Wicklow Mountains National Park is a large and remote area. There are only a limited amount of facilities within the Park itself and most are located in the valley of Glendalough. A wider range of services and facilities can be found adjacent to the Park.
There are many accommodation options available adjacent to the National Park. Co. Wicklow offers a range of options including hotels, bed and breakfasts, hostels, self-catering and camping and caravan sites. Many are listed on Wicklow Tourism’s website, www.visitwicklow.ie.
In Glendalough, there are two main car parks for visitors to the valley – the Visitor Centre car park and the Upper Lake car park. Visitors are advised not to leave valuables in their cars, especially in the more remote locations.
Visitor Centre Car Park, Glendalough
This car park is owned and managed by the Office of Public Works (OPW) for visitors to the Monastic City and its Visitor Centre. There is a parking charge during busy periods. Access to the Upper Lake area is a 20 minute walk along the Green Road.
Upper Lake Car Park, Glendalough
At the end of the road along the valley is a second car park – the Upper Lake Car Park. This is owned by Wicklow County Council. There is a charge to enter (currently €4).
Other places to park in Glendalough
The Glendalough Hotel has paid parking for their patrons only. Please note, that the road along the valley to the Upper Lake is not suitable for parking. It is very narrow and can become congested, thereby hampering emergency vehicles.
Parking in the Rest of the National Park
Beyond Glendalough, there are only limited places to park. Most parking areas consist of small lay-bys on narrow roads that can accommodate only three or four cars. Small parking areas can be found on the Wicklow Gap, by Glenmacnass waterfall, and at a couple of places on the military road.
Visitors to Glendalough have a variety of places to get food. Between Laragh and Glendalough, there are two hotels and a restaurant that serve main meals and snacks. In season, Glendalough has stalls for chips and ice creams at the upper lake car park and beside the Monastic City. In Laragh and other nearby towns, there are shops selling groceries and ready-made food (sandwiches, etc), as well as tea rooms.
Beyond Glendalough, all the neighbouring towns adjacent to the National Park have a variety of eating places.
In Glendalough, public toilets are available at the OPW Visitor Centre beside the Monastic City and at the Upper Lake car park. There are no public toilet facilities at either the Information Office or the Education Centre. There are no public toilet facilities in the rest of the National park, but all neighbouring towns and villages will either have public toilets or will have facilities in public houses and restaurants.
The National Park has long-term plans to commission an Access Audit for the valley. In the meantime, the paths around the lawns by the Upper Lake are all tarmac and wheelchair accessible. Discussions with wheelchair users lead us to believe that the boardwalk around the Lower Lake is smooth and wheelchair accessible, although steep in places. This route will take you between the Visitor Centre and the Upper Lake. The Green Road, however, on the south side of the Lower Lake is very rough and steep in places, and only suitable for wheelchair athletes that relish a challenge. The Miners’ Road is also rough, although flat. Please note, that none of the paths have officially been approved for wheelchairs as yet, so use them at your own discretion.
The Park has a lost property facility at the Information Office in Glendalough. Visitors to the valley who have lost an item can ring 0404 45425 to enquire after it. Likewise, items found in the valley can be handed in the Information Office.
First Aid facilities, including an AED (defibrillator) are available at the Information Office. Other emergency services may also be alerted from here.
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 or Glendalough. The nearest ATM is outside the bank in Rathdrum (24 hours) or inside the Centra shop in Roundwood (opening hours only).