In eagerness to continue the hike where we left off last time, I was looking at the weather reports. There were unfortunately no good predictions. It looked like it was going to be a rainy weekend with some occasional sunshine. However, I was hopeful, so I started to research the correct way to hike up the mountain to the Ballycorus lead mine chimney. There were plenty of pictures and videos of the chimney that I spotted, however not too many route descriptions. After some searching, I found a website called Wicklow Walks which had a map of the route on their site. So all that was left was good weather.
Let’s start our trip!
Once again we were lucky with the Irish weather, it looked like the Sun was going to be out with only a small rain shower ahead. We packed our bags with some water, tea and a small snack and jumped into the car. The drive was about 20 minutes from our house, so not too long. The road to the parking was a narrow road which was one-way on most of the parts. We got into the parking through a tight gate with boulders on both sides. We jumped out of the car, put on our boots and started the hike to the mine. The first part of the hike was muddy as it rained during the week. We saw a rocky hill slowly coming up in the distance once we left the forest area. It was a pretty steep climb up with strong winds hitting us from all sides. Halfway the hill there were some burned dead bushes which made the hill look like a moon landscape. We snapped some quick pictures and climbed on.
Yes! We reached the top of the hill (apparently called Carrickgollogan). We immediately saw some dark clouds coming from the mountains, not too long after that, some stormy rain hit us. After enduring the rain, the sun started to shine and multiple rainbows appeared. When people explain Irish weather, they are referring to these unpredictable changes. Finally, we had time to enjoy the amazing views from up there. You can see from the Wicklow Mountains, Bray and the sea all the way to the north side of Dublin. For such a low hill, the view is fantastic. It started to get cold since the wind was still blowing like crazy, so we decided to go back down.
Time to find the Ballycorus lead mine
Once we reached the bottom again, the path led us to an open space. Logs were piled up on both sides of the road. The reason for this is that the area around the lead mine is owned by a forestry company but is open to the public. We followed the path leading us to the forest once again and took a right turn to head to the tower. It was slowly appearing in the distance, but we could not continue. The road was blocked by a huge barrier of trees. A couple with a dog tried to pass it but came back a few minutes later. I was not about to give up on seeing the tower up close (again), so we walked a bit back up the path. An opening was visible between the trees and we tried to cross the blockage. Manoeuvring between and over the trees we managed to find a road leading to the tower. We made it!
The tower appears to be in a reasonable state, I would not dare climbing it however. The stairs at the bottom are broken and look like they are about to collapse. It seems that multiple people already tried to climb it. If there would be a handrail and some fortified stairs, I would definitely try. The tower was used to smelt ores mined from the lead mine. This process would extract the lead from the rocks. But as we have learned, lead is poisonous to your health. The inside of the tower was contaminated with lead waste which has been removed, however it has to be monitored carefully. We enjoyed the sun, but it was becoming late, so shortly after that, decided to go back. We jumped into the car and drove out of the small carpark. It took two attempts to reach the Ballycorus lead mine, but we did it. Next time that I will walk to the Luas, I will know what that tower is and how it looks from up close.
Do you want to hike the same route as we did?
Or maybe enjoy the view from Carrickgollogan? Then check out the map below. A full album with all the pictures that we took can be found in the gallery.
Click here to go directly to the album.