The Wicklow Mountains cover an area of over 500 km2, making it the largest massif in Ireland. The mountains are made up of a range of granite and quartzite hills that have been eroded by glaciers into the beautiful rolling landscape we see today. The northern end of the range extends all the way to south county Dublin where they are sometimes called the Dublin mountains. It is easily accessed from Dublin city via the N11/M11 heading south, making the area the perfect playground for Dublin outdoor enthusiasts. There are excellent areas for rock-climbing, bouldering, mountain biking, kayaking, mountaineering and hill walking. If we get an extremely cold winter it is even possible to do a bit of ice climbing (if you’re lucky!!).
The hard granite bedrock underlying much of the Wicklow mountains was emplaced at the time of the closure of the Iapetus Ocean 350 million years ago and the region was uplifted soon after with the collision of the two continents of Laurentia and the Eurasian plate – once reaching alpine elevations. The millions of years of erosion that followed, including two Ice Ages, have gradually worn down the once towering mountains to their current levels. Due to its massive, hard nature granite tends to weather evenly resulting in the rounded hill tops typified by Lugnaquilla – Wicklows highest mountain (925 m). Other areas underlain by different bedrock types have resulted in different landforms. The iconic Sugarloaf and Little Sugarloaf mountains are made of quartzite and the conical shape results from the properties of this rock type. The term sugarloaf comes from the now obsolete practice of trading in sugar, whereby it was formed into a conical shape during processing and sold as a “loaf”. The white quartzite glistening in the sunshine added to the illusion of the mountains being great big massive mounds of sugar.
Wicklow Mountains Map
Terraform are currently developing a new 3D relief map of the Wicklow mountains. We have 3D-printed the mould which you can see in the images below and hope to have it available to buy very soon.