The Carrickgollogan Forest Walk is a deadly little weekend ramble in the Dublin Mountains.
It’s not too hard on the legs and it offers some cracking views. There are a few different trails to choose from here (the Lead Mines Way being the most popular).
The walks at Carrickgollogan take between 30 and 40 minutes, depending on pace and although short, they pack a punch.
Below, you’ll find info on everything from parking for the Carrickgollogan Forest walk to an overview of the trail/route.
Some quick need-to-knows about the Carrickgollogan Forest Walk
Although a visit to Carrickgollogan is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
Lying practically on the border between County Dublin and County Wicklow, Carrickgollogan Forest is around 17km south of Dublin city. It’s a 15-minute drive from Bray and a 20-minute drive from both Ticknock and Tibradden.
While the parking is free, the car park itself (see it here on Google Maps) isn’t very big and only has room for around 10 spaces. It also gets busy on the weekends, so aim to arrive early.
3. Opening hours
As you might expect, opening hours differ between summer and winter. The car park is open from April to September between the hours of 7:00am and 9:00pm, and then from October to March between 8:00am and 5:00pm.
4. Two trails
One of the best things about Carrickgollogan is the choice of two trails, both of which are easily doable. The Lead Mines Way is a loop that takes in the historic (and unmistakable!) Lead Mines chimney. The Mountain Access Route takes you to the Viewing Rock where you’ll get some epic panoramas of County Dublin and beyond.
Rising to a height of 276 metres, Carrickgollogan is a hill that not only features some cracking views back towards Dublin Bay, but also a bunch of interesting historical sites on its heathery slopes.
With its distinct outer spiral staircase, the coolest of those sites is the ruins of the flue chimney of the former lead works at Ballycorus.
The mine opened around 1807 and work here continued for over 100 years until it finally closed in 1913. The chimney is the only one of its kind to have been built in Ireland, so make sure you get a photo of it while you’re up on Carrickgollogan!
Further down the slopes to the north of the summit are the ruins of a church and a round tower, found enclosed within the remains of what would once have been one of the largest ringforts in Ireland. Keep an eye too for the ruins of the so-called ‘Puck’s Castle’ (it’s easily spotted due to the nature that’s currently in the process of reclaiming it!).
Walk 1: The Lead Mines Way
- Starting Point – Carrickgollogan Forest walk car park
- Time – 40 minutes
- Length – 2 km
- Difficulty – Easy
If it’s the unique chimney you want to check out, then you’ll need to take on the Lead Mines Way trail. This easy loop walk comes in at around 2 km and should take around 40 minutes to complete (depending on how long you want to spend taking in views or admiring the Victorian handiwork of the chimney).
Start at the car park by bearing right in an anticlockwise direction and following the wide path towards Carrickgollogan – the hill will quickly become visible as a low summit through the trees.
Continue on the main path and then head left through the leafy green woods full of Lodgepole pine, Noble fir, Japanese larch, Lawson cypress, Scots pine, birch and beech trees.
Exit the woods into open fields and bear right where you’ll eventually arrive at the famous old chimney. Enjoy the fine views before continuing along the path to the right, where if you keep bearing left you’ll arrive back at the car park.
Walk 2: The Mountain Access route
- Starting Point – Carrickgollogan Forest walk car park
- Time – 30 minutes
- Length – 0.5 km
- Difficulty – Moderate
A linear route with a steeper ascent, this trail is shorter than the Lead Mines Way but inexperienced walkers might find it a tad more challenging due to the sharper climb. However, the spectacular views from the top of the hill are very much worth the climb!
Start this trail in the same way as the Lead Mines Way by bearing right in an anticlockwise direction from the car park and following the wide path towards Carrickgollogan where the hill will become visible through the trees.
This time, however, take a right off the main path onto a smaller path that leads through the trees and winds up to the summit of Carrickgollogan. The 50 metre ascent here will take you right up to a magnificent viewpoint with breathtaking views of the Dublin and Wicklow countryside, as well as the Irish sea.
Head back the same way you came or continue on to see the Lead Mines if you haven’t visited them already!
Other lovely rambles in Dublin
There’s an almost endless number of walks in Dublin to head off on after you’ve conquered the Carrickgollogan Forest Walk.
Below, you’ll find 4 of our favourites, from hill walks with mighty views to forest walks where, if you start early, you’ll dodge the crowds.
1. Tibradden Wood Walk
An ethereal stroll into Ireland’s ancient forests, the Tibradden Wood Walk is home to a prehistoric burial site that archeologists believe may date back to the Bronze Age! Not only does the history of the place boggle the mind, but it also offers some seriously great views of Dublin Bay all the way across to Howth in the far distance.
2. Howth Cliff Walk
With its stunning coastal scenes and easy-to-follow trail, the best reason to visit Howth is the famous Howth Cliff Walk. The 1.5-hour walk begins at Howth Summit car park and takes you north to Howth Head Peak where you should have some deadly views of Ireland’s Eye and Lambay Island (and a ton of great pubs to visit after!).
3. Cruagh Woods Walk
Why is this deadly little walk so overlooked?! Who knows, but you’re in for a treat if you tackle the Cruagh Woods Walk. This 4 km loop offers panoramic views of the Tibradden, Two Rock, Three Rock and Glendoo Mountains, as well as Dun Laoghaire Harbour, Howth and Dublin city. Not bad at all!
4. Dublin Mountains Walks
Did you know there are 43km of mountain trails, country paths and rural roads along the Dublin Mountains Way? So yeah, plenty to get stuck into! See our Dublin mountains walks guide for more.
FAQs about the Carrickgollogan Forest walk
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from where’s the parking for the Lead Mines Way to which route is the best.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
How long does the Carrickgollogan Forest walk take?
There are two trails here (the Lead Mines Way and the Mountain Access route) and they take between 40 and 70 minutes.
Are the walks at Carrickgollogan hard?
If you have a moderate level of fitness, you shouldn’t have much trouble doing either Carrickgollogan Forest walk.