Walk in Ireland – The One With The Guinness Lake.
A strikingly scenic county in Ireland’s Ancient East, Wicklow, the Garden of Ireland, provides plenty of pursuits for active types, dedicated hill walkers, keen cyclists – and those who just like a quiet, leisurely ramble – There are lots of walks to explore including the stunning one with the Guinness Lake.
The Wicklow Way.
The Wicklow Way runs 131km (81.39 miles) from Dublin’s Marlay Park to Clonegal in County Carlow, through mountains, bogs and forests. Its best explored on shorter hikes like this one.
Djouce Mountain and War Hill, County Wicklow.
Hike the highest Wicklow Mountain, Djouce Mountain and War Hill in County Wicklow. This route is a perfect taster for the wilder stretches of the six day Wicklow Way. From Lough Tay Car Park, you can follow the signs, paths and boardwalk of the long-distance trail for the first half of the circuit, climbing 630m White Hill.
Then continue across the eastern slopes of Djouce Mountain. This mountain is one of the few Irish peaks made accessible by the OPW (Office of Public Works) by a boardwalk made from railway sleepers. The boarded trail runs from the base of Djouce to a point close to its summit, making the mountain accessible to the public, but also ensuring the underlying bog land is protected from human erosion. From here strike west over unmarked ground, following the nascent Dargle River through Wild Glensoulan. Climb War Hill, a loop southeast towards Djouce. Pass the Coffin Stone on your way to the 725m summit, whose trig point is set atop a rock outcrop.
Take a deep breath and enjoy the fabulous views extending in every direction as you are now at the heart of the Wicklow Mountains. After you’ve had a chance to take some photographs of the breath taking scenery and to catch your breath, descend south to rejoin the Wicklow Way, which brings you back to the car park.
The Guinness Lake, County Wicklow.
Nestled in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains lies a picturesque valley and a lake, Lough Tay, one of the most photographed locations in Wicklow. The stunning scenery of the lake surrounded by the mountains makes it one of the most iconic locations in Ireland’s Ancient East.
Lough Tay is fed by the Cloghoge River and then drains into Lough Dan, located to the south. The beach on the northern side consists of bright white sand. The white sand was imported by the Guinness family who owned Luggala Estate, which runs through part of the Lough Tay area. The dark peaty water of the lake, combined with its oval shape and frothy white sand at the top, makes it appear as if you’re overlooking a large pint of Guinness, surrounded by green, rolling mountains.
The best viewing point to see Lough Tay is along the Military Road above, at the junction with the Wicklow Way. From there, enjoy the stunning views over the Wicklow Mountains. NOTE: Lough Tay itself is on private property and cannot be visited.
J.B Malone Memorial, County Wicklow.
The J. B. Malone memorial above Lough Tay in the Wicklow Mountains National Park was erected in honor of John James Bernard (‘J.B.’) Malone. Born in 1913 in Leeds in England, to Irish parents, J.B. Malone was the most influential force in the development of walking, particularly hill walking, as a leisure activity in Ireland. He began to explore the Dublin and Wicklow Mountains on foot as a young man in 1932, and by 1938 he was writing a weekly column on walking for the Evening Herald which continued until 1975. These columns and his earlier books The Open Road (1950) and Walking in Wicklow (1964), inspired countless readers to exchange the city for the hills and to enjoy healthy exercise and the joys of the natural world.
Difficult walk, over open mountainside with 660m ascent and mixed terrain.
14km/8.69 miles/4.5 to 5.5 hours.
Start and Finish at:
Lough Tay Car Park/J.B Malone Car Park.
How To Get There:
Lough Tay Car Park is located along the R759 and can be accessed via the Sally Gap OR the R755 Kilmacanoge-Roundwood Road.
Check the weather and pack smart – Have a fully charged cell phone; Water; Snacks; Wear layers of appropriate clothing, waterproof jacket and correct footwear/waterproof hiking boots. Bring a camera for the fabulous views.
Leave word with someone about where you are going and approximately what time you expect to be back.
Never leave any items or valuables visible inside your parked vehicle.
After an energizing hike, you’ve definitely earned a treat. Hungry hikers should pre-book a table in advance at Byrne and Woods Restaurant in Roundwood, County Wicklow for some award-winning Irish Pub grub after all of the fresh air on this wonderful walk.
Suggested Walking Guide Book:
A full route description is available from Helen Fairbairn’s “Dublin and Wicklow: A Walking Guide” – Each route is prefaced with a quick-reference summary, and descriptions include detailed access notes and navigational guidance. Points of interest are all highlighted, including local flora, fauna, geology, history and folklore. Also OSi 1:50,000 Discovery Series – Map 56
Phone 999 or 112 and advise the emergency crew whether you need an Ambulance, the Gardaí (police), Fire Brigade or Mountain Rescue.
The Wicklow Way Walks “Leave No Trace” principles are:
- Plan ahead and Prepare
- Be Considerate of Others
- Respect all Animals and Wildlife
- Travel on Durable Ground
- Leave What You Find
- Dispose of Waste Properly
- Minimize the effects of fire.
Minimize your impact on the environment. Leave nothing but footprints & take nothing but photographs.
Discover County Wicklow.
Any time of year, Wicklow offers something unique with its ever-beautiful backdrop. When you are not hiking the Wicklow Way, allow time to visit some of Ireland’s most beautiful gardens like Mount Usher and Powerscourt Gardens, or visit Glendalough’s 6th-century monastic site and follow in the footsteps of St. Kevin.
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Note: Featured image at the top of the blog is of the Guinness Lake/Lough Tay, County Wicklow ©Fáilte Ireland/Tourism Ireland Courtesy Chris Hill
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