Wicklow Mountains national park, in upland Wicklow, runs to 49,421 acres (20,000 hectares). It was created in 1991 and includes upland heath and mountain blanket bogs (Lugnaquilla and Liffey Head), the Glenealo valley, and Glendalough wood nature reserve.
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On the moors can be found ravens, skylarks, peregrine falcon, red grouse, merlin, and meadow pipits. Otters, badgers, red squirrels, foxes, hare, and red/sika deer live in the park. Rare orchids are among the plant life.
At Glendalough is Upper lake, situated in a glaciated valley. Glendalough is also home to sessile oak woodlands. An education centre, visitor facilities, and information point are located in the valley.
A monastic community was founded in the valley in the 7th century. Further building took place throughout the 8th-12th centuries. The cathedral, 1000 year old round tower and seven churches date from this period. At the top of Seefin mountain is a prehistoric passage grave.
Wicklow Mountains National Park
Upper Lake, Glendalough
Off Green road close to the upper lake
Tel. 0 404 45425/45656
Fax. 0 404 45710
Upper Lake, Glendalough, Wicklow
Tel. 0 404 45656, in winter phone 404 45338
Open May-Aug, daily 10am-6pm, April and Sep, weekends only.
Glendalough Monastic site
Tel. 0404 45325
Open: daily 9.30-6pm in summer, 5pm in winter
Photo of Wicklow Mts by Philip Perry courtesy Geograph Britain and Ireland
Church photo by Barbara Ballard