Ireland has a lot of appealing adventures that are usually overlooked in favor of more popular tourist attractions. The mountainous landscapes in the countryside make the areas suitable for hiking and stargazing. Many Ireland tours include hiking great trails like Wicklow Way, (featured photo above). If this interests you, read about the country’s first long-distance hiking route in this guide.
The history of Wicklow Way is often tied to J.B. Malone, an Irish hill-walking enthusiast. He was tasked with creating a network of long-distance hiking trails, and he designed Wicklow Way. At first, his design was circular, but the idea was dumped for the current linear pattern. After two years of working with a dedicated committee, Wicklow Way was finally opened in 1980. Two years later, the trail was completed and soon became a part of the European walking route E8.
Today, Wicklow Way is part of a network of long-distance self-guided trails established across Ireland. Also called waymarked ways, these trails are created to be easily hiked without a guide. For Wicklow Way, it was divided into seven stages with optional variants from which hikers can choose. For example, you can opt to hike the entire trail or section to section. The former option takes between 5 to 7 days for a physically active person. Others may spend more time before they reach the end.
Wicklow way is located south of Dublin in a mountainous area known for its suitability for hiking. Spanning over 130 km, the trail will take hikers from Dublin through County Wicklow until they get to the village of Clonegal in County Carlow. That is a long trip that only a handful of people have achieved.
The location of Wicklow Way is ideal for hiking because it has better features than most other hiking trails. The trail has been divided into 7 sections and has various points for hikers who cannot go all the way. You must prepare for a week-long hike through the uplands to challenge the route. The good news is that you have beautiful landscapes to keep you company during the long days.
The location of Wicklow Way is a diverse hiking trail consisting of parklands, rolling valleys, forest trails, flowing streams, stunning mountain landscapes, and scenic countryside. The change in scenery can be an advantage as you spend several long days hiking with your gear strapped to your tired body.
Wicklow Way is an ideal hiking location because it has great facilities for hikers. There are a handful of bed and breakfast establishments where hikers can board during their hike. However, many of these establishments close during the winter. Only visit when you are sure you will have access to the facilities you need.
Furthermore, if you are hiking the entire Wicklow Way, you should schedule enough time to see the attractions on the way. The most popular site along the trail is Glendalough monastic settlement. You can also see the Powerscourt Estate and Waterfall, Lugnaquilla mountain, Djouce mountain, and Lough Tay.
Wicklow Way’s hiking trail is average in difficulty, but you must know what you are getting into before you start. We will cover a few tips that can guide you as you explore one of the most remarkable attractions in Ireland. Let’s get to it:
Hiking the long trails of Wicklow Way demands that you be prepared for it. Pack comfortable hiking shoes and have a big water bottle on hand. Preferably, your bottle should be able to hold between 2 to 3 liters of water. Also, remember to wear comfortable clothes that will not stick to your body once you start sweating.
Hiking is fun when you only have a few kilometers to walk. However, hiking long trails requires you to have the right motivation to see your mission to the end. You can go with family, a friend, or a hiking buddy with the same goal. At the end of the day, you can celebrate your achievements together.
Hiking through Willow Way is not just about walking the mountain trails. Several notable sites along the way will satisfy your tourist curiosity. For instance, you can check the Dublin city parks and heritage, Huntington Castle, Two Rock Mountain, Luggala estate, the Miner’s Way, and the Dying Cow pub, in addition to the few we mentioned earlier.
Remember to practice basic hiking/camping etiquette when hiking the Wicklow Way. The most important is to “leave no trace,” so ensure your snack wrappers and other waste are not disposed of carelessly. You should also respect the wildlife and landowners around. If you are looking to camp out during your hike, you must request permission from the landowners.
Wicklow Way is one of the most remarkable places to visit in Ireland. Hiking all the way is an achievement few people can boast of, and you can challenge yourself to it. Just ensure you practice safety tips, as we explained above, and you will be good to go.