Wicklow farmer closes popular trail after being 'pinned to the ground' by walker

Pat Dunne said he was pushed and pinned to the ground by a man last Sunday
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

16.55 23 Mar 2023

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Wicklow farmer closes popular...

Wicklow farmer closes popular trail after being 'pinned to the ground' by walker

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

16.55 23 Mar 2023

Share this article

A landowner, who closed a popular walking trail in Co Wicklow after an alleged assault, said it was 'one of the hardest decisions' he ever made.

Farmer Pat Dunne owns the land along the Zig-Zags track in Glenmalure, Co Wicklow.

He decided to shut it down following an incident last Sunday.


The trail was opened back in 2007 as an agreed access route.

Mr Dunne told The Pat Kenny Show everything was going well until now.

"It was going from 2007 until now, and it was a very, very popular walking route," he said.

He said between 200 and 300 people would use the route "on a good weekend."

'The only rule'

Mr Dunne said as he grazes sheep and cattle, he enforces a rule around dogs.

"We insisted that people keep their dogs on leads and they said, 'Yes, we'll do that'" he said.

"We put a sign at the end of the trail to say that - but then that wasn't happening.

"People were bringing their dogs up".

No Dogs Sign on the Zig Zags trail in Co Wicklow No Dogs Sign on the Zig Zags trail in Co Wicklow. Picture via @MountainIrl on Twitter

He said then they decided to ban dogs from the trail altogether.

"We put a very blunt notice at the end of the walkway saying that - it's really in people's face, they couldn't miss it", he said.

"That was the only rule that we had".

He said some walkers were "disappointed" with the restriction, but "most people" understood and accepted it.

'Pleaded profusely'

Mr Dunne said last weekend, one walker simply ignored the rule.

"[My wife] Margaret was on the phone talking to our daughter Lisa, and she signalled to me that there was something going on outside", he explained

"I went out to see what was happening, and there was a man and a youth with him coming through with... three dogs.

"They were on leads - I went to the nearest point I could to him and I just shouted over that he couldn't bring the dogs up.

"He just shouted back, 'I'm going' and he kept going".

He said his wife then took a short-cut to meet the man.

"She pleaded profusely with him not to bring the dogs, " Mr Dunne said. "He just wouldn't listen, he brushed past".

'Pinned me to the ground'

Mr Dunne said he then met the man, and again restated the 'No Dogs' rule.

"He gave out a bit of guff for a while and I just stood in front of him," he said.

"The next thing he grabbed me, he pushed me on the ground and pinned me to the ground and held me.

"The young fella got further up the hill with the dogs.

"Then the two of them scarpered and on out the hill - that was the full story on it".

'One of the hardest decisions'

Mr Dunne said the decision to close the trail was a very difficult one.

"We decided enough was enough, we just couldn't have this going on all the time," he said.

"It's absolutely ridiculous.

"We were very reluctant, it was probably one of the hardest decisions we ever made to close it.

"We both have made great friends through hillwalkers - 98%, 99% are the most decent, upright people you'll come across".

On re-opening the trail, Mr Dunne said: "I never say never, but certainly it won't be in the immediate future".

Main image: Split-screen image shows farmer Pat Dunne and a 'No Dogs Allowed' sign on the trail. Picture by: YouTube/Farming for Nature/@MountainIrl on Twitter

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Co.Wicklow Glenmalure Pat Dunne The Pat Kenny Show Walking Trail Zig-Zag Walking Track Zig-Zags

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