‘Rules’ of the Way: Walking Your Dog in the Wicklow Mountains

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With over 20,000 hectares of spectacular upland  scenery, The Wicklow Mountains National Park offers walkers a real sense of being in the wilderness. The National Park offers an open access policy allowing visitors to explore freely on foot. Which means it’s important for dog owners to act responsibly.

If you plan on taking your dog with you, it’s important to bear in mind the following four points when visiting the National Park.

  1. Is Your Dog Under Control?

Always carry a lead when walking with your dog in the National Park. The National Park is full of deer. Few dogs can resist the temptation to chase animals. Never let your dog out of your sight. Stressed farm animals can die. Be warned: Farmers in Ireland are entitled to shoot dogs that worry their livestock.

  1. Not Everyone Likes Dogs

Some people may be scared of dogs, especially children. Even the friendliest dog may worry small children. Few people appreciate being sniffed, jumped on or sprayed by water when a dog shakes itself. Be prepared to slip a lead on your dog when people approach.

  1. Beware of Cliffs!

Dogs are not equipped for steep ground. Unlike the mountain goats you may see in the National Park, dogs are not adept at leaping from rock to rock. Don’t let your dog chase deer or goat. It could lead your dog to a cliff fall. Be warned: Mountain Rescue only rescue humans, not dogs!

  1. Pick Up After Your Dog

Our dog’s are fed high quality food, which means the nutrients they bring can be detrimental to the habitat of the National Park. A deer eats heather, poops heather, feeds heather, etc. Visiting dogs can introduce pathogens in their faeces that can affect wildlife. Always carry a plastic bag or poop scoop and pick up after your dog.

You can read more about taking your dog for a walk in the Wicklow Mountains National Park here.

Useful links:

The Wicklow Way

Overview of the Wicklow Way Trail 

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