Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Waterways Ireland To Submit Planning Applications on Barrow Way Upgrades

7th December 2016
An upgraded Barrow line will provide a 'multi-use shared leisure route' connecting Lowtown in County Kildare to St. Mullins in County Carlow An upgraded Barrow line will provide a 'multi-use shared leisure route' connecting Lowtown in County Kildare to St. Mullins in County Carlow

Waterways Ireland will submit planning applications to Kildare, Laois and Carlow County Councils in December 2016 for upgrades to the Barrow Way-marked Way.

The planning submission is an application for the upgrading of the existing navigation towpath which is also a National Way-marked Way along the Grand Canal – Barrow Line and the River Barrow. It will provide a multi-use shared leisure route connecting Lowtown in County Kildare to St. Mullins in County Carlow. The trail will follow through the towns of Rathangan, Monasterevin, Vicarstown, Athy, Carlow, Leighlinbridge, Bagenalstown, Goresbridge, Graiguenamanagh and St. Mullins. Once the work is complete on the 115km route, Waterways Ireland will work with the local business and tourism providers to develop the route into a Blueway, a 'slow' tourism product, focusing on leisure activities.

The proposal to develop the Barrow towpath originates from the 2011 Barrow Corridor Recreational, Tourism and Commercial Product Identification Study where Fáilte Ireland, Waterways Ireland, Carlow County Development Partnership, Kilkenny LEADER Partnership and the four local authorities worked together to examine strategic leisure and recreational opportunities for the Barrow Valley. The group, the Barrow Steering Group, commissioned research and proposals were published for sustainable recreational and tourism development programmes which balance the need for economic development with the protection of the environment. As the Authority charged with managing the Grand Canal & Barrow Navigation, Waterways Ireland took the lead on the design phase for the proposed route. Extensive public consultation on the project took place in 2014 and Waterways Ireland proceeded to undertake a comprehensive and robust design and environmental assessment of the route to ensure the proposal was sympathetic to the receiving environment.

The planning applications may be inspected, or purchased at a fee not exceeding the reasonable cost of making a copy, at the offices of the three planning authorities during their public opening hours. In addition, the file may be accessed online through the planning authority's e-planning portals. A submission or observation in relation to the application may be made in writing to the planning authority on payment of the prescribed fee (€20) within the period of 5 weeks beginning on the date of receipt by the authority of the application. Due to the Christmas Holidays an extra 9 days have been added to the process to ensure that as many people as possible have an opportunity to make a submission.

Advertisements have been placed in both national and regional newspapers to maximise awareness of the applications in compliance with planning requirements. Waterways Ireland are also advertising the planning application on our website / social media and have contacted those who registered following the 2014 public consultation to ensure members of the public have every opportunity to engage with the planning process.

Beyond the planning requirements Waterways Ireland is also hosting a series of Public Information Sessions where engineering and environmental staff will be in attendance to share the plans for each area so that everyone has the opportunity to be fully aware of what is planned before submitting their comments to the planning authorities. These events are taking place as follows:






16th January 2017

3pm - 7pm

Seven Oaks Hotel, Carlow


17th January 2017

3pm - 7pm

Scout Hall, Graiguenamanagh


18th January 2017

3pm - 7pm

Athy Community Library, Athy


19th January 2017

3pm - 7pm

Vicarstown Inn, Vicarstown


Leave a comment


  • Comment Link christina loughlin 25th February 2017 posted by christina loughlin

    i have walked two caminos in Spain and Portugal to Santiago de Compostello in northern spain and am on my third comino with friends on the camino de norte (Irun to Santiago). I have walked the Grand Canal to Graignuenamanagh and the Royal Canal. My greatest pleasure was the walks in Spain and especially those parts of the camino away from the crowds and bikes. The rough and tumble walk ways of spain and portugal are a joy with bee keeping and rubber being collecting from trees, the few places where people died and the lovely plaques to their presence on the caminos. I cannot emphasise how peaceful and undisturbed one feels walking these ways. The beautiful blue butterflies that arise from the rough pathways of the camino in France/Spain as one walks along the camino. There are very few parts of the caminos that bikes are permitted and they have their own pathways and roads. The bikers that we have talked to on the camino want to reach Santiago in 5 days , the french camino is approx 700 kilometres so you can imagine what speed they want to achieve their goal to reach it as quickly as possible. The walkers have a different agenda, they are on a spiritual awakening or even contemplation or just a leisurely exercise along the country ways. Lets not turn every greenway/blueway into a bike (including electric bikes) thoroughfare, as you know we have problems all over Dublin with bikes breaking traffic lights, going up one way streets, etc etc.

  • Comment Link Rüdiger Steinacher 22nd December 2016 posted by Rüdiger Steinacher

    It would be really nice if the River Barrow was finally expanded so that even larger yachts could drive safely there?

  • Comment Link Susan Devane 14th December 2016 posted by Susan Devane

    I'm objecting to this plan. A cycle path is not suitable for a route used traditionally by walkers, and the natural, unspoiled beauty of the place will be exploited and ultimately ruined by this plan. I am involved in local tourism, but do not feel this scheme will have a positive impact on tourism.

Featured Clubs

nyc sidebutton flag

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
isora sidebutton

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Chandlery

chmarine sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
BSB sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating