The Wicklow Way is one of the most scenic, popular and oldest way-marked walking routes in Ireland. The way covers 127km from Clonegal, Co. Carlow to Marlay Park in Dublin. It was formally established in 1980 after years of hard work by volunteers, most notably J.B. Malone. Malones contribution to the promotion of hill-walking in Ireland has been marked by the erection of a memorial stone in his honour which is situated on the Wicklow Way between Roundwood and Enniskerry.
The way is traversable from North to South or South to North. At Ireland Ways we have opted to follow the way from South to North as it allows for a relatively gentler start over the first couple of days and it also allows you to celebrate your journey with a night in Dublin City Centre.
Your walk will take you through the heart of the ‘Garden of Ireland’ over the course of 7 days. Along the way you will pass lakes, rivers, streams, forests of evergreens and ancient hardwoods. You will cross blanket bogs and stop off in picturesque towns and villages. The relics of thousands of years of human habitation can be seen along the way, amongst these are some of the most significant historical sites in Ireland.
Starting in Clonegal, Co. Carlow the way meanders along low valleys before moving into forests and the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains around Shillelagh and Tinahely. The way will take you past the infamous ‘Dying Cow’ pub which is the perfect place for a refreshment after a day’s walking. By the time you get to the valley at Aghavannagh the real climbing will begin to kick in as you make your way over Slieve Mann before dropping into the Glenmalure valley. Just before you reach the crossroads at Glenmalure you will notice a large derelict stone building on the right. This is one of four former British army barracks which were built along this road, the R115, in the early 19th century. The road itself is better known as the ‘Military Road’ and was built in order to give the army access to the mountains which at the time were a safe haven for Irish rebels. The road runs practically the full length of the mountains as far as Dublin and is criss-crossed by the Wicklow Way in a number of places.
Glendalough is one of the most famous and important early medieval monastic sites in Ireland and contains a vast array of churches, high crosses and a round tower. All of this is set in one of the most beautiful locations in the country. From here the Way will offer stunning views over Lough Tay and Powerscourt Waterfall before you pass by Two-Rock Mountain which offers fantastic views over Dublin City. The final leg of the walk will take you downhill to Marlay Park which covers an area of 300 acres on the very edge of the city.
For more information about the Wicklow Way and other holidays in Ireland, contact our travel specialists