with its beautiful woodland surroundings and strong ecclesiastical theme in the religious settlement at St. Mullins.