The Coach House Country House.


Route 4

The River Valley.

The necklace of towns and villages threaded along the Nore and Barrow forms one of the South East’s most beguiling hidden gems. Road and river intertwine as you pass from one to the next, coming within kissing distance before shying away again. It’s truly a timeless drive! A short spin from Waterford (via N25) takes you to New  Ross, home of the Dunbrody Experience ,

Dunbrody famine Ship New Ross

and the Ros Tapestry. Baginbun, some miles south, was the site of the first Norman landings on Irish shores in 1169, and the tapestry panels - stitched, knotted and couched by volunteers – are a brilliantly creative depiction of the foundation of the town. It’s a unique tale, literally told in thread.

Ros Tapestry

From New Ross, follow the River Barrow north (via R729) to St. Mullin’s, where St. Moling established a monastic site in the 7th century. A quick scramble up the Norman motte here gives a smashing panorama over the gorge and gravestones below, not to mention the old mill and towpaths. Another religious figure associated with the area is St. Fiachra, the patron saint of gardeners, and bizarrely, of Parisian taxi drivers… sailors have held that water from his holy well at Ullard staves off shipwrecks, too.

St. Mullins Carlow

Further along, Graiguenamanagh is home to Duiske Abbey, where you’ll find a striking effigy of a crusader knight, and Thomastown (via R703) sees the route link up with the Nore.

Duiske Abbey

There is no end of potential stop-offs along this final stretch – canoeing, kayaking, river views, heritage husks like Jerpoint Abbey,

Jerpoint Abbey Kilkenny

or the bustling crafts and cafes of Thomastown and Inistioge.

Instioge Kilkenny

If you have time at the latter, don’t miss Woodstock Gardens, home to the longest monkey-puzzle avenue in Europe,

Woodstock gardens Instioge

or the handsome 10-arched bridge.

Instioge Bridge Kilkenny

Unusually too, Catholic and Protestant churches stand side by side in this village. After Inistioge, follow the R700 back to New Ross, and onwards to Waterford.