If you’re looking to add the Ticknock Walk to your to-conquer-before-pints (or pizza) list this weekend, then keep on reading.
Ticknock is home to one of the best walks in Dublin.
In the guide below we’ll take you through everything you need to know if you’re thinking about giving it a lash this weekend.
About Ticknock Hill
You’ll find Ticknock in the Dublin Mountains. It’s around 3 km south-west of Sandyford, and a handy half-hour bus journey (the 44B) or drive from the centre of Dublin.
Ticknock offers a glorious 10km of mountain and forest walks for those looking to stretch the legs and soak up some of the best views of Dublin City, Dublin Bay, Bray Head and the Wicklow Mountains from above.
Ticknock forest and mountain boasts an extensive network of trails that offer pleasant walks (or if you’re a mountain biker, cycle trails) through the trees.
Ticknock Forest Parking (potentially a nightmare)
I’m fresh off the back of a stressful Sunday morning visit to Ticknock Forest. We arrived at the main car park at Ticknock (pictured above) and spent 20 minutes trying to get out of it…
If you arrive on the weekends (late morning – late afternoon), getting parking here is going to be tricky to say the least (you’ll encounter this problem with the Hellfire Club Walk, also)!
Other places to park for the Ticknock hike
After having zero luck with the main car park up at Ticknock Hill, we headed for the Kilmashogue Forest Car Park, which was a handy 10-minute drive away.
It was also reasonably quiet. Although this’ll take you on a different path to the Ticknock Fairy Castle Loop, it still treats you to class views and takes you up to the Fairy Castle and Three Rock.
The Ticknock Hike: 2 trails to choose from
So, which Ticknock walk you opt for is going to depend on where you can nab parking. The Ticknock Fairycastle Loop (green dots above) can be kicked off from the main car park.
The second walk outline below details the trail that leaves from Kilmashogue Forest Car Park (see yellow dots above).
Trail 1: The Ticknock Fairycastle Loop
The Fairycastle Loop is the most popular of several Ticknock walks. This, as the name suggests, is a looped walk and it packs a mighty punch.
Similar to the Killiney Hill walk, the Ticknock Forest walk treats you to magnificent views out across Dublin and beyond to Wicklow.
The trail to follow
You can start this walk up Ticknock mountain in the main car park (here it is on Google Maps). This is a well-signposted trail, just make sure to follow the GREEN arrows.
Follow the arrows up through Ticknock Forest to Three Rock Mountain and then continue on to the Fairy Castle. You’ll take a right after this and continue down towards the rifle range and then back to the car park.
The Ticknock Fairycastle Loop is a moderate walk that should prove to be reasonably handy for those of a half-decent fitness level.
If you stick to the trail and don’t venture off into Ticknock Forest, you’ll be able to walk along a well-kept tarmac path for the most part.
How long does it take?
This Ticknock walking trail stretches for 5.5km and it takes roughly 1.5 – 2 hours in total to complete (with time spent admiring the views).
Points of interest
When you reach the end of the tarmac, you’ll find three large rock formations (Three Rock Mountain) which make the perfect stop-off point for soaking up the views.
You’ll find Two Rock Mountain not far from here, and it’s here that you’ll find the ruins of the Fairy Castle.
Trail 2: The Ticknock Walk from Kilmashogue
I’ve done the main Ticknock Forest Walk 5 or 6 times over the years. It wasn’t until last weekend (Autumn 2020) that we parked at Kilmashogue Forest and walked from there.
This is a brilliant walk and (as you can see in the map above) it takes you up to the Fairy Castle and around to Three Rock (there’s some mighty views from both spots).
The only downside is that it isn’t a looped walk, so you have to retrace your steps to get back to the car park.
The trail to follow
Start in this car park (you can’t miss the beginning of the trail). It’s a steep aul slog for a good chunk of this trail, but there’s plenty of places to stop and soak up the views.
There’s only one section of this trail that can cause confusion, and that’s when you come to a fork in the road – take the path to the right (it’s the one going up) and keep strolling.
Soon after the trail will join up with the Fairycastle Loop (see above where the yellow dots collide with the green).
This Ticknock Hike, similar to the Howth Cliff Path walk, is reasonably strenuous at the beginning, as there’s a good bit of incline walking. However, if you have moderate fitness levels you’ll be fine.
How long does it take?
We did this walk last weekend and it took us roughly an hour and 45 minutes in total (that includes time spent sat up at Three Rock admiring the view.
Other brilliant walks in Dublin to try
If you fancy seeing what other walks Dublin has to offer, hop into our guide to the best walking trails in Dublin.
Or, if you fancy getting out of Dublin, you’ll find loads of nearby walks in our guide to the best hikes near Dublin.
FAQs about the Ticknock mountain walks
Since first publishing this guide a few years back, we’ve had a rake of emails asking about everything from where to park to how long the walk takes.
I’ve popped the most FAQs below. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section.
Where do you start the Ticknock walk?
This is all going to depend on which Ticknock walking trail you choose. If you pick the Fairycastle Loop, you’ll start from the car park mentioned above.
If you take the second trail mentioned above, you’ll start the walk from Kilmashogue Forest (10-minute drive from the main car park.
Is the parking at Ticknock really a nightmare?
If you visit at peak times on the weekend, yes! However, the car park at Kilmashogue Forest is a handy one to be aware of in case you’re stuck.
How long does the Ticknock Mountain walk take?
The walk from the ‘main’ car park will take you 1.5 – 2 hours. The walk from the second (quieter) car park mentioned above should take 1.5 to 1.45 hours.