When it comes to walking in Ireland, many people think of the West Coast, the series of peninsulae that reach out towards America in the South West of the Country. Here you will find many of Ireland's most famous walks, but many people want to visit Dublin on their trip to Ireland, but it is just a bit too far away from these hiking trails to combine. What if there was a spectacular walking trail right on Dublin's doorstep. Wouldn't that be nice? Well, guess what, it is time to check out the Wicklow Way.
In a Nutshell:
Where: The Wicklow Way starts just to the South of Dublin and winds it's way south, through the Wicklow Mountain National Park until you reach Bunclody.
Distance: There are a couple of different distances on this trip because there are two different versions. The shorter trip at 95km only takes you as far as Tinahely, whereas the longer eight-day walk, is 128km and takes you further south to Bunclody. It is around 15km walking each day on average.
Grade: We have graded this trip Moderate, so if you have a decent level of fitness and have a bit of long-distance experience, it should be a joyful experience. The route is on a mix of mountain paths, quiet country roads and forestry track and while there is a bit of up and down, there is nothing that should prove too taxing.
Why Walk Here?
There are many incredible highlights on this hidden trip in Ireland. The walking itself is excellent. This wild Wicklow tour combines easy accessibility with a wide variety of scenic experiences, some of them in truly remote upland areas. They include mountains, upland lakes, steep-sided glacial valleys, fast-flowing mountain streams, forests and farmland. You will walk past Ireland's highest waterfall and discover why everyone calls Lough Tay, 'Guinness Lake.'
Glenmalure Valley is the largest glacial valley in Ireland and is not only home to some beautiful scenery and abundant wildlife, but also is loaded with history. Ruined forts and barracks from the 1798 rebellion can be found here and add a touch of history to this remote valley.
Another historic highlight is the 6th Century Medieval monastery and university, dedicated to higher learning. The ruins of this site are not quite as extensive as the monastery used to be, but they are still incredibly impressive. Many of the buildings and walls are still in very good condition, especially the impressive round tower and the stunning gateway. This is a very well hidden piece of historical wonder and well worth spending some time wandering around.
There are loads of lovely little towns on the Wicklow Way and you will definitely enjoy the local atmosphere if you are heading out for the evening, no matter how small the town! Enniskerry is home to the impressive Powerscourt Gardens and Waterfall. The gardens have been created over 200 years and its walled gardens and stunning terraces are home to well laid out walking paths. Glenmalure Lodge (not really a town, but an overnight stay) is in one of the most stunning locations in Ireland. Right in the heart of the Glenmalure Glacial Valley, it is a pure pleasure to stay here.
Then, of course, there is Dublin. We include a night there before your trip starts, but it is definitely worth adding a couple of extra nights. Dublin is a thriving European city with a buzz about it that you can't find anywhere else. This UNESCO city of literature is filled with some of the most delightful people on earth and bursting with great pubs and restaurants. There is the Guinness Factory to visit, The Book of Kells to marvel at in the beautiful Trinity College and of course, an evening visit to the Temple Bar area is a must.
Planning and Preparation
Getting to The Wicklow Way could not be easier. There are international flights to Dublin from just about everywhere in the world. From Dublin, there is just a 20-minute bus journey to the start of the walk. At the other end, a short bus journey and then an hour and a half on the train brings you back to Dublin.
If you have any questions about the route, don't hesitate to contact one of our Destination Specialists, who will be more than happy to help.