Scenic walks in Carlow. Enjoy the fresh air and unspoiled natural beauty in this truly authentic part of rural Ireland.
To get to Milford (10 mins from us) head to main road and take back road opposite the Arboretum Garden Centre.
As advertised on The Great Outdoors website
We Welcome Walking Groups:
We are ideally placed for exploring the fabulous Blackstairs Mountains. We welcome walking groups who can set up their 'base camp' in our self-catering houses with all the comforts of home (including our own pub) as well as washing machines and driers available to guests. There are also lovely riverside walks right beside us, along the unspoiled River Barrow. Scroll down for full details.
The view from Tomduff Hill near Borris village. You can drive here in 20 minutes for spectacular scenery and hill walking on the Blackstairs Mountains. (Directions: Turn left at bottom of village of Borris, under the old viaduct and follow the signs for the RTE Transmitter. See below for Blackstairs Mountains walking routes).
Enjoy the fresh air and unspoiled natural beauty in this part of rural Ireland. There are many activities to choose from and, should it rain, we are conveniently situated between Carlow Town and Kilkenny City, with their cinemas, swimming pools and excellent pubs, restaurants & shopping. We are in comfortable driving distance of Counties Kilkenny, Waterford, Wexford, Laois and Wicklow. Guides & leaflets available onsite.
A walkers paradise, County Carlow is home to three of Irelands key national walking routes The South Leinster, The Wicklow and the Barrow Way which links with the Slieve Margy Way in Co. Laois. Enjoy the invigorating challenge of Carlows mountain treks or find peace and tranquillity on quiet country routes. Combine this with clean, fresh air, knowledgeable local guides, excellent accommodation and traditional home cooked fare for a revitalising break.
The South Leinster Way
For the more adventurous hill walker, The South Leinster Way is a long distance walking route which runs from Kildavin, Co. Carlow to Carrick-on-Suir in Co. Tipperary covering 102 kilometres (64 miles) in length and ascending 1600 metres.
The predominant features in the landscape are Mount Leinster, Brandon Hill and the river valleys of the Barrow, Nore and Suir. This stretch can be comfortably walked in five days but strong walkers can finish it in three days.
STAGE 1: Kildavin - Borris 22km (14 miles). From Kildavin the route passes along forest tracks over the northern slopes of Mount Leinster to reach the town of Borris. The "Nine Stones" vantage point at Mount Leinster offers amazing views of the Barrow Valley and Brandon Hill.
Borris Sheep Mart. Photo by James Burke
STAGE 2: Borris - Graiguenamanagh 12km (7 ½ miles). This stretch follows the towpath along the River Barrow and is particularly attractive as it passes through rich deciduous woodland and old mills. Graiguenamanagh is the end of this walk - a quayside, boating town lying in the county of Kilkenny but connected via a bridge over the River Barrow to its twin village of Tinnahinch in Co. Carlow.
STAGE 3: Graiguenamanagh - Inistioge 16km (10 miles). This walk crosses the slopes of Mount Brandon by a series of forest walks before reaching the village of Inistioge - a pretty village with a fine market square and interesting buildings and sites including the Augustinian Priory and St. Columcille's Well. In recent years, Inistioge has also witnessed the development of the film making industry in Ireland. Famous films shot here include Widow's Peak and Circle of Friends.
The Wicklow Way
The route covers a distance of 81 miles (132 km) in length commencing in Marlay Park, Dublin and finishing in the beautiful village of Clonegal located in the River Slaney valley in the east of the county. The route provides great variety of landscape and many areas of historical interest along the way. Noted for its rich variety of wildlife including red deer, silka deer, hares, foxes, squirrels and more rarely badgers. Call to Osborne’s in the village of Clonegal where you can collect your own personalised Wicklow Way certificate for completion of the route.
As our houses have tumble dryers / washing machines, you can get your walking kit in order back at base camp.
SOUTH EAST IRELAND WALKING LINKS:
Maps: Ordnance Survey Ireland 1:126,720 Sheets available to order online from OSI
Local Walks: Mountain Views: Blackstairs mountain walks
See also: The Comeragh Mountains
Geocaching is an activity which combines a love of the outdoors with the use of highly sophisticated modern technology. Basically geocaching is like a traditional treasure hunt, but instead of having a paper map with an X marking the spot, "cachers" use a handheld portable device, around the size of a mobile phone, called a Global Positioning System receiver (or GPS as its more commonly known) to locate their position on the earth's surface: Geocaching Ireland
Browneshill Dolmen, Co Carlow
County Carlow is often referred to as the Celtic County of Ireland. With it's lush river valleys, it was an early settlement for mankind. Megalithomania is an excellent online field guide to megalithic monuments in the Carlow area and beyond. There are no fewer than 70 megalithic sites listed in County Carlow on Megalithomania
Other Activities in the area
Don't forget our Hot Tub for those aches & pains!
HORSE RACING & SALES:
Altamont Gardens. Photo by James Burke
County Carlow offers some of the best public gardens in Ireland - see the website below for full details. The Carlow Floral Trail website (held in August each year) has details of local gardens and a wider County guide:
We are ideally located for visitors to the annual Carlow Garden Festival (Click on logo for details)
Experience the thrilling Irish traditional sport of Hurling at Nowlan Park, Kilkenny
Local Golf Courses
Golf Bookings. Details correct at time of adding - check with them before setting off.
Please book direct with the courses listed below. We have more local information available at Garrison House Holiday Centre.
Phone: + 353 (0) 503 31695.
This spectacular 18-hole course near to Carlow town is ranked among the top twenty Championship courses in Ireland. Set in the beautiful green countryside of the South East, Carlow Golf Club is laid out over undulating sandy terrain with several elevated tees, in what was originally a deer park attached to the former Bruen Estate. The course is playable year round due to its links like character and always provides a challenging game.
of course: 18-hole parkland. Length: 5974 meters. Par: 70.
Open: Daylight hours.
Lessons: By arrangement with P.G.A. professional Mr. Andrew Gilbert.
In the south of the county the 9-hole course at Borris commands panoramic views of the neighbouring countryside with Mount Leinster and the Blackstairs mountains to the east, and the Barrow Valley to the west. This parkland course is maintained to a very high standard with a modern, automatic watering system and the texture of the greens compare favourably with the best. It would be difficult to find a course in a more picturesque setting, with the stately McMurrough Kavanagh family seat in the background.
Type of course: 9 hole parkland.
Situated in the scenic north-east corner of Co. Carlow in an area noted for its historical interest and photogenic landscape, this golf course is an 18 hole Par 3 with additional facilities for skittles, meggers and boules.
hours: All year. Daylight hours.
The course is set in 300 acres of breathtaking parklands in the former Hall-Dare Estate and the lift is provided more as a convenience than as a life saver. But it does introduce a feature that could be copied to good advantage at a number of other Irish courses which present a stern walking challenge to all and an impossible test to their senior citizens. Opulence and old world rural charm are being combined in a manner befitting a magnificent location with the end result being another glittering jewel in Ireland’s crown of fine golf courses.
This is a big golf course. It runs over 7,000 yards and it is definitely the highest point to date in the ascending design career of Jeff Howes. It is set to be a worthy neighbour to Mount Juliet and that just about says it all. Even better, the town of Bunclody is in the Adare-style of rustic charm and the luxurious Carlton Millrace Hotel is just across from the entrance.
County Kilkenny Courses:
3 Course Tickets are available for the following Kilkenny courses. Please contact the clubs direct for more details:
Garrison Waterside is centrally located for a number of outdoor activities, including horse riding (and racing), walking, hill walking (see below), swimming (both indoor and out), quads, cycling, golf and, for rainy days, shopping and cinemas in both medieval Kilkenny City and Carlow Town - we are located between the two.
Our Harris Hawk - great fun for the children to feed!
There are many activities to choose from and, should it rain, we are conveniently situated between Carlow Town and Kilkenny City, with their cinemas, swimming pools and excellent pubs, restaurants & shopping. We are in comfortable driving distance of Counties Kilkenny, Waterford, Wexford, Laois and Wicklow. Guides & leaflets available onsite.
Please note: we can now offer Kayaking with qualified instructor - brilliant fun for groups - please enquire here
We can offer special activities for all the family - including escorted boat / fishing trips. Please contact us for more details.
Garrison House from the river. Explore the unspoiled river Barrow and Navigation Canal. Built to transport everthing from grain to Guinness, the river and canal offer some of the best riverside scenery in Europe, along with first-class fishing.
Read more about the river here
Experience the peace of the countryside with beautiful walks along the River Barrow and the South Leinster Way walking routes.
Traditional Irish Music
No visit to Ireland is complete without experiencing Traditional Irish Music. County Carlow has retained a strong tradition of Irish culture. Also weekends in Borris village (5 miles) usually provide a session or two. Look out for notices in the many traditional pubs pubs of Carlow Town or Kilkenny City for impromptu sessions.
Easy Grade Riverside Walk:
Garrison Waterside is beside the River Barrow, Ireland's second-longest river after the Shannon. As the River Barrow is navigable, there is a tow path along it's length. This path is know as the Barrow Way and is suitable for almost all walkers, being flat and well maintained by Waterways Ireland. Join or leave it it at any point and expect to see abundant wildlife, including kingfishers and even otters along the way.
Wild otter feeding in the river Barrow at St Mullins Lock. Photo by James Burke.
The Barrow Way (easy grade)
113km (70 miles) in length, running beside the beautiful River Barrow, Ireland's second longest river. By breaking the journey into several manageable strolls (or even at at different times) you can enjoy one of Europe's most beautiful walks beside the beautiful River Barrow. Your accommodation host will generally be delighted to transport you to and from your start or finish point. Although the Barrow Way is uncrowded, you can stop to chat with anglers, canoeists and other river users.
The full length of the Barrow Way, from Lowtown to St. Mullins is 70 miles (113km). You can cover the whole distance in a single journey in less than a week or explore shorter sections of the walk in a number of easy strolls nearer to Leighlinbridge from Stage 4 southwards. Picnic or snacks advised.
Starts in Lowtown for a distance of 14 miles (23km) which takes you to the town of Monasterevin.
The raised banks of the canal offers beautiful views of the surrounding countryside with views of the Hill of Allen and the Wicklow Mountains.
Monasterevin to Athy - 14 miles (23km).
This stretch offers the visitor much of architectural interest with many old bridges and houses.
Ballymoon Castle near Bagenalstown. Photo by James Burke
Athy to Carlow - 12 miles (19km).
This is the first of four stretches which pass through the county of Carlow. We start off from the heritage town of Athy and pass many interesting lifting bridges and old mills. A break at Maganey bridge is recommended and if its liquid refreshment you require the Three Counties pub is located closeby. The counties referred to are Kildare, Laois and Carlow which meet hereabouts.
Bagenalstown riverside. Photo James Burke
Carlow to Bagenalstown 10 miles (16km).
Milford, approximately 7 km south of Carlow is one of the most attractive stretches along the River Barrow.
Milford , Co Carlow. Photo James Burke
Set in an idyllic location with three bridges, large mill buildings and a large wooded area it is famous as an aquatic triangle. Herons and kingfishers are often to be seen here.
Milford on the river Barrow. Photo by James Burke
The Valerian Bridge in Leighlinbridge, Co Carlow, with the Black Castle, overlooking the River Barrow - The perfect base for excursions.
This stretch of our walk is rich with historical buildings and castles including the Black Castle at Leighlinbridge and the many architectural gems in the town of Bagenalstown, where our walk ends
Walking the riverside Barrow Track is an easy way to enjoy unspoilt Ireland. Pic shows Rathellin Lock, between Bagenalstown & Leighlinbridge. Photo by James Burke
Bagenalstown to Graigenamanagh - 16 miles (26km).
Today we pass via the small villages of Goresbridge and Borris. On several occasions throughout the year crowds gather from Ireland and abroad for the famous horse fairs held in O Donoghues of Goresbridge. This is a great social gathering and should you happen to pass on a sales day make sure to drop in. The village of Borris nestles in the foothills of the Blackstairs mountains and has retained its charms of former days.
Graiguenamanagh - a picturesque and friendly River Barrow boating centre with traditional pubs. As visited by Oz Clarke & James May in a recent BBC programme. Photo James Burke
Many Graigenamanagh shops have kept their traditional fronts and the local public houses have earned nation-wide recognition for their friendly, old world atmosphere - try a pint in Ryans on the main street across from the Abbey.
Our walk ends in Graignamanagh, a picturesque abbey town. The name means Grange of the Monks in Irish.
Lower Tinnahinch lock, near to Graignamanagh.
Graignamanagh to St. Mullins - 4 miles (6km).
St. Mullins ecclesiastical centre and riverside village. Photo James Burke
This stretch has beautiful woodland surroundings with a strong ecclesiastical theme in the religious settlement at St. Mullins. The complex includes a medieval church ruin, the base of a round tower and the former Church of Ireland church, built in 1811, which now hosts a heritage centre. Many 1798 Uprising men are buried here and the area has been a place of pilgrimage for centuries, especially during the Plague.
(click to enlarge image)
A Norman Motte dominates the approach to the village of St Mullins. The Bailey can still be seen in the grass.
A handy pub is located nearby on the village green. The lower stretch of St Mullins is set on a glorious stretch of the Barrow Valley and includes a picnic area and restaurant where excellent traditional fare is served.
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