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Ow River

  Grade:   3 to 4       Rating: river rating
  County:   Wicklow   Date updated:22/05/2010
  Section Length:   3Km   Version: 3 (History)

Brief River Description

A well hidden seldom run Wicklow gem. Very picturesque and and unique in character. Very continuous grade 3+ with trees as a large hazard due to to the closeness of the forestry to its left bank.

Directions to the Put-in

Located in Aghavannagh village in the south of Wicklow.

From Laragh
Take the R755 South out of Laragh. Then take the first right, the road should be signposted for Aghavannagh. Follow this road for 17Km to Aghavannagh.

From Aughrim
Coming into Aughrim from the Dublin(Rathdrum) road take a right turn in the town centre which takes you out the Roddenagh road. Follow the signs for Aghavannagh village.

You will pass by the GAA pitch on your left hand side and at the next junction take a right which will bring will have the lower section of the Ow running down below you on the left hand side.

Drive approx 13km (20mins drive) along this road (a signpost to Ballymanus is roughly the half-way point). Turn right at a turn-off (T-junction) that goes downhill on a left hand bend. After 0.5km you come to a bridge with an entrance to the forestry on its far side.

The Put In
The forestry entrance is on the east side of the bridge in Aghavannagh. You can either hike up along the forestry road or get the keys to the forestry from the man living in the second house up from the gate. Please note that he's had no problems in him giving us the keys in the past but a gesture of generosity wouldn't be nice as its obviously an inconvenience for him having paddlers banging on his door constantly. Stay left on the forestry road and when it ends you can hike up as far as you wish.

Directions to the Take-out

The take out is the entrance to the forestry. From the river you will see the take out bridge just after the final rapid.

River Description

All scouting of this river is easiest from the right bank.

The start of the river is quite steep and pacy but contains very little as regards features. The river then snakes around a bit before it cuts into a section where the forestry overhangs from the left back.

After this the river become a series of read and run rapids but with and increased risk of tree hazards. Be careful to take your time on these rapids as the eddies although numerous are quite small.

Towards the end there is a 3m slide that is safest ran in the middle.After this there in one small rapid where overhanging boughs should determine your line.

Local issues

The land on which the river runs is part of the military shooting range. Please don't enter when the sign at the entrance has a red-flag.

The entrance key holder lives in the 2nd house up from the forestry entrance. Please be civil with him.

River level gauge

From the take out you can see final rapid. The level here sets the standard for all rapids above. This wouldn't be advised as a good low water run. The more water the better it gets.

River Hazards

Trees are a very big hazard on this river. As of November 2007 there was a river wide tree blockage half way down the river that needs to be portaged. Be warned that this is in the middle of rapid and should be approached with extreme caution especially in higher flows.


Original Author: Brian
Latest Author: Seanie
(Full History)

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