The Suir Blueway in Tipperary is home to 53km of stunning scenery and hidden historical gems. You’ll enjoy the 21km of walking and cycling trail from Carrick-on-Suir to Clonmel. In addition, there’s a further 32km of the waterway to canoe and kayak as far as Cahir.
The river towpath from Carrick-on-Suir to Clonmel is ideal for leisure cyclists and walkers of all abilities. The stretch between Cahir and Clonmel is mainly for water-users. But there’s a 4km stretch between Cahir Castle and the Swiss Cottage which is ideal for a leisurely stroll.
Along the way, you’ll get close to centuries-old castles, tower houses, and churches. This is Ireland’s Ancient East in the flesh!
What’s to see
In Carrick on Suir, there is a wide variety of cafes, restaurants, and shops. A popular summer spot, Treacy’s Blueway Bike Hire, is open seven days a week. There are also stunning tourist attractions such as St. Molleran’s Church, the Old Bridge, and Ormond Castle. In fact, Ormond Castle is a fine example of an Elizabethan manor house in Ireland. Thomas, 10th Earl of Ormond, built it in 1565 in honour of his distant cousin, Queen Elizabeth. The castle is open to the public with guided tours available.
As you make your way along the meandering trail, you’ll arrive at a beautiful village called Kilsheelan. There, Poulakerry Tower House was a stronghold of the Butler Fitzwilliams family. The four-five-storey tower house guarded a crossing over the River Suir, 100 metres to the south. The castle passed from William Butler to his sons, Robert and Theobald Butler, in the 16th century. The Tower House was restored in 1970 and has been used as a private residence ever since.
Swiss Cottage splendour
Although the walkway ends in Clonmel, the water activities continue along the River Suir towards Cahir. There’s a stunning 4km walk from the Swiss Cottage back to the heart of Cahir town centre and the castle grounds.
The Swiss Cottage was built in the early 1800s by Richard Butler, 1st Earl of Glengall. It appears to be so named because it was thought to resemble an Alpine cottage. Inside, there is a graceful spiral staircase and some exquisitely decorated rooms. Tours of the cottage are open to the public seven days a week.
Cahir Castle calling
Standing proudly on a rocky island on the River Suir, Cahir Castle is one of Ireland’s largest and best-preserved castles. Built in the 13th century, it served as the stronghold of the powerful Butler family. The castle has been used in recent years for several Hollywood movies such as Excalibur, The Tudors and The Last Duel. So it’s no surprise that Cahir Castle was named Europe’s favourite filming location in 2021.
A trip along the Blueway is the ideal way do some mindful walking, with the River Suir for company. For further information, maps, sample itineraries and places to eat, stay and play, visit www.tipperary.ie
Photos courtesy Failte Ireland and Tipperary Tourism