Secondary Schools

Our Education Centre is situated at the Upper Lake in Glendalough. The aim of the National Park’s Education programme is to raise an awareness of nature and conservation issues. To this end, we offer field study days to secondary schools.

How to Book

  • We only take bookings by phone (0404-45656).
  • Our service is free of charge. (However, there may be a charge for parking.)
  • We insist that groups bring at least one adult leader for every 10 students. These leaders are responsible for the supervision of the group.
  • The school must photocopy one worksheet for each student.
  • Further details will be sent when you book.



Leaving Certificate Ecology Study of a Habitat

Age Group:  5th & 6th Years

Time of the Year: March to October only

Designed to suit the fieldwork requirement of the leaving certificate, this study in the woods of Glendalough involves:

  • Mapping the study site
  • Identifying 5 plant species
  • A vegetation survey – both a frequency survey and a percentage cover survey.
  • Sampling & identifying invertebrates
  • Examining invertebrate lifestyles
  • Examining mammal & bird tracks & signs
  • Recording climatic, edaphic, abiotic & biotic factors
  • Conservation & National Park issues

Junior Certificate Ecology:

Deer, Goats, Wolves & the Ecology of Glendalough

Age Group:  1st, 2nd, 3rd & TY Years

Time of the Year: March to October only

This study involves:

  • Examining the weather.
  • Measuring soil pH.
  • Searching for mammal tracks and signs.
  • Looking at woodland birds and their diets.
  • Collecting, identifying and studying invertebrates.
  • Identifying woodland plants.
  • Examining the structure of a woodland.
  • Looking at the problems of overgrazing by deer and goats, and the absence of a top predator.
  • Exploring woodland food webs.

Environment & Transition Year Days

Conservation Day

Age Group: Any age (Ideal for TY)

Time of the Year: Any

Our Conservation Day really brings the National Park alive for visiting students as they examine and discuss the conservation issues facing the National Park. The format of the day is as follows:

  • A treasure hunt featuring conservation issues
  • A hike up onto the hills overlooking Glendalough with a National Park Guide discussing conservation problems in the area.
  • A debate. Teams must argue why their assigned group should be allowed to carry out their chosen activity in the National Park.

TY Challenge

Age Group: Transition Year

Time of the Year: Any

Our popular TY Challenge has been designed to give Transition year students a flavour of several disciplines. The day includes:

  • A treasure hunt
  • Bird watching – who can identify the 5 birds using keys and binoculars?
  • Orienteering – navigate a route using only a compass bearing and pacing
  • Clinometer challenge
  • Blindfold challenge
  • A nature quiz


Leaving Certificate River Study: We no longer be offering River Studies.

After several years of providing Leaving Certificate Geography fieldwork, the National Park has decided to discontinue the subject in favour of other subjects, focusing more on natural history and conservation. Schools are advised that there are commercial education centres that can provide geography fieldwork. Alternatively, teachers are welcome to come to Glendalough to do their own self-guided river study.

Self Guided River Studies

Teachers are welcome to bring their class down to do their own river study in Glendalough. However, please be aware that schools must book their date, to ensure that neither another school nor the National Park Education Centre are using the river on the day. Failure to do so may result in you being moved on. To book your date, please ring 0404 45656.

Junior Certificate Human Geography Hike

Age Group: 1st, 2nd, 3rd & Transition Years

Time of the Year: Any

Suitable for both Junior Certificate and Transition Year students, this day involves a hike around Glendalough exploring how Man has shaped the landscape. Topics examined include:

  • The National Park
  • Tourism
  • Woodlands & forestry
  • The Monastic ruins
  • Hill walking & erosion
  • Feral goats
  • Mining
  • Settlement
  • Farming
  • Hydro-electric power

Junior Certificate Geography of Glendalough

Age Group: 1st, 2nd, 3rd years

Time of the Year: Any

The Self-Guided study below is also available through the Education Centre.

SELF GUIDED STUDY: Exploring the Geography of Glendalough

Age Group: 1st, 2nd & 3rd Years

Time of the Year: Any

This study is designed for teachers to do with their students without needing to avail of the National Park’s Education team. The worksheet looks at various aspects of Glendalough’s geography, with separate modules for each. Teachers can mix and match the modules that they require: