The Wicklow Way is Ireland's oldest waymarked trail, pioneered by a famous hill walker, J.B Malone over 40 years ago and reveals some of Irelands finest views; Powerscourt Waterfall, Luggala, Loch Dan, Glenmalure and historical Glendalough. The trail extends from Marlay Park in Dublin to Clonegal on the borders of Wicklow and Carlow covering a distance of approx 127 kilometres (79 miles). The way winds through the Wicklow Mountains, one of the country's most spectacular upland areas. The Wicklow Way explores unspoilt trails, remote scenery, lakes, glacial valleys, forests and gentle farmland. Starting in southwest County Wicklow the route passes through rural communities, old market towns and grand estates on its way to the bright lights of Dublin.The small typical 'one street' village of Clonegal is an apt starting place for this walk into the remote and beautiful Wicklow Mountains. It is a route that remains mainly in the countryside making the short detours necessary to find a comfortable bed for the night. A couple of fairly long but gentle days introduce you to the Newry forest and over high points of Moylisha and Stookeen Hill to the 17th century village of Shillelagh and then on to the beautiful village of Tinahely. Quiet roads, forest trails and open mountainsides, with views back towards Clonegal and across the neighbouring counties of Carlow and Wexford, lead to Moyne and on to the most dramatic stages of the walk. A magnificent day's walk includes the spectacular Ow valley that passes below Wicklow's highest mountain, Lugnaquilla (925m), and along the 16km long glaciated Glenmalure Valley. This walk ends at the scattering of houses and splendid inn that make up Glenmalure hamlet. If climbing out of the Glenmalure Valley doesn't literally take your breath away then the fantastic views and the Glenmalure Waterfall probably will. Cross Mullacor Mountain and walk into Glendalough, 'the valley of two lakes' and site of a monastic settlement (from the 6th to the 13th century) for a little sightseeing. A short vehicle transfer gets you on the road to oldbridge near Roundwood, which claims to be Ireland's highest village. The Penultimate day's walk is to the charming area around the village of Enniskerry. It is a mini classic with views of Lough Dan and Lough Tay. At the head of the valley is the Guinness family estate and later in the day enjoy views of Powerscourt Waterfall, the longest in the country. The last walk goes over Prince William's Seat for views across the city of Dublin, now in striking distance for some afternoon sightseeing and a lively evening in the city centre or one of its many fine restaurants.
This tour is suitable for those who have had some experience of walking and are in good general physical condition. There are ascents and descents on stepped trails, although most days are not too long, some people will find this tiring in warm weather (grade 3).
From Dublin, take the bus to Bunclody, where you overnight. This is a pretty little market village by the Derry River and the stream running through its center lined by shady lime trees is a nice feature. A major battle was fought here during the 1798 rebellion.
Accommodation: We use a range of B&B accommodation mostly with ensuite rooms.
Your accommodation hosts will transfer you to Clonegal (15 minutes), an old wool and iron working village. There is a little park there where the Wicklow Way commences for your first walk. This takes you along some country roads through Newry Forest, over Moylisha and Stookeen Hill down into the town land of Mungaculin. Your accommodation for the night will be in the 17th century village of Shillelagh, famous for the Irish fighting sticks.
Your journey from Shillelagh is on some quiet country roads. On your way you will pass St. Finian's Church and a tiny pub called 'The Dying Cow.' Tinahely is a pleasant little village on the banks of the river Derry and was destroyed in the 1798 rebellion. It was subsequently rebuilt and found a new lease of life with the coming of the railway in 1865, it is now a very beautiful village.
This section of the Wicklow Way undulates around Ballycumber Hill taking in some fantastic views of the adjoining counties like Carlow and Wexford; it also passes through an old Ring Fort or Fairy Fort. The walk finishes in the upper Derry Valley. at Sandyford Bridge from where there are different accommodations in the Moyne area.
An ethereal section of the Wicklow Way, that winds you through forest trails and into two spectacular vales; the Ow and the Glenmalure Valleys. The day is hilly and there are lots of forests, but there is also a high level moorland alternative for good weather only. The first part of the The Ow Valley lies at the base of Wicklow's largest Mountain; Lugnaquilla standing at 925m. Eventually you wind down into The beautiful Glenmalure Valley which is Ireland's longest glacier valley, stretching for over 16km, at the bottom there is the village of Drumgoff, with a famous Inn recalling the life and times of Michael Dwyer, who hid in the valley and fought the crown in 1798 to get an assisted place to Australia. You will spend the night in this valley, either at the Inn or B&Bs nearby.
Probably the most spectacular day. The trail takes you steadily up out of the valley and as you climb, the beauty of the surrounding countryside and the famous Glenmalure Waterfall will simply take your breath away. The trail crosses the side of Mullacor Mountain and then there are 3 possible routes down into the valley of Glendalough which has lakes. Two of the options take you away from the Wicklow Way to discover the valley edge views from an area called The Spinc. From here there are wooden walkways down to the old miner's village at the Upper Lake. Whichever route you take, eventually you reach Glendalough famous for its 6th Century Monastic Settlement with pencil like Roundtowers, which you will be able to visit on your way. You will stay near Glendalough, usually in the village of Laragh.
The beauty of the walk does not let up. From Glendalough/Laragh you can either walk direct (note that the distance in this case is 28.6km /17.7miles) or there is a short optional transfer to Oldbridge for a short cut from where you head up around two more lakes, Loughs Dan and Tay, gradually climbing out of forest with potentially good views as you come over White Hill 635m. Then there is the option to climb Djouce Hill (733m). The trail then descends off the high moors passing the Powerscourt waterfall and into the attractive Crone Woods. From here walk towards Enniskerry, our B&Bs are scattered in this rural area. *Please note that our normal accommodation near Enniskerry is 3 km off route, this is reflected in the distances quoted. One of the longest walks but a classic. Enniskerry is situated on the doorstep of Dublin.
(*Note that it is 3km from the the usual accommodation back to the trail making today around 23km /14.3miles). This last section takes you round through the forests of Glencullen Mountain, dropping down steeply to cross the Clencullen River before a steep final ascent over Prince William's Seat where you will have stunning views over most of Dublin City, the Irish Sea and your final views back into the Wicklow Hills. Your trip finishes on a splendid trail that leads you into Marlay Park, from where buses or taxis can take you into central Dublin for an evening of celebration having completed the route.
After a hearty breakfast you can take a bus or taxi into Dublin City or on towards the airport.
Per Person, Twin Share