The Upper Lake of Glendalough lies about 1.5 km west of the village of Glendalough. From the Glendalough Visitor Centre, which serves the Monastic City, a pleasant twenty-minute walk along a woodland path, signposted as the ‘Green Road’, will bring you into the National Park. First you pass the Lower Lake and then the magnificent view of the Upper Lake greets you. Alternatively you can drive directly to the lake where parking is provided.
This is a popular recreational area, both for picniking and is a starting point for a variety of walks. Advice about both walks and wildlife are to be found at the Information Office here.
Lake & Lawns
The view of the steep sided lake and the wooded banks is magnificent. The lawns beside the lake make a popular recreation area. Picnic tables are provided. However, on a busy summer's day a free table may be difficult to find. No camping or fires are permitted. The paths around the lawns and shore are suitable for wheelchair users.
The National Park Information Office is located close to the Upper Lake along the 'Green Road' and a Guide is stationed here to answer any questions you may have. The office also contains an exhibit on the Park and its wildlife. Postcards, maps, information leaflets and guidebooks are on sale here.
The new sensory garden of the Upper Lake Information Office is now open. The garden aims to offer a unique nature experience to all visitors of the Park, especially those with disabilities.
For opening hours see Contact Us. Admission is free.
There are nine colour coded walking trails of various length and difficulty which all begin from the Information Office. A map of the walks is available from the information office. More..»
The Upper Lake car park is operated by Wickow County Council. Entry to the car park costs €4 for both cars and buses for unlimited time. Exact change is required for the automatic gates. The car park opens at 9am and closes at 8pm*. Facilities at the car park include public toilets, a refreshment stand and a drinking water tap. Spaces may be difficult to find at certain times such as summer bank holiday weekends.
*For special events such as the Dawn Chorus and Bat Walks the car park opening times will be extended.
A National Park notice board is located in the car park. The notice board contains a map and a description of all the colour coded walks. Restrictions that may apply to recreational activities are posted. You will also find the latest weather forecast for the mountains.
The main cluster of remains are at the monastic city but archaelogical monuments can be found throughout the Glendalough Valley. At the Upper Lake you will find Reefert Church which was built around 1100AD. The remains of this stone church and graveyard are surrounded by woodland, located only minutes away from the Information Office. Close to Reefert are the foundations of St. Kevin's Cell which are on top of a rocky spur over the lake. It is believed that it had a 'bee-hive' construction. It would have looked like an igloo made from stone. Both sites can be found along the Poulanass and St.Kevin's Cell (Bronze) walking trail.
Also at the Upper Lake are Temple-na-Skellig and St. Kevin's Bed. The remains of Temple-na-Skellig, a small rectangular stone church, are located on the southern shore of the Upper Lake at the base of the cliffs. St. Kevin's Bed, a small cave, is cut into the cliffs beside the church ten metres above the lake shore. It is believed St. Kevin used the cave as a place of retreat and meditation. There is no safe access to either the church or the cave and both are best seen from across the lake along the Miners' Road.
The 'Caher' is located in the centre of the lawns by the lake. It is a stone walled circular enclosure. Close by are several crosses. The Caher and crosses are believed to have been stations (prayer points) for pilgrims to the remains of the monastic city.