Djouce from Luggala

  • 11 February 2005
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Try this one if you are wanting to trade surplus energy for a changing selection of some of the finest views in County Wicklow. You should choose a bright day, but, unusually for Wicklow, you don't have to worry too much about conditions underfoot – except for short sections at either end, you can walk it dry-shod.


The first stage of the Wicklow Way, initiated some twenty years ago, led from Marlay Park to Luggala, at the nearest forest entrance to the well-known viewpoint overlooking Lough Tay. Tramping feet having by now eroded a wide swathe of the fragile terrain, the National Park authorities have installed a trackway of wooden sleepers. Purists may bemoan the intrusion, but it is impossible to deny that it enables a stride where before it was mostly a sticky trudge.

Follow the Wicklow Way signs through Ballinastoe woods to the beginning of the trackway. As you climb, resist the urge to look behind too frequently, saving the southward views for the return. As you clear the woods, and breast the soggy dome of White Hill, wide vistas open up over the Vartry plateau and out to sea. To reach the schisty outcrops on Djouce summit, you will need to strike off where the trackway swings sharp right under the ridge, but the rewards are ample. On a really clear day, you might even see Snowdon.

Now turn around to view layer on layer of mountain, with, looming at the rear, the hazy outline of Lugnaquillia. As you descend, the pattern changes, the more distant ridges settling discreetly back behind the cliffs above the Lough, which, conversely, steadily fill the view as you approach. Just about as you reach the memorial to J.B.Malone (founder of the Wicklow Way), the full thousand foot drop into Loch Tay is revealed.


Take the R759 between Sally Gap and the Enniskerry-Roundwood road, and park where you see the Wicklow Way sign on the north side. To reach the summit, allow 2-3 hours return.