We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

File image: General towards Slievemaan from Lugnaquilla.Gareth McCormack / Alamy Stock Photo. Alamy Stock Photo

Gardaí investigating alleged attack on landowner on popular Lugnaquilla hiking trail

The popular trail has been closed to the public after the landowner was allegedly assaulted by a hiker.

A POPULAR HIKING trail on Lugnaquilla, Co Wicklow, has been closed to the public after the landowner was allegedly assaulted on the route. 

Sheep farmer Pat Dunne was allegedly attacked last Sunday after telling a man he could not bring his dogs onto the land, and has withdrawn permission for the trail to be used by the public. 

Dunne, a sheep farmer, had allowed the public to use his land as a hiking trail around Lugnaquilla for almost two decades.

The alleged attack has been condemned by Mountaineering Ireland, the governing body for hiking in Ireland, and by the Irish Farmers’ Association. 

Gardaí told The Journal, they are “making enquiries into an alleged assault which occurred at Glenmalure, Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow, on Sunday morning, 19 March 2023.”

No arrests have been made in connection with the case. 

The Glenmalure Zig Zag walking trail provided access from the base of Carrawaystick Waterfall towards Lugnaquilla – the highest peak in Leinster. 

According to Mountaineering Ireland the route was an ‘Agreed Access Route’ and was facilitated through a formal Permissive Access Agreement between the landowner and County Wicklow Partnership. It has been in operation since 2007. 

“Pat was one of the first landowners in the country to permit an agreed access route across his lands and is widely respected among the recreational community for his efforts,” Mountaineering Ireland said in a statement on its website.

A statement from Pat Dunne, also published on the Mountaineering Ireland site, said he and his family had decided to “revoke the permissive access agreement and close the trail to the public with immediate effect”.

“The track and open mountain lands immediately above are private property. The only request in return for open access to our land was that NO DOGS were brought onto the mountain due to the disturbance they can cause to livestock.

“It is not an unreasonable request as we have had many instances of sheep being mauled by dogs on the mountain.

“However, over the years we have had many instances of verbal abuse with people as they ignored signage asking that dogs were not brought onto our lands.

“In one case this even resulted in a threat that our house ‘would be burnt down’.

The final straw came on Sunday, Dunne said, “when after repeatedly asking a man and a youth accompanying him to not bring their three dogs onto the track, he physically assaulted me, knocking me to the ground, before continuing up the mountain with the dogs”.

Commenting on the closure Aaron Byrne, Rural Recreation Officer with County Wicklow Partnership, said the partnership “completely support the Dunne family in their decision”.

Mountaineering Ireland said the situation “illustrates how the poor behaviour of one individual can result in a loss of access that affects the wider recreation community”.

The Irish Farmers’ Association President Tim Cullinan said in a statement about the closure, that “nobody can blame” Dunne for closing his land “when he’s subject to this kind of behaviour”.

“While it was an isolated incident, it does nothing to further co-operation between landowners and recreational users,” Cullinan added.

The IFA warned in its statement that dogs should not be allowed in or near farmland and urged all dog owners to “behave in a responsible way” and adhere to this.


Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel