Stage 4 South: Glendalough – Aughavannagh (D-E)
Stage 4 North: Aughavannagh – Glendalough (E-D)

Distance: 26km (approx.)

The toughest day! Two big climbs lie ahead, an early start is advised. As we leave the valley floor our first climb starts. Progressing higher through the conifer forest we reach one of the highest points on the Wicklow Way; the Mullacor Saddle. Our views to the south now open out ahead of us and Wicklow’s highest mountain, Lugnaquilla with its broad summit plateau comes into view.

Don’t miss the Mullacor Hut which is tucked into the forest to our left as we descend into the valley, it’s easily missed. Glenmalure provides a welcome respite before the next climb. The route follows mainly forest tracks passing the second hut of the day at Mucklagh. Our final descent brings us to Iron Bridge and the end of a long day.

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 Glendalough Visitor Centre

For most visitors, Glendalough needs no introduction. A valley chiselled out by glacier, Glendalough – the valley of two lakes, boasts the fine remains of an ancient monastic settlement, complete with round tower to hide treasure from Viking raids. It has been the source of many wonderful archaeological finds and plenty of tales. But, more than that – and possibly the reason it was chosen as a monastic settlement, is the sense of peace and serenity that pervades the entire valley of Glendalough and draws people back, time and time again.  The Glendalough Hotel offers free Wifi available in the lobby.

Food, Shops & Supplies:

  • Food is available at the Glendalough hotel.
  • There are a few craft and souvenir shop around the monastic site.
  •  Additional food options, shops and supplies in nearby Laragh village, listed above.

Things to do & see near here:

  • Glendalough is a renowned area of Ireland’s Ancient East and since today is a short walking day, it is the ideal opportunity to visit the ancient Monastic ruins, round tower, twin lakes and seven churches of Glendalough, The Glendalough Visitor Centre (beside the hotel), The Information Office at the Upper Lake for free advice and information. See also Things to do list in Laragh above.
    More info on Glendalough:  http://visitwicklow.ie/attractions/glendalough-monastic-city/ 

Transport Options:

  • The Glendalough Bus from the Visitor Centre to Dublin, via Laragh, Roundwood and Bray.
  • Local taxi and/or minibus service.
  • Wicklow Way Bus service to Rathdrum via Glenmalure. Please note, this service is not a scheduled service and must be pre-booked.
  • Many accommodation providers offer pick-ups and drop offs as a value-added service or for a small fee.
  • Car parking during the summer months can be difficult unless you arrive early. Fee paying parking is available at the Upper Lake and at the Visitor Centre. During peak times, additional ‘pop-up’ fee paying car parks help alleviate the pressure. Limited free parking is available behind the primary school. Local businesses respectfully remind you that their parking is reserved for customers only.

  Exit Point 7 – Glenmalure (Drumgoff Crossroads) & Rathdrum:

As you descend into Glenmalure, spare a thought for whose footsteps you follow. 16th Century potential High King, Red Hugh O’Donnell, who together with the O’Neill brothers escaped from Dublin Castle to Glenmalure, aided and abetted by the infamous O’Byrne Clan. Two centuries later, The United Irishmen ensured the stronghold of Glenmalure remained a thorn in the oppressor’s side. Fleeing rebels being the reason for the military roads which pass over Wicklow’s mountains and allows us easy access to the hills today.
Drumgoff Crossroads, in the heart of the Glenmalure Valley provides a welcome sanctuary to walkers. The Glenmalure Lodge, a proper Irish pub, with its’ welcome fire and hearty meals proves the downfall of many walkers who had planned to continue further on this walking day.
Accommodation in the valley is sought after all year round, so advance booking is advised.
Additional services including public transport options are located in Rathdrum, approximately 10km away.

Distance walked on this stage so far:

  • Stage 4: N – S: Distance walked from Glendalough: 13.5km (approx.)
  • Stage 4: S – N: Distance walked from Aughavanna (Ironbridge): 12.5km (approx.)

Dining:
The Glenmalure Lodge: Located right on the crossroads, a roaring open fire and food from breakfast till late. Packed/Picnic lunches can also be arranged. Seating both indoors and out. Wifi available for customers.
More Food options can be found in Rathdrum (10km away).

  • Shops & Supplies:
    There is no shopping available in Glenmalure itself. The nearest shopping is in Laragh/Glendalough (listed above) or Rathdrum. In Rathdrum you will find a food store, various shops, Garda/Police station, Pharmacy, etc.

Things to do & see near here:

  • Check out where Bosca Beatha’s mobile sauna is during your visit, it often comes to Glenmalure and really, do you need encouragement after a few days of walking? View local creativity at its’ best at Crannmor Pottery or Shekina Sculpture Garden just down the road (please phone ahead). Play a round of golf at the Glenmalure Golf Club. Visit Avondale House & Forest Park, homeplace of Charles Stewart Parnell in nearby Rathdrum. Spend a relaxing afternoon at Greenan Maze, farm and tea rooms or Kilmacurragh Botanic Gardens and café. Go kayaking or play a game of Laser Tag with Wicklow Adventures at Hidden Valley Holiday Park.

Transport Options:

  • Wicklow Way Bus service to Rathdrum or Laragh/Glendalough for public transport options. Please note, this service is not a scheduled service and must be pre-booked.
  • N11 Cabs, taxi service based in Rathdrum, operated by the same service providers as the Wicklow Way Bus.
  • Many accommodation providers offer pick-ups and drop offs as a value-added service or for a small fee.
  • Parking at Drumgoff Crossroads belongs to The Glenmalure Lodge. Free public car parking is available at Coolalingo Bridge, Barravore, Ballinafunshoge Recreation Area, Drumgoff Recreation Area and Drumgoff Gap. There are also several smaller places to pull in and park along the roads.

  Aughavannagh (Ironbridge) & Aughrim:

You have reached the end of this stage when, after popping out of the forestry once again onto another country road, you see a large parking area and the narrow iron bridge over the Ow River.

Ironbridge is a well-known pick up location amongst Wicklow Way accommodation providers and the Wicklow Way Bus can also pick you up here, provided you book ahead.

Aughavannagh itself is a typical rural townland, where homes cluster together to form a village of sorts. However, accommodation is extremely limited here, with both former hostels no longer operating. Many walkers choose to continue along The Wicklow Way for another 1.5km or so, until they, quite literally, walk into the grounds of Ballyteige Lodge, keep an eye out for the sign.

Others opt to stay in the nearby picturesque village of Aughrim, or ‘The Granite City’, as it is known locally. Surrounded by woodlands, hills and at the confluence of the Ow and Derry Rivers, staying in this multi award winning village is also an ideal opportunity to top up on supplies before continuing your journey along The Wicklow Way.

Services here are by and large based in Aughrim, approximately 9km from Ironbridge.

Dining, Shops & Supplies:

Things to do & see near here:

  • Go trout fishing at the award winning, wheelchair accessible NDAF Angling Park, visit Christien’s Pottery and Wood Turning Studio, play a round of golf at Macreddin Golf Club, pamper yourself with a hair, beauty or spa treatment, spend a Saturday morning picking up fresh produce and crafts at Aughrim Town & Country Market, wander along the Seán Linehan walk, watch a hurling or Gaelic football match at the O’Byrne Park, Wicklow’s county GAA grounds.

Transport Options:

  • Wicklow Way Bus service from Ironbridge to Rathdrum or Tinahely for public transport options. Please note, this service is not a scheduled service and must be pre-booked.
  •  There are no public transport links from Aughrim. Rail and bus links available in nearby Arklow and Rathdrum. Check Journey Planner or speak with your accommodation provider for planning assistance.
  • Seán Byrne: Local taxi service based in Aughrim. Tel: +353 86 4014250.
  • Aughrim Cabs: Local taxi service based in Aughrim. Tel: +353 402 36700.
  • Many accommodation providers offer pick-ups and drop offs as a value-added service or for a small fee.
  • Carparking available at Ironbridge.

POINTS OF INTEREST

 Balinafunshoge Mines

Wicklow has a long history of mining albeit on a small scale. The southern part of the county has rich seems of gold with the Glendalough and Glenmalure valleys boasting long seams of lead, zinc and silver. There is evidence of ancient mining in the valleys but the modern works dates from the 18th century and continued up until the mid-20th century. Over 2000 people were employed in mining in the area in its heyday. At Balinafunshoge there is the option to take an old mining track down to explore the old mining works. This was an extensive mine with a depth over 150m and a labyrinth of tunnels. Spoil heaps and old buildings are still easily found. Across the road on the valley floor can be found the remains of a water wheel house which was probably used to crush the ore.

  Drumgoff Barracks

The Irish Rebellion of 1798 was an uprising against British rule in Ireland. Many of the rebels hid out in the Wicklow Mountains, which, at the time was very inaccessible. To access the area the British build the Military Road which dissects the mountain range on a roughly north south axis. The road was to link their four barracks at Glencree, Laragh, Drumgoff and Aughavannagh. The barracks now stands in ruins having only seen limited use by the British military as a truce was signed not long after its construction.
Google Maps: 53. 956370, -6.356676

  Geology: Glendalough Valley

As you stand on the beach at the Upper Lake in Glendalough look up into the valley and you’ll see a classic example of a hanging valley. It was only 12,000 years ago when the valley was covered in a thick layer of ice. This ice sheet created what we see today, the jagged cliffs, lakes and hanging valley.

  Fauna:  Wild Goats

The valleys in the Glendalough area are home to several small herd of wild goats. If you are down wind of the goats, you’ll smell them before you see them! Their musky, stale odour travels far and is very distinct. It’s not known if they are descendants of herds brought to the valley during the times of mining or date back further to the time of St Kevin.