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Brandon Hill loop walk – Co. Kilkenny

30 August 2016

Brandon Hill dominates Craiguenamanagh the former home of Cistercian monks, the ancient routeway of the River Barrow and the border of counties Kilkenny and Carlow. This loop walk forms an easy introduction to the wilder side of walking. And a pleasant diversion for the experienced.

Easy forestry trail and track, bookend a couple of kilometres of trailway up and over the summit of Brandon Hill. Less that 12 kms, 350 metres ascent and 4 hours when starting from point C. Average going underfoot, and marginally challenging only because of the distance and the hill top walking.  There are route instructions in this downloadable pdf (courtesy TrailKilkenny). OSI 1:50,000 Discovery Map no 68.


Gazing down to the River Barrow and at lock and navigation.


Download the Brandon Hill route instructions. Read about the walk here

Making the route more manageable: If you have transport, do not begin your walk in Craiguenamanagh as described in the route instructions. Rather drive instead,  (respecting pedestrians), to the point marked as C on the route instructions. This action shaves maybe 7 kilometres of the total length of the published walk, making it a much more manageable route for many walkers.

Parking: Before the bend at C there is generally ample room to park a few cars. Please park courteously and allow space for others that maybe arriving after you.


PARK & START at point C and follow the route clockwise to head for point D.

This section of forestry was alive with birds and flowers  in early summer. With plenty of opportunity to gaze eastwards and enjoy spectacular views across to Mount Leinster, the Blackstairs Mountains and down into the River Barrow valley.

From sections D to E the forestry and the views westward across the landscape begin to open up. Take care finding your way here.

Section E to F gives you a taste of the wild and woolly. With a hillside full of heathers, and bog cotton. Follow the waymark posts to the summit.

F-C takes you safely back to your car


Useful links…

maps-and-trails1 : A productive partnership of Kilkenny CC,
Kilkenny Leader Partnership and the Sports Council.
…..This link will help you find and navigate Trail Kilkenny walking, cycling, craft and food trails. The site contains a selection of routes that introduce the variety to be found in the county, each with downloadable trail maps.


iPhone uses might also like to know of the
Trail Kilkenny app, available free from the App store.
Twitter:     @trailkilkenny

2016-08-30 (1)Keep your eye on the waymarks and thumb your way along the map,  always making sure you know where you are. With that in mind you can enjoy the plentiful variety of flowers, plants, bushes and trees. Look out for the birds and soak up the spectacular panoramas.

Craiguenamanagh : More to come …

When the chance arises, do visit Craiguenamanagh, it’s well worthy of your curiosity and sauntering the streets and the banks of the Barrow are a pleasing reward. It also has an excellent Heritage Trail, which I’ll be reviewing soon. And on my last visit Shash and I also took the opportunity (once again) to walk the banks of the River Barrow. Always a delight, I’ll be reporting on the wild flowers we found there.

Revised: 16 November  2016


5 Comments leave one →
  1. 29 September 2016 13:53

    Interesting looking route, David. Will try this next time I’m down that way as I really liked the views from this hill. Great shot overlooking the River Barrow.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 29 September 2016 20:16

    Hi Martin. Thanks for the comment… they’re like gold dust on WordPress. Yes… if you are in the area… but I wouldn’t go just for Brandon Hill. Kilkenny and Carlow both have their own unique qualities to their countryside, you don’t really need a hill walk to enjoy it… Tho’; the vistas on this walk are a delight. Especially over to the BlackStairs , And a yomp over the summit dome can be fun.

    Also I think late spring/early summer is the best time, because the first kilometre or two is through forestry. Plenty of birds, bird call, butterflies, insects and wild flowers at that time. And of course the banks of the River Barrow are stunning at that time.

    Please do come back and tell us if you go. And I’ll be dropping by your blog shortly. Thanks again for the comment, really much appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 29 September 2016 21:05

      No problem, David. I’m new to WP so enjoy seeing other people in Ireland writing about similar things.

      Thanks for the tips. I’ve been up Mt Leinster and also did part of the Barrow Way and definitely want to walk more in the area. Really enjoyed the Barrow Way, did Carlow Town to Bagenalstown, and would love to do the southern end as it seems the scenery gets more dramatic. Been to St Mullins already and it’s a lovely spot. Will let you know when I make it back down that way, cheers.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. 30 September 2016 07:17

    Well enjoy the writing. It’s interesting how “taking-on responsibility” for what you say, because you are going into print, changes how you perceive your experiences. You start to “own” (ie be responsible) for it. And in the process refines your “voice”. This is rewarding and valuable experience.
    And yes the old River Barrow towpath is a great amble along different parts of it’s length. If you can get an old copy of my “Best Walks in Ireland” (Constable Publishers, 1995, Frances Lincoln, 2006) from the library, then walk 18 takes you from Athy to Carlow (and back on the train or vice versa) with a bit of commentary about the things you encounter on the way. It’s an enjoyable day.


    • 30 September 2016 12:07

      Yes, enjoying the writing so far. Used to do it in old (tourism related) job but it’s great to write about what you want to and discover/develop your own voice, like you say. It’s a good outlet even when you know there probably aren’t many people reading it (though it’d be nice to think there were!).

      Thanks for the heads up about the book, will look out for it. Do want to do that section too, because of the convenient train links. I’ve also done parts of the Royal Canal (Maynooth – Enfield) and Grand Canal (Tullamore – Daingean) but preferred what I saw of the Barrow.


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