The Wicklow Way runs through the wonderful Wicklow Mountains on the east coast of Ireland. The route covers 129 km (80 mi) and was Ireland’s first waymarked trail.
The name Wicklow comes from the Viking Wykynlo or “Viking’s Loch” referring to one of their favourite bases on the Irish coast. Mountains cover the middle and west of the county with good pastureland in the east along a gentle coastline. Rounded during the last Ice Age, the hills are smooth with granite bases and shiny schists poking through, giving a wonderful silvery light. The Ice Age also produced the deep valleys of Glenmacanass, Glenmalure and Glendalough, which run northwest to southeast, providing wonderful views and plenty of legwork for the aspiring walker!
Founded by Dublin hill walker J.B. Malone in 1963, the Wicklow Way is one of the best managed routes in the country, thanks to the Wicklow Uplands Council and local landowners. It is a pleasure to walk, well signposted with rougher sections of the track graded to prevent erosion. The central section is covered by the Wicklow Mountains National Park – its headquarters are in Glendalough and worth a visit. The route follows on occasion the Military Road, constructed by the British in the early 19th century to gain access to the lower regions of the county and the Irish rebels hiding within.
The Way uses forest paths and minor roads in places to avoid walking on private land, but these in no way detract from the superb scenery. The route passes through few towns or villages, so most day to day walking is remote. Approximately 20% of the route is on tarred roads.
We offer the Wicklow Way from south to north, starting in the lower farming countryside and working up to the higher hills. This allows for an easy transfer back to Dublin at the end of your walking tour. We also suggest several optional mountain routes to extend the itinerary. Please follow these with care and caution, as they are not Waymarked.
This 10-day tour includes 8 full days walking from Bunclody in north Co. Wexford to Enniskerry in north Co. Wicklow. From low farming foothills and the Ow river valley, the route climbs through the great glens of Wicklow with spectacular scenery of mountains and lakes.
This tour is rated MODERATE with options to make some days more RELAXED or STRENUOUS.
See how we determine levels of difficulty for each of our hiking tours by visiting our FAQ page.
Travel by bus from Dublin to Bunclody, a pretty town on the banks of the river Slaney.
Overnight in Bunclody.
Your first day of walking takes you along country roads through Newry forest, over Moilishe and Stookeen Hill down into the forest of Raheenakit.
Distance 20km (12mi). Ascents 500m (1,640ft). Approximate walking time 6 hours.
Overnight in Shillelagh.
Your journey to Moyne takes you along peaceful forest trails, open mountainside and quiet country roads. Moyne was the birthplace of Edward C. Godwin, who founded the publication New York Nation in 1865. This section of the Wicklow Way takes in some fantastic views, retracing the area that you have passed through, as well as adjacent counties of Carlow and Wexford. It also passes through an old ring fort (fairy fort).
Distance 24km (15mi). Ascents 513m (1,683ft). Approximate walking time 5 hours.
With Ballycumber Hill: 20km (12mi). Ascents 400m (1,312ft). Approximate walking time 6 hours.
Overnight in Moyne.
Good climbing today through pine forest and a chance to spot a red deer and other Wicklow flora and fauna. The finish at Drumgoff, at the head of the picturesque Glenmalure Valley, provides a refreshing end to the day at the old coaching inn, Glenmalure Lodge. The optional route over Croaghanmoira climbs to 664m and affords glorious views of the Ow and Avonbeg river valleys.
Option 1: 24km (15mi). Ascents 800m (2,625ft). Approximate walking time 6 hours.
Croaghanmoira Hill: 21 km (13mi). Ascents 950m (3,117ft). Approximate walking time 6 hours.
Overnight in Glenmalure.
Today’s valley route takes you through pine forest for wonderful views of the deep gorge of the Avonbeg river on the eastern flank of Lugnaquilla, the highest point in the area. The descent follows Carrawaystick Brook as it drains the lough into the Avonbeg 450m below. Carriglineen is an easier route for a good walk coupled with some relaxation at the Lodge.
Carriglineen Mountain: 8.5km (5mi). Ascents 330m (1,083ft). Approximate walking time 3 hours.
Glenmalure Valley: 12km (7mi). Ascents 600m (1,969ft). Approximate walking time 5 hours.
Ascents of Lugnaquilla are for the experienced hiker and would also start from Glenmalure.
Overnight in Drumgoff.
Today is one of the tour’s highlights with superb views, walking and 6th century monastic remains at Glendalough. Climbing through forest from Drumgoff, the Way opens to the flat saddle of Mullacor at 550m before crossing open moorland to the slopes of Derrybawn Mountain. The first view of Glendalough (An Gleann Dhá Locha, the glen of the two lakes) is wonderful, with deep wooded sides and the Glenalo River flowing through. From the valley, a short climb takes you northeast and then down the Glenmacnass Valley to Laragh village.
Option 1: 18km (11mi). Ascents 530m (1,739ft). Approximate walking time 6 hours.
Option 2: 20km (12mi). Ascents 600m (1,969ft). Approximate walking time 7 hours.
Overnight in Laragh village.
There are plenty of options today. Explore a monastic settlement in the valley, including seven churches, a gatehouse, a round tower and St. Kevin’s cell. Hiking options include the two suggested as well as a number of accessible routes via Derrybawn Mountain, Brockagh, the Glendassan Valley or Trooperstown Hill. The area is rich in heritage and history, both ecclesiastical and political.
Upper Lake and Mines: 16km (10mi). Ascents 540m (1,772ft). Approximate walking time 6 hours.
Camaderry Hill: 18km (11mi). Ascents 580m (1,903ft). Approximate walking time 6 hours.
Overnight in Laragh village.
A short day allows time to visit the monastic remains and Visitor Centre at Glendalough. The valley was also home to extensive mining of lead, copper and zinc during the 19th century. The Way climbs the gentle flank of Paddock Hill, descending to Oldbridge, the Avonmore River and the beautiful Lough Dan. An optional route on Scarr Mountain offers wonderful views of this lake. Today’s section finishes in Roundwood, Ireland’s highest village at 238m.
Distance 11km (7mi). Ascents 290m (951ft). Approximate walking time 3 hours.
Via Scarr Mountain 15km (9mi). Ascents 520m (1,706ft). Approximate walking time 5 hours.
Overnight in Roundwood village.
Wonderful walking today, overlooking Lough Tay, Lough Dan and Luggala Estate of the Guinness Family. A raised path covers a long stretch of open moorland to the saddle between White Hill and Djouce Mountain. From here it is possible to see the coast as far as Howth Head in north Co. Dublin. Descending past the 120m fall of Powerscourt Waterfall, enter the peace of the Glencree River Valley and a wonderful riverbank walk.
Distance 22km (14mi). Ascents 510m (1,673ft). Approximate walking time 5 hours.
Overnight near Enniskerry.
Depart to Dublin and explore the many splendours of Ireland’s capital city. We recommend some interesting walking tours of historical Dublin city centre.
It is possible to extend this itinerary to complete the Wicklow Way walk at Marlay Park in south Co. Dublin. Please do enquire if you are interested!
August 2019 – Kathy & 3 friends, Philadelphia, PA, USA
Thanks for checking in with me. We had a terrific time. Perfect weather. Not a drop of rain. The walk couldn’t have been more beautiful. We mistakenly took the Spinx walk — It was a fortuitous mistake. The Spinx was one of the great highlights of the walk. The walk to Marlay Park was terrific. I’m so glad we decided to do the last leg. Hopefully, we will be back soon for another trip. It was magnificent. And you were terrific about staying in touch with us.
June 2019 – Amanda & David, Deklab, IL USA
David and I returned home (without flight mishap!) on Saturday evening, and I just wanted to send you a quick follow-up about how much we enjoyed our trip. Everyone we met was so kind and inviting and the countryside was just gorgeous. Our walk through Wicklow was definitely a success! I also wanted to thank you for your extra work in shifting our whole trip back a day given our late arrival. We don’t have a lot of vacation time and just wanted to get away to enjoy a new place and culture. It was perfect. Thank you for being so accommodating and for helping us. I will be happy to recommend Tailor Made to friends if they travel to Ireland!
September 2019 – Grahame & 3 sons, Cheshire UK
We had a wonderful 5 day holiday and really appreciated the organisation of the walking holiday and the quality of the accommodation and warm welcome from all.