The fairy Castle Loop is a 6 km moderate Hike that will take you from the Ticknock forest to he top of Three Rock mountain and then to the summit of the Two Rock Mountain (536 m, 1,740 feet). This is a well signed hike (follow the green signs) ideal for families looking for adventure!
Two Rock Mountain has a pre-historic cairn, a collapsed passage tomb, known as “Fairy Castle” marking it’s summit which is the highest point of the Dublin Mountains.
The views from up there are absolutely spectacular: The full 360-degree panoramic view includes Dublin City, Dublin Bay, Mullacleevaun, Tonlegee, the Sugarloaf , Cooleys and Mournes mountains.
The start of the trail, Ticknock forest, is located just 15 km south of Dublin City Center which makes this hike the perfect Sunday family hike. The Fairy Castle Loop hike takes approximately 1.5 hours to complete.
If you don’t want to do the full 6 km loop, you could simply walk up to the three Rock summit. This portion of the walk is on tarmac road and suitable for buggies or prams and is around 3 km long. The views from Three Rock summit is equally impressive and well worth the effort.
Explore the full Fairy Castle Loop Hike profile below for trail map, Driving directions, and more tips and details to help you enjoy this adventure just 30 min away from Dublin City Center..
And don’t forget to leave your own review of this walk right at the end of this post!
The Fairy Castle Loop Hike Snapshot
Direction and trailhead: The Fairy Castle Loop Hike
From the city centre, head for the direction of Sandyford and Marlay Park via Rathfarnham. Passing the main entrance to the Park on your right, turn right at Ballinteer St.Johns Clubhouse and, following the road around the edge of the Park, turn left at the Taylor’s Grange junction onto the R113. Take the second turn on the right (right after you cross the M50 bridge) and this steep uphill road will bring you to the entrance to Ticknock forest 1.5 km on your left.
If you come from the M50 motorway, take the Sandyford\Dundrum exit 13. At the roundabout, take to first exit onto Brehon Field Rd/R133. drive for 1 km and take a left at the traffic lights at the Johns GAA Clubhouse. Like above, follow the road along Marley Park for 600 m and then turn left again at the Taylor’s grange junction. Take the second turn on the right (right after you cross the M50 bridge) and this will bring you to the entrance to Ticknock forest.
Once you enter Ticknock forest, drive past the Mountain Bike place, and drive uphill for a little while until you reach the Ticknock forest car park and the start of the trail.
Find google Direction to Ticknock car park here
Ticknock hike: The Fairy Castle loop
Going to the top of Three Rock moutain
Starting at the Ticknock car park, pass on the barrier and follow the trail that enter the forest and follow the tarmac road (and the green way marked trail) uphill for 1.4 km until you reach the top of Three Rock. This is where are located huge television, radio, mobile phone and emergency service communication masts.
Those huge television transmitters were built in 1978 by RTÉ in order to introduce their new channel RTE2 and improve the overall television reception in the area.
The Three Rock mountain is 444m high and takes its name from the three groups of granite rocks at the summit. Take a moment here to admire the spectacular view you have over Dublin City, Dublin Bay, Bray Head and Wicklow Mountains.
This first stretch of the hike up to the top of Three Rock is a buggy friendly walk.The main forest road is easily accessible for children and people with lower level of fitness. You can easily reach this part and spend some time exploring and see the three huge granite rocks that give the name to this mountain.
Going to the top of Two rock mountain: Fairy castle
The next part of the walk will lead you to the summit of Two rock mountain where you will find a cairn known as Fairy Castle that sits atop a large megalithic tomb.
Once you reach the top of Three Rock mountain, turn right and follow the trail that runs uphill along the edge of the forest. After 600 m , the trail will open up and run up for another 400 m to reach the summit of Two Rock.
There you will find a trig point and the cairn know as Fairy Castle. The mountain takes its name from the two granite tors that lie to the south-east of the summit. It dates to the Bronze Age between c.2000BC-2500BC and is the easternmost in a series of such tombs that stretch across the Wicklow Mountains.
Did you Know?
Fairy Castle is a megalithic collapsed passage tomb that has never been opened before. The structure is 82 feet (25 m) in circumference and the mound is 7 feet (2m ) high made up of granite and quartz blocks.The cairn has shrunk over the centuries through subsidence and erosion. There are many other prehistoric monuments on all sides of this moutain. There is a burial cairn on Tibradden, a wedge tomb at Kilmashogue, and another at Ballyedmonduff ,on the south eastern slope of Two Rock.
The views from there are even more impressive than from the Three Rock mountain. You literally have a 360 degree panoramic view which comprise Mullacleevaun, Tonlegee, the Sugarloaf , Cooleys and Mournes and also views of Dublin City and the East Coast.
From here, follow the trail that goes gently down South West (to the right when coming up to Fairy Castle) for about 600 metres before coming to a junction. Take the route to the right and walk for 1 km with the view of the City in front of you. This will bring you to the main Coilte road. There, take a right again and walk on the main Coilte gravel road for approximately 500 m. Take the trail that veers on the left (still following the signs for the green way-marked trail). Keep going down that trail for another 1 km to the start of the hike.
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I have done this hike many times, can't get enough of it! It is short enough, yet when you are at the top of Two Rock, it feels like you are miles away from everything. Would recommend this hile to everyone.