Overview of the Wicklow Way. The Wicklow Way is a 127km walking trail that starts in Marlay Park in south County Dublin. After that it crosses over the Wicklow Mountains and finishes in the village of Clonegal in County Carlow (note that the walk can be completed by starting in Clonegal and finishing in Marlay Park also). I completed the Wicklow Way in 6 days in September 2020.
Accommodation along the way consisted of pubs/guesthouses, Air BnBs and Hotels.
The Wicklow Way trail itself is 127km. Despite this, I walked just over 150km over the 6 days. Some of my accommodation bookings were not directly on the trail so necessitated walking extra km to get to my lodgings.
Walking the Wicklow Way in 6 Days
My lasting impression of the Wicklow Way is that it’s a constant up or down with very few spells of flat walking along the way. Subsequently, this provides some spectacular views when you reach the peaks and some necessity for care on the declines which can be both steep and a little unsteady underfoot in some places. Good footwear is a must.
The trail is extremely well kept. I noticed very little litter along the way. The Leave No Trace principles can help to make sure this stays the same.
The route passes through a good deal of forestry which can be a little mundane in areas. Ultimately though, you are always rewarded with spectacular views when you do exit the forests so it makes it well worth it.
The trail itself is very well marked out. For instance, at every juncture you come to, there will either be a signpost or the universal walking man symbol pointing you in the right direction. It can be a little difficult on rare occasions to see the symbols as surrounding plants/trees may be overgrown and obscuring the view.
Overall the Wicklow Way in 6 days of walking consisted of the following:
(Note: The above distances are only the km per day on the actual Wicklow Way. I walked further distances on most days to get to my accommodation for the night)
You need to be able to walk at c. 25km each day over a six day period. Please bear in mind when preparing for the Wicklow Way, that the trail is over many hills and mountains (total elevation is over 3,200 metres over the course of the walk). I would consider myself moderately fit and found the going tough in places. In saying that, my mother who is 71 joined me for days 4 and 6. While she found theses walks quite difficult, she was able to complete it.
If you are concerned about fitness requirements, I would suggest spacing the walk out over more days.
I used Wicklow Way Baggage to transfer my main bag between accommodations for the first 3 days. My Dad was able to complete baggage collection and drop-offs for the last 3 days. Wicklow Way Baggage provided a completely reliable service. They always arrived at the times they said they would. I had no issues at all with them. Similarly, my father was also quite dependable.
Wicklow Way Baggage costs €7.50 per bag per day but do have a minimum fee of €15 per day. Meanwhile I bought my Dad a pint to say thanks.
Food and drinks along the Wicklow Way in 6 Days
A packed lunch is essential as there will be no other lunch options on most days. I brought 1.5L of water with me each day too. That is to say, I would not personally trust the water from the streams and rivers along the journey without treating them first.
Of course, the great thing about eating outdoors is the view. You will remember them much more than what you had to eat. Below is a selection of some of my mealtime views (the Guinness was with my dinner one evening!!).
Let’s get started! Day 1 of the Wicklow Way.