Glendalough - The Spinc - 550m, Co. Wicklow
Well doable this one, although after the initial foray up the Poulanass Waterfall you might be forgiven to think hell no! Persevere and you shall be rewarded. Park in the second car park past the An Oige Hostel and St. Kevin's Tower, €4 fee applies. Head out from the car park past the Toursit Hut and up by Poulanass Waterfall. At the top of this steep climb, swing left and 300m down the track take a right heading uphill all the time. Rounding the next corner is a track on the right heading into the forest canopy via railway sleepers which quickly lead up a steep gradient. Take your time heading up here as the continuous switchbacks seem to drag on forever. Eventually, you emerge onto the Spinc itself with grand views across the valley below, car parks to the right, lakes dead ahead and Camaderry to the left foreground (1 Hour.) Continue along the sleepers, first upwards to the high point of the Spinc, stopping occasionally to snap off some photos and then down towards to the bridge past some cottage ruins (2 Hours from car park.) fter crossing the bridge, you begin the trek back to the car park through a boulder field with some arrows pointing the easiest route. Once negotiated, a gravel track appears which heads down towards the aboandoned mines by a few steep switchbacks. Cross this flat land with a two stream crossings and a tarmac path waits for you o bring you back to the car park over relatively flat land.
Grade: Easy - moderate
Time: 2 Hours 45 minutes
The two lakes at Glendalough as viewed from the Spinc
Kippure - 757m, Co. Dublin
Dublin's highest point, right on the border with Wicklow, close to the source of the Liffey, big T.V. mast; pick your own reason for doing it but do it you will! There are a variety of routes up Kippure but I've chose these two: An easy way is from a lay by at the bottom of a service road running to the summit just off the Military Road on the right hand side past Glencree (45 minutes.) A more scenic route is to park opposite Lough Bray Upper, cross the stream and make your way along the ridge gradually climbing towards Kippure itself (30 minutes.) From here, it's a march across bog land with frequent streams crossings before the final clamber up to the summit (1 Hour 45 minutes from car park.) The views are impressive and a row of stakes mark the County boundary. Descend via the road to bypass the bogs and return to the car park.
Time: 3 Hours
Kippure viewed from Carrigvore, Co. Dublin.
Tonelagee - 817m, Co. Wicklow
Just before the Glenmacnass waterfall there is a car park on the left just off the Military Road which is the start point for this walk. Cross the brook and head right past the thicket and trudge up the hill until you come to a sparse track going left to right; take the right side of the track. Follow the trail upwards until it broadens out as it climbs higher to a the first false summit. Views open up to Tonelagee itself, Turlough Hill Hydro Power Station to the left, Mullaghcleevan to the right and Scarr across from where you came from (45 mins.) Drop down to the boggy col wrapping up as this area tends to be exposed to gusty winds. There are a number of trails which lead to the summit but head left as it it is more direct. A trig point awaits you on the summit as do views opening up across lower Wicklow with some towering mountains to savour. (1 Hour 50 mins.) To return head down to the eidge overlooking Lough Iochar and follow it down to the left. This track can be slippy so be careful when placing your feet. Follow the slope down to the lake and follow the track back towards the Military Road keeping the river on your right. You can either follow the rivers as it meanders back to the car park or cross the river to walk on shorter grass. Return to the car park takes 1 hour 30 minutes from the summit.
Time: 3 Hours 20 minutes
Carrigvore, Gravale & Duff Hill, Co. Wicklow
A long walk over fairly flat hills, this route is good for walkers training for the Wicklow Way or other long distance walks. Park in a lay by on the righthand side of the Military Road around 10 minutes from Sally Gap travelling from Tallaght/Rathfarnham. A rough track awaits you as you commence your walk up Carrigvore (682m.) The going is steady with boggy patches but the summit is gained with relative ease after 30 minutes. Views north to Kippure, east to Djouce and south to Tonelagee open up. To the west lies Gravale (718m.) Travel down sheep tracks through the rough gorse and heather and up again to the next summit of the day (1 Hour 15 minutes.) Duff Hill (720m) is the last of the trio and is gained by dropping down from Gravale between knee height heather plantations and by climbing a relatively short steep section. (1 hour.) I would suggest hiking towards the Military Road to return to the car park (1 hour 30 minutes.)
Time: 4 Hours 15 minutes
Maulin Via Crone Wood, Co. Wicklow
A nice walk in Co. Wicklow overlooking Powerscourt Waterfall which is Ireland's highest waterfall at 121m. There are various starting points to climb this hill but for this walk I'll describe the crowd favourite which is to park up in Crone Wood and do the forest track loop.
From Tallaght, head towards View Point car park and on to Glencree along the Military Road. Take the second right after this car park which is signposted for Powerscourt Waterfall. Follow the road for 10 - 15 minutes and the car park will come up on the righthand side. Beware of the closing times of the car park in winter which is 16.00 sharp. If in doubt, park down the road in the lay-by (5 minute walk.)
The walk itself is straightforward although boots are still recommended for ankle support, hiking runners will suffice as 90% of the alk is on firm track. Walk through the car park and take the high route out past the signpost for the Wicklow Way (left track.) Head up the zigzags keeping with the "Little Yellow Man" which marks the Wicklow Way. As you track along , views of the eastern seaboard open up showering the walker with views towards Dublin and across to Bray. A fork in the road arrives at a left hand T junction; bear left. This track eventually opens out overlooking the Powerscourt Waterfall (30 - 40 minutes from car park) and on a clear day this is a great photo opportunity. Just pass this natural viewpoint is a track which bears right off the main trail which leads up Maulin. Ignore this one. Bear left and be guided by the handrails around the cliffs and over the rock implanted in the trail. Once negotiated the trail tops out on a pass. To the left is Djouce and War Hill. To the right is Maulin. This pass is usually windy due to exposure in the pass so wrap up warm.
Turn right at the stone wall and follow the bog track up to the summit of Maulin (25 minutes.) On the summit is a small cairn with various tracks leading off the summit with the northernmost leading to Tonduff. Choose the northeast track (the middle one) to return to the car park via the forest tracks (45 minutes.)
Time: 1 hour 50 minutes