Bicycling Throughout Eire’s Wicklow Mountains

by jpc_touring-bicycle


After finishing my 6-day bike tour across the Isle of Man, I took a ferry boat again to Dublin, Eire after which started biking south towards the Wicklow Mountains and Wicklow Nationwide Park.

As a result of I now had roughly 10 days to kill earlier than my associates met me in Dublin and we traveled round Eire collectively in a rental automobile, I didn’t need to stray too removed from the Dublin space. Plus, I used to be fairly drained after having been on the highway for greater than three months straight. So I made a decision to make use of the Wicklow Mountains as my base for the following 10 days, and slowly cycle across the space, sleep within the forests every evening, and see as a lot of the Wicklow Nationwide Park as I probably might.

After the ferry boat from the Isle of Man landed in Dublin, Eire, I cycled south out of the port, throughout town, and down by the neighboring suburbs of Ballsbridge, Blackrock, Killiney, Ballybrack and Bray. Then I turned south-west and headed inland towards town of Roundwood on the R755. That is when the hills started… and boy had been a few of these hills steep!

It wasn’t till I hit the hills that I started to understand simply how drained I used to be. I had woken up round 5:30 AM that morning to be able to catch the 7 AM ferry from the Isle of Man again to Dublin… and so I used to be already fairly exhausted. Biking up these steep, windy roads close to Roundwood made me much more drained although. I ended dozens of occasions alongside the best way to relaxation and rehydrate. I used to be exhausted.

However that’s when, biking alongside a flat stretch of highway, a automobile drove up beside me and the driving force rolled down his window. Nonetheless on my bike I heard the driving force say, “I feel I do know you! You’re the Bicycle Touring Professional, proper?”

I pulled my bike to the facet of the highway and spoke for some time with Jeff – one of many readers right here at Jeff advised me that he had just lately gotten into bicycle touring, had simply accomplished his first bike tour in Denmark, and was within the means of planning his second bicycle tour. I thanked Jeff for stopping to say howdy after which we continued on our separate methods.

It’s uncommon that I’m stopped on my travels by a stranger who is aware of me from the web site right here, nevertheless it does often occur, and I find it irresistible when it does.

After leaving Jeff, I cycled up the steepest of all of the hills I might encounter in Eire. I used to be completely beat by the point I reached the highest and I continued biking for one more 10 kilometers or so after that. Utilizing an offline mapping utility on my smartphone, I used to be in a position to spot an space within the close by hills the place I believed I’d be capable of safe a tenting spot for the night. So I pushed my bicycle up a steep gravel highway for a number of hundred meters and after greater than thirty minutes of looking out, lastly settled on a comparatively flat stretch of land close to the highest of the mountain. I arrange my tent and crawled inside, simply because it started to rain.

Wild Camping in the Wicklow Mountains

I slept extremely nicely that evening and woke the next morning feeling utterly refreshed. I packed up my bike and cycled down the steep hill I had climbed the earlier night. My brakes squealed as I pulled into the tiny roadside market within the village of Laragh and I loaded up on meals and water for the remainder of the day. Then I cycled west on the R756 towards close by Glendalough (also referred to as Glendaloch).

Glendalough is a small glacial valley within the Wicklow Mountains famend for its Early Medieval monastic settlement based within the sixth century by St. Kevin, a hermit priest, and partly destroyed in 1398 by English troops. As a result of I used to be simply killing time at this level in my travels round Europe, I made a decision to spend your complete day within the Glendalough space. I sat by the lake and ate lunch, went for a hike as much as one of many close by waterfalls, and sat for hours watching the vacationers move by as I learn my e-book and plotted out the remainder of my travels on my smartphone.

Glendalough Cycle Routes

Glendalough Ireland waterfall

Darren Alff selfie from Glendalough Ireland

Glendalough walking trail

small Glendalough Ireland waterfall

Someday round 4 PM, I left the Glendalough valley and cycled south about 13 kilometers to the close by metropolis of Rathdrum. As soon as there, I ended briefly to replenish my water bottles and cargo up on meals, after which I cycled north out of town alongside Ballinderry highway. When the highway got here to the tip of the highway, I jumped a fence and cycled into the forest close to the highest of the mountain and made camp in a small grouping of bushes a couple of kilometer away from the principle roadway.

Forest bike tour near Rathdrum, Ireland

Establishing my tent, I knew that this distant campsite could be my residence within the woods for no less than the following three or 4 nights.

Wild camping in Wicklow Mountains, Ireland

After a chilly, however peaceable evening of sleeping within the woods, I woke early the next morning and cycled down into town of Rathdrum as soon as once more. As soon as there, I visited the library, which was solely open for 2 quick hours. I used the chance to do a small quantity of laptop work and, extra importantly, to recharge the batteries on my laptop computer laptop, smartphone and backup batteries.

The next day, I returned to the library as soon as extra and labored your complete day on my laptop, getting my batteries charged all the best way up and planning the following leg of my journey (a go to to the UK and Romania). The librarian on the Rathdrum Library was removed from welcoming and it was a little bit uncomfortable working together with her in such a decent area (the library there in Rathdrum is extremely small – only a single room solely large enough for about 12-16 individuals max).

Reasonably than return to the library the next day, I stayed within the forest the place my tent was pitched and went on a protracted hike into the close by hills. Simply as I reached the height of the mountain, it started to downpour and I ran again to my tent, drenched from head to toe by the point I used to be in a position to climb inside the security of my tiny weatherproof nest. At this level in my travels, it had been greater than 10 days since I final had a bathe.

Darren Alff - Bicycle Touring Pro

The time finally got here, nonetheless, for me to go away the Rathdrum space and make my manner again to Dublin. After assembly Jeff (the reader who had acknowledged me as he drove previous only a few days earlier than), I made a decision to ship him an e-mail and see if he’d be keen to let me sleep and bathe at his residence in Dublin for an evening or two whereas I waited for my associates to reach within the metropolis. I now had solely three nights to kill, so I despatched the e-mail off and was delighted once I heard again from him saying that he would certainly be capable of host me for 2 evenings.

Downhill cycle tour in Wicklow Mountains near Rathdrum, Ireland

With information {that a} bathe and a heat home awaited me, I cycled out of my hidden hillside forest campsite and made my manner again to the principle highway with my fully-loaded touring bicycle. Then I cycled north, again within the route I had come, towards Glendalough and up the R115 into the center of the Wicklow Mountains.

The highway to the summit wasn’t practically as steep as I believed it is likely to be, so the kilometers flew by relatively rapidly. Alongside the best way I ended to take images of a dashing waterfall, grazing sheep, and myself biking by a number of scenic areas. I even noticed a small crimson fox alongside the best way (however was unable to get a photograph of it).

Bicycle touring uphill past a waterfall in Ireland

Wicklow Mountains sheep landscape

sunny wicklow mountains ireland bike tour

Wicklow Mountains National Park Ireland

These images make Wicklow Nationwide Park appear like some sort of bicycle touring dreamland. However let me let you know, the roads surrounding Wicklow are steep, and the wind and climate (I’m speaking about RAIN) on the high will be extremely fierce. I do know I’m smiling within the photograph under, however I used to be chilly and the wind was blowing like loopy! It was nice enjoyable, nevertheless it wasn’t at all times straightforward.

Darren Alff windy Ireland bike tour selfie

Even with the poor climate (which might stay with me your complete time I used to be in Eire), I’ve to confess that my final day within the Wicklow Mountains was fairly spectacular. In reality, the bike trip from Glendalough to Dublin alongside the R115 was simply the most effective day of biking I skilled throughout my three weeks in Eire. It was chilly, moist and windy, however the surroundings was spectacular and there have been only a few vehicles on the highway.

bicycle touring in Ireland's Wicklow Mountains

Simply as I used to be about to achieve Dublin and cycle down the final main hill that may lead me from the remoted mountain tops of Wicklow into the crowded metropolis middle of Eire’s capital metropolis, the solar got here out and I used to be handled to a beautiful blue sky. It was so very a lot appreciated!

Wicklow Mountains Ireland

As I flew downhill into Dublin’s middle, I handed a number of different cyclists straining to stand up the lengthy steep hill that leads into Wicklow. I smiled as they pedaled previous, figuring out that they’d finally make it to the highest and shortly be rewarded with among the most scenic landscapes in all of Eire.

To study extra about biking within the Wicklow Mountains and Wicklow Nationwide Park, please see the next hyperlinks and sources:

Wicklow Mountains landscape


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Bicycling Throughout Eire’s Wicklow Mountains  
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