Guide 3: Vartry Reservoir Trails, Co. Wicklow

Guide 3: Vartry Reservoir Trails, Co. Wicklow

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Location: Vartry Reservoir, Co. Wicklow, just below the Wicklow Mountains. View Map. The perfect break from fast-paced Dublin city life. 

History: Also known as Roundwood Reservoir, it was constructed in the mid-19th century as Dublin was growing in size. As a result, Dublin’s water quality improved drastically alongside reducing the prevalence of waterborne diseases, making a lasting impact on public health.

Get there: Approximately 30km south of Dublin, Vartry Reservoir is situated near Roundwood Village in County Wicklow. It's easily accessible by car or by public transport - buses run from Dublin to Roundwood, from where the reservoir is just a short walk away.

Directions by Car:
- From Dublin, take the N11 towards Wexford.
- Take exit 8 for Kilmacanogue and follow signs for Roundwood on the R755.
- In Roundwood, follow signs for Vartry Reservoir.
Public Transport:
- Take the bus 183 and 181 bus route into Roundwood. From there, it’s a short walk to the reservoir.


What to do: There are multiple walking and hiking trails spanning over 20km around the reservoir which differ in difficulty. There are 3 main loops which each offer different distances, gradients and views. The signposts at the start of the trails will help guide you. 

1: Woodland Trail:
This trail links the Upper and Lower Vartry Reservoirs.

  • Markings: Pink Arrow
  • Distance: 3.5km
  • Estimated Time: 45mins
  • Elevation: 20m

2: Upper Vartry Trail:
This trail follows the edge of the upper reservoir and has some steep incline sections. There are epic Sugarloaf and Djouce Mountains on this route.

  • Markings: Green Arrow
  • Distance: 6.5km
  • Estimated Time: 1.5hrs
  • Elevation: 20m

3: Lower Vartry Trail
This trail follows the lake path and country roads. When water level has fallen (more so in Summer months), the old bridge that used to cross the river is visible.

  • Markings: Blue Arrow
  • Distance: 7.9km
  • Estimated Time: 2hrs
  • Elevation: 30m

View more trail info here and here

Aside from walking, there is plenty of wildlife and it's a haven for bird watching. Deer, red squirrels and otters can also be known to make an appearance. 

And make sure you check out the Good Vibes Outside Vlog...

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