GET TO KNOW LAOIS: MONASTEREVIN TO VICARSTOWN PART 1
Monasterevin – Fisherstown Part 1 As far as Vicarstown
- Text courtesy of www.waterwaysireland.org
In 1785, the Barrow Line of the Grand Canal reached Monasterevin, once a major centre of industry. From the harbour in Monasterevin, follow the canal south. The grassy towpath swings right and you cross the road by an old lifting bridge.
The Barrow Way follows the canal on an aqueduct over the River Barrow. But the trail sticks with the canal for now, and will join this river later in Athy. The original plan was for the canal to join the Barrow here, but there were doubts over whether the river could be navigated by boats.
Look out for the abandoned Mountmellick Branch of the canal which diverges to the west immediately after the aqueduct. By the 25th lock the Barrow Way crosses over Moore’s Bridge by a small harbour, and you follow a track out to a road, then go under the Portlaoise road bridge. The towpath can be quite overgrown here.
Up ahead the towpath turns grassy and the canal becomes quiet, hidden from roads by hedgerows of willow. You will come to a farmstead marked by a line of beautiful cherry blossom trees, then join a quiet road and pass a timber footbridge, continuing on the right bank.
The towpath goes under a motorway and you pass some cattle sheds, where are there hedgerows thick with hazel. At Fisherstown Bridge there is a fine thatched pub 400m up the road to the right.