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It was a day we celebrated JC's birthday at Clara Lara and on our way back home we decided to pass along the Wicklow mountains. We were impressed by the beauty of the mountains, so we decided to stop the nearest parking area  and it happens to be the Miner's Way. 

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The Wicklow Mountains form the largest continuous upland area in the Republic of Ireland. They occupy the whole centre of County Wicklow and stretch outside its borders into the counties of DublinWexford and Carlow.* 

The Miners’ Way is a way-marked trail launched on 7th June 2019, The trail encompasses three valleys; starting at Glendasan, continuing to the Glendalough and  finishes at Glenmalure. It is approximately 19km in length and takes in the remains of old mine workings, processing plants and touches upon the rich mining heritage of the area. 

The earliest documented lead mine in operation in Co. Wicklow was at Ballinafunshoge in Glenmalure. It was discovered in 1726 and mining work began as early as 1783. Mining in the other valleys dates back to the turn of the nineteenth century when the Government commissioned a survey of gold in County Wicklow not long after the 1798 rebellion. **

Over the years lots of things happened, men who worked in the mine before had describe the poor working condition and a constant sense of danger. Further incidental details expose the abysmal standards of health and safety. The only protective clothing provided was a helmet. When it rained the men had lunch in the gelignite shed. After a day underground, they would hang their soaked clothes in the same shed. The next morning the white mud would have set like cement. 

When the last of the mines closed in June 1957, five months after the fatal explosion, local mining families and the wider community grieved the loss of employment as well as a traditional way of life and a unique connection with the mountains. ***

Now, the Wicklow mountains began to attract tourists and admire the mountain scenery. It continued to be a major attraction for tourism and recreation. The entire upland area is designated as a Special Area of Conservation and as a Special Protection Area under European Union law. The Wicklow Mountains National Park was established in 1991 to conserve the local biodiversity and landscape. ****

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