Self Guided – The Wicklow Way

Duration: 6 Days / 5 Nights


Overview

It’s hard to believe that just a few miles from Dublin’s bustling city centre is one of Ireland’s most beautiful national parks and most famous long distance trails. Ireland’s premier long distance trail, the Wicklow Way, tracks through glorious mountain valleys, lush forests and across heathery uplands as well as ancient monastic sites, crystal-clear lakes and historic estates.

On this self guided trip, trek along the Wicklow Way’s most spectacular sections in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains National Park before descending into green valleys and farmland.

Relax in a perfect combination of cosy village B&Bs before finishing up with a night in a deluxe eco-lodge. Focus on the trail and its jaw-dropping beauty and leave the logistics to us, as transport to and from Dublin, luggage transfers and private transfers to the trailhead are all prearranged where required. By choosing a self guided trip, enjoy the flexibility of walking at your own pace, starting as early or late as you prefer, stopping for as many photos as you’d like or challenging yourself with additional walks.

PLEASE NOTE: Total daily distances are given for each stage but will vary slightly as you also need to walk to your accommodation each day which will usually add a short distance.

Highlights

  • Trek 70 km on the Wicklow Way through glacial valleys, heather-clad mountain sides and green forest paths.
  • All accommodation, luggage transfers, maps, route notes and transfers to Dublin are included.
  • Spend your final night at a deluxe eco-lodge and enjoy the geothermal spa.

Day by Day

Day 1 - Glencullen to Enniskerry

You will be met in Dublin and transferred to Ireland’s highest pub, Johnny Fox’s, where you’ll have the chance to pick up some lunch before walking to the start point of your first day on the Wicklow Way. Tracking through woodlands before reaching open hillside blanketed in rich purple heather, today’s walk is a perfect introduction to things to come. Your first stunning views open out before you as you walk along the shoulder of the hill known as Prince William’s Seat. Cross the county boundary between Dublin and Wicklow somewhere along the way as you head further into the rich wilds of the Wicklow Mountains. After your first day’s walk, arrive back at your B&B where you’ll find your bags waiting for you.

Meals Included: Breakfast
Walk Details: 11 km / 7 miles | 300 m / 984 ft elevation gain

Day 2 - Knockree to Roundwood

Back on the trail, you’ll follow forest tracks until you reach the outskirts of the Powerscourt Estate. Drink in the stunning, panoramic views of Powerscourt’s famous waterfall, the tallest in Ireland. History buffs might like to learn about Powerscourt’s association with Charles Parnell, a vocal advocate for Irish home rule in the late 1800s. The official Wicklow Way trail itself winds below Djouce Hill, but if weather conditions and energy levels allow, a detour to the summit is well worth it. Enjoy expansive views of the heathery hills as you descend into the sweeping Luggala Valley towards glittering Lough Tay – nicknamed the “Guinness Lake.” Ancestral home of the Guinness family, this valley and the house on the shore of the lake have profound associations with many of Ireland’s literary and artistic greats. This evening you’ll leave the trail to spend the night in the wee traditional village of Roundwood.

Meals Included: Breakfast
Walk Details: 25 km / 16 miles | 500 m / 1,640 ft elevation gain

Day 3 - Roundwood to Glendalough

Until the terrible Great Famine of the 1840s, this part of Wicklow was heavily populated and farmed. As you walk keep an eye out for the remains of the tiny cottages and the ridges of long-abandoned potato fields dotting the green countryside. Upon approaching the village of Laragh, you will reach the junction with the final section of St Kevin’s Way, an ancient pilgrimage route or mass path that brought worshippers to the shrine of St Kevin at Glendalough. Your hotel is ideally situated a stone’s throw away from the jewel in the Wicklow Way’s crown: the ancient monastic site of Glendalough. Early medieval Ireland was Europe’s centre of culture with scholars travelling from all over to study at the country’s great monastic centres. Glendalough was one of the biggest and most famous of all.

Meals Included: Breakfast
Walk Details: 17 km / 11 miles | 750 m / 2,461 ft elevation gain

Day 4 - Glendalough to Glenmalure

Today offers some of the best scenery on the trip as you crest the hills above Glendalough’s Upper and Lower lakes at the junction of four glaciated valleys. You’ll pass Poulanass Waterfall before joining the forest road which will weave its way higher and higher until you reach the boggy saddle between Mullacor and Lugduff. As you descend, Ireland’s longest valley lies below you. Take in the panoramic views as you make your way to the valley floor and the welcome fire at the local Lodge.

Meals Included: Breakfast
Walk Details: 12 km / 7 miles | 400 m / 1,312 ft elevation gain

Day 5 - Glenmalure to Iron Bridge

Leaving behind the peaks of the Wicklow Mountains, the Wicklow Way meanders through lush forest tracks in the rolling landscape of south Wicklow. Offering views over the emerald farmlands of Ireland’s Ancient East, this is the quietest part of the trail, and chances are you’ll have it to yourself. The first 14 km brings you to the Iron Bridge, one of the Wicklow Way’s most remote spots. The next 7km winds along quiet country lanes to your eco-lodge, where you can relax in luxury. Alternatively, you can pre-arrange a taxi to meet you at the Iron Bridge and take you the rest of the way to your accommodation.Access to the geo-thermally-powered thermal suite is included – soak your tired legs at the trail’s end.* There are a few dining options on-site, including Ireland’s finest organic-certified restaurant. Feast on ingredients foraged in the hills that you’ve just hiked.

*Please note that spa treatments are not included and should be booked in advance

Meals Included: Breakfast
Walk Details: 21 km / 13 miles | 200 m / 656 ft elevation gain

Day 6 - Dublin & Departure

This morning, you will be transferred back to Dublin (city or airport) after check out. You may choose to return home, or carry on your stay.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Trip Details

Inclusions Read More

This self guided trip includes the following:

  • 5 nights accommodation in hand-picked, family-run guesthouses, B&Bs, and boutique hotels
  • Breakfast each morning (barring Day 1) in your accommodation or a local cafes
  • Transfers to and from the start and end point of the trail where walking to accommodations is not possible
  • All luggage transfers
  • Transfer to and from Dublin city / airport at the start and end of the trip
  • Access to the pool at thermal suite at final hotel*
  • Route notes, OS maps and trail guides
  • 24/7 phone support