This is the Wicklow Way Page. It features an interactive map (towards the bottom of the page) that is intended to help anyone planning a hike along the walk to plan the each days walking. To this end the path is clearly marked with alternating red and orange sections. Each section is 2 miles long except for the last section which is 1.25 miles long. Much of this information is provided in a booklet format available on Amazon to allow easy planning of the walk as well as a handy pocket resource to allow the walker to track their progress throughout the walk.
Planning a walk on the Wicklow Way
The Wicklow Way starts in Marlay Park on the southern outskirts of Dublin and ends Clonegall in County Carlow, just South of the Wicklow border. While it is typically described North to South like this there is nothing stopping you from starting in Clonegall and walking North.
In either case unless it is very convenient for you to get to Clonegall the best way to get to the starting point is to get to Dublin. From there you can either get the number 16 bus to Marlay Park, or hop on the Luas (light rail) Green Line at St. Stephen's Green and get off at Balally and walk up to Marlay Park (about 1.75 miles). Clonegall is pretty remote, so getting to/from it involves either using Bus Eireann services (check with their web site) or getting to Carlow town by bus or train and then getting a taxi (about 40 euro).
The trail is typically divided into the following sections, each section representing a day's walking. There is obviously no obligation to stick to this breakdown, and with this in mind the map below indicates the trail in two mile sections (alternating red and orange lines, though the last section into Clonegall only 1.25 miles). This allows you to quickly choose a day's walking by counting sections up to the distance you feel comfortable with. This will depend on the type of terrain, so the terrain associated with each of the standard sections is described.
Marlay Park to Glencree, 12 miles
The trail starts near the car park on the North side of Marlay Park. It passes through to the South exit from the park and turns right onto College Road, and shortly after left under the M50 to climb steeply up Kilmashogue Lane. Near the crest of the lane it turns left onto a forestry road and heads through the woods for about a mile where (after a zig-zag) turns right off the gravel road onto a rock and sand track heading South. As this track flattens the trail turns right and slopes down slightly, before turning left again and descending to the Glencullen road and a sharp turn left. Heading about half a mile towards Glencullen the trail then takes a sharp right, descends to a bridge and then climbs, passing through several gates/stiles and onto forestry road again. This climbs steadily through the woods below Prince William's Seat before emerging from the trees and onto a mountain track, followed by a very rocky path descending again to forestry road. Continuing downhill into Glencree the trail emerges onto the road and a right turn, followed by a left brings the walker around the foot of Knockree, before turning left into the woods for about 0.5 miles and then descending a steep rock and sand track to the road near Glencree Hostel. Turn left here for the Hostel, or cross the road to continue on the trail.
Cumulative climb heading West: 716m. Cumulative climb heading East: 642m.
Naismith's rule would peg this at 5hrs 10 minutes heading North to South, and 5 hours heading South to North.
Glencree to Glendalough, 18 miles (often split in 2 at Roundwood)
The trail crosses the road (heading slightly right) and heads downhill on a forestry road. After a short while there is a left turn through a kissing gate into a field where the trail heads sharply downhill to the river where it turns left following a mown track along the river. After several meanders it crosses at a bridge and heads uphill to the road where it turns left and then right into Crone Woods. Shortly after the car park it turns left and not long after left again. Heading through a section of deciduous wood along forestry roads the trail emerges into a re-planted area and turns right and left to give a fantastic view over the Deerpark and Powerscourt Waterfall. Turning right here onto a track that leads up to a wall/fence onto the mountain where it turns left to descend to a bridge and climb up to the shoulder of Djouce. Passing over a stile the trail then turns right over another stile and climbs towards Djouce, but keeps to the left of the summit along what is at times little more than a sheep trail. On the far side of Djouce a raised boardwalk brings the walker over White's Hill and down to the woods, eventually emerging onto the road and turning left. A short walk downhill leads to a right turn onto forestry roads again. This is mainly level except for a section of steep track near the end of the forestry, after which the trail enters fields again and then a right turn onto track, followed by left onto a minor road leading to a right turn onto a larger road at a skewed cross roads. At this point it is possible to take the road ahead (sort-of) towards Roundwood. Otherwise take the right turn and head down towards Oldbridge, and then up again over about a mile to a right turn onto a farm road. This changes to a track and then turns left to head uphill to Brusher's Gap (mountain hut here) before descending again over a couple of miles to the Old Military Road. Cross this road and follow the woodland trail to the forestry road for about a mile, then descend for about a mile, turning a sharp left off the forestry road through the trees, cross another road and into Glendalough.
Cumulative climb heading South: 1083m. Cumulative climb heading North: 1103m.
Naismith's rule would peg this at 7 hours 45 minutes walking time heading North-South and 7 hours 45 minutes heading South-North.
Glendalough to Glenmalure, 12 miles
From the car-park in Glendalough the trail crosses the bridge to the South side of the river and turns right. Following the river almost to the upper lake the trail turns left and heads up steps, emerging onto forestry road that folows a switchback route up into the woods. After about 3 miles it emerges from the trees and a boardwalk brings the walker below Mullacor and back into the trees to descend a track to forestry road again. About 4 miles of this forestry road brings the trail to the road in Glenmalure, turn right. Here there is a pub/hotel.
Cumulative climb heading South: 833m. Cumulative climb heading North: 786m.
Naismith's rule would peg this at 5 hours 25 minutes heading North-South and 5 hours 20 minutes heading Sout-North.
Glenmalure to Moyne
From the pub in Glenmalure head down and cross the bridge, turning right into the woods shortly after, This is the halfway point. The trail zig-zag's along the forest road, turning a sharp left, right at a fork, then bending right before turning left, then left again, then right. Next keep an eye out on the right as it heads off the forestry road and up a steep track to another road. Here head straight across and continue on the track, which goes on to bend to the left before joining another road at a sharp bend. Turning right and following the road for about a mile and a half, then it zig-zags again, first on forestry road, then out of the trees and onto a track that joins a minor road, turn right and follow the road for a short distance before turning left onto another forestry road. This section winds through the woods for about 2 miles, passing the Mucklagh Hut on the way, eventually emerging on a minor road. Here turn right then left onto a short track. At the bottom of the track turn right, then left to cross the bridge, ignore the first left and take the second one. After about 0.25 miles the trail heads up a track to the right, bending to the right and climbing to the road beside another bridge. Here turn left over the bridge and right into the forestry again. A little over 2 miles trecking through this forestry (much of it clear felled at time of writing), with a final zig-zag brings the walker to a road. Here turn left and head for slightly under 2 miles past Moyne to a sharp left turn, at this turn the trail turns right down a rough track.
Cumulative climb heading West: 798m. Cumulative climb heading East: 922m.
Naismith's rule would peg this at 6 hours heading North-South and 6 hours 10 minutes heading South-North.
Moyne to Shillelagh, 14 miles
At the bottom of the rough track the trail turns left onto the road, and then down a sharp right and over a bridge. At the T junction turn left and follow the very minor road for about 2 miles, with a couple of right turns towards the end. At this point keep an eye out on the right for a rough track that fords a small stream and heads uphill. This climbs and bends around to the right and requires the negotiation of several stiles over the next couple of miles over fields and farm tracks, before entering woodlands and gradually improving roads that emerge suddenly over a bridge onto a significant rural road that often has quite fast moving traffic. At this point turn left and if you continue straight ahear the walker will reach Tinahealy after about a mile, but the trail turns a sharp left uphill after a few hundred meters, near the top of the hill it turns up a rough sometimes overgrown track for a short distance, emerging onto a farm track, here turn left, then right and follow uphill, ignoring turns to left and right. This can be very muddy at the crest, afterwhich it heads downhill to another minor road where the trail turns left. Follow this to a crossroads and turn left, heading downhill to another junction, here turn right heading uphill, ignore the first left and take the second. This road turns left and continues straight for about a mile to a junction with a pub, here turn right uphill. Continue largely straight until another cross roads, turn left and follow the road to another busy rural road (R725). A right followed by a left and a climb to a T junction where the trail goes left and fairly flat for about 0.75 miles where the trail turns right. At this point the walker can go straight and rejoin the R725 where a right turn will lead to Shillelagh after about two miles.
Cumulative climb heading South: 746m. Cumulative climb heading North: 616m.
Naismith's rule would peg this at 6 hours heading North-South and 5 hours 40 minutes heading South-North. heading West and 4hours 58 minutes heading East.
Shillelagh to Clonegall, 10 miles
Back at the right turn the road continues with a slight incline at first and then climbs sharply along side a forest, not long after the crest of the hill the trail turns right into the forest and right again. It then meanders along the forestry roads for about a mile and a half before turning left down a rough track that emerges onto a road, here turn right. Continue straight for about 0.75 miles and then turn left, follow this road to the T junction and turn left again. After about 0.75 miles turn left onto the forestry road. Again a meadering route takes the walker up around and down (turn right at the unmarked junction) and out onto more of a farm track, that then turns into a minor road. Follow this straight through a cross roads, and then on to the next junction where the trail keeps right and heads for slightly over 2 miles into Clonegall. Here there are pubs, at least one shop, and a church where you can pray for the recovery of your feet.
Cumulative climb heading West: 278m. Cumulative climb heading East: 511m.
Naismith's rule would peg this at 3 hours 45 minutes heading North-South and 4 hours 15 minutes heading South-North.
AccomodationHaving decided how far you want to walk on a given day (taking into account the terrain descriptions given above) the next thing to do is arrange accomodation. There a a couple of Hostels (Glencree and Glendalough) and no shortage of B&Bs to avail of. Camping in the Wicklow National park is permitted, but not in Glendalough, and two mountain huts are provided (at section 14: Brushers Gap and section 23:Mucklagh, near Aughavannagh)
While the trail is not too hard going it is far more pleasant to leave the heavy lifting to someone else, and a couple of possibilities exist to help in this regard. Often the B&B will transport your bags on to your next destination (for a fee) and otherwise a dedicated company called Wicklow Way Baggage will sort out your full baggage transfer itinerary.
It is also hoped to eventually provide a gallery of photos to help give an impression of the scenery on various stages of the walk.