The Wicklow Mountains.

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The Wicklow Mountains.

The Wicklow Mountains are situated on the east coast of Ireland, south of Dublin, they dominate the landscape of County Wicklow and forming part of the Leinster chain. The range forms a spine running from north to south of the county and can be crossed at only two points.

The range is mainly composed of granite, with some slate and sandstone. The majority of its peaks are over 600 m (2,000 ft) high and form smooth, round summits. The highest mountain, however, is Lugnaquillia, at 926 m (3,039 ft) and is composed of sharp, hard rocks. The pointed summit of the Great Sugarloaf Mountain is a prominent landmark in the north east of the County, standing at 342 m (1,123 ft). The landscape features rivers, waterfalls, lakes, valleys, and gorges. The peaks are mainly granite with a peaty soil overlay, in some parts they are covered with expanses of forest and heather. In the heart of the mountains is the monastic community of Glendalough, founded in the 6th century by St Kevin.

The mountains have been used as a base by the local Irish clans to raid the English controlled pale around Dublin. The English seized control of the area only in the 17th century. After the 1798 Rebellion they built a military road along the length of the range, which runs at about 300 m (1,000 ft) above sea level for over 32 km (20 mi). Today over 50 per cent of the highlands are used as pasture for sheep and cattle, some crops are grown in the area mainly oats and potatoes.

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