This itinerary takes adventurous travelers through ancient forests and glacial valleys of Ireland's Wicklow Mountains. Starting in the picturesque village of Clonegal, you'll hike along Ireland's most popular hiking trail that winds through small towns and country villages where you can experience authentic Irish hospitality. End your hiking trip in Dublin, where you can wander around Marlay Park and enjoy the lively nightlife.

Highlights

  • Hike along the Wicklow Way, one of Europe's most famous hiking trails
  • See ancient monastic ruins in the Glendalough Valley
  • Tour the Powerscourt Estate and Gardens
  • Enjoy a free evening in the lively city of Dublin

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Bunclody Bunclody
Day 2 Transfer to Clonegal - Hike to Shillelagh Shillelagh
Day 3 Explore an Ancient Ring Fort - Hike to Moyne Moyne
Day 4 Hike to Glenmalure Glenmalure
Day 5 See the Monastic Ruins of Glendalough Glendalough
Day 6 Explore Laragh - Roundwood Roundwood
Day 7 Tour Powerscourt Estate and Gardens - Enniskerry Enniskerry
Day 8 Marlay Park - Dublin Dublin
Day 9 Depart Dublin  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Bunclody

Walking path in Bunclody
Walking path in Bunclody

After your flight arrives in Ireland, a private driver will pick you up at the airport and take you to Bunclody in County Wexford. Bunclody is a small town with roughly 2,000 inhabitants on the Wexford-Carlow border where the rivers Slaney and Clody meet in the valley by the Blackstairs Mountains. Your accommodation is located in the center of this lively market town, so take advantage of your free time tonight to explore its streets.

Day 2: Transfer to Clonegal - Hike to Shillelagh

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After a hearty breakfast, you will be transferred to the beginning of the Wicklow Way in pretty Clonegal. This is your longest walking day but with very little height gain: a gentle way to ease you into your walking holiday. For this first section of the route, you will follow the Derry River walking on quiet rural roads, then moving onto mixed forest trails below the summits of Urlands Hill, Moylisha Hill and Shillelagh (also known as Raheenakit) before reaching the Stanakelly Crossroads. Here you will find a cozy country pub where you can have a light refreshment or a pint of Guinness and enjoy the atmosphere while waiting for a transfer to your accommodation in Shillelagh.

Day 3: Explore an Ancient Ring Fort - Hike to Moyne

Path to Moyne
Path to Moyne

Today you have a shorter day walking 11 miles (19 km) on the Wicklow Way from the village of Shillelagh to Moyne. Once again you will be walking along winding country roads (boreens), open mountain tracks with fantastic views and forest trails. The mountain trails along Muskeagh Hill will open up to awe-inspiring views of this lush countryside. Just off the trail, to the left between Ballybeg and Ballycumber Lane, you will be able to tour the remnants of an old ring fort. 

Day 4: Hike to Glenmalure

Forest path on the Wicklow Way
Forest path on the Wicklow Way

On your 13-mile (21 km) hike today, you'll transition to paths that wind through a forested area. You'll be gaining altitude on this portion of the trip, so the terrain will be a bit more uneven, and although this portion of the hike can be a little more challenging, you will be treated to some stunning scenery in the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains.

When you walk through Ballyteige, you will get your first proper glimpse of Lugnaquilla, the highest peak in Wicklow. Continuing further along the trail to the Carrickashane woods, you will reach a clearing with excellent mountain views. Moving into the Aghavannagh Valley, you will enter the evergreen forest on Slieve Mann Mountain before descending into Glenmalure, your picturesque home for the evening.

Day 5: See the Monastic Ruins of Glendalough

Ruins of Glendalough
Ruins of Glendalough

Today, as you leave your accommodation and contine your journey, you can see the U-shaped valley of Glenmalure, which is the longest glacial valley in Ireland. You'll walk about 8 miles (14 km ) through the heart of the Wicklow Mountains and to the world-renowned heritage site of Glendalough. Here, in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains National Park, you'll be able to tour the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul, Trinity Church, the Round Tower, St. Kevin's Kitchen, and more ruins dating back to the 10th century. 

Day 6: Explore Laragh - Roundwood

Lake Vartry in Roundwood
Lake Vartry in Roundwood

You'll have a short and pleasant walking day today, with just a 9-mile (15 km) walk out of the beautiful Glendalough Valley on forest trails. Outside of Glendalough, you'll come upon the village of Laragh. This lively village makes a great stop for lunch, and it has plenty of shops, restaurants, and bars. The final portion of your journey to Roundwood will take you along a mixture of peaceful forest trails, mountain paths, and boreens (country lanes).

Day 7: Tour Powerscourt Estate and Gardens - Enniskerry

Powerscourt Estate
Powerscourt Estate

On today's 11-mile (19 km) hike across the tops of mountains will provide amazing views of both mountains and the coast. As you ascend the ridge around Lough Dan (Lake Dan), you'll continue along the path until you reach a perfect vantage point to view Lough Tay (Lake Tay) and its white sandy beach that resembles a pint of Guinness. (Fittingly, this area is owned by the Guinness family).

From this point, you will once again head north through the forest over White Hill and across the moorland of the well-known Djouce Mountain. As you descend Djouce, you will be able to make a stop and tour the Powerscourt Estate and Gardens. After you're done seeing this magnificent 18th-century home, you'll finish your walk to your accommodation in the Glencree Valley.

Day 8: Marlay Park - Dublin

Dublin city center
Dublin city center

Your last day on the trail will take you 13 miles (22 km) to Dublin. When you arrive at the cairn (a man-made pile or stack of stones at the top of a mountain) at the top of Two Rock Mountain, you can see an impressive panoramic vista of the whole city of Dublin.

From this point, you will walk downhill until you reach the beautiful Georgian estate of Marlay Park where the Wicklow Way stops. Originally a walled manor house with over 300 acres of land, it is now an idyllic location to stop and have tea or coffee before making your way into Dublin city center. There are frequent buses from Marlay Park that will take you into the center of Dublin.

Day 9: Depart Dublin

Goodbye, Ireland
Goodbye, Ireland

Today, your trip comes to an end. In the morning, a driver will meet you at your hotel and transfer you to the airport where you'll catch your flight home or continue onward to the rest of your Irish adventure elsewhere in the Emerald Isle.