Rothar Routes

Cycle routes & pilgrim journeys in Ireland and Europe …..

Posts tagged ‘The Wicklow Way’

Walking Back to Happiness

Helen Shapiro had a big hit with ‘Walking Back to Happiness’.

Going for a walk with my better half is always a day well spent! Saturday was equally joyful walking the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ on Cuilcagh Mountain with my favourite son called Cian and then attending the Ulster SFC Preliminary Round of Fermanagh v Tyrone!

We had organised ourselves to be free today for a hike somewhere, destination weather dependent and we always like to do a new trail if at all possible when we have a few hours to complete it.

The bike is still under wraps and hill walking is back in vogue. we are fortunate that we have so many places on our doorstep – there are so may trails in the Blackstairs and across the county boundaries in Wicklow and Laois. It was a last minute decision – after checking the weather forecast to head to the Garden of Ireland for a ramble- with Lugnaquilla on the radar.

However squally showers were forecast and we decided instead to create our own loop walk. Our starting point was Drumgoff Gap.

The summit of Croaghanmoira

It may only be the 136th highest peak in Ireland but Croaghanmoira is situated perfectly to gain a view of so much of the Wicklow mountains from Kaideen to Lugnaquilla to the Sugar Loaf, out into the Irish Sea, all the way down the Wexford coast, to the Blackstairs and much farther south to Sliabh na mBan – not forgetting iconic Eagle Hill towering above Hacketstown.

The views were breathtaking. I mean breathtaking. If you aren’t much into hill walking and you had only one hill to climb, I would say the 2kms to the top is the one to take!

Mary just reaching the top.

As it was only 2kms from the road we decided to follow the route along the ridge of Fananierin and come across to the Wicklow Way to create our own loop back to our starting point. It was sublime. Underfoot conditions were very good along the ridge, bogland, nice and forgiving. This part of the walk is part of the Ballinacor Estate and is private land. Access is restricted as the area is preserved for the protection of the habitat of endangered grouse.

The loop was 11kms in length with 475 metres of climbing and took just under 2 hours. It is doable for anyone with a moderate level of fitness.

Crossing the heather
At the summit.
Easter Monday Loop!

Stairway to Heaven

The Stairway to Heaven, Cuilcagh Mountain, County Fermanagh

Stairway to Heaven, Cuilcagh Mountain
Cuilcagh Mountain and The Stairway to Heaven
Cian, just before I passed him on the way up….

Walking is the new Cycling … for the moment!

Someone once said “I do the same things I did when I was 12 years old: I ride bikes, I read books, I walk in the woods. And I listen to music”.

For the past 11 weeks and for the foreseeable future I won’t be riding bikes but I will be doing everything else and I can add going to the training field!

A walk on The Wicklow Way..

John Muir, father of the American National Parks, talked of ‘washing the spirit’ and whether it be on two wheels or two feet there’s a great sense of freedom to be out in untamed nature, to be on your own with your thoughts or none at all..some like to golf but I prefer to seek out new places to visit, new hills to climb and that elation of reaching a peak or covering a distance…

Along the boardwalk..
Climbing back out of Glenamalure
Looking across towards Ballinacor Estate and Mullach
Giant Timber Stacks
Beautiful undergrowth in the forest
Looking down towards Drumgoff
Finally it was time to hang up the boots..

Route Map for the Carlow Way


I’ve mapped out a 176kms on road – off road route of County Carlow.
The route starts and finishes at Carlow Tourist Office and takes in a lot of sacred sites dotted around the County and just over the borders.
It includes 50kms of the Barrow Track, the only riverside track in the entire country, a small section of the South leister Way and the Wicklow Way.
For anyone interested in bike touring it’s a nice route to get started on and a great way to see the best of Carlow.

Wild Carlow

Water Pump at Tomduff Cross in the colours of Mt Leinster Rangers

Water Pump at Tomduff Cross in the colours of Mt Leinster Rangers

Ruins of Kiloughternane Church

Ruins of Kiloughternane Church

Mount Leinster on fire one fine summer's night

Mount Leinster on fire one fine summer’s night

Wild Carlow

This is not an established route but I aim to make it one!

I havent done all of this 135kms loop of County Carlow but I will in the summer.

This route has many outstanding features:

Route description.

Leave Carlow taking the Barrow towpath which you follow all the way to St Mullins.

This is obviously flat the whole way down but that’s no harm with what has to come later!

The Barrow Towpath is beautiful and differs from Canal walking as it is a follows the meanders of the River. It’s a gem of a mtb trail on a fine summer day. And there are significant places of historical and religious importance such as Leighlinbridge, Borris, Graiguenamanagh and the monastic site at St Mullins.

Leaving St Mullins talk a short road section before climbing up onto the ridge of the Blackstairs. This is a well known walking trail along the Carlow – Wexford border. Continue across the Scullogue Gap and rise up to the peak of Mount Leinster, the highest point in Carlow and Ireland’s fifth highest mountain.

Take the road down to the Nine Stones and follow it across to the t junction. You are now on the Sth Leinster waymarked Way. You will shortly go off road again and rejoin the trail which you follow to Kildavin. Take the road to Clonegal village and Huntingdon Castle.

Look for signs to the Wicklow Way, again on quiet roads. After about 6 kms you leave the road for a beautiful short section through wooded hillside on the famous Wicklow Way.

We leave the Wicklow Way to go to the ruins of Aghowle Church.

The area from the Blackstairs to here is where Columbanus is said to have been born.

After Aghowle we follow winding lanes to Ardattin and the bridge on the River Slaney at Agahde – a nice place for a picnic or a swim.

Time to head back to Carlow now and we again keep to the back roads and follow the route over by Kellistown Church ruins and into Carlow Town.

This has the potential to be a mega route with a little bit of mapping and signposting.

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