Easter Sunday we made an impromptu stop at Ticknock on our way home from Maynooth. We were away at Carton House hotel for the Easter break & on our way back home we were driving right past Ticknock & Stuey had the idea to finish off our weekend with a hike since the weather was so good. We stopped off at Chopped for a smoothie and Subway for a sandwich to refuel, then made our way over to the gorgeous forest recreation area.
The car park for the forest winds up past a little wooden cafe, all the way up and around bringing you right to the entrance of the hiking routes. We parked up and made our way to the starting point, it was very easy to find and had big wooden sign posts with maps of the area and different routes. We decided to do the green route which is 5.5km long & loops back to the starting point. We didn’t opt for the longer yellow route as we had already completed a 3km walk of Carton House grounds after breakfast, but we will definitely be back to complete the yellow route another day.
21 degrees out, not a cloud in sight & a 45-50 minute steady paced incline to start the hike was tough. Especially as this was already our second walk of the day. The route was easy enough to follow, the forest was very beautiful & the sun was beaming, it was tough going but we really enjoyed it. The first part of the trail was actually a road through the forest that leads you up to the top where the satellite towers are. When you get up to that point the view is absolutely incredible, with views right across Dublin from Howth all the way down to Dun Laoghaire. City views, sea views, mountain views & mountain air. What more could you ask for?
We got a little bit confused at this point as the sign post at the top had an arrow pointing to the right for the green route, but the way it was positioned (to the left of a path going straight on) really made us wonder if we were supposed to go straight and not right. On the other side of the sign post we could see a different coloured arrow, which pointed up the straight road, so we decided if they were both to go straight on then both arrows would be positioned the same and they weren’t. The situation was confused even further by the fact that when we turned right there was another sign (just in marker) saying walkers this way and an arrow directing all to go straight ahead instead of right. We decided to ignore the sign in marker and we took the right turn as logic suggested this was the way. The right turn took us to the end of a wide pathway and we could see a gate at the end with another signpost so then we knew we had made the right choice. Thinking back i really should have took a picture of this, but i hope i explained it well enough !
Going through the little gate you start up a narrow rocky path with the forest all along the right hand side. We had to stop under the shade of some trees here as the heat was exhausting us, this section really as tough going and we were both very tired at this point. After our little rest we kept going though and the trees to the right eventually thinned out until it was just mountain & views on either side. As soon as the cover from the trees was gone it was veryyyyy WINDY. Not just a little bit, but seriously windy. Luckily the sun was out and even with the wind it was very warm, i can imagine doing this walk on a regular day would be very cold because of the wind so if you ever try it make sure to take a windbreaker or extra layers.
We made it to the summit which is known as ‘fairy castle’ and is marked by a stone cairn. We didn’t stick around for long but just kept going following the route along. After the summit the path just gently slopes back down and around. First just through the open land at the top and then it turns right to go back down towards the forest. The walk back down was very pleasant and seemed to take no time at all. The path was a little rocky at the start of the descent but then evened out very quickly and wound back through the trees again. The trail eventually brings you back out on to the same road as the starting point, just a few meters down.
It took us around 1 hour and 45 minutes to complete the entire route. We definitely took our time on the way up but we more than made up for it on the way back down with a very fast pace. This was a beautiful hike, the forest and views were amazing and it was the perfect was to finish off our Easter weekend. I’m already looking forward to going back to Ticknock and doing the longer yellow route another time.