Glenmalure Loop

(more photos in gallery below)

The fabulous valley of Glenmalure lies just an hour south of Dublin in the middle of the Wicklow Mountains.

Stunningly beautiful, far less crowded than Glendalough and the option of somewhere really great to have refreshments or a meal after a hike – Glenmalure is a place to go.

The weather on Good Friday morning turned out a treat so rucksack packed and on the road again!

With no fixed route in mind, just a good day out in the hills, I parked up about 2km from Drumgoff up towards Baravore. The idea was to see if I could make some kind of a ‘Glenmalure Loop’ hike.

A local farmer has provided an access route to the bottom of the Carrowaystick Brook waterfalls so I followed that initially, past what looked like an enchanting holiday cottage.

There is a sign indicating dogs (whether on a leash or not) are strictly forbidden on this route as it’s a working sheep farm. Yes, the rules apply to everybody, not just ‘everybody else’!

Not far from the start one can bear left and follow a kind of half-evident path close to the waterfall itself to the top of the steep ascent The view back over the valley is wonderful.

If you are going to do this just be warned it is very steep, strenuous and potentially dangerous in places if one’s judgement, experience or fitness isn’t up to scratch in terms of a bit of adventure hiking.

I wanted to see if it was possible to head up the ridge towards the summit of Lugnaquilla and break right back down Froghan Rock Glen.

I followed the edge of the river towards Kelly’s Lough as far as practicable in terms of the route I had in mind. I then took a line for Clohernagh peak.

Even after the relatively dry few weeks we’ve had, that involved about a kilometer of fairly saturated and squelchy peat bog. It was still possible to keep my feet dry by choosing suitable footing and a bit of weaving and winding to stay on fairly firm ground. Not a fan of squelching through muck and mire up to my ankles!

From the ridge it didn’t look too feasible to cut the corner and head more directly to Fraughan Rock Glen. I knew there was a significant stream in the way which I wasn’t equipped to cross and there was a lot of very wet peat bog. So I stayed on the well-marked pathway towards Lugnaquilla summit and then back down via Fraughan Rock Glen and the footbridge. Three or four km on the road back to the car rounded the hike off very well.

All told it was 17km and 6 hours. Height gain was 1,350m.

My times tend to be slow because I like to stop a lot, take in the wonderful surroundings, take lots of photos, suss out possible new routes, etc. I think one misses a lot if there’s anything more than cursory consideration of pace!

By the time I had finished my mouth was watering for a delicious roast beef carvery meal at Glenmalure Lodge, Drumgoff. What a disappointment to find it was closed! Not sure if it’s a seasonal thing. But, I,ll be back anyway!
Route on Viewranger

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