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A tale of three sisters in Ireland’s Ancient East – Kilkenny waterways

Ireland's ancient rivers offer a veritable myriad of legendary tales, from mystical Gods and great warriors to bewitchery and enchanting folk stories. The River Nore is a 140km river and, along with the River Suir and River Barrow, it is one of the constituent rivers of the group known as the Three Sisters. The source of the River Nore is the Devil's Bit Mountain in County Tipperary which, according to local legend, got its name because the devil took a bite out of it. It broke his teeth and he spat out what was to become the Rock of Cashel! The waterways of Kilkenny and neighbouring counties offer bounties of inspirational pastimes, both for those seeking relaxation and those seeking adventure.


Kilkenny stands majestically over the River Nore, a rich salmonid resource that will delight and encapsulate anglers and fly fishing aficionados.

The Nore has a reputation for producing salmon every year though some of these waterways are in recovery and being reconstituted . For many years, the Mount Juliet estate has been regarded as one of the finest fishing houses in Ireland, providing some of the best salmon and trout fishing in the region.

Licences are available for catch and release with twelve named pools on the estate’s stretch of river, each offering a different challenge and opportunity for your enjoyment. The season runs from March to September and a fishing license is required (it should be sought from the estate).

Nore Valley River

River Trails

Try a lovely 10km walking trail following the Nore from Thomastown to Inistioge. You will pass the ruins of Grennan Castle built by Strongbow’s son-in-law in the 13th century AD, and Dysart Castle, home of philosopher, Bishop George Berkley.

The Three Sisters’ tranquil waters are teeming with flora and fauna – and waterways present trails, foraging outings and beautiful walks all along the riverbanks. For coarse fishing one of two rainbow trout lakes, one fly fishing only the other bait and fly at Castlecomer demesne, or perhaps rainbow the easy catch is to visit Goatsbridge Trout Farm for your supper!

Go with the Flow Canoeing Adventures

Whatever your preference, an evening casting flies on the sleepy waters will surely transport you to a relaxing experience of a day well spent – communing with nature. A sleepy enclave, don’t be fooled by the still waters.

For the active and outdoorsy, Go with the Flow brings you adventurous canoeing trips along Kilkenny’s beautiful waterways.  Explore the scenic countryside, travelling through beautiful, unspoiled waterways along exclusive trails, traversing weirs and riding the rapids. Tours travel through dramatic landscapes, mysterious wooded valleys and navigations once used by the Guinness barges to deliver Ireland’s favourite tipple. Bring a picnic, or if you’re hardy, take a swim in tranquil sheltered waters – exhilarating!

Pure Adventure

Pure Adventure is based in the heart of the Barrow Valley in the picturesque village of Graiguenamanagh, Co. Kilkenny. Pure Adventure is a family-run business that is built on a passion for the outdoors and for water sports.

They offer a range of kayaking, canoeing, stand up paddle boarding and hill walking activities to suit all ages and abilities. All equipment is supplied and all guides are fully qualified and highly experienced.

To understand Kilkenny's unique character, one should retire from the busy streets to the lovely Castle Park and, standing within the shadow of the ancient pile, contemplate the great jumble of roof-tops, old and young, which tumble down to the quiet-flowing river beneath. Here, dove-grey spires and battlemented towers proclaim a city old in Christian living and wise in human experience. One can feel the heartbeat of an ancient civilised community.