The River Barrow, County Carlow
The pristine River Barrow in Carlow is something of a hidden gem that's a favourite of local walkers and cyclists, as well as kayakers and boaters. But it also has some swimming options, too. Follow the flat towpath trail from the lovely village of Graignamanagh and you're into a stunning natural wonderland of glassy reflections, forests and picturesque lock houses. It's about a 7km walk or cycle to the village of St Mullins — your swimming spot. "Cool, dark and refreshing," is how Outdoorswimming.ie describes the waters here, but they do also caution that the Barrow is a big river so it's vital to be careful of any flow. Afterwards, warm the cockles with tea and scones at the brilliant Mullichain Café, right on the doorstep.