The Old Military Road through the Wicklow mountains of Ireland

The Old Military Road (R115) through the scenic Wicklow mountains, is a very picturesque drive straddling Dublin and Wicklow counties in Ireland. It was one of the first purpose-built roads of the country.

Old Military Road - R115

How long is the old military road?

The road, also known as An Bóthar Míleata, is totally paved. It’s 38.6 km (23,98 miles) long, running north-south from Rathfarnham (Ráth Fearnáin), a southside suburb of Dublin to Laragh, a small village in County Wicklow.

When was the old military road built?

The road was constructed between 12 August 1800 and October 1809. It was built mainly by soldiers and you’ll pass four former barracks from the road’s creators along the way.

Is the old military road challenging?

This scenic route through the centre of the mountains is narrow in its entirety, windy and at times quite bumpy. The bogs cause the road to sag and the condition eliminates most of the flat road and leaves you feeling like you are on the tail end of a roller coaster ride. There's only a couple of places where the edge of the road is a cliff, but not too bad of one. You must drive with caution. In many places it is difficult to see very far because of the curves. It has been used in the Circuit of Ireland car rally.

How long does it take to drive the old military road?

Located within the Wicklow Mountains National Park, to drive the road without stopping will take most people between 1 and 1.5 hours. It’s a stunningly beautiful place in all weather. The views from the road are outstanding. It is also a scenic route for visitors. The terrain is rugged, and even in the middle of summer, you'll be blasted with vicious crosswinds the whole time you're on it.

Is the old military road open?

Running across the spine of the Wicklow Mountains, the road climbs up to Sally Gap, a mountain pass at an elevation of 500m (1,640ft) above sea level. Often during the winter there are road closures due to snow and ice. Occasionally there are difficulties due to flooding or fallen trees. When the rain comes down, the land that the road runs through turns into bogs and marshes. Sometimes, that causes the road to sink completely.