Daily, daylight hours.
Carlow to Kilkenny National Cycle Network
Carlow/Kilkenny Local Authorities under the National Cycle Network (NCN) programme has provided a dedicated on road cycle route 35km in length between Carlow and Kilkenny. The route is located on the R448/R712 (the old N9/N10). The route starts/ends on the northern edge of Carlow Town which links to the extensive network of cycling routes in Carlow Town itself, a key access point to many of the major attractions within the town and county. Carlow Town is also the most northerly point of the River Barrow in Co. Carlow with direct access to the River Barrow towpath. This towpath runs continuously for 113 km from Lowtown in Co. Kildare to St. Mullins in south Co. Carlow.
From Carlow heading to Kilkenny there are two further links to the River Barrow, the first is 7 km south of Carlow Town at Milford Lock, one of the most tranquil and idyllic settings along the River Barrow. This is also the site of one of Europe’s largest commercially operated mills in the 19th century. A further 3 km to the south, Rathvindon Lock provides a direct link to the heritage town of Leighlinbridge, a multi-award winning Tidy Town which is home to Ireland’s Garden Centre of the Year and a boating marina.
The cycling route continues to the southwest passing the R724 at Royal Oak, in close proximity to the River Barrow. This route links the users to the town of Muine Bheag and Borris, leading to the Blackstairs Mountains and the Barrow Valley. There are many wonderful places of interests for those wishing to explore including the ancient ecclesiastical settlement of St Mullins deep in the Barrow Valley.
At this point in the route the cyclist leaves Co. Carlow and enters Co. Kilkenny at Paulstown which features Shankill Castle and its grounds. Tours are available here during summer months. In Paulstown cyclists can veer off the route to Gowran Village, famous for its horse racing excellence or continue west along the main cycling route to Kilkenny City. The route runs parallel to the great Castlecomer Plateaux in north Kilkenny.
The next section of the route has many opportunities for the cyclist to stop and enjoy light refreshments in typical rural pubs including ‘Paddys Country Pub’ or at another magnificent garden centre owned by the Hennessy Family. There are many more links along the route to explore areas within a few kilometers of the main cycling route including Goresbridge, Bennettsbridge, Muckalee and Maddoxstown. Before you enter Kilkenny City the award-winning Lyrath Estate Hotel and Spa can provide afternoon tea or some light refreshments. The end of the route brings the Medieval City of Kilkenny into view which again contains an extensive network of cycle routes, allowing further exploration of the many archaeological and historical gems within.
The whole route will take about 1 ½ – 2 ½ hours for the average cyclist, but to truly appreciate all the sites along the entire route, a full day should be allowed for this journey.