The county of Wicklow is naturally divided by the granite expanse of the Wicklow Mountains, the largest continuous upland region in Ireland which occupies much of the centre of the county. West of the mountains, owing in part to its topography and remoteness, there survives a highly scenic natural landscape which contains a wealth of archaeological and historical sites, towns and villages.
Using Baltinglass as the central point, two heritage trails have been developed to the north and to the south of the town as suggested driving and/or cycling routes to explore this area.
West Wicklow Heritage Trail
For West Wicklow, highlights include the prehistoric hillforts centred around Baltinglass (the largest such complex in Ireland), the Piper Stones, Castleruddery Stone Circle, The Cistercian Abbey of Baltinglass, 1798 associations at Kilranelagh Graveyard and Dwyer McAllister Cottage as well as the rich biodiversity of the River Slaney Special Area of Conservation and the remote flanks of Wicklow Mountains National Park at the Glen of Imaal making this a fascinating part of Wicklow to visit and discover.
South West Wicklow Heritage Trail
For South West Wicklow highlights include Rathgall Hillfort, Aghowle Medieval Church, Baltinglass Cistercian Abbey, the Coolattin Estate, The walks and biodiversity of Tomnafinogue Woods Special Area of Conservation (SAC) as well as the villages of Shillelagh, Carnew, Tinahely and Kiltegan
The West Wicklow & South West Wicklow Heritage Trails are available at tourist offices throughout Wicklow or can be downloaded as pdf.s below.
Information about both routes is also hosted on County Wicklow’s tourism site www.visitwicklow.ie.
The West Wicklow Route is available here.
The South West Wicklow Heritage Route is available here
These trails were produced as actions of the County Wicklow Heritage Plan, co-funded by the Heritage Office and the Baltinglass Municipal District office of Wicklow County and The Heritage Council with services provided by Active Me tourism consultants. Special thanks to Donal McDonnell, Paul Gorry and Chris Lawlor for their valuable input to the text content.
Read more about the Blessington Lakeside Heritage Trail by clicking here, on this website.