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Pass to Glenmalure and the Asbawn

Pass to Glenmalure and the Asbawn

Glanreemore and Glanreebeg are part of an old journey to Glenmalure from the Kings River valley. Nowadays people would drive around via Laragh but the natural route taken on foot, used by previous carless generations is via the Glenreebeg valley. This leads to the gap where the Three Lakes lie and thence to Kamenabologue aka the Table Track.

William Kavanagh of Lockstown described the route to Liam Price in 1931, when he said ‘the path to Glenmalure goes up from the Pass Rocks by the Asbawn Brook, on which there is a waterfall and then onto the west side of Three Lakes’. Now Price didn’t investigate much further and drew some erroneous conclusions as a result, but as always it pays to look at things on the ground. The route can still be followed and has some fine aspects.

Coming from the west, follow St.Kevin’s Way up the valley into Knocknadroose. The tarred road ends and you continue on a forest track. Reach some ruins – families called Maguires and Murphys once lived here. Cross the footbridge or ford and turn right to follow the east bank of the Glenree Brook uphill. There is a clear passage through the forest and a rough path.

Emerge from the forest and reach the confluence of the Glanreemore and Glanreebeg Brooks after a short distance. Cross over now and follow the Glanreebeg Brook pleasantly uphill past some small waterfalls. After a kilometre and some, you’ll reach the junction of the Asbawn and Askinabawn Brooks, pictured here. Both routes lead to the Three Lakes but the Askinabawn comes from the Gaeilge meaning roughly ‘the bog stream of the pale bog’ and that route is just that, soft and wet underfoot.

Instead keep to the left branch, the Asbawn or Lough Brook. Looking up you’ll see a band of schisty rocks – these are the Pass Rocks, the rocks that lead to the pass. The route along the Asbawn Brook is gentle enough at first but soon steepens up a grassy slope – a short steep pull but dry underfoot and easy going. Now Asbawn in Gaeilge is Eas Bán – the white waterfall and you immediately see why. There are three small falls but the biggest just at the edge of the Pass Rocks is about 10 metres in height and must be one of the finest of the lesser known falls in Wicklow. After rain, this brook is a foaming white torrent, hence the name.

The ‘path’ now continues up what is also called the Lough Brook to the Three Lakes and thence on and across to the ancient Kamenabologue aka Table Track and down to Glenmalure.