Goresbridge to Graiguenamanagh
Still water self-guided canoe tour
This self-guided canoe tour begins at Goresbridge.
You will travel through lower Ballyellen, Ballytiglea,
Borris House Estate, Clashganny and Graiguenamanagh.
Along the way you will be passing through beautiful, wild rural countryside. You will travel along some of the old navigation used by the Guinness barges of the past and see many of the old lock houses. Typical wildlife to be seen – Herons, Kingfishers, dippers, duck, swans cormorants and egrets and I could go on …… did I mention the otters.
The river then gently turns through a sweeping right hand bend as the 200 year old Barrow navigation lock house comes into view. Lower Ballyellen lock house is located just across the river from Barrowmount House – the home of the Gore family from 1710 to 1863. Sir Ralph Gore built the bridge in 1756 and the town was named after the family.
Paddling on through serene and majestic pine woods on the right and the old horse towpath on our left we soon arrive at Ballytiglea Weir. The weir itself is low enough but provides a stunning backdrop to a contempory wooden hunting lodge which looks on from across the flood plain.
Once over this man made dam which backs up the water level to maintain the navigation your next river section is reasonably shallow. The water squeezes between Granite boulders as it drops towards a left hand turn and enters a more agricultural hinterland. Up ahead is Ballytiglea bridge – a five arch granite structure which carries the Borris to Graignamanagh road over the Barrow river. The exact date of this bridge is unknown but it was on Taylers and Skinners road map of 1783.
We will shortly be entering the Borris Demence – take the navigation channel where the river is placid and winds it way through the quiet oak woods of the Borris House Estate.
The paddle through the ancient estate leads you to Clashganny and follow along after all this excitement with a paddle through the pine forest – as you make a quiet entrance into historic Graignamanagh.
Our route ends in Graiguenamanagh, 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.
Stop off here and have a look around and a bit of lunch. There is a beautiful old abbey and some very quaint shops and pubs. If you have time, follow the Graiguenamanagh Historic trail.
There is a bus service from Graiguenamanagh on Main Street just outside the Bank of Ireland and over the bridge in Tinnahinch outside Gahan’s Bar that leaves at 2pm and stops in Borris and Goresbridge.