Graignamanagh (pronounced Greg-na-mana) is a village on the River Barrow, which forms the eastern boundary of County Kilkenny in southeast Ireland. Gráig na Manach means "village of the monks" and refers to Duiske Abbey which is the place's main attraction. That in turn is named for An Dubhuisce, the Douskey or black river, the stream which here flows into the Barrow. Graignamanagh, often anglicised as Graiguenamanagh, had a population of 1475 in 2016.
The east bank of the Barrow is in County Carlow, with the village of Tinnahinch. It's part of Graignamanagh for all practical purposes and is so described on this page.
The closest railway station is Thomastown 15 km west, with trains on the Dublin Heuston - Kilkenny - Waterford line. There's no onward public transport from Thomastown, but bike-on-train would work.
By road from Dublin, follow M9 to junction 6 near Carlow, then R448 south to Leighlinbridge, forking onto R705 south. Or you could stay on M9 to junction 9 near Kilkenny, loop onto the Bennettsbridge road to pick up R700 to Thomastown, finally R703 east.
From Rosslare and Wexford take N25 to New Ross, then R700 north onto R705.
You can also get here by boat, as the Barrow Navigation links the Grand Canal at Robertstown in County Kildare south to Athy, Carlow, Bagenalstown, Graignamanagh and St Mullins. Here it joins the tidal river down to New Ross, Waterford and out to sea. Check Waterways Ireland for current status of locks, moorings and so on. There are restrictions on how far rented boats may be taken from base.
The town is small and you'll soon exhaust its delights. You need wheels to explore the countryside around.
- Main St is colourful and too narrow for cars to pass, so it's controlled by traffic lights. It leads down to the Quays and a handsome stone bridge over the river.
- 1 Duiske Abbey, Abbey St. Fine Cistercian monastery established in 1204, built with limestone from the English Mendips, and embellished in Early English Gothic style. The abbey fell derelict after the Dissolution but the church remained in use by the C of I, then was handed back to the Roman Catholics in 1812 and is still an active parish church. The effigy of a 13th century Norman knight guards the entrance, and there are High Crosses and a small historical exhibition. Free.
- 2 Tinnahinch Castle was built in 1615 to guard the river crossing: the first bridge from 1540 was here, about 200 m downstream from the present R703 road and bridge. The castle - which looks more like a fortified storehouse and guardroom - burnt out in 1700 and was abandoned. You can't go in as it's unsafe, and stands within the grounds of the lock-keeper's cottage. The canal locks take boats past the weir.
- 3 Ullard Church or St Fiacre's is the ruin of a 12th century church, with a Romanesque doorway and 9th century High Cross. The interior was adapted in the 19th century into a handball court - you need a high smooth wall to whack the ball against, and an old church interior does nicely. Meanwhile St Fiacre (600-670) had taken himself off to France, to become the patron saint of gardeners and taxi-drivers, and to give his name to the fiacre carriage.
- 4 St Mullins is the south terminus of the Barrow Navigation, joining the tidal river. There are the ruins of a monastery founded by St Moling in the 7th century, a "healing well", and a Norman motte and bailey.
- Angling: the river has trout, salmon, pike, perch, rudd, bream, eels, roach, twait shad and stone loach plus (in season) shop trolleys, old bikes and unspeakables. Mick Doyle's pub stocks fishing tackle.
- Pure Adventure on the Quay organise kayaking and canoeing on the river.
- 1 Brandon Hill or Cnoc Bhréanail at 515 m / 1690 ft is the highest mountain in County Kilkenny, an easy climb. You can hike all the way from town by the trail starting from the bridge. By car take R705 south, and 200 m after the roundabout turn right into a narrow road to Inistioge then immediately left into a very narrow lane. This leads past the campsite, then after 1 km through a farmer's yard, then becomes unpaved. Persevere, and another 2 km brings you to the car park. An obvious path continues to the summit, with a cairn, an old cross and viewpoint.
- South Leinster Way is a long-distance hiking trail from Kildavin in County Carlow to Carrick-on-Suir in County Tipperary. The local section is from Borris in Carlow along the east bank of the river to Tinnahinch. Then cross to the west bank and head for Brandon Hill as above. Divert to the summit if you wish, but the main path stays on its flanks then zigzags down forestry tracks to Inistioge. Further sections cross the county south and west to Glenpipe, Mullinavat, Templeorum, Piltown and finally Carrick-on-Suir.
- Barrow Navigation: Graignamanagh is a scenic stretch of this canalised river, see Get in. You may not take a rented boat into tidal waters below St Mullins, so you can't reach New Ross, Inistioge or Kilkenny city.
- Barrow Way is the former towpath of the Navigation: the horses retired in 1920 when freight barges became motorised. The 8 km from Tinnahinch to St Mullins is a pleasant trail along the east bank, Carlow side.
- The Regatta is held on the Barrow in early August. Dates for 2021 are TBA.
- Town of Books Festival is held over three days in August. Every shop in town morphs into a book shop, and there's music and other live entertainment. It doesn't look likely to happen in 2021.
- Aldi north on Upper Main St is open M-F 09:00-22:00, Sa Su 09:00-21:00.
- There's an ATM outside Bank of Ireland on Upper Main St.
- Cushendale Woollen Mills, Mill Rd R95 PP83, ☏ , email@example.com. M-F 09:00-12:30, 13:30-17:30, Sa 10:00-13:00. There have been woollen mills along the river here since the Abbey began the industry in the 13th century, and the Cushen family have been local weavers since around 1800. They produce quality rugs, yarns and a range of clothing.
- Duiske Glass, High St R95 AH98, ☏ . Tu Th 10:00-16:00, M W F-Sa 11:00-16:00. Family-run company specialising in Intaglio method of glass engraving. The shop sells glass and other giftware.
- Waterside Restaurant within the guesthouse gets great reviews, see Sleep.
- Duiske Inn on Main St has good bar food and is open M-W 10:00-16:00, Th-Sa 10:00-20:00, Su 11:00-20:00.
- Devil's Menu off Mill Rd in Tinnahinch is demonstration cookery - the chef juggles up meals for groups before your wondering eyes. By appointment only.
- Mick Doyle's, Main Street R95 T86X (Opposite Abbey), ☏ . Daily 12:00-23:30. Trad pub, though they've introduced TV and wifi. Also has a small grocery with fishing tackle available.
- Cosy Inn on Upper Main Street has live music at weekends and TV sport.
- O'Driscoll's on Mill Rd Tinnahinch has a pleasant beer garden and is open M-Th 11:00-23:30, F Sa 11:00-00:30, Su 12:00-23:00.
- 1 Waterside Guesthouse, The Quay, Graiguenamanagh R95 HX3K, ☏ . Open Mar-Oct in a converted 19th century granary, with 10 rooms en suite looking onto the river Barrow. Excellent restaurant, the rooms are a bit 1970s. B&B double €120.
- Killvarra is a B&B on Barrow Lane, B&B double €90.
- Mount Brandon have self-catering cottages in Tinnahinch.
- 2 Brandon Hill Camping, Coolroe, Graiguenamanagh, ☏ . Friendly campsite with glamping pods, limited space for caravans. Tent €10 ppn, campervan €20 plus €4 hook-up, pod €100.
- 3 Brandon View House, Ballyling Lower (on R729), ☏ . Small friendly place, out towards Blackstairs mountains so you need a car. B&B double €90.
- 4 Mulvarra House, Bauck, St Mullins R95 FK63, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. With six en suite guest rooms, they mostly cater for small groups for yoga, retreats and the like, but may accommodate others.
As of March 2021, you'll manage a mobile call with Vodafone but there's no signal from Eir or Three. 4G has not reached this area, let alone 5G.
- Kilkenny is the lively small city at the heart of this county.
- Ferns in County Wexford is a tiny village that was once the seat of the kings of Leinster. It has a cluster of medieval ruins.
- Waterford is Ireland's oldest city, with Viking, Norman and Georgian heritage.