Mass paths are old pedestrian tracks or roads connecting rural communities, with the destiny, in centuries of old, being Sunday mass. There are a few around Wicklow, of course, with Kilcoole’s The Pure Mile leading from Forresters Hall to Kilquade Church. This particular walk existed before a church was ever built in Kilcoole.
The mass path that looks under threat though continues on from Drummin Lane (a slip road right at the point where the old Delgany road leading to the Willow Grove is interrupted by the N11), across the new Charlesland road, and on towards Kilcoole.
Only, right now, it doesn’t. Because someone has padlocked the pedestrian gate along the way.
Land has changed hands on this old dirt track for big, big money during the boom, and right now, the new owners of this particular corner obviously have new plans for the right-of-way that cuts around the edge of their plot.
It was weird, seeing the road itself blocked by a padlock gate further back. Seeing the mass path itself padlocked too was a real disappointment.
This evening, we joined some concerned locals – including Eithne Dalby, Lalli de Buitléar and Grainne McLoughlin – as they took a closer look. Thanks to all these padlocked gates, the only way to continue the mass path as it stands right now is to shimmy underneath one of the towering metal gates (Planning is looking into those) before making your way down that loud and busy Charlesland road, where you can join the right-of-way again further on.
It’s far from ideal. Or pretty. Or right.
Perhaps it’s all just a misunderstanding. Then again, this sort of nonsense has happened more than once before on Drummin Lane. And each time, the law won.
With a letter sent to the current owner of the land connected to the padlocked stretch of mass path, there’s hope that common sense, and that long arm, will prevail.