Walk Ireland's Wicklow Way

Walking above Glendalough | John Millen
Walking above Glendalough | John Millen

Walk Ireland's Wicklow Way

One of Ireland's most popular walking trails has to be the Wicklow Way. It's easy to see why people love to hike the Wicklow Way: it's a great track to explore the Irish countryside, experience local hospitality, and admire those emerald green landscapes.
In this article, we describe everything you need to know about walking the Wicklow Way, from how long it takes to practical information about the self-guided tours you can take to complete the walk. If you have any further questions be sure to contact us.

What is the Wicklow Way?

The Wicklow Way is Ireland's oldest waymarked trail. It was pioneered by a famous hill walker, J.B Malone over 40 years ago, and reveals some of Irelands finest views including  Powerscourt Waterfall, Luggala, Loch Dan, Glenmalure and historical Glendalough.
Walking through heather on the Wicklow Way


How far is the Wicklow Way?

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).
Trekking the lovely Wicklow Way |  <i>Nick Kostos</i>


Where does the Wicklow Way go and what sights do you see along the route?

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. 
Beautiful scenes along the Wicklow Way
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.

How long does it take to walk the Wicklow Way?

UTracks offers 3 different tours to cover this popular route, including a 5 day, 7 day, and a 9 day tour.
Looking down on Glendalough along the Wicklow Way |  <i>Nutan</i>

Wicklow Way Walking Tours: 3 Ways to Experience the Wicklow Way


Wicklow Way: 7 Day Walking Tour

The 7 day Wicklow Way route is the most popular tour to walk the Wicklow Way. Just read this glowing review from K. Schmelz, Wisconsin.
We were so happy with our experience as we traveled the 7-day of the Wicklow Way. Our trip had an exciting start as we boarded the bus from the airport in Dublin, made it to the train station and then quickly jumped on our train. Being warmly greeted with coffee and scones at Madeline's B&B after a long day was wonderful. We thoroughly enjoyed all of our B&B's! The hosts were lovely and the food was always the best way to start the day! 
Our hiking adventure through Ireland was beautiful as most days were quiet on the trail but led us to magnificent views! Most days also allowed us to meet other hikers who were happy to stop for a moment, ask where we were going and tell us how long to the next stop. My husband used the map provided to guide us on the trail and found it very helpful. We could not be more pleased with our trip. Our legs are tired but it was all worth seeing the beautiful sites of the Wicklow Way.
Bucolic countryside around the Wicklow Way |  <i>John Millen</i>

Wicklow Way: 9 Day Walking Tour

The 9 day version of the Wicklow Way route starts in Bunclody. 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. 
Temple Bar in Dublin |  <i>John Millen</i>

A Taste of the Wicklow Way

Limited on time or just want to try a shorter route of the Wicklow Way? Then the Taste of the Wicklow Way tour is for you. This starts in Dublin and finishes at Laragh.

Have you experienced the Wicklow Way? Let us know in the comment section below.
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