Walking Festival

If you’re a serious rambler or just like to stretch your legs and enjoy the view, then the Carlow Autumn Walking Festival is for you!

The magnificent Blackstairs Mountains and the picturesque River Barrow form the perfect backdrop for a range of superb walks to suit all levels. Explore on foot the lush green landscape associated with Ireland’s Ancient East, immerse yourself in thousands of years of history and heritage found in abundance in County Carlow. The Carlow Autumn Walking Festival is a great opportunity for the beginner, experienced or advanced walker to enjoy the challenges of Carlow’s mountain treks or peace of its woodland walks.

Guidelines for walkers

Choose the walk that best suits your level of fitness:

A Walk – very experienced hillwalkers
B Walk – experienced hillwalkers
C Walk – leisure / regular walkers

Walker should be satisfied that they are fully capable of under-taking their chosen walk. If in doubt please consult the guides or organisers present. Attendees should consult the list of guidelines prior to arrival.

Registration and admission

Registration for all walks takes place in the Town Hall, Barris, Co.Carlow from 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Registration for Friday evening’s walk is from 5.30 p.m., also in Borris Town Hall (transport to/ from start/ finish of walk is provided). Registration times and locations for all other walks as featured on the brochure. All walks are individually priced, however walkers can buy a 2 day walking pass for €30 or a 3 day walking pass for €40.

To register, please book the walk below or e-mail edeane@carlowtourism.com

Each walk features:

An experienced local guide, maps of each route, transport to/ from start/ finish of the walk if required, light refreshments and musical entertainment in O’Shea’s Pub Main ~Street, Borris on Saturday October 5th at 9.30 p0m. All A and B walkers will receive a free copy of the Blackstairs, Mount Leinster and Barrow Valley by Eastwest Mapping (R.R.P. €9.95). 

Please note that several walks are popular and places fill up quickly. While we will endeavour to accommodate walkers at short notice, we ask that you book the walk below or phone 087 355 3698.

Carlow Walking Festival Pass

2 day Walking Pass – €30

3 day Walking Pass – €40

Day 1 – Friday 4th October

B Walk – Walk 1 night hike – €20

Start and finish: The Town Hall, Borris

Description: The night hike route is weather dependent and is decided on the night, a torch is essential

Time: 6.30 p.m. walking time: approx. 3 hours

A great opportunity to  experience the magic of walking in the mountains at night time spectacular views of County Carlow and surrounding counties as seen through autumn darkness. Experienced guides from local clubs who have regular night walks all year round will accompany the walk.

Day 2 – Saturday 5th October

A Walk – Walk 2 – €20

Start and finish: Scullogue Gap

Distance: approx. 15-17 km

Max height: 581 metres

Walking time: 7 hours approx.

An ideal location for a bracing hike, this walk takes in most of the peaks of the Blackstairs Mountains including Mount Leinster and Cloroge Mór.

B Walk – Walk 3 – €15

Mount Leinster and Slievebawn with Éanna Ní Lamhna

Start point: Corrabut Gap

Finish point: Nine Stones

Distance: 13.2 km

Max height: 604 metres

Starting at Corrabut Gap, one of the most picturesque points on the Blackstairs Mountains, this walk crosses the River Burren before taking in Slievebawn and Tomduff Ridge. The walk, led by well known biologist and RTÉ personality Éanna Ní Lamhna finishes at the Nine Stones. Approx. 5 hours.

B Walk – Walk 4 – Walk Through Time €15

 History and heritage of the Blackstairs Mountains

Start & finish: Town Hall, Borris at 9 a.m. (transport to start of walk)

The Blackstairs Mountains has a fascinating historical heritage. This 4-5 hour mountain walk explores its history and heritage with a focus on standing stones, ancient rock art, raths, dolmens, old settlements, a World War II bombing and a 1941 aircraft crash site. While still a mountain walk, time will be taken to look and talk about sites of historical interest and the overall history of the area. Taking approx. 4-5 hours to complete, normal hill walking gear is required.

B Walk – Walk 5 – €15

Start point: Rathnageeragh Castle

Distance: 11.1 km

Finish point: Nine stones

Max height: 502 metres

This walk commences at Rathnageeragh Castle (in ruins) before ascending Slievebawn and then descending into Tomduff. From there the walk passes over the Nine Stones through Raheenkyle and Raheendarragh before ascending once again to finish at the Nine Stones vantage point. Approx. 5 hours.

B Walk – Walk 6 – €15

Start point: Coonogue, Ballymurphy

Distance: 10 – 12 km

Max height: 600 metres

Walking time: 5 hours approx.

Finish point: Knockmulgurry

A good introduction to the landscape of Blackstair Mountain offering fabulous views of the surrounding countryside, from some of its main peaks.

C Walk – Walk 8 – Mindfulness Walk – €5

Start point: Car Park, Clogrennane Wood 2 p.m.

Finish point: Car Park, Clogrennane Wood with return transport to Carlow Town

Bus transport: Leaves Hadden’s Car Park, Carlow Town 1.40 p.m.

Actual distance: 3.5 km

Walking time: 1.5 hours approx.

Jack Byrne of Carlow Mental Health Association, leads a mindfulness walk through the beautiful Clogrennane Wood with magnificent views of Carlow and River Barrow. Gain practical tips on positive mental attitude while appreciating the beautiful surroundings.

C Walk – Walk 9 – Trail Kids (min. age 6 years) – €10 per family

Start and finish: Clashganny Forest, Clashganny 3 p.m.

Bus transport: Leaves Borris Town Hall 2.3 p.m. or meet at start

Actual distance: 3 km

Walking time: 2 hours approx.

Introduce kids to the basic skills of trail running in the company of friends and family. Throughout the session, kids will develop confidence in their ability by learning to assess the trail for slope and direction and adapting to hazards.

Borris House Tour – NEW FOR 2019 €10

Start and finish: Borris House, Borris

Tour: 1 hour approx.

New for 2019 this tour of Borris House is being held in conjunction with the Carlow Big Houses and Garden Festivals. Borris House is the ancestral home of the MacMorrough Kavanaghs, former Celtic Kings of Leinster, it offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into one of Ireland’s Ancient East’s most superb properties.

Evening talk with Dermot Somers – FREE

Venue: O’Shea’s Pub, Main Street, Borris, Co. Carlow

Time: 7.30 p. m.

Dermot Somers is a writer, broadcaster, public speaker and mountaineer. He has presented many travel and adventure programmes for TG4 and RTÉ, including a series on great nomadic journeys of the world. His series has taken him to Siberia, the Sahara, Iran and Nepal. As a climber and mountaineer he has travelled the world, with particular interest in the Alps and the Himalayas. He was a member of the Irish Everest Expedition in 1993. Enjoy a locally produced platter of Carlow food on the night – fee applies.

Day 3 – Sunday 6th October

A Walk – Walk 10 – €20

Start point: Nine Stones, Mount Leinster

Finish point: Knockmulgurry

Actual distance: 17.4 km

Max height: 795 metres

Walking time: 7 hours approx.

Starting from the Nine Stones you ascend Mount Leinster in a southerly direction. From the TV mast you proceed onto Knockroe before descending into Scullogue Gap. From there the walk again ascend onto Blackstairs Mountains with stunning views over Carlow and Wexford.

B Walk – Walk 11 – €15

Start and finish: near Glynn, St Mullins

Distance: 13 km

Walking time: 4-5 hours approx.

This pleasant four to five hour walk takes in the stunning natural features of the south Blackstairs Mountains and the historic south Carlow area.

C Walk – Walk 14 – Forest Walk – €5

Registration and start point: Rath Wood, Rath, Tullow 10 a.m.

Finish point: Rath Wood

Actual distance: 6 km

Walking time: 1.5 hours approx.

The Fox’s Walk in Rath Wood Forest is an easy trail suitable for walkers of all ages and abilities. See a rich variety of native trees and flora as well as wild life including deer, mink, rabbits, foxes, pheasants and dragonflies.

C Walk – Walk 15 – Wildlife Walk – NEW FOR 2019 – €10

Registration/start/finish: Borris House and Gardens, Borris 11 a.m.

Actual distance: 5 km

Walking time: 2 hours approx.

Led by knowledgeable members of the Carlow branch of Birdwatch Ireland, this walk will introduce and identify a variety of wildlife, including birds, insects and wild flowers. Stroll along the towpath, past the 250 year old lock gates and enjoy the stunning views of this stretch of the Barrow Valley.

C Walk – Walk 16 – as part of Féile an Fhómhair – Free

Registration: Hadden’s car park 2 p.m. transport to Maganey Bridge

Start: Maganey Bridge

Finish: Seven Oaks Hotel, Carlow

Walking time: 1.5 hours approx.

Once a thriving commercial river this walk brings its past history to life with an interesting account of the canal system, its cargoes, lock gates and lock houses. A leisurely riverside walk along the banks of the lovely Barrow.

Activities to complement the weekend 4th – 6th October

Valley of the Monks half and full day self-guided canoe trail

For more information contact Charlie Horan

M: 087 252 9700 | E: info@gowiththeflow.ie | W: gowiththeflow.ie

Cost: €25 pp half day/ €40 pp full day

Duration: approx half day hire: 4 hours/ full day hire: 8 hours

Bike Rentals and Bike Tours

Location: Waterside Bike & Hike, Waterside Guesthouse, The Quay, Graiguenamanagh, Co.Kilkenny.

M: 086 408 4008 | E: bike&hike@watersideguesthouse.com | W: www.pureadventure.ie

Cost per day: adults €20, children €15 with adult bike or €20 per day otherwise

Explore the Barrow by canoe or kayak

For more information contact Patrick McCormack

M: 087 226 5550 | E: info@pureadventure.ie | W: www.pureadventure.ie

Cost: adults €49, under 18s €39

Paddle Your Own Canoe

For more information contact Nathan Horan

M: 087 414 0461 | E: info@paddleyourowncanoe.ie | W: www.padlleyourowncanoe.ie

Cost: €35 pp per day – transport to/from the start/finish of each tour, canoes and all safety gear, dry and barrels, tents and other camping needs

Boattrips.ie

M: 087 206 1999 | E: boattrips.ie@gmail.com | W: www.boattrips.ie

Cost: €15 per adult, €10 per child.

Duration: 1 hour trip