Old Military Road, County Wicklow, Ireland
When it comes to great driving roads, you’ll be spoilt for choice in Ireland. We’ve previously explored routes along the majestic Wild Atlantic Way on the west coast, but the east is not short of beautifully twisting Tarmac either. In fact, our latest find is a direct offshoot from the M50, a busy motorway surrounding Dublin.
The R115, known as Old Military Road, winds south from Dublin’s doorstep, sprawling right through the heart of the Wicklow Mountains National Park. Old Military Road was one of the first purpose-built roads in Ireland, having been constructed by the British Army in the 19th century as a trunk road through County Wicklow (you’ll pass four former barracks from the road’s creators along the way).
Fear not, though: this isn’t some old dog that’s in our ‘great roads’ hall of fame merely for nostalgia. The R115’s pedigree is upheld for the purposes of the modern car thanks to its long-time use as a special stage on the Circuit of Ireland Rally, this route focusing on the Sally Gap area.
Exit the M50 at junction 12, before momentarily heading east along the residential Scholarstown road. The R115 appears nonchalantly on the right after the second roundabout – take it and you’ll be stepping into Narnia.
Be patient: the road stays flat for five minutes as it leaves its urban beginnings and hunts for the countryside. The fun really begins from Glencree – stunning scenery abounds for as far as the eye can see as Old Military Road shoots over the uninterrupted hills, with a variety of medium left-right turns punctuated by gradual changes in elevation.
The road is narrow in its entirety but don’t be put off. It’s possible to drive it quickly in a 911 and it’s very well sighted (a rarity for a mountain pass).
Granted, this isn’t a route for a GT3 or GT3 RS as the road surface can be jarring at times, but drivers of Turbos and Carreras both old or new will delight in joining the many corners together along this tight, technical stretch of Tarmac. South of Sally Gap (where the road intersects the R759) is our favourite part as the road becomes more sweeping, the surface smoother, and the topography spectacular.
Our road finishes at the intersection of the R755 near Laragh; head east to the coast, west towards Hollywood (no typo!) or south to the Vale of Clara. As we said, you’re spoilt for choice for great driving roads in Ireland!