The Wicklow Mountains
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Rialto House, Fitzwilliam Square, Wicklow Town, Wicklow, Republic of Ireland
The Wicklow Mountains run from the outskirts of Dublin city south westwards for about 60km to the bottom of County Wicklow.
As a testament to its attractiveness, much of this range is part of the Wicklow Mountains National Park, one of the six national parks in Ireland. The mountains are the highest area of upland in Ireland and are home to some of the highest peaks in the country.
The central spine of the Wicklow Mountains is built on a granite base that runs in a line of fine peaks. Otherwise gentle slopes are greatly diversified by expansive corries gouged out of the flanks of the higher summits. South of the Lugnaquilla the range desends into lower, forested hills.
Special features in the area to the east of the spine are the glacial valleys that penetrate the mountain range. These valleys contain spectacular waterfalls, stern corries and remnants of primeval woods that once covered most of Ireland. The best known of these valleys is Glendalough, famous for its 6th century monastic site. This is an area for gentle walks in spectacular surroundings, as well as more challenging routes.
West of the main spine of the Wicklow Mountains are broad plains, sloping moorland and the Poulaphouca Resevoir. There are long and short walks in this area in a terrain so remote that it is difficult to believe you are about one hour from Dublin city.
Wicklow's varied landscape also features coastal routes that ought not to be neglected. These headland walks on the esteem seaboard have a mummocky character lacking in much of the main mountain range. After an invigorating and steep climb, the walker can marvel at the excellent views of the sea and coastline. The rocky cliff path around Bray Head yields southwards to a gentler coast. En route to wicklow Town is a noted bird sanctuary and further on are golden sandy beaches such as Brittas Bay.