Current Threats

What we want to do here is outline all the Threats to the River.  These generally are caused by pipes filled with pollution or tributaries or streams entering the Vartry.  We want to identify and monitor all of these possible entries as well as general threats to the Environment surrounding the River.  This can be the drilling of wells (as in the Wicklow Water Scheme now available for objection at the Wicklow County Council offices), proposed development or construction in the area.  We will identify these with Threat status and Action Required.  Currently the River is monitored at only four location Roundwood Reservoir, Annagowlan Bridge above Devil’s Glen, Nun’s Cross Bridge and NewRath Bridge at Hunter’s Hotel.  These will be listed in the order of the river and if anyone has any tributaries or streams that enter the Vartry can they please identify them.

Ryan Development Nun’s 09500 Wicklow County Council CrossProposed Surface Water DischargeThreat = Serious Action = Required

Michael Ryan has put in an application for 71 dwellings behind the Nun’s Cross Church which has a plan to cut through the Protected Structure of the Nun’s Cross Bridge with a Surface Water Sewer pipe which will discharge into the River just below the Bridge. Both the damage that will be caused to the Bridge and the fish are causes for concern. This water will contain pollutants from the pavements and the houses in the development. The pipe is to be drilled through the 1730’s arch of the bridge and will spill water onto the foundations of the Bridge. We urge you to put an objection into the Wicklow County Council before the 3rd of June at a cost of 20.00 Euro. If the cost of an objection is an issue, please contact admin(at) (remember to use the @ sign not as shown).

Devil’s GlenSmall TributaryThreat = Serious  Action = Required

The permission for Construction of Gallops at the Devil’s Glen Equestrian Centre Planning Reference 08/2131 has been denied by the Wicklow County Council.  This was a good decision by the Wicklow County Council and was mostly based on the obstruction of the Right of Way of the neighbours, sewer arrangements being a health risk, traffic risk, and removal of protected hedgerow and stone walling. However, the applicant has decided to Appeal this to An Bord Pleanála. Any of the original Objectors to this MUST put in an objection to An Bord Pleanála under reference 233236, which is free. As well any other neighbours or concerned people can write to An Bord Pleanála objecting in support of one of the Objectors. If you need assistance, please email admin(at) (remember to use the @ sign not as shown).

Remember that even though Wicklow County Council wishes to protect the Hedgerow, the diversion of the tributary to the River Vartry and the felling of trees has already been done.  The ongoing construction there causes excessive silt to be returned down the tributary and flows immediately on the Salmon beds in their most sensitive time, hatching.  None of this should have been allowed without an EIA to assess the damage to the Environment, but the way things are it is difficult to do more. 

Devil’s GlenSewer Overflow Pipe – Threat = Extremely Serious  Action = Required

It is rumoured that one source of pollution is an overflow pipe from the Equestrian Centre’s Sewer Treatment Works.  It seems that periodically this pipe dumps raw sewerage directly into the river just above the Salmon Spawning Beds.  It endangers all of the river and has not been stopped even though we understand that it has been identified by both the Wicklow County Council and the Eastern Region Fisheries Board as one of the most serious problems on the river.  At the moment you can write to Wicklow County Council or the Fisheries Board insisting on action.  The pipe outlet has been locatated and we are now monitoring the spills and with positive proof will hopefully be able to make a more concentrated effort to stop this.

Nun’s Cross BridgeProtected StructureThreat = Minor Action = Possible
The Nun’s Cross Bridge was built around 1700 and is a Protected Structure however the Wicklow County Council has to officially recognize the structure and send the information on the Government. They have not done this as yet. They could be “encouraged” to complete this as we have been told they will before the election.

Monduff TributarySmall TributaryThreat = Not Active Action = None
There is a small tributary to the Vartry that joins below Nun’s Cross Bridge at the turn to Ashford down below Bramble Glade Estates. This tributary occasionally adds foam and pollutants to the River. These could be caused by Slurry being spread or Slurry tanks being flushed into the tributary. It is important to prevent this water from getting into the River. Currently there has not been any pollution for some time, so this may be solved but will be monitored.

Ashford Treatment WorksSewer Treatment Works for the areaThreat = Extremely Serious Action = Required
There is a Sewer Treatment Works that is just past Mount Usher Gardens and often has a spillage into the River. This is outdated, in need of repair and the Wicklow County Council has admitted that it is running well over capacity. They have put all planning permission on hold that requires mains sewers until this has been changed to a pumping station sending everything to the new proposed Treatment Works on the Murrough in Wicklow. The pipework has been made part of the way there already but unfortunately Finances will likely put this development way off into the future. This will continue to be a serious threat to the River from Mount Usher downwards. The Annagowlan Bridge water quality measurements always show good water while the water at Newrath Bridge is poor. This is due to the combined pollution of Devil’s Glen and the Ashford Treatment Works. Until monitoring is done at Nun’s Cross Bridge it is unable to say which pollution is greater and what is the magnitude of each. It is hard to say what action can be done in light of the difficult financial situation.