I’d argue that the Devil’s Glen walk is one of the best walks in Wicklow.
Tempted to take on a walk that could get your creative juices flowing? Maybe something to inspire you to pick up a pen and start your journey as an aspiring wordsmith?
Ok, so none of us will probably ever write poetry to Seamus Heaney’s lofty standard, but at least we can walk in the secluded Wicklow landscape that inspired him.
In the guide below, you’ll find two walks to tackle (one of which includes a waterfall!), the route to follow and how long each takes.
Some quick need-to-knows about the Devil’s Glen walk in Wicklow
Although a visit to the Devil’s Glen walk in Wicklow is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
Located near Ashford and around 15km east of Glendalough, Devil’s Glen has the feel of an enchanted forest and is set in a dramatic gorge with the famous waterfall as its highlight.
2. Story behind the name
In fact, it was the thunderous sound of the waterfall – its “satanic power” – that gave the glen its name.
3. The Seamus Heaney link
Seamus Heaney talked about the “strange loneliness” of the Devil’s Glen and you can see how its evocative atmosphere would have inspired some of the legendary Irish poet’s finest work.
4. The walks
There are two Devil’s Glen walks to tackle, depending on what you want to see. The Seamus Heaney Walk is a 4km/2-hour walk while the Devil’s Glen Waterfall Walk is a 5km/2.5-hour ramble.
Devil’s Glen walk 1: The Seamus Heaney Walk
How long it takes
Heaney had a walk named after himself (surely way up there in his list of honours!) and it takes the form of a loop that’s 4km long and should take around two hours to complete.
This walk is suitable for anyone with moderate fitness. There’s a bit of uphill walking and make sure you follow the marked trails as it’s very easy to get lost in the forest should you leave them.
Where to start
If you turn off the R763 into the entrance of the Devils Glen woods and drive for around a mile, you’ll come to a car park. There’s a map of the trails at the entrance that shows a path into the woods. Just follow that to get going!
Follow the yellow arrows where the walk meanders in an anti-clockwise direction. On the way you’ll pass through conifer forest with examples of beech, Spanish chestnut and ash. Look out for the striking woodland sculptures near the entrance and the carved Seamus Heaney quotes throughout.
Devil’s Glen walk 2: The Waterfall Walk
How long it takes
The Devil’s Glen Waterfall Walk is a narrow loop that’s 5km long and should take around two hours to complete.
This walk is suitable for anyone with moderate fitness. There’s a steep downhill section but nothing else too troubling. If you’re doing it after rainfall it can get muddy so wear appropriate boots if that’s the case.
Where to start
It’s the same starting point as the Seamus Heaney Walk so find the map at the car park entrance and off you go!
Follow the red arrows and go past more sculptures before zigzagging down into a narrow section of the Devil’s Glen. You’ll pass by sequoias and firs alongside the River Vartry while hearing the rumble of the waterfall in the distance. Admire the roar and majesty of the waterfall as it cascades over the rocks and rapids before turning back home.
Things to do after seeing the Devil’s Glen Waterfall
One of the beauties of the Devil’s Glen in Wicklow is that it’s a short spin away from many of the finest places to visit in Wicklow.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from the the Devil’s Glen waterfall (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).
1. Walks galore
When you finish up at the Devil’s Glen, you’ve plenty more walks nearby to choose from, such as:
2. Sally Gap and surrounds
If you fancy a drive with plenty of scenic stops, head towards Lough Tay (30 minutes from the Devil’s Glen) and do the Sally Gap Drive. It takes in Guinness Lake, Glenmacnass Waterfall and some beautiful scenery.
FAQs about the Devil’s Glen walks
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from where to park to what to see nearby.
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 do the Devil’s Glen walks take?
There are two Devil’s Glen walks to try: The Seamus Heaney Walk is a 4km/2-hour walk while the Devil’s Glen Waterfall Walk is a 5km/2.5-hour ramble.
Why is it called the Devils Glen?
It was the thunderous sound of the Devil’s Glen waterfall – its “satanic power” – that gave the glen its name.
Where is the Devils Glen in Wicklow?
You’ll find it located near Ashford and around 15km east of Glendalough.