Walks & Hikes at and near Glencree
Glencree is located in an area of great natural beauty. The glen and surrounding mountains provide many opportunities for walking. The following four walks have been selected because they are relatively short and suitable for people of average fitness.
Each can be walked at a rambling pace with many opportunities to pause and absorb the beauty of the surrounding countryside. Before setting off, carefully read the directions and map for each walk and bring the Glencree booklet with you for reference.
When parking cars in the Wicklow Mountains please ensure that they are locked & no valuables are left in view.
Walk No. 1
Walk No. 1 is a short walk around the Glencree Centre, St. Kevin’s Church, Lourdes Grotto, Glencree River and the German Military Cemetery.View Walk | Download Printable Version of Walk 1
Walk No. 2
Walk No. 2 is a road walk from the Glencree Centre along the upper end of the Glencree valley, with spectacular views of the entire valley, to the beautiful mountains of Lower Lough Bray.View Walk | Download Printable Version of Walk 2
Walk No. 3
Walk No. 3 is a walk from the Glencree Centre along the Military Road to an area called Old Boleys. Along the way there are magnificent views of the glen and surrounding mountains. The walk culminates at an old quarry from which much of the stone for the Glencree Barracks and Military Road was sourced.View Walk | Download Printable Version of Walk 3
Walk No. 4
Walk No. 4 descends from a car park on the Enniskerry to Glencree road into Cloon Oak Glen. The walk is a way-marked and the surface comprises untarred roads and a short off-road track of 350 metres. The descent into the glen provides a panoramic view of both the glen and the surrounding mountains. The return from the Oak Glen to the car park is a steady but gradual ascent which is well within the capacity of a person of average fitness.View Walk | Download Printable Version of Walk 4
Walk 1. Glencree
(1km – 25 minutes)Download Printable Version of Walk 1
This walk starts at the Armoury Café at the Glencree Centre. From the door of the Armoury Café, turn right and walk towards the front lawn, passing the Military Barracks building on the left.
On the front lawn are several commemorative seats, sculptures and trees, including one planted by Prince Charles. Standing above the lawn is the original, fully restored, Military Barracks building. Proceed to the main gate of the Glencree campus arriving at St. Kevins Church. This church (1870) is a fine example of a 19th century Wicklow granite stone church. The church has been tastefully restored and inside there is a distinct aura of peace and tranquillity. Beside the church is a small graveyard entered through a gate in the railings on the left. In the centre of the graveyard are a number of modern graves with some nicely decorated headstones. In the top left-hand corner are the graves of the Oblate clergy and boys who died during the Reformatory years at Glencree.
Exit the graveyard, turn left up the campus Avenue, then right through a gate in the railing. A flight of steps leads down to the Glencree River and a nice Lourdes Grotto built by the Oblates beside the river. From the Grotto cross the Glencree River via the footbridge and ascend to the roadway by a narrow track. At the roadway turn left, and for your own safety walk on the right-hand side of the road facing oncoming traffic, to the German Military Cemetery. After a stop at the Cemetery, turn right to rejoin the road for 150m until you arrive back at the Glencree Centre. Just before the gates of Glencree, the granite fronted two storey house on the right hand side of the road was originally the Commanding Officer’s House, later a Youth Hostel and now a private residence.
Walk 2. Glencree - Lower Lough Bray
(3.5 km – 50 minutes)Download Printable Version of Walk 2
The walk starts at the Glencree Centre. On exiting the Centre, walk up the campus Avenue to the roadway and turn left. For your own safety walk on the right-hand side of the road facing oncoming traffic. Proceed along the roadway which rises gently to the junction with the Military Road. A small cross mounted on a rock at this junction was erected by the Oblates in 1939. Continue straight at this junction. From here to Lough Bray the road is generally level. Continue straight passing a junction on the left. This stretch of road provides a magnificent view of the Glencree valley. On the left in the distance, at the far end of the glen, the Sugarloaf Mountain can be clearly seen with its distinctive peaked summit. On a clear day the Irish Sea can also be seen beyond the Sugarloaf Mountain.
Soon the road bends to the right and a picturesque stone cottage comes into view. For many generations, until its closure in 1998, this cottage was a tea rooms run by the McGuirk family for travellers on the Military Road. Immediately after the cottage, a dirt track leads off to the right beside a stream. Follow this track for 200 metres to arrive at the shore of Lower Lough Bray (Loch Breach – Lake of the Hill) which sits high up above the glen at the base of magnificent cliffs. Return to the Glencree Centre by the same route.
Walk 3. Glencree – Old Boleys
(6km – 1 hour 30 mins)Download Printable Version of Walk 3
The walk starts at the Glencree Centre. On exiting the Centre, walk up the campus Avenue to the roadway and turn left. For your own safety walk on the right-hand side of the road facing oncoming traffic. Proceed forward along the roadway which rises gently to the junction with the Military Road. A small cross mounted on a rock at this junction was erected by the Oblates in 1939. Turn sharp right at this junction. The road gradually rises with magnificent views of the Glencree valley. In the distance, the peaked summit of the Sugarloaf Mountain can be seen. Soon the road bends to the right at which point remnants of a stone pedestal can be seen on the right hand side. This is the pedestal for a statue of the Good Shepherd that was erected by the Oblates, on which an inscription in old Gaelic script can still be seen.
Continue straight past a plantation of trees within which can be seen an old water reservoir. A short distance on, the road bends sharply to the left and an untarred forestry road leads off to the right. Turn right onto the forestry road. You are now in an area called Old Boleys (in times past, a boley was a mountain pasture to which livestock were moved in summer months). The forestry road passes over the Glencree River as it cascades sharply down into the glen. Continue forward to a point where the road splits. Bear left along the narrower track. Walk along this track until an old quarry is reached on the left. At this point the trees on the right come to an end. Walk forward 50 metres and a panoramic view of the glen unfolds. Return to the Glencree Centre by the same route.
Walk 4. Cloon Oak Glen
(3.5 km – 1 Hour)Download Printable Version of Walk 4
The walk starts at Cloon Oak Glen car park about 4km from Glencree on the right-hand side of the Enniskerry to Glencree road. Coillte, the State Forestry Service, in conjunction with Crann, a voluntary organisation that promotes the development of broadleaf woodlands, planted 65 acres of broadleaf trees at Cloon (meaning “meadow in a clearing of the forest”). While the predominant species is oak, other trees include Japanese larch and birch.
From the car park take the forest road downhill into the glen (the walk is way-marked). This stretch of the walk is through newly planted broadleaf trees and provides a magnificent panoramic view of the glen and of the surrounding mountains. Pass a forest road bearing off to the right and continue downward past some old farm outbuildings until a gateway and a sign for the Oak Glen are reached. Continue down through the oak plantation, taking note of the various inscribed commemorative stones. Soon, the road branches to the left and ends at a turning circle. At the turning circle, a narrow way-marked track leads straight into the woods to a nearby stile over a deer fence. Cross this stile and follow the way-marks, turning right and continuing for 150 metres along a track between the deer fence and the Glencree River. On arrival at another stile back into the woods, cross this stile and walk along a way-marked track through the woods for 200 metres arriving at another turning circle. Walk upward along the forest road. Turn right at the first junction and left at the next. To get back to the Car Park at the start point of this walk, return by the same route.