Wednesday 26 July 2017

Rathdrum Woods, Co Wicklow - way to go

Christopher Somerville

WAY TO GO

Map: OS of Ireland 1:50,000 Discovery 62; downloadable map/instructions at discoverireland.ie/walking (Loop 119 -- 'Jubilee Loop').

GPS: satmap.com.

TRAVEL: Rail (irishrail.ie) to Rathdrum Bus (buseireann.ie) service 133 (Wicklow-Arklow) Road: M/N11 to Rathnew; R752 to Rathdrum. Car park by Parnell Park.

WALK DIRECTIONS: Right out of car park; walk through the town to Catholic Church. Up steps at back of church; along path to road. Right for 500m; where road bends left to reach a junction, turn right down gravelled lane.

In 150m, left through gate (mirrored arrow/MA); bear right up field, through gate (MA) to Famine Graveyard. On through kissing gate, across field, though gate (MA) into wood. Follow MAs for 100m to fence with steps. Don't cross; turn left (MA) by fence and follow path and MAs for 1.5km through woods and down to cross R755.

Through gateway and follow forestry road. In 100m at picnic site, bear left past barrier and on downhill. At foot of slope, left (MA) along track to river. Right (MA) along riverbank. At GAA pitch follow lower edge; on along gravel lane to road. Fork right uphill into Rathdrum.

LENGTH: 4½ miles/6.5km -- allow two hours.

GRADE: Easy.

CONDITIONS: Path in Ballygannon Woods can be muddy/slippery.

DON'T MISS: Famine graveyard; bilberry berries in Ballygannon Woods (delicious); banks of the wide Avonmore.

REFRESHMENTS: Bates Restaurant, Rathdrum. Tel: 0404 29988; batesrestaurant.com.

ACCOMMODATION: Ballyknocken House, Glenealy. Tel: 0404 44627; ballyknocken.com.

MUSIC: 'For Ireland, I'll Not Say Her Name (Ar Éirinn Ní Neosfainn)' -- on 'At The End Of The Day' CD by Dervish (Kells Music).

BOOK: Christopher's 'Walking in Ireland' (Ebury Press) contains 50 of his favourite 'Irish Independent' walks.

Rathdrum Tourist Office: Market Square. Tel: 0404 46262; visitwicklow.ie.

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