The Ticknock Forest and Fairy Castle Loop in the Dublin Mountains
Since we noticed that spring is coming, we decided that it would be nice to go for a walk. We decided that the Dublin Mountains would be a safe place to get back into shape for the hiking season. We took our hiking shoes out from the wardrobe and jumped in the car.
Ticknock Forest lies on the north-side of the Dublin Mountains and it is easily accessible by car. It offers up to 10km of mountain and forest walks. When walking here, you should expect spectacular views of Dublin City and Bay, Bray Head and the start of the Wicklow Mountains. The forest is also home to an 8km mountain bike trail that winds through the trees. It is an ideal place for an afternoon hike.
The forest is located south of the M50 and it is easily accessible by car. There is a widespread car park of around 100 vehicles that is located next to the start of the Ticknock-Fairy Castle loop. Getting there by public transport might prove difficult, so consult Google Maps before you go. We advise you to drive a bit up the car park, as the start of the trail is quite far ahead. Be wary that the car park is one-way only. Once you are parked, put on your hiking boots and get ready. The start of the trail is at the top of the car park and is clearly marked.
Ticknock Forest and Fairy Castle Loop
At the start of the route, there are a few informational signs. One of them mentions that the trail should take 90-120 minutes, however, if you add some stops for pictures, snacks and taking in the beautiful views this will be longer. We completed the trail in 2 hours and 27 minutes, with taking plenty of breaks. For more information about this route, such as the map, visit Irish trails.
From the start, follow the green signs up the asphalt road into the forest. Watch out for the mountain bikes and ‘wild’ dogs running around. The path leads up all the way towards the cell towers where you will take a right turn to start walking up the Two Rock Mountain. This is a fairly steep part that sports great views over the Dublin Bay. Once you reach the end of this path you will see a small pile of rocks, this indicates the top of the hill called Fairy Castle. It used to be a tomb but is now reduced to a rubble. Take a minute to catch your breath and admire the view, cause the hard part is over. From here it is downhill only.
Before the trip, we checked our weather forecast. There was no rain predicted, however, when we reached Fairy Castle, the weather changed. We set up the tripod to take a nice picture of us, but the weather did not allow that. First, there was a soft hail, but this quickly turned into snow. A few weeks back, when Dublin was surprised with snowy weather, we wished to stroll through a wintery landscape in Dublin Mountains. We did not manage to do so, but it is true that you get what you wish for…but not always in the way you want it to be. Today we were walking on top of those mountains covered in snow ourselves. So, take a lesson from this and be prepared for rainy/snowy conditions when climbing up here cause the weather is unreliable.
Continue to follow to green route down, this time you won’t have to look over your shoulder to get the nice views. After you have made it down the first part of the mountain, you will end up back on a solid road. From here you are able to see the car park on the other side of the valley. You will loop back passing the forest and a small waterfall on your way. The return journey is significantly easier than the way up. Once you are at the end of the trail, at the yellow-black barrier, you end up at the car park again.
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