The Park is a popular recreational resource. However, restrictions may apply to certain activities due to conservation considerations. All large scale events require a permit and can be applied for at the National Park Headquarters. If you have any queries, contact the National Park Information Office.
- Bathing and Paddling
- Camping & Caravans
- Canoeing & Boating
- Dog Trials
- Off-Road Motoring
The mountain lakes are occasionally used by locals and visitors. The beach close to the carpark at the Upper Lake, Glendalough is a popular spot for paddling and swimming during the summer. Visitors are warned that the lake is deep and the shallows areas around the lake have sudden depth changes. There is no lifeguard on duty. Wicklow County Council have erected 'No Swimming' signs at the lake and anyone entering the lake is warned that they are doing so at their own risk.
For safety and environmental reasons, the use of coal-fired barbecues is not permitted on Park lands. Gas barbecues, however, are permitted.
There are no serviced camping/caravan sites within the Park. Camping is not permitted in the Glendalough Valley.
Serviced camping/caravan sites in the surrounding area:
Roundwood, Telephone: (01) 2818163
Rathdrum, ‘Avonmore Riverside Park’, Telephone: (0404) 46080
For visitors seeking a wilderness experience by undertaking multi-day mountaineering journeys are permitted to camp within the Park subject to a code of practise known as "the Camping Code". Permits may be required. For more see Code of Conduct
Canoeing and kayaking takes place on the periphery of the National Park on the Avonbeg and Avonmore Rivers. There is no boating or kayaking permitted on the lakes at Glendalough, as the area is a Nature Reserve. For information on canoeing in Ireland see www.irishcanoeunion.com
Rock climbing is carried out by individuals, climbing groups and adventure centres, especially on the crags along the Miners' Road at Glendalough, Upper Glendalough and in Glenmalure. Care should be taken not to dislodge cliff plants nor to disturb birds during breeding seasons (approx. April to June for Peregrine Falcon). For further information on sensitive times contact the Information Office. Please note that the cliffs on the south side of the valley are not suitable for climbing. The Mountaineering Council of Ireland Climbing Guide ‘Wicklow’ is available for consultation in the Information Office. Bouldering is popular in the granite scree in Upper Glendalough.
In the event of an emergency dial 999 or 112 and ask for Mountain Rescue.
The public roads running through the Park are used for competitive cycling, as well as for touring. Bicycles also use some un-surfaced forestry-type roads and wider surfaced tracks. Off-road cycling is not allowed due to the damage it can cause to sensitive habitats. For information on cycling in Ireland see www.cyclingireland.ie
Gun Dog trials are carried out in the Park under permit. Shooting is not permitted while trialing.
A number of rivers and lakes within the Park are occasionally fished. The most common species caught is Brown Trout. The principal angling waters within the Park are: the Upper River Liffey, the Avonmore, Lough Dan, Glendalough Upper and Lower Lakes, Kelly's Lough and Lough Ouler.
Fishing is permitted from 15th March to 30th September using artificial lures only. The waters in the Park are very low in nutrients and the averarge size of trout is very small at 15-18 cm (6-7 inches). All fish under 20.5cm (8 inches) must be returned unharmed.
Limited horse-riding occurs in the Park by permit.
Sport hunting is not permitted within the Park.
Off-road motoring, other than motorbike trials which have received a permit, is not allowed in the Park. Motorbike trial clubs must fulfil all the conditions of the permit in order to minimise the impact of these events. Permitted motorbike trial events have taken place at Old Boleys and near the mines at Glendasan.
Orienteering events occur under permit in the Park. Areas surveyed by the Irish Orienteering Council include Glendalough, Derrybawn and along the Avonmore River. For more information see the Irish Orienteering Association website.
Power-boating, water-skiing and jet skiing are not permitted on Park lakes e.g. Glendalough Upper and Lower Lakes, Upper Lough Bray, Lough Ouler. The only boats used on these sites are for management and rescue purposes.
Postcards, maps and a number of books are available to buy in the Information Office at the Upper Lake and the Monastic City Visitor Centre in Glendalough. Crafts, woollens, music and other gifts are available to purchase in Glendalough and Laragh villages. Petrol, groceries, batteries, film and stamps can be purchased in Laragh village only. There are no ATMs in Laragh/Glendalough.
SCUBA diving takes place in the Park under permit, mostly in the Upper Lake, Glendalough. To date, two clubs have been granted permits to dive in the Park.
Short walks and hill walking are available in the Park. There are way marked tracks of varying length.
The Wicklow Way
The Wicklow Way is a long distance walking route which passes through the Park. Some walkers attempt the 139km in one expedition but it can also be taken in sections as shorter walks. Guides to the Wicklow Way are available to purchase from the Upper Lake Information Office. For more on the trail see www.walkireland.ie. Details of accommodation along the trail can be found on Wicklow Way.com
Glendalough Walking Trails
Most people who take short walks do so in the vicinity of Glendalough. There is an extensive network of way-marked walking trails here. Large maps of the walks are displayed at the Monastic City Visitor Centre and on the Notice Board at the Upper Lake car park. For more information see our section on Walking Trails in Glendalough.
Most of the Park's walking is open hillwalking, which requires good map-reading skills. No matter what the season, rain-proof clothing should always be carried. For more see our page on Mountain Safety
Special events and large groups will require a permit, which can be applied for from Park Headquarters. See Contact Us