With the Sunday sun making everything look that little bit more Kodachrome, it was a perfect day for a hike through Djouce Woods up in the Wicklow Mountains.
There are two car parks to choose from, but, as we drove up from Kilmacanogue, neither one seemed to be open today – so, we just parked out on the road, as a thousand and one cyclists swished by.
Heading straight down to that big central dry riverbed (once home to a series of ponds), at the foot of the small hill entrance there’s a farmyard welcome, with geese, chickens and sheep giving you the once-over before you head on your merry way.
Today, that merry way was largely dictated by a determined and stubborn-headed daughter who, of course, knew best. Even when the main pathway to the left of the riverbed, heading north, suddenly came to a dead-end. Trekking on, you’re soon following what appear to be little more than bike tracks.
Which may explain why it was so easy to get lost in Djouce Woods. I’m not sure we spotted one sign on our entire trek, but, hey, when mistakes lead you to the Powerscourt Waterfall, it’s hard to feel anything but joy. And following the Dargle River back up into Djouce was an easy to way to get back to where we started from.
So, you know, hurrahs all round.
Once part of the Powerscourt Estate, the likes of Lady’s Drive and Earls Drive have now become pathways and faded roads through the woods, leading you down to the now-dry Paddock Ponds. The remains of a boat house built into the bank of the ponds is still visible.
If you’re willing to climb high enough – and it’s worth noting, there are quite a few obstacles here, such as fallen trees and flooded paths – you’ll get views of the Sugar Loaf, Killiney Hill, Dublin Bay, War Hill, White Hill, Maulin, the Glensoulan valley and, of course, the 725m-high Djouce Mountain. The real kick though is the woods itself. And the Powerscourt freebie.
For a Coillte crib, Djouce feels somewhat wild and unfettered. Which may explain the total lack of signposts, of course.
We’ve featured the highlights of the day here. You can catch the full gallery right over there. For contrast, we start today’s pic with a 1875 shot of Powerscourt Waterfall during a snowfall…