Ballydonarea Loop

Ballydonarea Loop

3.6km loop (45 mins)
Grade: Class 3
Elevation change: less than 20 metres
Waymarking: blue arrows
Dogs allowed on a lead

This popular walk leads from Kilcoole village to the Sea using a farm lane and rural footpath, then returns to Kilcoole via Sea Road. The walk can be extended by walking part of the coastal path toward Greystones or Newcastle.

Start at the Rock of Kilcoole, an ancient Cambrian formation just to the east of Main Street. The area between the Rock and Main Street was once part of the village green and is still known by the name Lower Green. From the Rock you will have a magnificent view of the entire coastal plain from Wicklow Head in the south, to Bray Head in the north.

From the Rock, take the footpath and lane to the south, keeping left, and descend the steep footpath to Lott Lane. Across the road you will see the ruins of the Church of St Comgall. A sign at the gate gives information about this ancient Christian site from which it is believed Kilcoole received its name.

From the church, walk north on Lott Lane, passing the Rock on your left hand side. You will presently see a lane heading east toward the sea, turn here and follow the lane to Ballydonarea House. A plaque in the garden wall of the house commemorates Albert Hime, who was born at Ballydonarea in 1842 and who became premier of Natal in South Africa.

Continue past the house until the tarmac ends, then proceed straight down the farm lane. To the right is an area that once contained a brick foundry. Where the farm lane turns to the left, continue straight through the gate onto a footpath going diagonally between two fields. A ruined house to the left was once the home of writer J. P. Donleavy. The path descends near a hollow and on into a wooded area. Follow the path across two footbridges and then onto a tarmac lane. You will emerge into the beach car park. Turn right into the car park.

Stop for a look at the sea or to extend your walk along the coastal route; otherwise, take Sea Road back to Kilcoole.