I’ve been meaning to get on and write and tell you how much I enjoyed the Wicklow Way!! Finally coming out of my jetlag fog now!
It really was a lovely holiday for me. I loved the whole thing. The local people and the other hikers all very friendly. I was pretty with the weather…one gorgeous sunny day when I was at Glenmalure lodge, (what a cute, friendlyplace and beautiful valley!) Two days with clouds but no rain and only a day and a half of rainy weather.
Only place I got mixed up with the hiking was coming out of Glendalough/laraugh. Missed the signpost and ended up with a frustrating couple hours circling around on the farm roads, meeting all the local sheep (who were no help at all when I ask for directions). Of course that was the day it was raining hard, and I had gone on a run around the upper lake at Glendalough in the morning (which was absolutely AMAZING by the way),so when I finally found the trail again it was already mid afternoon and I had a rather hurried trip to Roundwood, and a rainy 6:00pm slog down the roads into town. But, all part of the adventure, and it makes a good story. It worked out in the end. All the Inns and B&B’s were FANTASTIC! Comfy beds, friendly people, great food. The food at Kyle Farmhouse was fabulous and we had such a good time talking to her husband who told us about the area and introduced us to his heifers. Great food and beds at Madelines in Tinahely, I loved Glendalough Valley, and enjoyed the young women who ran the B&B there. Hated to leave there. Coolakay was fun and very nice. Saw some new arrival lambs in the morning. I really hated to leave the trail and could have kept walking for several more weeks! 🙂
I met a pair of sisters from Holland at Kyle Farm and we hiked together three of the days during the week, so that was actually a nice addition to my adventure. On the last day, I hiked beyond my turnoff to Coolakay, to hike with them up the trail closer to Inneskerry, ( which was a nice addition, because it was a very lovely section of trail, and different from anything that had come before) then I backtracked along the country roads to get back to Coolakay.
I would highly recommend your tours to anyone and will find time soon to go on tripadvisor and leave some nice reviews for the Inns and B and B’s. I am already plotting to get back to Ireland and hike some more of your tours…. I loved it! Thank you! You were very friendly and helpful and everything ran smoothly with transportation, luggage transfers and reservations. In a word, it was lovely. I hope to be back soon!!
Here’s the nuts ‘n bolts of one of last year’s walkers…American, unedited, just so as you can imagine how it would be…!
We can’t express how good your tour turned out. One of the best vacations we have ever taken even with the blisters. Lori ended up walking 4 of the 6 and I did 5 of the 6.
You said you wanted all the little bits so here it is.
Day 1 Camp to Annascaul – Annascaul House, Wet and rainy from top of the first hill at the bog all the way to Annascaul. The people at Annascaul House had a coal fire going and the drying racks out when we arrived. You can’t ask for more than that. We had the entire place to ourselves so that was a nice first night.
Day 2 Annascaul to Dingle – Archway Lodge. Rode with the luggage to Archway Lodge. It was raining and the walk looked like a road walk all day. This was a great decision as we got to recover all day and play tourist in Dingle. I would do a “Fat American” tour package and do exactly this. 7 day tour with 6 days walking and 1 day in Dingle.
Day 3 Dingle to Dunquin. – An Portan – Rode with the luggage to Ventry and then walked the route. Also for us this was a great decision. This was one of our favorite segments of the walk and we didn’t need the six kilometers up front on the road. Ronan at An Portan was great for personalized service and dinner and had a fascinating history. At first we thought it was a little weird, like an old American Motor court instead of a true B&B but when we heard the story behind it it all made sense. You might want to look at your directions for getting to An Portan. It didn’t seem clear if we should stay on the trail to the Blasket Island Center or stay on the road. I know it’s only a difference of maybe 500 meters but for Americans every meter counts especially at the end of the day.
Day 4 Dunquin to Boherboy – An Dooneen… Ok here we were cussing you the entire way to the B&B after coming off the beach. We were right there in Ballydavid but had to walk on for what seemed like forever to get out to Boherboy. Then Mary at An Dooneen was great and the dinner they took us to was fabulous so all was forgiven. Also after studying the maps I saw you were helping set us up for an assault over Brandon Mountain. If you add on the 3 kms from Ballydavid to Boherboy and try to go over Brandon it makes it too long, except for the Germans!
Day 5 Boherboy to Cloghane – Benagh Farmhouse – Lori rode with the luggage and as it turned out I took the lower route over Mullagavale which again for fat Americans should be the route you promote the most. From Boherboy it was actually a pretty easy day as it was almost exactly 5 kms to the cut off over the pass. It was empty lanes and then 2.5 Kms on the road. After the pass, the 8 kms into town were a long road walk but there was no traffic. Not one car. It was a good enough climb that you felt like you did something but not a killer 700 meters over a 27 k day. I left at 9:00 AM and got to the B&B at 3:10 PM. In Cloghane you may want to push the O’Connell tavern for dinner a bit more. The proprietor (Michael) really did a good job on dinner and made everybody feel welcome. He announced where everybody was from and had his own little floor show going making everybody feel at home. He kept up a constant stream of chatter making it a very good evening in the Pub even for non drinkers. The Benagh Farmhouse was an older place but then the bed was the best on the trip. The shop in the breakfast room was great too.
Day 6 Cloghane to Camp – Finglas House. We cut across the neck of the peninsula and walked into Camp instead of a Taxi from Castlegregory. Mrs Daley was great. She greeted us like long lost family and fussed over Lori giving us a room with a bath instead of shower etc.
Overall a perfectly planned trip. Your B&B people were great through out. Just like you said in your instructions, your mix was good between old new etc. Also you have a very good reputation with the B&B’s. When we said we were with Tailor Made Tours they all seemed to relax as if they knew things were going to be easy and well planned. There seemed to be fancier B&Bs in several of the places but yours were really geared towards walkers. None of them minded muddy boots or wet clothes etc.