The Waterfall walk starts from the Main car park and provides views over the dramatic Vartry River which has eked out the gorge since the retreat of the ice sheet at the end of the last Ice Age. The trail provides a moderate walk but there are steep sections. As you descend into the gorge there is ample opportunity to appreciate the steep sides of the a "young" (in geological terms) valley. As the trail eventually reaches the valley floor you will eventually come to a sharp bend where the Waterfall Walk doubles back on itself. A short diversion from the loop will bring you to the waterfall, The Devil's Punchball.
The waterfall is one of the main highlights of the walk. The waterfall marks the spot where the Vartry enters the Devil's Glen en route to the sea. Prior to the construction of the Vartry Reservoir (1860's) the roar from the waterfall was much greater than it is today. Its
echo through the gorge sounded as a "Satanic power announcing some great doom" and gave the glen its popular name. The waterfall and the site in general proved to be a major tourist attraction in Victorian times. The wet conditions close to the waterfall make it possible to see the Welsh poppy This is a rarity in Ireland. The walk with its moist conditions and clean air affords a good habitat for lichens a key indicator of the ecological health of this ecosystem. Having visited the waterfall retrace your steps to the sharp bend and continue along be the river side. You may see dippers mid stream as they search for aquatic insects. Looking up the sides of the valley you may also see the raven or even the peregrine falcon both of which nest on the cliffs of the glen. This section of the walk has ash and alder trees and mosses and liverworts on the ground near the track.
The walk gradually begins to veer away from the riverside and up the slope. Soon you will reach a junction. To complete the waterfall walk and continue back to the car park turn right on to a smaller footpath which will take you up through a series of hairpin bends to a small stand of conifers. As you leave the hairpin section, continue straight up the slope, ignoring the path leading off to the left. Soon you will come to a T-junction at a sculpture. Turn left here to return to the car park.
|Trail Name:||Waterfall Walk|
|Recreation Site:||The Devil's Glen [view site]|
|Trail Start Point:||Car Park|
|Degree of Difficulty:||Moderate View Trail Grade Definitions|
|Attributes:||Loop Trail (Returns to Starting Point)|
|Finish Point:||Car Park|
|Trail Way marking:||red|