How Come Hell’s Gate Is On The Mass Path…?

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How Come Hell’s Gate Is On The Mass Path…?

Mass Path Drummin Lane 14JULY16 16 (678x1024)
It’s a lane that I walked many, many times as a child, being only a scone’s throw from Blackberry Lane.

So, when I heard that this ancient mass path was being threatened, I had to head over to Drummin Lane and take a look.

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 mass path that cuts along 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.
Let's shimmy!

Let’s shimmy!

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.

We’ll keep you posted… 



  1. Clive Dalby says:

    Good article. We walked through here a few weeks ago, from Delgany to Kilcoole along the old Mass Path to see the 1916 renenactment there. All cross country paths and along boreens. It was great to see everybody there in Kilcoole “reclaiming” the main street from traffic for just one day.
    These rights of way are a great recreational amenity in the modern age, and they are a valued part of our heritage.

  2. Aodh O Corrain says:

    I was walking today from Delgany via Blind Lane/Blackberry Lane /Drummin Lane and on across a gate and along the edge of a tall,new perimeter fence to find my way on to the R774 and the Kilcoole Mass Path beyond blocked by an extension of the fence.Is this route not a right of way.I have been on it several times before.I was able to continue by squeezing around the side of the gate and found the rest of the path in great order.Strangely on the main road a wanking sign directs walkers straight into this locked gate.I’d love to find out what’s going on.
    P.S.If the above Clive is of East/West Mapping,may I congratulate and thank him for wonderful maps

  3. Barry Lewis says:

    Tried to walk this way today, coming from Kilcoole, and found the Mass Path still blocked. It is very disappointing. I was able to go on to Delgany by going east on the R774 and turning left into Bush Road. I do hope that this path is restored, as the rest of the walk is lovely.

  4. Maureen Crawford says:


    Walked along the Mass Track with a friend from Kilcoole to Delgany last Thursday 15th March 2018. There was no padlock on the pedestrian gate in the perimeter fence at Drummin Lane and we were able to continue the walk to Delgany. Hope this is a permanent arrangement by the landowner and the matter has been resolved regarding access to Drummin Lane. A lovely walk.

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