Ireland » Barrow River | Ireland

The „old“ Inland Waterway from Dublin to the South Coast – a discovery! Barrow  Line &

Barrow River | Ireland: Characteristics & Overview

Rating of waterway

Length of waterway: 111 km
Number of locks: 32
Lock dimensions: 18.50 x 3.90
Max. depth: 0.80
Max. headroom: 2.40
Degree of difficulty: Some experience is an advantage
Requirements: No license asked for hired boats
Character of waterway: back to nature, old waterway, to be rediscovered
Profile of waterway: Hardly ever used
Facilities groundside: Sufficiant

Weitere Informationen

Waterway has access to:

Grand Canal & Barrow Line | Ireland
North Sea

Barrow River
This rural river in the southeast of Ireland can be recommended for a boating holiday. But, in high summer there can be problems with low water!
No license is needed for charter boats.

Together with the Barrow Line of the the Grand Canal, River Barrow connects the capital Dublin with the southeast coast at Waterford. The river is navigable from Athy.
From there this picturesque, lightly travelled waterway runs southward to St Mullins. It continues a further 88 km on the tide-dependent River Barrow, into which the rivers Nore and Suir, both navigable over short stretches, flow.


1537  An act of parliament was passed referring to the River Barrow and "other waters in County of Kilkenny". Under this act, it became illegal to built a weir across the river to teise waterlevels for fishing or milling without putting a "King's Gap" or flash-lock into the weir to allow boats to pass.
1703: Commitee of Irish House of Commons appointed ro bring a bill to make the River Barrow navigable. 1709: Reported bey Colonel Smithwich and others that the River Barrow could be made navigable. 1783: Work comleted, 1803: Contract agreed with the Director General of Inland Navigation to complet the navigation to a depth of 5 ft and to reduce tolls in return for anadditional grant.
1812: Estimate thar over £ 220,000 had been spand on the navigation, more then half of which had come from public funds. The navigation had been completed to Athy but the depths in the river were still very unsatisfactiry.
1830: Navigation still reported to be verry unsatisfactory. Total tonnage carried 58'100 tons. 1845: Tonnage rose to 88'000 tons. 1894: The London building acts 1894 to 190, 57 & 58 Victoriy, C26 transferred the entire undertaking of the Barrow Navication Company to the Grand Canal Company for £32.500.1950 Navication transferred to Coras lompair éirean.
1986: Navigation transferred to The Office of Public Works (OPW).
1996: The inland waterways under the control of OPW were transferred to the Waterways Service of the Departement of Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht, and are now part of Duchas, The Heritage Services.

Barges, Houseboat & Narrow-Boat Hirer | Barrow River

Canalway Ireland Barge Holidays;
Rhatangan, County Kildare

Barrowline Cruisers;
Vicarstown, Portaloise, County Laois

Duchas  |  Guide to the Barrow Navigation

Guide to the Barrow Navigation of Ireland Produced by the Waterways Service with IWA Ireland. Spiral bound guide, in the same format at for the Royal Canal (above). Full details of the navigable river from Athy down to the sea. Republished in this format in July 1998. 68 pages. 120 x 230 mm. (SOFTBACK)

Prize: € 9.90  |  Booking this Guide

About the Barrow River

The second longest river in Ireland, the river barrow is a bustling, colourful navigation. The river runs for 192km from its source in Glenbarrow in the Slieve Bloom Mountains to the sea.

The Barrow has long been recognised as a unique area of great natural beauty with high amenity value, traversing the counties of Laois, Kildare, Carlow, Kilkenny and Wexford. This region is of national importance and has been specifically identified as a priority area for tourism, special interest activity and regional development.

2011 represents a significant year for the river, celebrating the 220th Anniversary of the opening of the river as a navigable waterway. To celebrate this milestone the 5 counties are coming together to promote the river with a yearlong series of events. The festivities were launched in Bagenalstown, Co. Carlow on Sunday 24th April 2011. For the latest Barrow events please download the brochure.