Barrow’s Keep, Co Kilkenny: Book a late lunch in this perfect riverside location

A two-course Sunday lunch is €28. You could pay more for a soul-sapping pub carvery

Barrow’s Keep, in Graiguenamanagh, Co Kilkenny

Barrow’s Keep, in Graiguenamanagh, Co Kilkenny

Is she your dog, we ask two men on a boat as a large black lump of love leans on our legs and we stroke her glossy coat. “She might be yours now,” one of them answers. She’ll adopt any dog-loving passerby on the towpath of the Barrow. She fell into the river as a pup, and now she’s wary of the boat, they explain.

A short way back down the river I conquer my own wariness, and hang between a slippery rock and a hard steel ladder before giving in to the silty coolness of the pool above the weir at Clashaganny for my first river swim in decades.

Olivia O’Leary wrote a piece more than a decade ago about being joined by an otter while swimming here with her sister. It was a memorable love letter to the beauty of a river and its surrounding countryside.

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