The Republic’s oldest designated long-distance walk, opened in 1982, the Wicklow Way runs the length of the Wicklow Mountains from Dublin’s southern suburbs, taking in wild uplands and picturesque valleys, as well as long, boring stretches of conifer plantation. The trail cuts across the Glencree valley, passes Lough Tay and continues to Glendalough, before entering Glenmalure and skirting Lugnaquillia, the highest Wicklow peak; the walk finishes after 130km at Clonegall on the Wexford–Carlow border. The whole route is waymarked with yellow signs and can be walked in five to six days, though some people take as many as ten.
The Way begins at Marlay Park in Dublin’s southern suburbs – take the #16 bus from O’Connell Street or South Great George’s Street to get there. Its highlight – if you lack the time or inclination to complete the whole Way – is probably the 29km section from Knockree to Glendalough, which passes the Powerscourt waterfall and can be covered in one very long day – or preferably two, with a short detour to overnight at Roundwood.
Finding accommodation is not usually a problem, and some B&Bs will collect you from, or deliver you to, parts of the route, or ferry your bags to your next resting place, if given prior notice. Three An Óige hostels line the route – at Knockree, Glendalough and Glenmalure. Accommodation in Roundwood, Laragh/Glendalough and Glenmalure is detailed in the text. An excellent website, wwww.wicklowway.com, gives full details of other accommodation along the route, as well as trail descriptions, maps and other useful advice.
Ordnance Survey maps nos. 56 and 62 cover almost the whole route at 1:50,000, with nos. 50 and 61 picking up the extremities. EastWest Mapping (wwww.eastwestmapping.ie) also produce The Wicklow Way Map Guide, a booklet of 1:50,000 maps with accompanying text.