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Thomastown, Kilkenny, Ireland

Thomastown to Inistioge Walk, Ireland

One of three sections of the Nore Valley Walk. The trail follows the River Nore from Thomastown to Inistioge.

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Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 6.8 miles / 10.9 km
Duration: 1-3 hours
Overview: The Nore Valley Walk is the flagship project of Trail Kilkenny. The walk will stretch from Kilkenny city to Inistioge and follow the River Nore. The walk is divided into three sections (Kilkenny to Bennetsbridge, Bennetsbridge to Thomastown and Thomastown to Inisitoge). This guide details the Thomastown to Inistioge section.

Starting in the town of Thomastown go south across the bridge and follow the green arrows to the Thomastown GAA pitch. Walk along the border of the GAA pitch to the river bank and follow this for 2km into Dysart Forest. On leaving Dysart forest turn left along the Rock Road and after 400 metres take the left side road (all marked with green arrows). Follow this side-road back to the main road and follow this road for 3km, passing Ballyduff House until you enter Brownsbarn Wood. The walking trail traverses the wood to the river bank and then raises back to the road. This is a perfect spot to stop for a picnic en route. On leaving the wood turn left and walk down toward Brownsbarn Bridge. Turn right at the bridge (don’t cross the bridge) and then follow the road for 500 metres until you see a green and yellow stile. This stile will bring you back to the river bank and you can follow this trail to the village of Inistioge.

Tips: Parking: parking is available in Thomastown village or in Thomastown GAA pitch

Provisions: Thomastown and Inistioge are full of beautiful cafes and restaurants to stock up on picnic provisions

Points of Interest



Thomastown, historically known as Ballymacandan[1] (Irish: Baile Mhic Andáin), is a town in County Kilkenny in the province of Leinster in the south-east of Ireland. It is a lively market town along a stretch in the River Nore which is known for its salmon and trout, with a number of historical landmarks in the vicinity. Visitor attractions include Jerpoint Abbey, Kilfane Glen gardens, and Mount Juliet Golf Course. This section of the Nore Valley Walk starts at the Thomastown GAA pitch.

Taste of Kilkenny Food Trail - The Watergarden

Enjoy the natural food of the Watergarden Cafe where light lunches, salads, soups and home baked cakes are served in a relaxed and peaceful environment. The ethos is on using organic and local ingredients where possible. Stroll through the beautiful walled and stream side gardens, then browse the garden shop and art gallery. The Watergarden was established by Camphill Communities of Ireland in 1993 to provide day facilities for people of all abilities.

Where: Ladywell Street, Thomastown, Co Kilkenny
Open: Monday 10am – 3pm (Lunch served 12.30 – 2.30pm), Tuesday to Friday 10am – 4:30pm (Lunch served 12.30 – 2.30pm)
Phone: 056 7724690

Taste of Kilkenny Food Trail - The Blackberry Cafe

Jackie Hoyne’s iconic Blackberry Café is housed in a historic, award-winning building in the heart of Thomastown. Dedicated to local food produce, it serves quality foods using local suppliers, such as Knockdrinna cheese and pork products, locally grown fruit and vegetables and employs traditional recipes. Cakes, tarts and scones are baked fresh daily and the cafe has attracted a loyal following for its coffee alone. A take away service is available.

Where: Market Street, Thomastown, Co Kilkenny
Open: Monday – Friday 9.30am – 5.30pm, Saturday 10am – 5.30pm
Mobile: 086 7755303

Taste of Kilkenny Food Trail - Sol Bistro

Sol Bistro is an intimate bistro restaurant in the centre of Thomastown. The ethos of the restaurant, like that of it's sister restaurant Cafe Sol in Kilkenny City, is to provide good, honest, local food freshly cooked and tastefully presented at value for money prices. (Closed Monday and Tuesday nights).

Where: Low Street, Thomastown, Co Kilkenny
Open: Mon – Thurs (11.30am – 9.30pm), Fri – Sat
(11.30am – 10pm), Sun (12pm – 9pm), Closed 25/26 Dec and 01 Jan, Closed Mon – Tue in low season
Oct – Nov and Jan – Apr.
Phone: 00353 56 7754945

Taste of Kilkenny Food Trail - The Truffle Fairy

Mary Teehan, award winning chef, creates high-quality chocolates and truffles using only the freshest cream, butter, nuts, spices and natural flavours. Everything is made by hand to provide an experience that stimulates all senses. Carefully selected chocolate delivers richer and deeper flavours in the spirit of bringing chocolate to life. Visitors are welcome at the chocolate production kitchen and shop.

Where: Chapel Lane, Thomastown, Co Kilkenny
Open: Business hours or by appointment
Phone: 00353 56 7793375
Mobile: 00353 87 2862634

made in Kilkenny craft trail - Earthworks Ceramics

Earthworks artists Karen Morgan, Caroline Dolan and Oonagh Anderson invite you to visit their studio, watch them work and enjoy the idyllic 17th century watermill gallery setting.
Discover the individual dynamic styles of the artists who are continually developing and creating new, exciting and original
pieces that are beautifully handcrafted and completely unique.
Where: Grennan Watermill, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny
Phone: 056 7724714
Open: Mon to Sat 10:30 – 17:30

made in Kilkenny - Clay Creations

Clay Creations ceramic studio and Gallery is located in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny. Brid Lyons designs and hosts a wide variety of contemporary ceramic pieces, original designs and sculptural work. Brid’s sculptural works are creative in
form with vibrant glazes creating a unique character for each piece. A visit is a must for every ceramic enthusiast.
Where: Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny
Phone: 00353 56 7724977
Mobile: 00353 87 2570735
Open: Wed to Sat 10:00 – 17:00 (closed lunch 13:00 – 14:00)

Thomastown GAA pitch / Grennans Castle

The Nore Valley Walk passes the Thomastown GAA pitch and joins the river bank. Follow the Green arrows along the river bank in the direction of Inistioge.

The valley is dominated by Grennan Castle, standing on an elevated mound which at one time was surrounded by a moat. The Castle was built around 1200 by Thomas FitzAnthony who gave his name to the town…… Baile Mhic Andain. Thomas was a Norman and son-in-law of Strongbow and was granted a large area of land in the Inistioge/Thomastown area. In 1650 the castle was laid siege to by Cromwell. We can tell the story in his own words:

"Our men attempted to take the town (Thomastown), the enemy made no great resistance; but by the advantage of the bridge quitted the town and fled to a castle about half a mile distant……That night we summoned the castle and after two days it was surrendered to us, the enemy leaving arms, drums, colours and ammunition behind them, and engaging never to bear arms more against the Parliament of England".

The castle maintained its original form until the early years of the 19th century. Then vandalism stepped in. The high courtyard wall, many of the handsome quoin stones and all the carved stones, forming the surrounds of the windows, were torn down and used as building stones. And so today it stands, shorn of its beauties, a monument to ignorance and avarice and the Castle, which was once deemed a fitting residence for the highest in the land, now gives shelter to the beasts of the field.

Entry onto Rock Road

On leaving the Coillte forest follow the green arrows left along the Rock Road.

Ballyduff house

Ballyduff House, built in 1760, is set in glorious parkland overlooking the river Nore. It is the beautiful home of Brede Thomas who, as well as running the B&B also farms. The setting is totally unspoiled which is almost unique in this part of Ireland.

Ballyduff House - Thomastown - Co. Kilkenny - Ireland
Tel. +353 (0) 56 775 8488

Brownsbarn Forest

Brownsbarn Wood is a broadleaf forest on the banks of the River Nore. The trail contains walkways and a bench to stop and admire the view.

Brownsbarn Wood to River Nore

On leaving Brownsbarn Wood follow the green arrow markers down the road (turn left), when the road meets the Brownsbarn Bridge turn right in the direction of Inistioge and over the stile to the river bank.

Inistioge Village

Inistioge is a picturesque village in South kilkenny. It is the perfect place to finish your walk with a number of cafes and restaurants.
Pictures in this guide taken by: Trail_Kilkenny

Thomastown to Inistioge Walk, Ireland Map

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