Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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The heart of the Glendalough Valley
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Highlights

  • Walk the best sections of Ireland’s oldest waymarked trail, The Wicklow Way
  • Embrace the history, culture and charm of Dublin with a privately guided tour
  • Soak in the views over Lough Tay, one of the most photographed spots in Ireland
  • Stay in superb hotels in the heart of the Wicklow countryside & Dublin
  • Sip a pint of the “black stuff” whilst listening to traditional music in a local pub

Walk the best sections of the Wicklow Way and enjoy 2 nights in Dublin on this self-guided discovery tour. Stay in outstanding hotels both in the city and deep in the Wicklow countryside, part of Ireland’s “Ancient East”.

This is the Emerald Isle’s oldest waymarked trail and there are a multitude of picture-perfect views offering special photographic moments; over brooding Lough Tay and the surrounding mountains, to Dublin when passing Prince William’s Seat, and over the Enniskerry Hills from the Powerscourt Estate.

A private guided tour of Dublin shows you the wonders of this intriguing city. See some “hidden gems” but also the major sights such as Trinity College and Christchurch Cathedral. Another highlight is your exploration of the 6th century monastic ruins of Glendalough, set in the heart of the Wicklow countryside with its picturesque lakes and mountains.

Day 1: Arrive Dublin and overnight

Begin your Irish adventure in Dublin, Ireland’s beguiling capital city and an essential part of any visit to the Emerald Isle. From the never-changing traditional pubs to the gorgeous 18th century Georgian architecture, to its strong literary culture and interesting museums, such as the Emigration Museum, Dublin has it all.


Settle into your welcoming hand-selected hotel, located in the town centre, and then begin to explore. Tonight find a lively pub in the Temple Bar area, known as Dublin’s “left bank” in which live Irish music may be heard.


Overnight: Dublin


Day 2: Private Guided Walking Tour of Dublin. Free time to explore

Start your Dublin and the Wicklow Way trip with a 2H30 privately guided walking tour. See the highlights of the city, such as Trinity College, Dublin Castle and Christchurch Cathedral. Also included are some hidden gems that you would never find if you were exploring alone; a church that is not a church, an entertaining representation of a Da Vinci painting and the story of a mail-box that symbolizes Ireland’s road to independence.


This afternoon there is more time for sightseeing. If you have Irish roots (and even if you don’t!) perhaps you would like to visit The Irish Emigration Museum (EPIC). Centrally located in Dublin’s Dockland’s area discover why 10 million people left their homeland and how they influenced the rest of the world with music, literature, science and technology, art, sport, dance and politics.


Walk: 2.5H


Overnight: Dublin


Day 3: Transfer to Kilmashogue Forest, walk to Enniskerry

This morning after a hearty breakfast, a transfer (40 mins) brings you to Kilmashogue Forest, where you begin today’s walk.


Hike through the forest and then out to the open hillsides of the mountains and glens south of Dublin. Throughout the exposed sections there are great views over Dublin city and its harbour. The first 3km is a steady ascent into Glencullen Forest. Before passing into the forest you can make a detour of 1.6km if you would like to visit Johnnie Foxes pub, supposedly the highest in Ireland and one of the oldest! You will also pass the boundary between Dublin and Wicklow counties and pass by Prince William's Seat (555m).


Continue on down into the Glencree Valley, until you reach the Powerscourt complex. This is a world-class mix of gardens and ornamental lakes with the Great Sugarloaf Mountain as a backdrop. There is also an enormous range of shrubs and trees.


Your hotel this evening is set on the Powerscourt Estate and offers panoramic views over the Enniskerry Hills. You will be here for 2 nights so there is plenty of time to unwind at this stunning resort.


Walk: 11miles / 18km


Overnight: Enniskerry


Day 4: Transfer to Lough Tay, walk to Enniskerry

A private transfer takes you to beautiful Lough Tay, a true sight to behold and one of the highlights on the Wicklow Way. Created in the Ice Age this lake is surrounded by mountains and is one of the most photographed and iconic spots in Ireland. Where you begin your walk there are fantastic views over the lake, so pause a while and take some memorable shots!


Set off on your hike today with energy. You will have had a delicious and sustaining breakfast and magnificent panoramas surround you to entice you on. A gradual incline brings you across the exposed shoulder of Djouce Mountain, and then after your descent you can sit on the memorial seat from which to view the Powerscourt Waterfall, which at 120m  is Ireland’s highest.


Then walk the last stretch back to your accommodation where, if you wish, you may unwind and relax your tired muscles in the hotel spa.


Walk: 9 miles / 14km


Overnight: Enniskerry


Day 5: Transfer to Glendalough, walk to Glenmalure

Begin with a transfer to Glendalough, famous the world over for its 6th century “Monastic City”. Spend some time here exploring this ancient site, one of the most important monastic sites in Ireland. This place was an incredible school of learning until in 1214 AD, when the Normans destroyed it. One of the top attractions in Ireland’s “Ancient East”, you can visit the information centre which brings guests back in time to when St Kevin founded this monastery and settlement.


When you have taken the time to discover Glendalough, walk through the wild and remote Glenmalure Valley. This is mainly a woodland walk with some wildlife on view, plus vistas of waterfalls and the Wicklow Mountains, one of which is Mt Lug at 925m and the highest in Ireland outside of County Kerry. The Poulanass Waterfall is particularly lovely, with clear yet bright green water.


Tonight stay in Brook Lodge and Macreddin Village, situated in an area of great historical significance as St Kevin also founded a monastery here.  There is no doubt that pre-Christian folk in Ireland created settlements  in the most beautiful of places.


Walk: 8 miles / 13 km


Overnight: Macreddin


Day 6: Free day in Macreddin Village

Today spend time exploring your accommodation, which is, in essence, a small village. There is a local walk (The Macreddin Trail) that you can embark on if you wish, which takes you through the Wicklow countryside and the surrounding hills of the village. Alternatively, if you really want to spoil yourself, you can take a spa treatment at the hotel, although these must be made in advance and you can book on the hotels website.  There’s also a golf course if you fancy a round and a food village which includes an organic bakery, pub, café and much more.


Tonight enjoy an included dinner in the Strawberry Tree Restaurant, which serves organic and wild food such as their own smoked salmon and delicious wild sole.


Walk: 4 miles / 6km


Dinner & Overnight: Macreddin Village


Day 7: Onward Travel

An included private transfer brings you to Dublin centre or airport for your onward journey.


Accommodation

We have hand-picked top hotels in each location on this tour. They have been specifically chosen to ensure that you enjoy every minute of your stay.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

We will be happy to accommodate your party with single rooms if requested, and a single supplement applies. This trip is also available to solo walkers, and a supplement is again payable (as some costs are not shared). Please note that singles may not be of the same standard as twins/doubles.



We regularly use the following properties but may accommodate you elsewhere if these are not available.



 

 

 




Buswells Hotel - Dublin

This charming hotel is located on a quiet street in the heart of Dublin and you can expect to receive a very warm welcome. It is traditionally decorated with extremely comfortable rooms.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Powerscourt Hotel - Enniskerry

Enjoy this hotel's opulently furnished and spacious rooms and its fine surroundings, as it is located in a 1,000 acre oasis of ancient woodland.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Brook Lodge & Macreddin Village - Macreddin

This hotel is situated in a picturesque setting and its rooms are decorated in true country house style offering a spacious yet homely feel.


 

 

 

Availability

This walking tour is best enjoyed between April and October. You can start on any date that suits your travel plans and you will find availability on our website. Both Dublin and the Wicklow Way are popular so it is best to book as far in advance as you are able to.


Meals

A hearty cooked breakfast is served each morning. A typical breakfast would include eggs, toast, bacon, sausage, cheese, yogurt and coffee/tea with traditional Irish favorites such as black pudding. Lunch and 5 dinners are not included so you are free to choose from the available options. A very special dinner in the Strawberry Tree Restaurant is included on your final night. This is a organic and wild menu which is sure to be both gourmet and delicious.


As for lunches, you can ask the accommodation if they can provide one, if not there are local shops or cafes available at most places where you can buy a sandwich.


Baggage Transfer

Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.


People Transfers

On this itinerary there are also people transfers where you may also need to bring your luggage with you. The details for these days are outlines in your Information Pack.


Grade & Terrain

We have created this itinerary to showcase the best walks in the area and to create the perfect balance of hiking and sightseeing. The walking distances are very manageable, if you are in good physical shape. However there are elevation gains and losses on all three of the walking days and therefore this itinerary is rated moderate. (Max elevation gain: 450m,  max elevation loss: 608m) You will walk on a mixture of tracks, country roads and winding lanes through forests, farmland and the heather-clad Wicklow Mountains. The road walking is mainly along narrow lanes with little traffic. Overall about 28% of the walking is on tarmac, so you will need to be prepared with good walking shoes or boots.


Walking on minor roads (boreen roads—which are rural grassy footpaths) reflects the fact that public “rights of way” are almost non-existent in Ireland. However, the road walking is scenic and mostly along quiet lanes. There are, at times, some busier stretches where you will need to be cautious with traffic.


Navigation

This route is quite well way-marked and much of it does follows a path and therefore navigation is quite straightforward. On this tour you can navigate using the Macs Adventure Navigation Smartphone App, so you can simply download the GPX tracks for offline use and follow the route with your phone with the assurance that you will not get lost.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.


General Information

The distances and descents / ascents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necesssary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat and sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.

Getting to and from Dublin

Many international airlines fly to Dublin Airport, from both the UK and the US. In order to get to Dublin city centre you can either use the very good bus service or take a local taxi. For  information on schedules and prices you can visit the following website. Buses take approximately 20 mins depending on the traffic and taxis slightly faster at an approximate cost of €20.


For general travel information for Ireland check the Transport for Ireland website.


A private transfer is included from your final hotel to either Dublin Centre or airport, you can then make your onward journeys from here.

Included

  • 7 Nights in hand-picked hotels
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • 1 Dinner
  • Luggage Transfers
  • Transfers to walks as listed in the itinerary
  • Transfer to Dublin Centre/Airport on Day 7
  • Information pack, GPX Tracks, access to the Macs Smartphone App
  • 24/7 Emergency telephone support from our office

Excluded

  • Travel to and from Dublin
  • Lunches & 5 dinners
  • Snacks & drinks
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Equipment
  • Taxi transfers or public transport should you need to skip a stage

Extras

  • Single room supplement
  • Solo Walker Supplement
  • Extra nights before, after or during your walk

How fit do I need to be?

The walking distances are very manageable, if you are in good physical shape. However there are elevation gains and losses on all three of the walking days and therefore this itinerary is rated moderate. (Max elevation gain: 450m,  max elevation loss: 608m).

How do the baggage transfers work?

Your baggage will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as this area of Ireland is extremely popular from May all the way through to October.  You will find up to date availability on our website and we will always try and accommodate your plans.

What personal equipment do I need?

You will need good walking shoes/boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack and hats/gloves etc.

When is the best time of year?

We operate the tour to coincide with accommodations being open and weather being more conducive to walking. However, this is the east coast of Ireland, so it could be beautiful sunny days or there could be rain and wind. It's unpredictable so booking with this knowledge the correct gear will ensure that you have a wonderful time. July and August will be busier than at other times. Spring is early here so the spring flowers will definitely be out by April and by May trees and shrubs will all be blossoming.

Am I able to take my dog?

Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate walkers with dogs as many of the accommodation providers we use do not accept pets.

What happens if I can’t walk a stage?

You can use public transport or local taxis to continue to your next overnight stop.

Well done - fairly priced

5

I'm a VP of Purchasing of a very large company, so I'm always comparing apples to apples, and looking for the best value. We took Mac's Ireland "In Style" trip. When I saw the price I choked a little and thought I could do it for much less. But then I dug into the cost of the hotels, if I were to book them on my own. Turns out they were $350 and $400 a night. Then I looked at the restaurant menus at the restaurants where meals were included. One dinner included was $60 per person, and another $75 per person. (And I must say, the accommodations and meals were wonderful!) At the end of the day, we definitely got everything we paid for. I'm glad I didn't try to pull off all the organisation on my own! And I wouldn't have saved much at all. And add to that, we had no worries, because Mac's took care of everything. Priceless. And tha map, app was a real stress saver too. I expect we'll go "In style" to France next year with Macs. This time I won't even consider doing it on our own. Why would we? Cheers!

Craig

Baltimore MD US

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Dublin & The Wicklow Way In Style

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