Borris Viaduct Walk
The Borris Viaduct Walk offers a leisurely stroll around the spectacular sixteen arch viaduct with beautiful views to the Blackstairs Mountains and Mount Leinster.
The walk starts just off the R702 at the car park beside Borris Vocational School. It's approximately 1.5km in total, including the loop which takes you under the viaduct.
A very helpful review by Our Little Hiker can be found here and more information about the history of the viaduct is to be found at www.borrisviaduct.ie.
The viaduct is one of Ireland's best examples of monumental 19th Century railway engineering. Designed by the engineer Williaim Le Fanu (1816– 1894) and built by M. Talbot, the Viaduct rises to 60ft high and spans the Mountain River. It was built at a cost of £20,000 and completed in 1860.
Slí na Sláinte
Slí na Sláinte routes are mapped, signposted walking routes in the heart of the community suitable for all ages and abilities.
The attractive signage aims to encourage people to incorporate more walking into their lifestyle.
There are two Slí na Sláinte routes in the area, one in Rathanna and one in Ballymurphy/Walshestown. You can download the maps here.
With a whole host of visitor amenities, Borris is the perfect gateway to explore loads of great routes in and around Mount Leinster and the Blackstairs Mountains and Borris Village. Thanks to Carlow Tourism for providing this selection.
The Barrow Way
Bagenalstown - Graiguenamanagh
A small village called Muine Bheag existed here in the Middle Ages but in the 18th century Walter Bagenal designed a new town, supposedly based on Versailles of France and called it Bagenalstown.
Pleasing features of this period include the impressive courthouse, now a public library and a fine neo-classical railway station.
Goresbridge named after Colonel Gore was built in 1756 and features a beautifully maintained picnic area and riverside park.
Ballytiglea Lock and then Bridge is reached where you may exit if you wish to visit Borris. Borris is a Georgian,
granite village, full of charm and heritage whose houses and Victorian shop fronts have remained largely intact.
There is a wonderful 3.5km walk around and under
the old Railway Viaduct at the end of the village, offering superb views to the Blackstairs Mountains and Mount Leinster. A dedicated car park and picnic area have been developed at the site.
Continue on the towpath, with the wooded estate of Borris House on your left.
Clashganny Lock and weir is reached some 6kms from Borris and is a popular beauty and picnic spot with wonderful walks through Clashganny Forest (see routes below). Approaching Graiguenamanagh the river begins to cut its way between the hills with attractive tree-lined slopes.
The Barrow Way
Graiguenamanagh - St. Mullins
Graiguenamanagh is a busy town and a very popular mooring place on the River Barrow. It was once the hub of the barge transport business and many families plied that trade. Rail and road transport eventually replaced the barges, last used in 1959. As you leave the town you pass Tinnahinch Castle, a Butler stronghold built to defend the ford.
This section may be short but it is full of beauty and drama with frequent weirs and the lofty Brandon Hill rising up to your right. It is popular with both walkers and people travelling the river by boat, Canadian canoe or kayak.
Soon you reach the mighty St. Mullins Weir, this and the following Sea Lock separate the tidal part of the River Barrow from the upper reaches that you have just followed. Below the Sea Lock boats must wait at St. Mullins for the rising tide to start on their journey to New Ross and the sea.
St. Mullins village is the start/finishing point of the Barrow Way. Leaving the quay and mill buildings behind, you soon reach the Norman Motte which is a high, man-made hill fortification. Opposite this are the ruins of the ancient Tigh Moling, the house of Moling, an early Christian missionary in Ireland who founded a monastery here in the 7th century. St. Mullins is one of the country’s most significant archaeological and ecclesiastical sites, ranking in importance with Glendalough and Clonmacnoise.
The South Leinster Way
The South Leinster Way is a long distance walking route which runs from Kildavin in the east of County Carlow to Carrick-on-Suir in County Tipperary, some 102km in length. Further details at www.irishtrails.ie
From the trailhead beside Conway’s Pub, follow the footpath south gently uphill towards Bunclody. After 500m, reach the main road and turn right to follow it for a short distance. Cross the main road to gain a minor tarmac road on the far side. Follow this for 2km as it climbs uphill.
Reach Mount Leinster Cottages and turn left and steeply uphill on a rough unsurfaced track to enter a forest. Follow the forest road uphill to reach a junction after 500m. Turn right and follow the forest road as it climbs more gently along the slopes of the forested hillside. After
2.5km reach the crest of the hill and a short gap between two forests, that yields good views.
From the crest of the hill, continue on downhill, passing a right turn after a short distance. There are signposted loop trails here, so take care to follow the yellow arrows. Continue on downhill for 1.5km to reach the Kilbrannish Forest Recreation car park. Turn right and follow the tarmac road with care uphill to reach Carroll’s Crossroad just before Corrabut Gap.
Turn left at Carroll’s Crossroad and follow the tarmac mountain road with care. This climbs steadily with excellent views down into Coolasnaghta on your right. After 3km reach the large Nine Stones car park.
The Nine Stones Viewing Point provides an unrivalled vista of the rich and colourful Carlow countryside. Eight counties can be viewed from this spot and, on a clear day the coast of Wales. On the lower side of the
road, you will see an alignment of nine small stones in the ground, said to commemorate nine shepherds lost on Mount Leinster in some distant winter storm. Continue on along the tarmac road from the Nine Stones car park which descends steadily, passing two notable landmarks: the White Stone on your right and later the Scabby House on your left just after a cattle grid. Reach Tomduff Crossroads.
At Tomduff Crossroads, walk straight through two crossroad junctions. Nearby is the monument to the Tomduff Campfield, where a large force gathered in the 1798 rebellion. Continue downhill on a tarmac
road to reach the T-junction of Cashel Crossroad. Turn right for a short distance and then left on a minor road.
From Cashel Crossroad, the road continues to descend. Keep left at the next junction and drop downhill to reach Spahill Crossroad where you turn right. The
road soon drops on the final descent to the village of Borris. There is a wonderful 3.5km walk around and under the old Railway Viaduct at the end of the village offering superb views to the Blackstairs Mountains and Mount Leinster. A dedicated car park and picnic area have been developed at the site.
Clashganny Forest Looped Walks
Clashganny Forest Trails offer the user gentle walks on forest roads and along the Barrow Way with magnificent views of Clashganny Lock and the River Barrow. Much of the walk is through an old wood and has had forestry cover present since the 1800s.
The name Clashganny comes from the Irish, Clais Ghainimh – meaning ‘the sandy river trench’. Along this route the walker will encounter secluded forest trails with some historic land marks including a mass rock. The walker will also experience native flora and fauna to be found along the banks of the River Barrow.
Clashganny lock loop
This walk is signposted by green arrows. Walk from the Clashganny Lock car park towards the River Barrow and keep left, following the river downstream. The old
towpath that you are following is wide and easy to follow and is marked by both green (this walk) and yellow (Barrow Way) arrows. After a short distance, follow
the canal until you reach Ballykeenan Lock.
Shortly after this, follow the green arrow and take a sharp left back uphill on a forest road. After 50m follow the green arrow to turn left again onto the narrow
forest track. This delightful forest path, rugged in places, runs through deciduous woodland with glimpses to the river below. It will take you on a parallel line back
upriver. Near the end, the path descends by an old mass rock and joins the tarmac road below.
Turn left to return the short distance to the car park.
Clashganny viewing point loop
The walk is signposted with purple arrows. Walk downhill from the car park, following a forest track. This track descends for a kilometre, reach a Y-junction where you veer right and downhill towards the River Barrow.
After a short distance, follow the purple arrow and take a right turn onto a narrow forest path. This delightful rugged path, narrow in places, runs through deciduous woodland with glimpses of the river below. After 2km, the path descends by an old mass rock and joins the tarmac road below.
Turn left now and follow the road down to the main Clashganny car park and the river. Walk through the car park and follow the river downstream. The old towpath that you are following is wide and easy to follow and is marked by both purple (this walk) and yellow (Barrow Way) arrows. After a short distance, you will reach Ballykeenan Lock, where the canal re-enters the river.
Shortly after this, follow the purple arrow to turn sharp left and back uphill on a forest track. You now rejoin your earlier route and follow the forest track back uphill to the Clashganny Viewing Point car park.
Kilbrannish Forest Trails
Windfarm Loop (short loop)
A steep path leads up from the rear of the car park to reach a forest road. Walk uphill to the right along the forest road, passing a forest road junction to the left. The walk climbs gently uphill with occasional views to your right to farmland and the wind farm on Greenoge Hill.
Reach a forest road junction near the top of the rise and turn left. Your road continues to climb gently to reach another junction. The surrounding coniferous forest is mainly planted with sitka spruce and lodgepole pine.
Turn left now, leaving the Kilbrannish Forest Loop. The road soon starts to descend gently to reach a forest road junction below. Turn left again to return the short distance to the car park.
Kilbrannish Forest Loop (long loop)
As per the Windfarm Loop above.
Reach a forest road junction near the top of the rise and turn left. Your road continues to climb gently to reach another junction, where you turn right, leaving the Windfarm Loop. Continue to a triangular forest road junction. Turn left again and continue uphill on a wide forest roadway to reach the summit of Croaghaun Hill. A detour to the right leads to an opening in the forest with views northwards to Myshall and beyond.
Retrace your steps for a minute from the summit of Croaghaun and now turn right down a steep track. Enjoy the views across the valley of the River Clody and Mount Leinster. On reaching the forest road at the
bottom, turn left and then right at the next junction to return to the car park.