Trail Length

14.91 km

Trail Difficulty

Hard

Trail Type

Not looped

Walk Description

To get to Ballinteer you can use the 16 bus (terminates at Kingston and leaves you closest to the walk), the 14 (an extra 5 minutes to walk to Kingston) or get the 75 from Tallaght/Dun laoghaire. The luas from Dublin to Ballaly station is an option but it adds 15 minutes to the walk. Car parking at the Church or in the surrounding housing estates.
From Kingston, head up onto the grange road and then left up the twisting and steep Kellystown road. At the T junction, note the Coillte sign across the road – you can access the woods from here – head uphill and join the road. Follow the trail around the east side of the three rock, past the old quarry (now hosting a small collection of aerials – like a miniature version of the three rock summit). Up until a few years ago there were still old quarry machines lying around as well as some rails which I assume they used to transport stone down to Barnacullia. Now heading south, you will eventually come down onto the tarmac road near the pitch-and-putt course at Glencullen (suggest a detour to view the remains of a passage grave nearby first). You are now on tarmac roads for the next while – head south through Glencullen. The road starts to drop down eventually getting very steep and twisty before crossing a bridge and heading back up again. Near the top of the rise you will notice a line of trees starting on the left of the road – this is the start of Knocksink woods. Right at the beginning of these trees there should be a gap through which you can enter (there is an old stile covered in foliage here, noticeable only when you are in the trees). An obvious trail heads down through the thick conifer woods. It’s worth noting at this point that this section of the walk can be a bit dangerous – the trail is very soft, crumbly and slippery and there is a very steep slope down into the river below with plenty of tree branches to impale oneself on. Beware trying to halt any falls or slides by grabbing a tree branch as most of the wood here appears to be rotten and crumbles in your hand. Also the last few years have been very wet which has not helped the going underfoot and have resulted in many small landslides and tree collapses. Crampons and a machete might be a consideration here! The trail can become indistinct at certain points but always try to keep the river in hearing at least and be very careful. After a while it levels out and you may notice orienteering white paint marks which will help you on your way. Soon enough you are in the reserve proper with proper gravel paths and the like – feels like civilization after the jungle and mountain experience just encountered. Walk through the reserve and it is a short stroll down into Enniskerry village. You can get the 44 bus back into Dublin – if you are going back to Ballinteer then get off at Ballawley park for a pleasant stroll through an attractive little park back to Ballinteer Avenue.
Total time is about 4-5 hours depending on difficulties encountered at Knocksink. I’ve rated this walk as hard due to the very difficult terrain in upper knocksink woods and the possible dangers as a result.
Update – 2017: I believe there is now a walking trail through the old golf course at Glencullen (part of the huge investment in biking trials in the area). If true, this will let the walker avoid a long stretch on the road to Glencullen. I will re-walk this trail over the next two months and update the walk description accordingly.

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