On entering the tidal section of the River Barrow, it is advisable to plan a passage taking advantage of the tides.  Bear in mind that the tide can run at up to 4 knots, the tidal range varies from 2-4.5m (6.5-15ft) and wind can have a big impact in more open waters.

Departing St. Mullins Lock or Quay 1-2 hours before high water allows sufficient water depth to pass over the shoal called the Scar, and also enough time to travel downstream to the Barrow and Nore Confluence and explore the River Nore.  When meeting traffic: keep to the starboard side of the channel and overtake with due caution on the port side.  If there is no other traffic, keep on the outside of all bends.  All the way down river, there are traditional fishing hauls, each with their own name.  Fishing cots are still sometimes seen pulled up on the banks although the commercial fishery has been closed on the Barrow.

 

Coolhill Castle

The rivers meanders through two high-forested bends until it comes to:  a long, steep horseshoe with the 3-storey Coolhill Castle towering above

Be aware of a bank of sediment protruding into the river course from the west bank.  The castle was built in the 14th century by the Norman family De La Rupe (later called the Roches, who were robber barons launching raids on boats from this stronghold.  In 1621 it passed to the Mountgarretts and in 1653 was confiscated by Cromwell.

 

Poulmounty Castle

Around the next bend on the east bank, is Poulmounty River, the border between Counties Carlow and Wexford.  Poulmounty Castle was a Kavanagh stronghold, who also preyed on river traffic.    Eileen Kavanagh of Poulmounty Castle  was bethrothed to Gilbert Roche of Coolhill Castle but when she heard Carroll O’Daly’s  song she had inspired (Eileen Aroon), she eloped with the minstrel, married by the Abbot of Duiske.