Kings River Kells

The rivers and streams in County Kilkenny are important for biodiversity and provide amenity and recreational resources. The County’s rivers and streams and are also a key component of our Green Infrastructure , and are habitats that support a wide range of species, some of which are under threat such as salmon and freshwater pearl mussel.

The Rivers Barrow, Nore and Suir (known as the “Three Sisters”) are the principal rivers flowing through County Kilkenny; these rivers, and some of their tributaries are protected areas under Irish and European legislation.

The rivers in the county are also an important cultural and built heritage resource. River corridors historically developed as the main arteries for transport and the principal areas of settlement.

Heritage Audit of the River Nore
The Heritage Office of Kilkenny County Council, with funding and support from Kilkenny County Council, the Heritage Council and the Heritage Forum, has undertaken a heritage audit of the River Nore corridor in County Kilkenny.  It comprised the survey and mapping of all the built, natural and cultural heritage within a 1km wide corridor of the river.

Phase 1 of the survey extended from Ballynalsee on the Laois-Kilkenny border to Ossory Bridge, south of Kilkenny City.  A total of 161 built heritage sites were recorded, including weirs, mills and tower houses. 118 local river names were recorded, as well as all of the habitats and wildlife along this section of river. The local communities, including anglers and landowners, played a vital role in providing information for this survey.

To read the survey reports of the Heritage Audit of the River Nore from Phase 1, please click on the links below:
Volume 1 – Introduction and Overview
Volume 2 – Built Heritage Inventory
Volume 3 – Natural Heritage
Volume 4 – Cultural Heritage
Explore the Nore Poster

Phase 2 of the survey (from Kilkenny City to just north of New Ross) is in the final stages of editing and will be made available shortly.

The data from the audit is being used to inform an interpretative strategy for the River Nore corridor, funded by Kilkenny County Council and Trail Kilkenny.


River Nore Teaching Resources

The Heritage Office of Kilkenny County Council,  supported by the Kilkenny Education Centre and the Heritage Council, has developed eight lesson plans on aspects of the River Nore’s heritage. The lesson plans are linked to the Social Environmental & Scientific Education (SESE) curriculum and are aimed at 4th – 6th class in primary school.
They are designed to be used in conjunction with the ‘Explore the Nore’  poster and River Nore Heritage Audit Reports which were produced as part of the River Nore Heritage Audit.
The plans cover the following topics: The River Nore; Salmon; Nore Freshwater Pearl Mussel; Hedgerows; Ballyragget Castle; Threecastles Ringfort & Motte; Kilkenny’s Mills; Rivernames.

To access the lesson plans please click on the links under each lesson heading.


Lesson Plans


River Nore with Castle in the background

River Nore

Lesson 1 – The River Nore


salmon jumping out of water

Salmon jumping

Lesson 2 – Salmon


Pearl Mussel shell of brown and orange resting on a bench

Photo courtesy of Evelyn Moorkens

Lesson 3 – Nore Freshwater Pearl Mussel
Lesson 4 – Hedgerows



Lesson 5 – Threecastles Ringfort & Motte



Tall Stone Tower House

Ballyragget Castle

Lesson 6 – Ballyragget Castle


Black and white photo of large group of women in three rows in front of building

The Weavers and Spinnners of Greenvale Woolen Mill in the 1920s

Lesson 7 – Kilkenny’s Mills

Two elderly men smiling and looking at a map on a table

Dick Keoghan and Jack Phelan discussing river names

Lesson 8 – Rivernames


Useful Links
Castlecomer Discovery Park has a diverse curriculum based Educational and Recreational Programme  for primary and secondary school students.