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Kings River

  Grade:   1 to 3       Rating: river rating
  County:   Kilkenny   Date updated:30/08/2014
  Section Length:   10km ish   Version: 4 (History)

Brief River Description

This river is one of the tributaries of the river Nore, it is approximately 12km long packed full of little weirs and rapids. The river is narrow in nature and can be quiet fast flowing.

Directions to the Put-in

The get on for the King's River in the the small village of Kells which is 12km south of Kilkenny city. A google maps link to get on / off is here.

View Kings River get on/off in a larger map.

Directions to the Take-out

The take out of the river in just after the small Kings river joins the far larger river Nore while it passes through the Mount Juliet estate. The best exit is on river left as you pass under the largeish bridge, this land is private property of Mount Juliet estate so be respectful and quick in your exit. Follow the path up to the road and get over the gate. You car is parked just up on the left.

River Description

The river is made up with lots of small weirs & rapids pretty much along its whole length. You can gauge the level of the river by judging how much water is going over the weir. When water is flowing over the whole weir the river will be ok to go.

When the water going over the weir is smooth and glassy the river is medium and is quiet fun for what it is.

When the weir is totally washed out and the water is in the surrounding fields, this is high/flood, eddies will be almost non existent and the river will be very fast. As the river can be quiet tight and overgrown at times please be very careful at this level.

The river is all pretty much read and run but the following are the main features you will come across.

First weir: You can pretty much drop over where ever you want but at higher levels it has a bit of "low head dam" effect and I have seen some good paddlers getting the side-surf to remember in there. As long as you don't drop in sideways there you'll have no drama.

Second weir: This is only a couple of hundred meters from the first, the weir is broken in nature but has been repaired several times, different lines show up at different levels.

Random "rapids": I use the word rapids very loosely,

Right before you reach the next noticeable feature you will pass the construction of the new motorway bridge which will soon pass overhead. To date I haven't heard of any debris in the river but just have a look for yourself

Big weir : This is the biggest feature on the river and can change its nature with different water levels. The weir can be inspected from the water in all be the very high levels. If you are here with a beginner type group get them to eddy out before you get too close the the weir.



"Centre left line"

The above photo is the the river in lowish water with the construction visible in the back round.There are loads of different lines available and all vary pending on the levels. Centre left as shown above pretty much always goes & is a nice mini boof too.


"view looking upstream at river right line"


There are a couple of what could be described as "hero lines" when the water is higer exterme river left down the shoot or centre right creats a nice "punchy" shalow hole that has some nice rocks down stream to bump your head off.

After that weir there is a bit more of the same and then a broken sluice. This used to be a fun little play feature but since the river right wall collapsed there is debris strewn down river for the next 50meters or so. Still a nice little spot for coaching / play at the right level.



"low water at the broken sluice"
Down river of the sluice there is a short rapid which is good for some skills practice. the river flattens out for the next few hundred meters. You will pass under a stone bridge at Ennisnag and from here to the get out the short rapids come up on you pretty quick.
** 150m past Enisnag Bridge there is a broken weir about 2ft high. It is riddled with re bar so use caution. I have inspected at low water and there is a clean line about 2 meters from river left.
*** 1km past Enisnag the river goes into a narrow constriction which is very bad for log jams and strainers. There are only micro eddies in high water so use caution.
This section of the river is pretty overgrown so if the water is high stay a bit sharp so as not to end up in in one of all the possible strainers.
After you enter the river Nore the get out is only up ahead of you on river left.


Local issues

The only possible access issues are at the get out, parking is very tight / in the Norelands stud gateway. I would suggest if you have more than two cars leave all but one at the get in. You have to exit through Mount Juliet's property so try be some what discrete. The section of the Nore where you get off is famed for its fishing & they pay an awefull lot of money to be there. That said I have never heard of any issues so it would be nice to keep it that way.

** I have spoken with some locals who have had bad experiences with kayakers crossing their land without permission. Please use common sense.


***As of March 2012 we have done an extensive clean up of trees on the lower section (from Enisnag down). Many large trees were removed and others cut back, but still be cautious of jams.


** Short get off at Ennisnag

'Hi guys. Just a quick note for anyone running the Kings river from Kells to Ennisnag. We were talking to the land owner at the pub/shop at Ennisnag who has asked for us not to leave the river through his property. There is an easy get off 200 yards before this just after the stone bridge at Kingsriver Woodcrafts. Parking at this location is possible, it's on the edge of the public road so be careful as ever.' 

River level gauge

The top weir is the best gauge of the level, the river will rise quickly enough with recent rain fall.

River Hazards

In high water eddies tend to not really exist. The larger weir can be a different beast in high high water so make sure you look before you leap. The section form Ennisnag bridge can be very overgrown and difficult to scout. There is has also been wire crossing the river along this section.

** Re bar on broken weir past Enisnag


Original Author: Adrian Shanahan
Latest Author: Adrian Shanahan
(Full History)

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