Report: Walking the Wicklow Way in Ireland

Walking the Wicklow Way on a blue sky day | Melodie Theberge
Walking the Wicklow Way on a blue sky day | Melodie Theberge

Report: Walking the Wicklow Way in Ireland

Melodie, a member of UTracks' team in the Canada office, recently journeyed on the Wicklow Way trail in Ireland. It was her and her partners first active holiday, and they found it tested their comfort zone (in a good way!). At the end of each day they'd relax, reflect, and down a pint of Guinness or two.
Read on for Melodie's detailed report of what it was like to experience the Wicklow Way, including the comfortable accommodation, homely food, and ups and downs of the trail.
Walking the Wicklow Way in Ireland |  <i>Melodie Theberge</i>

About the Wicklow Way

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 127 kilometres (79 miles). 
The Wicklow Way explores unspoilt trails, remote scenery, lakes, glacial valleys, forests and gentle farmland. It winds through the Wicklow Mountains, one of the country's most spectacular upland areas. The advantage of walking south to north means you will finish your walk in Dublin. 
Signpost on the Wicklow Way in Ireland |  <i>Melodie Theberge</i>

Food on the Wicklow Way

For breakfast, most places would offer a traditional Irish breakfast (full or small), which usually included 1-2 fried eggs, 1-2 bacon slices, 1-2 pork breakfast sausages, half of a fried tomato, potatoes, black pudding (usually) and white pudding. This was a great way to start the day and get all the energy needed to start the hike.
Traditional Irish breakfast |  <i>Melodie Theberge</i>

Other possible breakfast options included other egg dishes like eggs benedict, omelettes or porridge.

All B&B accommodations had a self-serve portion for breakfast which included fruit, like apples, bananas, and other varying fruit, yogurt, fruit juices and jams. Someone would then come to take your order for your hot breakfast.
Hotel dining room |  <i>Melodie Theberge</i>
For lunch, there are packed lunches from the B&Bs that typically include a salad sandwich (meat, cheese and salad with dressing), a fruit and a chocolate bar. Additional items such as water and chips/crisps may be included depending on the location.
Each town had a pub or restaurant where dinner could be purchased. Typical meals included lamb, steak, a variety of burgers, Irish stew or fish and chips. Some places had vegetarian options, but there were not many and are typically more difficult to come by.
Traditional roast dinner |  <i>Melodie Theberge</i> Dinner on the Wicklow Way |  <i>Melodie Theberge</i> Dinner at Glenmalure |  <i>John Millen</i>

Accommodation on the Wicklow Way

We stayed in cosy bed and breakfast lodging that was full of Irish character - just what one wants on a trip in Ireland! It was fun looking forward to each night's stay as no two places were the same: there was a mixture of carpeted rooms, provided toiletries, TVs, fridges, and dining options. 
Local hotel on the Wicklow Way |  <i>Melodie Theberge</i> Accommodation on the Wicklow Way |  <i>Melodie Theberge</i> Living space in accommodation |  <i>Melodie Theberge</i>
Our favourite place was in Aughrim, where we had a beautiful view of the mountains and sheep from the window.
Accommodation in Ireland |  <i>Melodie Theberge</i> The Inn at Drumgoff, Glemmalure |  <i>John Millen</i> Bedroom with a view |  <i>Melodie Theberge</i>


Walking The Wicklow Way

Read on for a detailed look into what it's like to walk the Wicklow Way. Melodie and her partner went on the 7 day itinerary.

Day 1: Arriving in Tinahely 

We had arrived via Dublin and had stayed at our own accommodation before the start of the tour. 
Temple Bar in Ireland |  <i>Melodie Theberge</i>
As per the recommendations, we took the train to Rathdrum from Dublin Connolly station. The station has different platforms which are also accessible by the municipal trains (DART). The train took us about 1h30m. The scenery is quite beautiful, and we would recommend choosing the left side of the train if a sea view is your preference.
Once we arrived, Christopher, our local contact, was waiting for us in the parking lot for our transfer to Tinahely. He was lovely to speak with and we learned a lot about the area. He even gave us a quick drive around Tinahely to help orient us and gave recommendations on where to find food and things to start our hike the next day.
Vast greenness of Irish farms in Tinahely |  <i>Melodie Theberge</i>

He also recommended the Railway Walk nearby if we wanted to explore, which we did walk a portion of and got a great chance to see and take in some of our first Irish landscapes while walking. Upon returning, we went to O’Connors pub for dinner. 

Day 2: Tinahely to Moyne

We woke up around 7:30am and prepared ourselves for the luggage transfer and breakfast. We had been asked by Christopher to bring our luggage down for 8:30am every morning. This morning we ate an Irish breakfast, which was a perfect start to the day.

Hot Irish breakfast |  <i>Melodie Theberge</i>

To reach the start of the trail, we followed the route notes, which were easy to follow. Once joined, the trail was well marked and easy to follow in combination with the Route Book and GPS. We encountered some gates, which sometimes included climbing over a ladder or moving in a tight space while moving the gate. These were easy to work with. 
Walking over a stile |  <i>Melodie Theberge</i>

This day was a rainy and windy day, meaning the trails got to be quite muddy, especially in the grassy areas. Some areas of the trail were flooded. Waterproof boots are a must. We didn’t encounter many other walkers along the trail.

Cross old bridges in Ireland |  <i>Melodie Theberge</i>


Day 3: Moyne to Glenmalure 

When arriving for breakfast, there is a self-serve section with various yogurt flavours, fruit, and juices. Shortly after our arrival, Margaret came to take our order for the hot breakfast. We once again ordered the Irish Breakfast.

Before leaving, Margaret and Michael kindly filled our water bladders with water. It's moments of hospitality like this that made the trip. 
Looking north from Kyle towards Moyne |  <i>John Millen</i>

The Route Book suggested two options for the day, but due to the weather, we chose to follow the marked path. We found this path to be well marked and easy to follow with the Route Notes and GPX track.  
Stones crossing the path in Drumgoff Forest |  <i>Melodie Theberge</i>

We ate dinner at the pub in the lodge. 
Pint of Irish Ale |  <i>Melodie Theberge</i>

Day 4: Glenmalure to Glendalough/Laragh 

As usual, we ate breakfast at the accommodation before heading out. We also ordered our packed lunch at the same time.
View of Glendalough Valley from the Spinc Trail |  <i>Melodie Theberge</i>

We were lucky and had beautiful weather on this day. Because of this, we chose to follow the Spinc Walk trail. As mentioned in the Route Notes, a large portion of this trail is done on the studded planks of wood. This trail was easy to follow and offered absolutely beautiful scenery. We would recommend it.
View of Glendalough Valley from the Spinc Trail |  <i>Melodie Theberge</i>

From there, the walk to Glendalough was straightforward. I would recommend taking a moment to view the glacial valley from the beach and take in the beauty. We then continued walking down the trail and made our way to our accommodation in Laragh, making sure to stop by the Monastic Site before leaving.
Sheep on the path to Glendalough in Ireland |  <i>Melodie Theberge</i>

Day 5: Glendalough/Laragh to Enniskerry

Our walk on Djouce Mountain was very windy and occasionally rainy. We and other travellers we met in the transfer in the morning were being pushed off the studded planks of wood on the mountain. Many of us opted to walk in the grass when the wind got too strong because the planks were sometimes 1-2 feet off the ground and falling off them was not a desired outcome.
Beautiful rainbow on Djouce Mountain |  <i>Melodie Theberge</i>

Luckily, our way down was less eventful and much easier than the ascent. We walked in beautiful moorlands and the rest of the walk went smoothly in terms of navigation.
Walking the Wicklow Way in Ireland |  <i>Melodie Theberge</i>

At dinner, we learned a lot about how active the film industry is in the area of Enniskerry, which was very interesting. 

Day 6: Enniskerry to Marlay Park/Dublin

We started our day with an approximate 3 km walk back to the starting point of the day on the trail from Coolakay House. As we walked by Glencree River, we noticed small paths allowing closer access to the river.
There were some steep ascents between Knocktree Hill and Curtlestown Woods. We stopped on some rocks in the Glencullen Mountain to eat our packed lunch. We then made our way to the top. Unfortunately, the sky was getting grey, and it was a bit difficult to see the views described in the Route Notes.
Cloudy day on the Wicklow Way |  <i>Melodie Theberge</i>

Once on the Dublin Mountain, we reached a junction. At this point, we could continue following the trail or make a detour to visit the Tibradden Cairn nearby. However, as we had walked nearly 23 km at this point, we decided not to visit the cairn and continued our course on the Wicklow Way. Many trail runners passed us on the rocky terrain and left us feeling amazed at their skill.

This section offered beautiful views and was the last bit of the rolling hillsides we would see before walking into Marlay Park and Dublin.

View of Marlay House from the path in Marlay Park |  <i>Melodie Theberge</i>
As we reached the end of the Wicklow Way, we felt overjoyed with what we had accomplished. 

That night, at our accommodation, we were pleasantly surprised when there was a local bar in the basement of the establishment. We had been hoping to go to a local bar to watch the Rugby World Cup match happening that evening, and that had made our plans much simpler. The bar was packed, and we were lucky to get a table. We ordered some food and we enjoyed a well-deserved beer while watching rugby as we waited.

We were happy to share our last evening with the locals cheering on Ireland and celebrating their victory against South Africa.
Guinness beer is one of Ireland's most iconic brands

Day 7: Departure from Dublin

This morning, we ate the included breakfast at the accommodation and made our way to our next accommodation. 


This is definitely a trip we would recommend to our friends who enjoy active travel. The scenery is soothing and beautiful, and each day is filled with aspects that are challenging and push you out of your comfort zone, especially for anyone who has not done this type of trip often, like myself.

It is very rewarding to look back and see how far you’ve come from.

For anyone interested in travelling to Ireland, the Wicklow Way is a trail you won’t want to miss!
Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin |  <i>John Millen</i>


Experience the Wicklow Way on a self-guided walking holiday.
Discover all walking holidays in Ireland.

Have you been inspired to walk the Wicklow Way? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Ireland, Wicklow Way, Walk the Wicklow Way, Ireland Walking Holidays

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