Graiguenamanagh or Gráig na Manach, meaning "Village of the Monks" is located on the River Barrow at the foot of Brandon Hill. It is home to Duiske Abbey, the largest of the thirty-four medieval Cistercian abbeys in Ireland.
With its remarkable combination of mountain views, lush rolling hills, forest and river valleys, Graignamanagh offers nature lovers a plentiful feast as well as countless amenities for those keen on outdoor activities. Add to these the rich heritage of historical monuments and an abundance of leisure facilities and Graiguenamanagh presents itself as an enormously attractive venue for tourists.
Brandon Hill is the highest mountain in County Kilkenny. It has an elevation of 515 m (1,690 ft). It is situated 4 kilometers South-South-West of Graignamanagh in the south of County Kilkenny. The village of Graignamanagh is at the base of the hill. Here you can enjoy the Brandon Hill Loop, a challenging walk from Graiguenamanagh along country roadways , forestry tracks and hillside paths to the highest point in County Kilkenny. Brandon Hill loop starts in the town of Graignamanagh. The trailhead is at the junction on Lower Main Street.
Duiske Abbey originated in the 13th century as the church of a Cistercian monastery, but today it is a Catholic parish church in the town of Graignamanagh. The abbey began to deteriorate in 1536 as it was suppressed, and it gradually fell into ruin. The last tragedy occurred in 1744 when the tower collapsed into the nave. It later underwent some renovations while serving as a place of worship for the Protestant Church of Ireland, returned to the Catholic community in 1812. Duiske Abbey was fully restored in the 1980s. You can attend mass at Duiske Abbey Monday - Friday at 10am, Saturday at 11am, 7.30pm (Winter 7pm) and Sunday at 11am.
Walking, cycling and watersports are among the more popular pursuits of Graiguenamanagh area and with the South Leinster Way meandering through the lovely Barrow Valley and traversing nearby Brandon Hill, scope is provided for a gentle stroll or a vigorous, day-long hike. The Barrow's aquatic facilities include fishing, swimming, kayaking and canoeing.