The River Suir

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A week! A week of walking. After a lovely stay in Reades, where I was fed very well by Margaret (bread and bread and bread), I set off on a sunny morning. Back onto road but well rested and with some dry(ish) boots on my feet. One of the more difficult tasks on trail is keeping clothes and gear dry. You’ll fail, frequently, but there’s a reasonable acceptance of damp with all outdoor pursuits I think. Also, you’ll become an expert sniffer of clothes. What seems too smelly on day two will be meadow fresh by your day seven standards. Alright, back to the walking business. Still on road, continue onwards for a solid hour, the train line on your right the main source of entertainment. The South Leinster Way really loves road. Swing right beneath the railway bridge before meeting the R448, a stupidly busy road to be walking along. Stay safe and seen before reaching Mullinavat. You’ll find a shop here to replenish supplies and of course get a coffee. Beware, country roads don’t host many bins so, if purchasing a coffee, you may end up carrying your empty cup halfway across Kilkenny. Turn right at the Rod Iron bar and continue along the road as you pass a school (no bins) and the Pollanassa River. The road rises slightly and continues onward. For ages. Before a right turn at a fork. It then continues onward for ages more. Basically, day seven is a whole lot of road. There are always days like this on big walks, unfortunately a lot of the trails, particularly in the midlands in Ireland, feature a lot of road walking. It is arduous but it’s at this stage where a strong mentality kicks in. I was quite lucky that I knew I’d some friends meeting me in Carrick on Suir, the first time I’d company since day four. Small things like that can egg you on to complete difficult days.

Road, so much road

Back to the road, continue to follow it and the way markers until you reach Piltown. If you’re there at the right time you can stop at Anthony’s Inn for a feed and refreshments. Alas, I was there too early so the remnants of the Centra deli were all I had. Turning right at Anthony’s Inn, continue into Piltown before taking a left, passing some bungalows and leaving the village behind. Cross over a bypass, take a moment to think about how these massive roads carry people these distances and how you’ve made it on foot. Go on you good thing. Continue onward, along relatively flat roads, you may catch a glimpse of Tower Hill to your left and, if lucky, your first sighting of the River Suir at its feet. After a stretch, reach the Piltown/Fiddown Bypass, a large and busy stretch of dual carriageway which is quite hazardous to cross and driven by large HGVs. Quite frankly, it should not feature on a walking trail. However, avoid the app for just this brief moment and keep an eye out for the waymarker which is located directly opposite the T-junction you’ve arrived at. Here, find a small set of steps, cross carefully and take this route as it will enable you to avoid a stretch of dangerous road. Once you’ve safely navigated the dual carriageway, follow sleepy country roads towards your final destination for the day, Carrick on Suir.

Cross the Linguan River

Cross the Linguan River at a water treatment plant and follow the road onwards towards the residential outskirts of the town. Here, the hustle of town may hit you after a day on quieter roads. Turn right and follow the road beneath the railway bridge and past St Brigid’s Hospital. Contunue on pedestrian footpaths which will lead you along Castle Park, Castle View and Castle Lane before joining the banks of the Suir. End of day seven has arrived for me and Carrick on Suir provides a chance to eat well, sleep in a bed, see friends and enjoy the luxury of all trails, a bath!