ByRoute 2.1 Co. Wicklow & Co. Wexford

These pages describe ByRoute 2 between Kilmacanogue or Enniskerry on the southern outskirts of DUBLIN and New Ross & Rosbercon.

The Rocky Valley, long reputed to be an IRA training area, is an atmospheric gorge presenting a steep slope for those who like a challenge on the way to the top of the Great Sugarloaf.

The Great Sugarloaf / Great Sugar Loaf (Ó Cualann, formerly Beannach Mhór) (501m / 1644ft), aka the Big Sugarloaf or simply the Sugarloaf, is an erosion-resistant metamorphosed sedimentary deposit from the deep sea, composed of Cambrian quartzite, dominating the landscape of Northeastern County Wicklow (not to be confused with the Sugar Loaf in the rounded   Wicklow Mountains to the west, which are made of Devonian granite). Much higher in appearance than reality due to its isolation, steep slopes and volcano-like aspect, the hill qualifies as a “Marilyn” and  is popular with serious mountain / rock climbers as well as weekend hill walkers of all ages. On clear days, the summit commands views of Snowdonia in Wales. A video of the short but interesting ascent from Calary can be viewed here.

Calary & Carrigower (Co. Wicklow / Northeast)

Calary Bog is a good introduction to Irish blanket bogs, and provides easy access to the Great Sugarloaf.

Calary church

Calary church (CoI), built in 1834, hosts an annual festival of classical music, and occasional concerts throughout the year. It can seat just over 100 people, and has excellent acoustics.

The parish once had as its curate the Anglo-Irish evangelist John Nelson Darby (1800-1882), who went on to become one of the principal founders of the Plymouth Brethren. He is considered the father of Dispensationalism, at the forefront of Christian Zionism, and the “rapture” theory wherein Christ will snatch away his true believers from this world without warning. These notions are unfortunately still held by some mad American fundamentalists, and even used to justify certain “neocon” policies in the Middle East.

Carriggower Bog, south of the Great Sugarloaf, is a notable site for wintering Snipe.

Calary and Carrigower are within easy reach of Roundwood on ByRoute 3.

Altidore Castle


Altidore Castle, once described as a “Georgian toy fort“, looks out from an elevated position over woods across the coastal plain to the Irish Sea. The interior has good early C18th  joinery and a panelled dining room with plaster plaques. The large garden centres on a pair of canals from the early C18th century pleasure grounds. (Photo by Karen Duell)


Altidore was built near the ruins of a medieval O’Toole stronghold castle c.1730 as a residence for General Thomas Pearce, uncle of the Surveyor General Sir Edward Lovett Pearce, who was responsible for some of Ireland’s finest early Palladian buildings,  and may well have designed the castle. It is clearly in the same vein as the early C18th ‘sham’ forts designed by Pearce and his cousin, the English playwright turned architect Sir John Vanbrugh.


Altidore was enlarged and modified for a subsequent owner, Major Henry Brownrigg, and by 1773 was owned by Rev William Blachford, Librarian of Marsh’s Library in Dublin and father of the early Romantic poetess Mary Blachford Tighe,  who lived at Altadore as a child. Subsequently her brother, the noted agriculturalist John Blatchford, lived here with his wife Mary Anne, the daughter of Henry Grattan, the famous Parliamentarian who lived nearby at Tinnehinch House.


From 1834 to 1918  the estate belonged to the Dopping-Hepenstal family, extensive landowners in County Wicklow, who leased it for long periods, on one occasion for use as a TB sanatorium. Having passed through the clutches of  two different banks, the property was acquired in 1945  from Percy Burton, an eccentric bachelor who had allowed it to become very dilapidated, by James Albert Garland Emmet, a direct descendant of  the Thomas Addis Emmet, elder brother of the executed 1803 Uprising leader Robert Emmet.


Arrested as a United Irishman for his role in the 1798 Rebellion, Thomas was released in 1802 on condition that he never again return to Ireland. He first moved to France but left for New York in 1804. The family remained in America for many years, and did not return to live in Ireland until 1927.  James’ grandson Philip and his wife have run the estate as an organic farm for some 20 years.


A small Museum housing historic Emmet papers, portraits and possessions is on view by appointment, and the beautiful gardens are open to the public in Febuary, May and June.

Kilpedder (Co. Wicklow / East)

Kilpedder / Kilpeddar (Cíll Pheadair – “Peter’s church”) (pop. 1300), formerly a sleepy rural village, has grown rapidly in recent years into a commuter satellites of DUBLIN. (Photo by Sarah777)

Kilpedder was the location of a Presbyterian mission hall in the mid-C19th, established primarily for the benefit of Scottish settlers who arrived in search of work towards the end of the Great Famine.

The Army has a rifle range in the area.

Kilpeddar is connected by a pedestrian bridge over the N11 to Kilquade on ByRoute 1.

Glendarragh is the pretty valley location of Glendarragh Studios, purpose built to provide work space for resident and visiting professional artists in various media, and Glendarragh Pottery.


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