The Nore Valley Way Overview:
Official length: 11km *
What we walked:
Start/end points: Kilkenny - Bennettsbridge // Thomastown - Inistioge
Trail difficulty: 1/5
Trail Quality: 4/5 **
Camping/Accommodation: plenty of accomodation in Kilkenny
Public transport: also plenty in Kilkenny
*this refers to walking only the second section of the trail. We walked the trail leading out from Kilkenny - Bennetsbridge as well as the more commonly listed section from Thomastown - Inistoige
** the only reason I haven't given it 5/5 is because the trail is in two halves, which makes it awkward.
This is trail 13/42 in our project to walk every single National Waymarked Trail of Ireland. This was us from day 66 - 69.
One of the shorter trails on our list, the Nore Valley Way comes in at less than 30km. The quality of this trail was superb, but had one hitch: the trail is in two unconnected halfs. Starting in Kilkenny town, the route goes out along the river to Bennetsbridge. There's then a 10km gap, and the trail continues from Thomastown to Inistoige. I think when being constructed they started at either end, but never made it to the middle.
But what they have is really wonderful. You pass through woodland and follow twisting small trails all along the river, with one or two short road sections.
After walking the trail, our current hypothesis as to why it's in two sections is that each individual section is too good to tarnish the trail by throwing in 10km of road in the middle. In case you're guessing how we managed to do these two separate sections without a car - we had my family come walking with me for the afternoon, and got a lift between the two sections. It couldn't have worked out much better.
Its super enjoyable having people come walk with us, especially on such a nice trail. Of course when the trail is so enjoyable, and you get chatting, walking becomes strolling and the pace seriously drops - I think some people think that we walk at a running pace because they always comment about if they came out with us they wouldn't be able to keep up. For me it's great to mix up the group dynamic, and doesn't really matter how fast or slowly we walk, as long as we're outside.
There was even a swing on the river bank! Naturally everyone had a go, because swings are amazing no matter what age you are. The last time I can remember being on a swing before this was when walking in Spain two years ago. I've made a promise to myself that the gap to my next swinging experience will shorter.
I guess a benefit to the trail being in roughly 2 x 10km sections is that you could park your car at the end of one section and walk out and back in one afternoon.
This is definitely a trail I would recommend to other people - because it's super easy but in no way boring.