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The Wicklow Way

Walking the Wicklow Way

Overview

The Wicklow Way is Ireland’s oldest way-marked trail, the brainchild of the famous hill walker, J.B. Malone. It is a long-distance walking route of 132 km following a route from County Wexford, through County Wicklow and the Wicklow Mountains to the southern suburbs of Dublin City. The Wicklow Mountains offer superb walking routes, and this itinerary covers the Wicklow Way from Clonegal to Enniskerry near Dublin in 8 days.

If you have less time, we recommend our 6-day Highlights itinerary.

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival Bunclody

Arrival at Dublin airport. Take the AirLink bus to Busáras, central bus station in Dublin city. Bus Eireann regional service to Bunclody in north Co. Wexford. Bunclody is a pretty town on the banks of the River Slaney. Overnight accommodation in Bunclody town.

Day 2: Clonegal to Shillelagh | 20 km

Your host will transfer you to Clonegal, the start of the Wicklow Way; walking is on country roads through Newry forest, Moilishe and Stookeen Hill, into the townland of Mungaculin. Your accommodation for the night will be in the 17th-century village of Shillelagh, the birthplace of the Irish walking stick cut from the blackthorn tree, “The Shillelagh”. Overnight at Strankelly on the Way, near Shillelagh village.

Day 3: Shillelagh to Moyne | 18-20 km

From Stranakelly, return to country roads past the market town of Tinahely on the banks of the river Derry which was destroyed in the 1798 rebellion, subsequently rebuilt and found a new lease of life with the coming of the railway in 1865. This section of the Wicklow Way takes in some fantastic views back over the area that you have passed through and the adjacent counties of Carlow and Wexford; it also passes through an old Ring Fort or Fairy Fort. Overnight accommodation in farm guesthouse in Moyne townland.

  • Walking for the day: 18 km, 5 hours, ↑100 m (longer option via Ballycumber Hill: 20 km, 6 hours, ↑400 m)
  • Accommodation: Kyle Farmhouse or similar

Day 4: Moyne to Drumgoff | 21 km

Good climbing today through the pine forests of the Ow Valley. Drumgoff at the head of the picturesque Glenmalure Valley provides a refreshing end to the day at the old coaching inn, Glenmalure Lodge. The area is renowned for its rebels and heroes during the 16th and 18th-century Irish uprisings. The optional route over Croaghanmoira climbs to 664m and affords the Ow and Avonbeg river valleys’ glorious views. Overnight accommodation in Drumgoff townland.

  • Walking for the day: 21 km, 6 hours, ↑500 m (longer option via Croaghanmoira Hill: 6 hours, ↑850 m)
  • Accommodation: Glenmalure Lodge or similar

Day 5: Drumgoff to Laragh | 18-20 km

Today is one of the tour’s highlights. Climbing through the forest from Drumgoff, the Way opens to the flat saddle of Mullacor at 550 m before crossing open moorland to the slopes of Derrybawn Mountain. The first view of Glendalough (An Gleann Dhá Locha, the glen of the two lakes) is wonderful, deep wooded sides and the Glenalo River flowing through. A short climb takes you northeast and then down the Glenmacnass Valley to Laragh village. Overnight accommodation in Laragh village.

  • Walking for the day: 18 km, 6 hours, ↑530 m (with an optional climb: 20 km, 7 hours, ↑600 m)
  • Accommodation: Clondara B&B or similar

Day 6: Laragh to Roundwood | 11-15 km

The Way climbs the gentle flank of Paddock Hill, descending to Oldbridge, an important medieval crossing point of the Avonmore River and the beautiful Lough Dan. An optional route on Scarr Mountain offers wonderful views of this lake. Today’s section finishes in Roundwood, Ireland’s highest village at 238 m. Overnight accommodation in Roundwood village.

  • Walking for the day: 11 km, 3 hours, ↑290 m (alternative longer option via Scarr Mountain: 15 km, 5 hours, ↑520 m)
  • Accommodation: The Coach House or similar

Day 7: Roundwood to Glencree/Enniskerry | 18 km

Wonderful walking, overlooking Lough Tay, Lough Dan and Luggala Estate of the Guinness Family. A raised path covers a long stretch of open moorland to the saddle between White Hill and Djouce Mountain. From here, it is possible to see the coast as far as Howth Head in north Co. Dublin. Descending past the 120 m fall of Powerscourt Waterfall, enter the peace of the Glencree River Valley and a wonderful riverbank walk. Overnight accommodation near Enniskerry.

  • Walking for the day: 18 km, 5 hours, ↑250 m
  • Accommodation: Enniskerry Inn or similar

Day 8: Departure

Public transport from Enniskerry to Dublin. AirLink coach to Dublin airport is available from various points in Dublin City Centre. It is possible to extend this itinerary to complete the Wicklow Way walk at Marlay Park in south Dublin. Please enquire if you are interested.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Accommodations on this tour include a mix of welcoming B&Bs and guesthouses. They have been carefully selected for their location, atmosphere, cuisine and/or unique services. All rooms are en-suite. Note that it is sometimes necessary to accommodate you a short walk away from the trail itself, as there is not always suitable accommodation close to the trail. Details will again be given in your pre-departure info pack.

Click to view default hotels

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal or higher value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Breakfast is included on all days. When no restaurant location is available on the route, lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before. You can have dinner at the guesthouse you are staying at or at the village inns and restaurants.

Difficulty & terrain

This itinerary is suitable for regular walkers. Most days offer between 5-6 hours of walking, and longer alternatives are available on some days. The Way uses forest paths and minor roads in places to avoid walking on private land. Approximately 20% of the route is on tarred roads, which is inevitable because rights of way are almost non-existent in Ireland, and this is common for most Irish trails. However, it is little enough not to distract from the superb scenery, rugged narrow valleys and spectacular mountains. The route doesn’t pass through many towns or villages, so most of the day to day walking is remote (read more about difficulty grades). The routes are waymarked, and the itinerary is easy to follow. We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to go

This trip is available from mid-March till the end of October. The flexibility of self guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates, and you can start your trip on any date during the season.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

Click to view travel options

By plane

Our recommended airport for this tour is Dublin (DUB).

By train or bus
  • Dublin Airport is easily accessible from the UK with several low-cost airlines covering the route as well as scheduled international carriers. Irish Ferries also operate from Holyhead to Dublin. Take the AirLink bus to Busáras, central bus station in Dublin city. Bus Eireann regional service to Bunclody in north Co. Wexford.
  • Return travel: local bus service from Enniskerry to Dublin city or to Bray for DART train to the city centre.
  • See Bus Éireann and Irish Rail for details or use the Omio planner above.

Inclusions

Included

  • 7 nights in private en-suite rooms (B&Bs and guesthouses)
  • 7 breakfasts
  • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on all walking days (up to 18 kg per person)
  • Detailed journey documentation and practical information (road notes, 1:50000 maps)
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
  • Any items not explicitly listed as included

Options, extras & supplements

  • A supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Extra nights along the trail are bookable upon request

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