Open your eyes to a world of natural wonders in Ireland’s Ancient East
Suir Blueway Tipperary is a 53km kayaking and canoe trail from Cahir to Carrick-on-Suir and a 21km walking and cycling trail from Clonmel to Carrick-on-Suir (or vice versa) along the beautiful River Suir. It is the perfect way for all the family to sample Ireland’s beautiful countryside and rich cultural heritage.
Enjoy a paddle on the River Suir’s flowing waters, go for a cycle or walk along its banks, a hike up nearby mountains, or a sedate stroll in bustling towns and villages. Suir Blueway Tipperary has something for all ages and interests.
Marvel at centuries old castles, tower houses and churches. Discover their history of drama, romance, intrigue and deadly rivalries. Stay a while and sample the sensational local food produce, arts and crafts – it’s matched only by the local hospitality.
From Cahir through the picturesque villages of Ardfinnan and Newcastle to the medieval town of Clonmel and on to historic Carrick-on-Suir, this two-day itinerary will open your eyes to the world of natural wonders in Ireland’s Ancient East.
Immerse yourself in stories from before you can remember at Cahir Castle. Discover the people, places and experiences which shaped a landscape that was the main gateway to the centre of Ireland through the ages. Once the stronghold of the Butler family, this imposing, 12th-century fortress is one of Ireland’s largest and best preserved castles. It has an excellent audio-visual show and guided tours for visitors to learn about the pivotal role it played in important periods in Irish history. The Butler Trail app and audio guide —available to download on iTunes and Google Play in English, French and German – is the perfect way to experience the living history of Cahir Castle and other medieval heritage sites on Suir Blueway Tipperary.
Join the tree-lined Coronation Walk for 2km alongside the gently flowing River Suir to the wonderfully romantic Swiss Cottage. This exquisite 200-year-old gentry’s folly was where lords and ladies spent long summer days at leisure. Surrounded outside by fragrant roses, lavender and wisteria, its delightful interior contains elegantly decorated rooms with specially-made furnishings, hand-painted murals and what was once some of the most expensive wallpaper in the world. Find out more about its architectural and design curiosities on one of the 30-minute guided tours. Return to Cahir and explore the pleasant sights and streetscapes of this picturesque town. Stop for lunch – Cahir House Hotel, in the heart of the town, is one of many great options.
It’s time to get on the water. Paddle sports bring Suir Blueway Tipperary to life – from casual kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding on a meandering river, to an exhilarating ride down rapids, there are options to suit all levels along 53km of paddling trails. Try the calmer waters from Cahir to Ardfinnan to Newcastle, or test yourself on the whitewater Canoe Slalom Course in Clonmel, a training base for the Irish team. Pure Adventure and Go Paddle.ie provide canoe, kayak and stand-up paddleboarding lessons and tours but it is essential to book in advance. Contact the Tipperary Sports Partnership for more information about getting on the water.
The villages and towns on Suir Blueway Tipperary are at the heart of The Butler Trail, and the bustling town of Clonmel offers you an opportunity to explore some of the incredible 800-year history of one of Ireland’s most influential families and how they rose to power and how they help shape Irish history. Visit the beautiful Main Guard, which was built as a courthouse in 1675, hosted King James II as he toured Ireland, and was expertly restored at the turn of the last century. The Butler Trail in Clonmel takes its a 40 minutes audio guided walking trail about 1-2 hours and also takes in the West Gate in the town walls, and the Franciscan Friary. Try the famous Barm Brack at Hickey’s Bakery and café in the town centre. Raheen House and Hotel Minella offer great accommodation and excellent food as well.
Cycling is the perfect way to explore the river trails and view wildlife along Suir Blueway Tipperary. A 21km marked cycle route runs from along the river towpath from Clonmel to Kilsheelin and on to Carrick-on-Suir. The route is divided into four stages and is ideal for leisure cyclists of all abilities, with excellent picnicking spots along the way. Bring your own bike or hire one at Blueway Bike Hire. You can pick them up at either end of the trail – at Hotel Minella in Clonmel and Treacys in Carrick-on-Suir.
No visit to the market town of Carrick-on-Suir would be complete without a visit to Ormond Castle. The finest example of an Elizabethan manor house in Ireland, Ormond was built in the 16th Century by the 3rd Earl of Ormond, ‘Black’ Tom Butler, after he was inspired by the architecture he encountered while spending time at the court of his cousin Queen Elizabeth I. Features include some of the most marvellously decorative plasterwork in the country.
Ormond Castle is one of 10 Butler Trail stops in the town, which also includes the beautiful stained glass and Kilkenny marble columns of St Nicholas’s Church. Also well worth a visit is the Tudor Artisan Hub, an Aladdin’s Cave of creative treasures and ‘one-off’ products hand-crafted the eclectic collective of more than 50 local emerging and established artists in the Hub. And there’s no better way to end your Suir Blueway Tipperary experience than to stay the night at the Carraig Hotel or The Arch and savour Carrick-on-Suir’s thriving hospitality.