Canoe HIre Ireland


When planning your canoe trip itinerary there are a few things to bear in mind. All customers will transport themselves to the starting point beside the river, where we will meet and give a brief introduction This is followed by a demonstration and safety talk and then for a further 15 minutes or so we will bring you through the basic strokes in an area of calm, sheltered, flat water. After that the real adventure begins. All gear will be ready and waiting from the starting point. All canoeing gear is supplied and we can help out with your camping needs if you don’t have your own tent etc.

Participants can expect to paddle for four to five hours through scenic stretches down river. Options to finish in New Ross are available however this section is tidal so extra care and consideration are advisable.

If your not sure what kind of adventure you are looking for we have put together an optimum canoe trip itinerary for you below. Alternatively you can visit out local links & information page to see what the towns & villages along the river Barrow have to offer.

Paddle Your Own Canoe

Available Packages

Packages & prices

Canoe & equipment hire (No tent hire due to covid)
€40 per adult per day & €29 per child , canoe and equipment hire 

Approx €50 per person per night, if you want riverside hotel or B&B options if you don’t want to camp, please get in touch for further detaills.

Paddle Your Own Canoe

One Day Package

There are two options for a one day adventure.

I | Starts at Leighlin bridge, finishes at Borris, where you can camp and relax for the night and head home the following day early.

II | Starts at Borris, finishes at St. Mullins. Participants can expect to paddle for four to five hours through scenic stretches down river.

Two Day Package

Long option
Starts at Leighlinbridge and finishes at St Mullins

Short option

Start Baganelstown and finishes in St Mullins.

Paddle Your Own Canoe

Three Day Package

Starts at Carlow & finishes at St. Mullins

Four Day Package

Starts at Athy and finishes at St. Mullins

Five Day Package

Starts at Monasterevin finishes at St. Mullins

Options to finish in New Ross are available however this section is tidal so extra care and consideration are advisable.

Day By Day | Your Canoe Trip Itinerary

Athy to Carlow

Setting out from the centre of Athy there is very handy river access if you use the floating dock below Whites castle.  The first item of interest is the horse bridge. We are now heading onto the Barrow River navigation and the tow path starts on the East bank. In order for the horses (which pulled the barges) to continue their task from the branch canal to the river they had to cross over the flowing waterway – hence the horse bridge. Just a little further is the remains of the Railway Bridge and line which serviced the Castlecomber collieries.

Ahead there is a lateral canal cut on your left and a small drop in the river to the right. The river presents and easy option around the right of the island and further down you will pass Ardreigh lock. Heading downriver the going is easy. On the approach to Levitstown the river passes by Kilmoroney House on the west bank and via the canal cut passes Grangemelon castle before the mill and lock chambers.

Handsome Jack St Ledger who established the English classic horse race and member of the hellfire club was the owner of Grangemelon.

Levitstown mill was used as a malting’s which supplied Guinness. The malt was transported by barge to the Guinness harbour in Dublin right up until a fire destroyed the mill in 1943.You won’t be long reaching Maganey bridge the site of many pitched battles back in the 1600’s and just a little further on along the west bank past the Lock are Grange castle and Shrule castle.

The weir at the start of the Bestfield cut – which is adjacent to Knockbeg boarding school – is best avoided. Although some say camping at Bestfield lock should also be avoided due to its reputation of being haunted.

As you approach Carlow all that remains of the sugar factory is a large tall steel operational structure in the middle of the site. A harbour once operated here to off load sugar beet that arrived by Barge from all parts of Carlow and Kildare.

Paddling under the millennium bridge the rowing club with easy river access  is on your left while on the other side is a linear park with slipway access.

Carlow is a wonderful town to explore. The town is full of shops of all description. Interesting little pubs and cafes in addition to a craft brewery, museum and a host of entertainment can all be found within walking distance. Brownshill Dolmen and Ducketts Grove on the outskirts are also well worth visiting.

Monasterevin to Athy

There are two beautiful water trail routes between these two towns. You have the old navigation route following the Grand Canal Barrow branch which takes you through the pretty village of Vicarstown or the natural river along the Barrow. The river was once used as the navigation but due to low water levels especially in summer it was decided to continue the branch line through Vicarstown to link up with the Barrow navigation in Athy.

Before starting out I like to stand on the old aqueduct and reflect on all that is around. Below is the river used for hundreds if not thousands of years as a trade route.  From earliest times little boats plied their way up and down the Barrow River transporting goods. By 1790 the Barrow navigation was complete and in that year 16,000 tons of goods were transported by barge along the river between St Mullins and Monasterevin. The arrival of the navigation meant big changes in how goods especially agricultural produce got to market.  Not so much by horse and cart anymore but much more by canal barge.

Looking upriver the Dublin Cork railway line crosses the waterway. The arrival of the railway signalled the end of the canals although they would hang in there for more than a century and a half.  Below and all around is the network of roads. And as we leave Monasterevin by canoe on our way to Athy we will pass under the newest of the roads – the M7 Motorway along which is transported more goods in a day than there was in the finest years on the Barrow navigation. And finally look up at the beautiful blue sky criss-crossed by the vapour trails of the latest form of transport. Haven’t we come a long way in just over 200 years.

So as you head off downriver in you canoe you leave Monasterevin behind and it network of varied water, rail and roads. Moore abbey will shortly come into view on the East bank. This was for many years the home of the famous Tenor Count John McCormick. Hollywood stars and countless dignitaries stood by by the banks here outside the abbey and watched the water slowly roll by. The canoeing along this stretch is very gentle. The flow of the river will help you along. Keep an eye out for Kingfishers, dippers and egrets.

Bert House will come into view on the left with Castle Reban on the right. The castle stands on the site of the ancient city of Reban which is noted on Ptolemy’s map of the second century. What incredible history has passed along these banks!

Continuing along towards Athy we pass through rich lush green farm lands. It no wonder the national Ploughing championships are held on the nearby fields so often. The approach to Athy is noted first when the steeple of the church comes into view and the tall popular trees wave the welcoming canopies to cheer you along. Just before the bridge is Whites Castle and then under Cromaboo bridge you can tie up at the floating jetty on the East bank. Immediately adjacent to the river is the local museum which has some very interesting exhibits. The first is dedicated to Earnest Shakleton the famous Antarctic explorer and the second is all about the Gordon Bennett route. It was along this route in 1903 that the forerunner of today’s Grand Prix was run and there is excellent film footage on show of the race.

Athy hosts the Shakleton summer school each autumn and also a very energetic and popular Bluegrass festival each July.

Recommendations for a pint include a visit to O Brien’s which is a must. Glancy’s is a great haunt especially for some traditional music and Kane’s should be included for good measure also.