This trip is going way back to 2009. It was our first international trip together and our first ever multi-day walking trip. The ‘About Me’ tab on the web site explains how this trip to Ireland’s Wicklow Way came to be. This trip bonded us together as active vacationers and was just the beginning of what would come over the next decade!
We used The Wicklow Way Rucksack Reader as our guide on the trail and used the accompanying web site in planning the trip. http://www.wicklowway.com/
We decided to start in the south and walk north to Dublin. The Rucksack Reader provides instructions from north to south. We also took the recommendation of starting in Tinahely instead of the actual beginning/end of the trail in Clonegal. The section between Clonegal and Tinahely is 20 miles of flat road walking.
We took a bus from Dublin to Tinahely where we spent the night before starting the walk. In 2009, the bus only ran on Thursday’s, leaving Dublin at 5:30 pm and arriving in Tinahely at 7:30 pm.
Daily Logistics on the Wicklow Way
There are inns of various sizes and prices along the Wicklow Way so you can easily plan your own daily walking distance. The Wicklow Way web site lists all available amenities and services in the order in which you will walk to them. You can plan your own trip to be shorter or longer each day.
A hearty Irish breakfast is always included. Breakfast consists of eggs, numerous types of sausages, beans, blood pudding, bacon, toast, scones, oatmeal, muesli, yogurt, tomatoes, fruit, juice, tea, and coffee.
Most places will also provide a packed lunch with a sandwich, apple, cookies, and chocolate bar for a reasonable additional fee. Otherwise, you would need to plan your walk to reach a village with services by lunchtime.
Not all villages have food available—markets, pubs, or restaurants. In this case, the inn provides dinner too. Salmon or lamb with potatoes and carrots is the typical fare. On our itinerary, we had dinner 3 nights at the inns and 3 nights in pubs. We took a packed lunch with us all but one day.
There is no need to carry all of your belongings with you while hiking the Wicklow Way ! We used the Wicklow Way Baggage service to transfer our luggage from inn to inn so we only had to carry a daypack with water, lunch, snacks, camera, rain gear, etc.
The luggage transfer service was 15 Euros per day for two bags. It’s well worth it!
As long as you stay in one of the inns noted on the Wicklow Way web site, they will pick up your luggage in the morning and deliver it to your next destination before you arrive. http://wicklowwaybaggage.com/
Our 5-Day Itinerary Hiking the Wicklow Way
Day 1 – Tinahely to Moyne – 11.8 miles
After spending the night in Tinahely, we began the journey with an easy climb out of town and into the forest. We quickly learned that sheep would surround us for the entire journey.
Day 1 was the easiest walking with rolling hills, crossing a narrow section of river over stepping stones, and some walking on quiet country lanes.
We ended our day at the Kyle Farmhouse, a working dairy farm and B & B. Humans, cows, dogs, donkeys, ponies, and horses all welcomed our arrival!
Day 2 – Moyne to Glenmalure – 13 miles
The second day had a lot more mountain climbing, dark forest trails, and our first experience with a bog. Sections of the trail had a dense moss covering the muddy bog making it very slow moving. The forest was extremely dense and dark, straight out of a scary fairy tale scene!
In other sections, sheep led the way up the mountain as we walked through heather and tall grasses.
We reached the village of Glenmalure and stayed at the Coolalingo B & B directly on the trail. Across the street is the Glenmalure Lodge that includes a pub with dinner service.
Day 3 – Glenmalure to Glendalough– 12.4 miles
Day 3 is the highlight of the trip!
Today’s 12+ miles had a little bit of everything.
We began the day with a steep climb and crossing over a ridgeline with extreme wind. At the top of the mountain we walked over miles of boardwalk protecting a bog.
This led us up to a wide forest path with numerous waterfalls and lake views before descending into Glendalough, a medieval monastic city founded by Saint Kevin in the 6th century.
We planned the day to arrive around lunchtime so we had a picnic in the park and then walked around the ruins and cemetery for at least an hour.
The nearby village of Laragh is the liveliest town on the trail with numerous restaurants, pubs, coffee shops, and a market. We were able to buy lunch and snacks for the next day in the market.
We had about another 2 miles to walk to that night’s accommodation at the Tudor Lodge.
Day 4 – Glendalough to Roundwood – 9.3 miles
The 4th day was an easy walk with one mountain pass, but at this point in the journey, we became old pros at steep ascents.
We stayed overnight in a B & B that is no longer listed as an option. The French proprietor made wonderful pastries and bread and sent us off with a packed lunch that we still talk about.
We had dinner in the local pub where we more or less were forced to play the local lottery and we won! We felt guilty winning, so we bought the next round of drinks in the pub for everyone.
Day 5 – Roundwood to Enniskerry – 11 miles
The last day and the most strenuous of the entire trail.
Another mountain climb up an exposed ridgeline with high winds make it very difficult to stand upright. Miles of boardwalk, again, to protect the bog underfoot.
The day is divided between views of the Guinness family estate in the valley below or Sugarloaf Mountain and the Dublin Harbor in the distance.
The Powerscourt Waterfall is a short detour off the trail as you descend into Enniskerry.
This is our stopping point for the journey even though the trail continues for another 14 miles to Dublin with some remaining wilderness before heading into Dublin’s suburbs.
We stayed overnight in Enniskerry, visited the Powerscourt House and Gardens, and then took a bus back to Dublin. We stayed in a B & B that is not available now.
Walking the Wicklow Way was an awesome introduction to Ireland and multi-day hiking trips. We have since completed similar multi-day hiking and running vacations in Ireland, England, and the Appalachian Trail in the United States.
We’re itching to do another one soon!