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Wicklow Mountains National Park

Leaving Certificate

The Park provides an ideal location for ecology and geography fieldwork studies. Each study is designed specifically with the Leaving Cert. curriculum in mind. Each study, including preparations and lunch, can take up to four and a half hours, therefore teachers are asked to allocate adequate time for their visit to Glendalough. Each study also has its own handout and teachers are asked to go through the handout with students before arrival in Glendalough. Students receive a brief presentation on the Wicklow Mountains National Park before departing for their fieldwork. The following are the current programmes available.

Leaving Cert. Geography Fieldwork

Leaving Cert. River study (3 Hrs)

This fieldwork involves a comparative study of the upper and lower courses of a local river, the Lugduff Brook. Prerequisites for this study are a knowledge of the features found throughout the course of a river along with an understanding of the processes of fluvial erosion and deposition. Students are split into small study groups and provided with the equipment and worksheets needed. Fieldwork is carried out on the upper and lower stages of the river. Fieldwork involves observation of physical features, measurement of speed, cross-sectional area and the calculation of discharge for each stage. Also, the profile of the river valley is mapped to demonstrate the process of erosion. A comparison is then made between the two stages. This study gives the students an opportunity to see the features of a river they have studied as part of their physical geography course as well as improving their map reading skills.

Leaving Cert. Glaciation Study (3 – 3.5 Hrs)

This study focuses on the physical geography section of the curriculum. It aims to address through fieldwork, some of the common questions of glaciation which appear on the Leaving Cert. paper. A specially designed worksheet has been created which includes the following topics;

The geology of Glendalough – a close look at the different types of rock which make up Glendalough.

The Ice Age in Glendalough – studying the effects of glaciation on the landscape of Glendalough including: identification of glaciated features and discussion of their formation, measurement of a U-shaped valley, examination of a hanging valley and the effects of fluvial erosion, identifying glacial erratics, recognising signs of glaciation using mapwork and a discussion of the effects glaciation have had on mans activities in the valley.

The study comprehensively covers the glacial section of physical geography and gives students the opportunity to see features they have previously only studied in books.

Leaving Cert. Biology Fieldwork

The Education Centre offers two ecological studies (3.5 Hrs):

  1. The study of a native woodland habitat.
  2. The study of a bogland habitat.

These studies involve selection of suitable sites, site-mapping, use of quadrats, identification of flora and fauna using keys, trapping invertebrates (using methods such as pooters and beating trays), examination of both biotic and abiotic factors (such as soil pH and soil temperature). The study wraps up with a discussion of the adaptations the plants and animals have developed to life in their habitat.

Interactive Walk

A guided walk looking at other aspects of the Park (e.g. management, flora and fauna) is available to be included in all studies. The inclusion of a guided walk adds variety to the day and makes the trip to Glendalough much more worthwhile.

These are the programmes on offer at present, however we are open to discuss other possibilities. Please feel free to contact us if you desire a special programme and we will do our best to accommodate you.

Examining Upper Course features
River Study..»


For further information or to make a booking see How to book..»

Calculating river discharge
River Study..»

Invertebrate identification
Invertebrate Identification..»