Wicklow Mountains National Park was established in 1991. At first glance, the influence of Man does not appear great in its 20,000 hectares of wild habitat. In fact, there are layers of history all around.
The Wicklow Mountains were originally covered with forests. Neolithic farmers cleared the trees using stone axes. In doing so, they facilitated the development of the blanket bog that covers the hills today.
Many years later, in the late 6th century, St. Kevin established a monastic settlement in Glendalough. It flourished for 600 years. The remains of several churches and crosses are still there today and are easily explored.
During and after the 1798 Rebellion, the Wicklow Mountains offered an ideal hiding place for rebel troops. The Great Military Road was constructed at this time to make the area more accessible. It remains an important route across the hills and a scenic drive for visitors.
In more recent times, the Wicklow Mountains had a 150 year mining history. Lead was mined in Glendalough and Glendasan and at other locations outside the National Park. At the Miners’ Village and on the Wicklow Gap, the ruined buildings and old spoil heaps can be seen.