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The Wicklow Way 8 Day Hike/Self Guide

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The Wicklow Way 8 Day Hike/Self Guide

The county of Wicklow is often called ‘the Garden of Ireland’, alluding to the fine agricultural land and magnificent scenery in the hinterland of Dublin, Ireland’s capital city.There are several fine country houses with estates: Powerscourt, Avondale, Russborough, Kilmacurragh, Kilruddery and Mount Usher.However, Wicklow is not all country estates and green, rolling hills.

The Wicklow Mountains (which together with the Dublin Mountains form a single range) constitute the highest unbroken highland area in Ireland.The predominant rock is granite, forming a plateau mainly covered with peaty soil.Most of the valleys which cut into this plateau run down to the east coast (Glencullen, Glencree, Glendalough and Glenmalure) or west to the plains of Kildare and Carlow (Glen of Imaal and the Upper Liffey Valley).

The Wicklow Way 8 Day Hike/Self Guide

The Wicklow Way starts at Marlay Park in South County Dublin, traverses the Wicklow Mountains from north to south and leaves the county in the southwest to finish in Co. Wicklow.It runs along the eastern escarpment, connecting many of the most scenic parts of Wicklow, such as Powerscourt Demesne, Djouce Mountain, the monastic city of Glendalough and the remote tranquillity of Glenmalure.

The jewel of Wicklow is undoubtedly Glendalough, ‘the valley of the two lakes’ where St. Kevin founded a monastery in the 6th century.A number of buildings remain (mainly from the 10th and 11th centuries), including the cathedral, a chapel known as St. Kevin’s Kitchen, the round tower and several subsidiary churches.The nearby interpretative centre has an audio-visual presentation on monastic life in Ireland and a scale model showing how the monastic city looked in its heyday.The Upper Lake at Glendalough is in a deep U-shaped glacial valley which can be appreciated in full by making the steep climb to the viewpoint of the Spink.

Wicklow is an ideal area for walkers who want to enjoy splendid scenery without too much arduous terrain.Most of the walks are on well-walked tracks, many of them waymarked, with some stretches on minor roads.The climate in Wicklow, being on the east coast, is noticeably drier than in the West of Ireland.Access to the region is simple from Dublin and a tour of Wicklow can easily be combined with a visit to Ireland’s capital.

Trip Outline:

The route for the first half of the tour follows the Wicklow Way fairly closely.The first day’s walk takes you from Marlay Park over the Dublin Mountains, and the next day you cross the shoulder of Djouce Mountain to reach your overnight accommodation in Ireland’s highest village, Roundwood.From here you continue south on the Wicklow Way, making a detour to climb Scarr Mountain and finishing at the village of Laragh near Glendalough.

The following day you have the opportunity to explore the Glendalough and environs at greater length, or alternatively to do a riverside walk in the Devil’s Glen. The next day’s walk brings you through the ancient monastic city of Glendalough before crossing the mountains to remote Glenmalure.On your final day you return by a different route to Laragh.

Day 1:

Arrive in Dublin City.On arrival at your first accommodation your hostess will give you your full detailed information pack.

Day 2:

You will be transferred/driven by taxi to begin your first days walking at Marlay Park to the start of the Wicklow Way.Walk through Marlay Park before rising to cross the Dublin Mountains, enjoying sea and mountain views.Crossing the boundary into County Wicklow and descending into the Glencree Valley you walk to your accommodation in Enniskerry village.Overnight Enniskerry.

Walk Details: Approx. Distance:18 kms.Approx. Duration:5.5 hours.Max. Height:500 metres.Path, some road walking, forest track and mountain path.Can be wet underfoot.Boots essential.

Day 3:

Walk back to the Wicklow Way and continue across the Glencree Valley, around the shoulder of Djouce Mountain and over White Hill to finish in the lovely village of Roundwood.This walk takes you past the impressive Powerscourt Waterfall before climbing to walk around Djouce Mountain to your high point for the day on White Hill.As you descend you have glorious views of the spectacular glacial lakes of Lough Tay and Lough Dan.Overnight in Roundwood.

Walk Details: Approx. Distance:21 kms.Approx. Duration:7 hours.Max. Height:630 metres.Forest track, some road walking, mountain path.Some sections can be very wet and boggy.Boots essential.

Day 4:

Leaving Roundwood you walk over Paddock Hill to the village of Laragh at the entrance to the valley of Glendalough.Today’s walk takes you around the perimeter of the Barton Estate before taking a detour from the Wicklow Way to the top of Scarr Mountain.From here you descend by an old Mass Path to your overnight accommodation in Laragh.

Walk Details: Approx. Distance 12 kms (to Laragh).Approx. Duration:4 hours.Max. Height:360 metres.Some road walking, mountain path and forest track.Boots essential.

Day 5:

Today gives you an opportunity to explore the environs of Glendalough in greater detail.You may wish to visit the buildings of the monastic city and the interpretative centre or to do one of the shorter walks in Glenmacnas, Glendasan or to the lead mines in Glendalough.Alternatively, you may wish to do the beautiful woodland walk beside the river in the Devil’s Glen.A number of private bus companies offer transport from Glendalough, which makes it possible to do excursions to Rathdrum (Parnell’s homeplace) or Avoca (Ballykissangel).Overnight at Laragh.

Walk Details: Distance:variable, according to choice of walk.

Day 6:

From Laragh walk into the valley of Glendalough before climbing to cross over into the valley of Glenmalure.This walk follows an old “green road” to near the Upper Lake before climbing steeply beside Poul an Eas Waterfall and up the steep steps to the Spink, from where you will gain a bird’s eye view of Glendalough and the Upper Lake.From the Spink you continue over the shoulder of Lugduff Mountain to the pass of Borenacrow.Descending into Glenmalure - with good views of the valley and Lugnaquilla which is the highest mountain in County Wicklow - you finish your walk at the pub in Drumgoff/Glenmalure.Overnight Glenmalure.

Walk Details: Approx. Distance:17 kms/19 kms.Approx. Duration:6.5 hours.Max. Height:640 metres.Track, forest track, short section of mountain path.Mountain path is boggy.Boots essential.

Day 7:

Return to Drumgoff/Glenmalure crossroads to start today’s walk, which crosses the mountains back to Laragh by a different route.Following forest tracks, you climb to the summit of Mullacor.The route continues along the mountain ridge to Cullentragh Mountain and Derrybawn Mountain, before descending to Glendalough.Alternatively, if the weather is unfavourable you can descend from Mullacor via the Wicklow Way through the forest.Overnight at Laragh.

Walk Details: Approx. Distance:17 kms.Approx. Duration:6.5 hours.Max. Height:660 metres.Forest track and mountain path.Boots essential.

Day 8:

From Laragh you can take a private or public Bus Service back to Dublin City Centre, where there is a regular Aircoach to Dublin Airport. OR get the public Bus to Bray and the Dart Train to Dublin City and again avail of services to other part of the country or to the Airport.

Bus service from Laragh to Dublin City Centre/Bus Arus takes about 75 minutes. Airlink coach to Airport takes about 60 minutes.

Benny's Ireland Vacations, Inc. reserves the right to alter this itinerary due to weather conditions, the conditions of the walks, or the ability of clients. Benny's Ireland Vacations, Inc. has given the above Walk Details as a guideline - these may not be accurate on the day due to weather or individual walking pace.

Do note that Ireland can be a little “damp” both underfoot and overhead.Irish weather is unpredictable, one of the attractions of walking here, so the nature of walks can change quickly and dramatically because of the weather.For all self-guided walking holidays it is an advantage to be able to map read and navigate with a compass.

There is some road walking on self-guided holidays.Some parts of the walks in Ireland are very remote in places.Very often there are no opportunities to stop and purchase a mid-day lunch – a packed lunch is required in such locations. Local shops are available in each of the villages that we overnight OR your Hostess will arrange one for you, if you advise the night before. (cost to client).

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