Dogs are welcome in the National Park, but dog owners must be aware that this area is primarily for the conservation of nature and dogs must be kept on a lead at all times.
Unfortunately, there has been an increase in incidents involving dogs in the National Park. Negative interactions with visitors, other dogs and wildlife have all been witnessed. Deer, goats, ducks and farm animals have been chased. Some deer and goats have been mauled requiring them to be euthanized, something we are sure no responsible dog owner wants. During the breeding season in spring and summer, birds and animals must be protected from disturbance if they are to breed successfully. At all times, but especially in winter, wild animals and birds need to feed without disturbance.
Dog owners are asked to comply with our Code of Conduct, below.
Code of Conduct for Dog Owners
Wicklow Mountains National Park welcomes Responsible Dog Owners.
- Please keep your dog on a lead at all times within the National Park.
- Be aware that the National Park is primarily for the conservation of nature. Wildlife must never be stressed by your dog. Deer and goats are regularly attacked by dogs, especially in Glendalough. Injured wildlife often does not survive after such an attack. Even if wildlife is not physically attacked, dog owners should be aware that wildlife that is disturbed when foraging for food may suffer harm as a result.
- Be aware that the National Park is also home to farm animals, especially sheep. Farmers are entitled to shoot any dog that worries their stock.
- Be aware that other people may not love your dog, and may even be scared of it.
- Please carry poo bags and use them. Dog poo is not pleasant for other visitors and may be harmful, especially to young children. Dog poo, if left, introduces nutrients in wild habitats and may adversely affect the ecology. Please always pick up after your dog.
- Most of the National Park is wild and has no bins. Dog poo, once bagged, must be carried home. Be aware that leaving a full bag on the side of the trail is even worse than not picking up after your dog.
- Be aware that the National Park has hazards for dogs. Every year, dogs are killed or seriously injured falling off cliffs. Many go missing; not all are found again.
Dog Trials & SARDA Dogs
Specialised dog activities, such as gun dog trials, occasionally occur in the National Park. All such trials are subject to a permit. Specialised dog activities, such as dog trials, also occur.
Search and Rescue Dogs (SARDA) may be seen training or working in the National Park on occasion.
Limited horse-riding occurs in the National Park, by permit only.