Wicklow Mountains National Park is situated just south of Dublin. The Park covers almost 23,000 hectares of mountain scenery, and many roads cross through it. The most popular location for visitors to the National park is the scenic and historic valley of Glendalough. Much of the rest of the Park is remote with few facilities, but the scenery is worth admiring from your car. Most areas are also accessible to properly equipped hillwalkers.
There is no entry fee to Wicklow Mountains National Park. Entry to both the National Park and the National Park Information Office are free of charge.
Please note, however, that most car parks in the area have a charge.
The Upper Lake car park in Glendalough is owned by Wicklow County Council and its management is franchised out. Parking charges apply.
The Heritage Visitor Centre attached to the Monastic site in Glendalough has a charge to enter the exhibition, although the Monastic site itself is free of charge. The Visitor Centre car park has a charge.
The Glendalough Hotel has parking for its patrons. Parking charges apply.
Wicklow County Council operate a FREE car park in Laragh (located on the Laragh to Rathdrum Road, beside the Woollen Mills). There is a scenic pedestrian walk along the Green Road to the Monastic City and onwards to the Upper Lake area of Glendalough. On weekends and bank holidays a free shuttle bus operates from this car park to the Heritage Visitor Centre / Glendalough Hotel.
Getting Here: Public Transport
There are limited public transport options for accessing Wicklow Mountains National Park. Many private tour companies operate tours to the Park, and in particular to Glendalough.
Glendalough is also serviced by a private bus service – the St. Kevin’s Bus. It travels from Dublin city centre via Bray and Roundwood. (www.glendaloughbus.com)
Transport for Ireland operate a Local Link bus from Wicklow town to Glendalough. (https://www.transportforireland.ie/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Local-Link-Route-183-Glendalough-to-Wicklow-4Page-DL-29.06.21.pdf)
Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus services reach some of the towns close to the National Park – Enniskerry to the north, Rathdrum, Wicklow and Arklow to the east, and Baltinglass and Blessington to the west.
Private taxi services may be available in some areas to transport you further.
Getting Here: Private Transport
Access to the National Park is currently easiest by private transport. Two main roads run alongside the Wicklow Mountains – the N11/M11 to the east and the N81 to the west. From these roads, many smaller secondary roads cross through the National Park. Some main routes to Glendalough are outlined here.
Dublin City to Glendalough
Take the N11/M11 south to Kilmacanogue village (24km). Glendalough is signposted from here. Take the slip-road from the N11 and follow the R755 to Laragh village (25km). Stay on the main road through Laragh which becomes the R756 to the valley of Glendalough (2km). Total distance is 51km.
Rosslare Harbour to Glendalough
Take the N11/M11 north to Arklow town (83km). Follow the R747 to Woodenbridge. Turn right onto the R752, go through Avoca village and turn left onto the R755 into Rathdrum town and proceed through to Laragh village (Woodenbridge to Laragh 25km). From Laragh, turn left on to the R756 and it is 2km to the valley of Glendalough. Total distance is 109km
West Wicklow to Glendalough
The main route from the western lowlands through the mountains to Glendalough is via the ‘Wicklow Gap’ pass which can be accessed from the village of Hollywood. From the crossroads on the N81 located 11km south of Blessington town proceed east through the village of Hollywood along the R756. The road gradually climbs into the mountains and drops down into Glendalough Valley where you will meet a T-junction (26km). Taking the sharp turn right and you are in the valley of Glendalough.