The Wicklow Way: Walking and Hiking Ireland from Dublin

The Wicklow Way is advertised as an epic 8 day hike starting in Murray Park in Dublin, and ending over 81 miles (131km) away in the south, but in reality it's actually quite a bit further. To put that into perspective, it's like hiking three 5k races everyday for over a week or just over 3 marathons. But the good news is that since you're splitting it up over a week, you an take your time, enjoy the sights along the way, and even have hot food and a warm bed at night in between, not to mention a full Irish breakfast. We're doing the walk in part to raise awareness for a charity that supports kids in 3rd world countries.

If you've never heard of the Wicklow walk, it's a beautiful way to walk straight from Dublin into the forrest and hike through mountains, lakes, steep sided glacial valleys, mountain streams, lakes forest, farmland and pastures of sheep! That means you could literally get off a plane in Dublin airport, and take either a taxi or bus to the start point and start walking! What we really liked was that it is a marked path which makes it possible self guide through it without a guide by simply following the posted markers and signs. In this post, I'm going to break down step by step exactly what we did starting from what we packed, to how we preplanned the trip, as well as what we did each day of the wicklow way! Keep reading for the full guide.

Wicklow Way Walk Hike

Here's the Video:

My buddy Sam Marks who organized the walk made an epic video of the entire Wicklow Way + Three More Weeks of walking across all of Ireland. Just a bit of inspiration before planning your trip to see what it's all about! 

Packing for Wicklow Way:

Before even starting the journey, you need to decide what to bring with yon on your trip. For me, mainly due to the excitement of preplanning and reading everything I could on the subject, I started weeks early and even went on two practice hikes over the weekend just to break in the boots, and get used to carrying some of the weight. My suggestion is to do an actual simulated hike with everything you plan on bringing, that way you'll realize how heavy your pack will actually be and I promise it'll encourge you to take a few items out of your pack as the ouches and grams really add up even if you think they don't weight much on their own.

Here is everything that I brought with me:

1x Pair of Mid Top Hiking Boots (Quechua Arpenaz 100 Mid)
1x Hiking Backpack (Forclaz 40 Litre Backpack)
1x 13" Macbook Air
1x iPhone 7 Plus
1x Quick dry shorts
1x Long quick dry pants
3x Quick dry t-shirts
1x Quick dry long sleeve tee
2x Quick dry Boxers (Exofficio)
4x Pairs of Hiking Socks
1x Thermal Top
1x Thermal Bottom
1x Quick Dry Cap (Nike Featherlight)
2x Quick Dry Headbands (Buff)
Plus the other stuff mentioned in the video

Day 0: Dublin

Arriving in Dublin was pretty easy and straight forward. Since I was already in Barcelona, I was able to take a cheap 1 way flight from BCN direct to DUB for $50 on RyanAir. Unfortunately they were delayed arriving to let us on, which meant it was delayed taking off. Since airports have a strict flight take off schedule, due to the delay, we ended up sitting on the plane for an hour before we were able to take off, adding an hour to our flight. Also once getting into Dublin Airport, it somehow took 30 minutes to get through a queue of just 5 people as immigration was being super tough on everyone entering the country that wasn't part of the EU. They wanted to see a return ticket, but since I was planning to continue my walk, possibly all the way to Galway and needed the flexibility of staying longer I didn't have one. Luckily the agent let me log into my bank account on my phone and prove that I had enough money to not only support myself in Ireland during these next few months, but also buy a ticket home. 

Getting a SIM card at the airport was a bit more confusing than it should have been for a 1st world country, as there was no official shops, and I was directly by information to leave the terminal and go to a supermarket to buy one. They were somehow sold out, so I had to go back into the terminal, ask information again, and this time they directed me to a book shop that luckily had them. I ended up getting a 15GB Data only plan through Meteor, and so far on Day 4 now, the service has been good, even in most remote areas during the walk. Best of all it was only €25 which isn't terrible for that amount of data. Getting to the hotel would have been super easy if I was staying in the city center as they have buses for €6. However, since the cheapest hotel in the center this weekend was close to $300, we ended up staying at the travelodge phoenix park just outside the city, which was still an insanely overpriced €200 but it was the only option we could find as we arrived on a bank holiday weekend. The only good thing about arriving that day was going out to Templebar was probably extra fun as there were tons of bachelor and bachelorette parties happening that day. 

Travel Tip: Don't start your walk on a long weekend as hotel prices will be insane. 

Having a pint of Guinness before the big walk!

The local bands in Ireland are incredible!

Day 1: Marlay Park to Knockree

Distance: 21km (13.05miles) | Ascent: 600m | Time: 7hrs

We started the day with a full english breakfast, which surprisingly even at a Travelodge was really good. Taking the bus into the city center, we stopped by a Spar supermarket to buy sandwiches and snacks for the day's hike. From there you can easily take the bus to Marlay Park but since we were off to a late start, we decided to save 20 minutes by taking a taxi which ended up being €20 and didn't actually save us that much time.

My advice is to take the bus to the starting point which is well marked sign near the parking lot of the Marlay house. You can't miss it, but if you somehow do, here's a photo below of what it looks like.

Wicklow Way Start
The starting point of the Wicklow Way in Dublin's Marlay Park

The actual walk starts with a loop around the park itself, which is decently full of locals. It's a beautiful park, but it defientely feels like you're still in a park city park until you're actually in the forrest. Be sure to keep an eye out for Wicklow Way signs to make sure you're going the right direction.

They're clearly marked with a yellow sign, but it would have been a million times better if they used a WW-S or a WW-N sign instead, indicating it's Wicklow Way South or North as it's possible to get mixed up. Also we've seen this sign used in other paths as well, so just because it's a yellow hiker as pictured below, don't assume it's Wicklow Way.

wicklow way sign
Follow the Yellow Hiker Sign to the Wicklow Way

The first day's hike was decently tough and is rated strenuous, but even with the elevation gain, it's more like hiking up hill, then down hill, and back up a medium mountain than just a straight climb. On this first day make sure you bring 2 liters of water per person as it's a long way, as well as a sandwich and a snack for lunch.  Don't be tempted to go off the route and go to Johnny Fox's like we did as even though it's a very good pub, there are plenty of very good pubs in Ireland that you'll come across and it wasn't worth the 25 minute hike off trail. We first heard about it as the highest bar in Ireland which sounded cool, but in reality, it's not on a mountain or anything, it's just a normal street on top of a hill and the biggest problem by going there is that you have to walk over 2km on straight pavement both there and back which is both boring and adds a lot of time to your walk, along with the time you would spend at the pub.

We made the mistake of going, and even though it was fun, it caused us to get lost trying to use google maps to find a shortcut back to the trail or the destination hostel, which made the day even longer and more exhausting. Even though we left Dublin around 11:30am, we didn't make it to the Knockree Hostel until 8:30pm and we were beyond exhausted. The good news is even though they said on their website that they didn't serve dinner and there were no restaurants, pubs or places to buy food nearby, they actually had a pretty well stocked shop in the reception and a self catering kitchen where you could cook it all. I made a spaghetti with pasta sauce and for three people you can get away with using 1 pack of dried pasta and 2 jars of sauce for a decent meal.

Knockree Hostel Food

Overall, the first day's hike was super challenging, I'd say it was a 9 out of 10 in terms of difficulty. My body wasn't used to the weight of the pack, or hiking that many miles, but it was beautiful and I was glad to have experienced it.

The only thing that was a bit of a let down was the fact that very few other people at the hostel were on the hike as most of them drove there or took a bus. I had originally assumed that since it was in the middle of no where, that it'd be this epic comradery of people who have just done the same walk, so don't expect that and you'll be fine.

As for the hostel itself, Knockree was awesome. Really well laid out, had a great kitchen, eating area, decent wifi at least downstairs, good 3G connection, lots of outlets, comfortable dorm beds, and my favorite part was a TV room with a ton of DVD's. We watched Fun with Dick and Jane with Jim Carrey as I've never seen it before and it was a easy to follow, fun movie to watch when otherwise we were all tired. The only thing that wasn't supplied at the hostel was soap or towels. My advice is to bring a bit of soap, and rent a towel for $2.

Overall, the hike so far has been beautiful, and it's only day 1!

wicklow way johnny fd

Day 2: Knockree to Roundwood

Distance: 18km (11.48 miles) | Ascent: 500m | Time: 6.5hrs

Waking up in Knockree our legs were exhausted but we were full of energy and excited for a new day. For breakfast we ordered the full Irish breakfast which was very good and opted to buy a packed lunch as we knew there would be no shops along the way.  Unfortunately the sandwich wasn't very tasty, but I guess it got the job done. The only other options you could have done was to bring a container with you and take along some extra pasta from the night before, or maybe make yourself a bacon sandwich in the morning to bring along.  Either way, it wasn't inedible or anything, it just reminded of a terrible school lunch sandwich for $6.

The walk itself slightly shorter but still a grueling day. Luckily, the sights were even more beautiful than the first day. The fog rolled in giving a nice contrast with the forrest and the backdrop of green. A large part of the trail was a wooden boardwalk made from old railroad tracks put there partially because of muddy trails from the rain as well as a way to preserve the growth by keeping everyone on path. It was a bit annoying to walk on, but wasn't slippery or difficult. The best part was after the boardwalk ended, we crossed a small bridge and a beautiful creek. It was the perfect place to stop for lunch.  It was also the first place we saw someone camping with a tent. 

My two favorite beers. Hop House 13 and Guinness

Once we reached Roundwood, we immidently got a pint of Guinness, a hot shower, and some food. The funny thing is when I asked for a Pint of Guinness and a Water, they thought I said, a Pint of Guinness and a Larger and brought me two beers! Luckily the Hop House 13 Lager they brought turned out to be incredible and is now my favorite, and is about a million times better than Miller, Stella Artois, Beck's, Budweiser, Corona, Tsingtao, Kirin, Heineken, Foster's, or Carlsberg which are other lagers. 

We ate, drank and stayed at The Coach House which we were pleased with as you could get your own room and a bit of privacy to have a good night's sleep. The pub itself had good food, decent wifi, and great beds. The manger was also nice enough to let Sam store his luggage for the entire 3 weeks trip at no charge! He had it delivered from the airport as they had lost it the day prior when he arrived. 

Overall, beautiful day, great pub, and a good night's sleep to rest and recover from another exhausting day. 

wicklow way

Day 3: Roundwood to Glendalough

Distance: 12km (7.46 miles) | Ascent: 350m | Time: 4hrs

Waking up exhausted still from two long days of walking, we had a decent breakfast at The Coach house and was thankful that today's hike was going to be much easier. It was both a bit shorter and less uphill which was great as our legs were completely shot. It was another beautiful walk and it was the first time we saw a lean-to shelter on the trail. It was in a beautiful spot, had a fire pit, and even rain water collection, which advised to be boiled before drinking, but either way, would have been a beautiful place to camp out for the night, even without a tent. It made me think about how possible it would be to do the Wicklow Way while camping, and realized that even though it would be possible, you'd have to go into towns to buy food, or carry it with you which would be added weight. Personally, I wouldn't camp Wicklow Way since there are dorms and BnBs along the way that all serve food. 

The hike itself was still pretty long, but was short enough not to have to pack lunch with us. Just some nuts that I had brought along was enough. Also during this shorter hike you could get away with carrying just a liter of water as it wasn't as strenuous. 

In Glendalough we stayed at the Glendaloch International Youth Hostel which was in a great location but really slow wifi. For lunch we walked to the restaurant inside the The Glendalough Hotel which we later learned was a tourist trap with bad service and mediocre food as it's directly opposite the Glendalough Monastic Site which is a super popular tourist destination in Ireland. 

But since we were tired the only other options were to get something at the stand, which we may have regretted as they had the worst coffee we've ever tasted in our lives, or buy some dry pasta and sauce from the hostel, which honestly may have been a better idea. But either way, make sure you walk into the old monastery while you're there, it's defientely wroth the look, especially since it's free to enter.

This is also the stop where we did some laundry as after three days of walking, we were running out of clean clothes and socks. You can wash and dry a load for 7 euro, but we just did laundry in our sink and hung it around the dorm since we had a private room and only and socks and quick dry shirts and boxers to wash anyways. 

Luckily, for dinner we learned that there was another restaurant a few miles down the road that would actually pick us up for free! The hostel was nice enough to call The Wicklow Heathers and we're glad they did as the food was incredible and defientely worth the trip!

I had the The Shank of Lamb which was probably one of the tastiest dinners I've had anywhere in the world. The vegetables and meat were all local, and was fall off the bone tender. Skip the dessert as it wasn't great, but stay for the free shot of bailey's liquor they bring with the check! After a fantastic dinner, it was easy to get a decent night's sleep back at the hostel.

Day 4: Glendalough to Glenmalure

Distance: 14km (8.7mies) | Ascent: 400m | Time: 4.5hrs

Waking up in Glendalough, I was surprised how good the Full Irish breakfast at the hostel would be. But then again it did cost €9 which was quite pricy for a hostel. Luckily today was another moderate day of hiking. The only reason it was a bit tougher than usual was because the first half of the hike is uphill the entire way. Which means for the first two hours, expect to walk nothing but up hill, followed by 2 hours of downhill. 

In the start of the hike you pass by the lake and a waterfall, making it a scenic start. During the 2 hour uphill battle, I kept thinking about the kids we were supporting in Cambodia and that it was worth the effort for both raising awareness for their GoFundMe Campaign created by my walking buddy Sam Marks, but also as a personal accomplishment and adventure. So far as of writing this, just four days in we've already raised $4,057 which I'm sure will be even higher by the end of the walk. If you're interested, check out the campaign and donate to help build playgrounds for orphan's in Cambodia!

johnny fd charity walk

Since today was another relatively shorter hike we were able to get by on just a bit over 1 liter of water each and without bringing any food with us for lunch. However as soon as we arrived, even before checking in, we ordered a lager and lunch. The roast lamb and potatoes were extremely good and reminded of me of English Sunday Roast or Thanksgiving Dinner.

My favorite thing about this little town is the Glenmalure Lodge which I'm actually currently sitting in as I'm writing this. It's also where you should stay when you come. We ended up down the street as they were full but the lodge would have been our first choice. They have great food, super fast wifi, power outlets, a fireplace and staff that doesn't mind you sitting here all day with your laptop. It's seriously been one of my favorite random offices of the day. If the rest of the world is famous for digital nomads working out of random coffee shops, here in Ireland, maybe we can start a trend of working out of local pubs! 

An Irish Coffee by the Fireplace in Glenmalure

But seriously, this has been my favorite stop in Ireland so far. It just feels the most authentic and in nature. Maybe it's because it's buried need inside a valley surrounded by forrest, or because there is a pasture with a horse just in front of my room that just had a baby pony five days ago! 

Either way, both Sam and I agree that we just feel so peaceful here and that we could see ourselves just working out of this pub all day and enjoying the slow pace of life. Also as a funny side note, the town is currently completely cut off from phone lines because gypsies stole them for the copper! 

Luckily the wifi here works great, but even without it, having a pasture with this cutie below would have been enough to have kept me entertained all day. Big hello to the nice lady at the Wilderness lodge where we're staying. She was super friendly and lovely and made me feel like I was being shown around by my grandma. All rooms there have a small kitchen would be convenient for people using it as a base but for our needs the other two options town, the Glenmalure Lodge or Coolalingo would have been better as they included breakfast and had cheaper rooms.  All three hotels are located directly opposite each other so it's easy to walk back and forth from any. 

Day 5: Glenmalure to Moyne

Distance: 21km (13 miles) | Ascent: 550m | Time: 7hrs

For breakfast, we went back to the lodge and was excited for the food as the dinner before was so good. Since we weren't staying there we paid €10 for an delicious full Irish Breakfast, but unfortunately they had really bad coffee and even worse terrible sandwiches included with the €5 pack lunch. Mine was actually decent as I ordered a chicken sandwich custom off menu, but Sam's standard ham and cheese was surprisingly bad. My advice would be to either bring a ziplock bag with your or ask for a piece of foil make your own sandwich with the bacon, tomato and white pudding from your breakfast instead.

The walk today was exhausting and miserable mainly due to 6 hours of non-stop rain. I guess we've been pretty lucky so far with just spurts of light rain for 10 minutes at a time on previous days walks, but today was dreary. It was also an extremely long walk, mostly on paved roads starting with a long 6km or so walk up hill on a road. We might have actually missed one of the signs to turn right up into the mountains as 3/4 of the way up the hill we saw that if we were going from the other side we would have turned into the forrest. We got super lucky that the Wicklow Way rejoined the road or we might have been really lost. If anything, staying on the road might have saved us an hour of walking today which would have been fortunate as we were soaking wet, and exhausted by the time we reached Kyle's farm in Moyne. As a tip, when you get a few kilometers away from the farm, you'll start seeing signs. If you're staying here, ignore the google map directions and just follow the Kyle BnB signs on the Wicklow Way itself, it'll direct you all the way there. On other days, where your accommodations may not have signs, you'll need to use google maps to leave the wicklow way and find the guesthouse on your own.

Kyle's Farmhouse

By the time we reached the farm house, we were soaking wet and miserable. Luckily, the owner was super nice and really made us feel at home as soon as we arrived. She took our wet, dirty clothes and offered to put it in the dryer for us and made us a pot of hot coffee and freshly baked scones with butter and jam!

There was no better feeling than being able to take a hot shower, change into my PJs and walk downstairs to a fireplace and bake goods. We opted to have dinner at the farm house as well and the Chicken Kiev was amazing. It was also my first time ever having a Rhubarb crumble, which was actually grown in her garden. The only strange thing was that the only beers she had was American Budweiser and nothing Irish. We skipped it and just had water as Sam and I have been wanting to take a break from drinking so much anyways. So here I am now upstairs in my room writing this, and am happy to even though there is almost zero cell phone signal here and no wifi downstairs, there is actually decently fast wifi in the rooms! Score!

Homemade Scones, Butter and Jam!

Day 6: Moyne to Shillelagh

Distance: 21km (13.05miles) | Ascent: 500m | Time: 7hrs

We woke up this morning to a super nice breakfast at Kyle's farm house and was beyond excited to see the sun out again. The only thing that sucked a bit was the fact that my boots didn't completely dry out and were still a bit damp from the rain yesterday. In hindsight I should have put them outside in the sun to dry first thing in the morning, but lesson learned!

As for the walk, it was confusing because according to the Wicklow Way info, it was another long hike, but everyone had said that the place we're staying is half that distance, and it turned out that it actually was. We stayed at Madeline's BnB which is in the village of Tinahely, which is actually by far the biggest and busiest town we've seen in almost a week. It was the first time during the walk that we've actually seen a grocery store! The only problem is that it turns out that since Tinahely and Madeline's is 8.2km closer than the other accommodation choice, the Olde Shillelagh, that means we'll have to make up that walk tomorrow!

But maybe it was good to have a lighter, more enjoyable day today and really power through with a longer walk on our last day tomorrow, It's still hard for me to believe that tomorrow marks the last day walk of the Wicklow Way. Part of it feels like we've been away forever, and another part feels like it has flown by.

Update: Do not stay at Madeline's or Tinahely! Read the next day's post for details why!


Day 7: Shillelagh to Clonegal

Distance: 19km* | Ascent: 300m | Time: 6hrs*

We had a nice full Irish Breakfast at Madeline's in Tinahely, but when it came time to pay for the room we had the first mishap of the day. Her "credit card machine" was out of order, and for whatever reason she didn't accept online payment, so she insisted on cash which we couldn't get out because the only ATM in the town wasn't accepting Sam's card. Luckily, I had brought an extra reserve of Euro's for situations like this and paid for the room.

Then the rest of the day begins, and we're excited and actually looking forward to a long day of walking since it's our last day on the Wicklow Way. To get back on the trail we have to walk about 2km out of town, but that doesn't phase us. And after just a few hours we pass by the legendary Tallon's Pub, also known as the "Dying Cow." We stopped there for a coffee as it was still too early in the morning to start drinking, and was a bit disappointed to learn that they didn't serve food. Also the sign for the Wicklow Way at the corner of the pub was completely grown over and impossible while walking southbound, which would have caused us to walk the wrong way if we didn't stop and happen to ask. I think the pub would have been a nice stop if we were walking the Wickow Way from South to North as it would have been mid afternoon and 3/4 of the way to the first stop, but doing it the traditional way, it's really not worth visiting, expect that it just happens to be directly on the path and would be a good place to refill your water.

It's a bit sad that even though the pub has been around for generations, it really is a dying cow nowadays. The fact that the owners get pretty much 100% of their business from Wicklow Way walkers, but can't even bother to trim back the overgrowth covering the turn right in front of their pub sums up the lack of care.

The actual walk on day 7, the last day, was relatively flat, with just a few hill climbs up and down through the forrest, but it was long...too long. We knew it would be a long day of walking and was actually looking forward to it, but the 6 hour, 19km estimate from was completely misleading. For the first 5 days of the walk, the above resource was awesome for giving good estimates as well as suggesting the best places to stay along the way. However, for whatever reason, the last day's write up was short, without detail, and told us that the top accomidation option was Madeline's in Tinahely when it really shouldn't have been. Instead, we should have stayed in Shillelagh and had a longer walk yesterday and if for whatever reason we wanted to break it up and have an extra day and shorter walking, we easily could have spent one night in Tinahely, then had a half day walk to Shillelagh, adding a night to the trip. 

But following the website above, we started walking this day at 9:30am from Madeline's and didn't reach Clonegal until after 7pm, which made it almost ten solid hours of walking! Also according to my iPhone's health app, we walked 45km (27miles) that day instead of the advertised 19km* (12 miles). That means that in reality, we walked over 2 and a half times more distance than we planned to and walked for almost double the amount of time. By 5pm that day we were completely out of both food and water, our feet started blistering, our ankles and muscles started to hurt, and worst off, we had no idea how much longer the walk would be as there was no cell service the entire second half. Added to that was the rain that would come every hour or so, making the walk even more miserable. 

I wish I could have ended this mega post and journey with saying, wow it was so amazing and that the final day's walk was hard but defientely worth it. But if you watch the 7 days of Wicklow video above, you'll see how let down both Sam and I were at the end. Not only was the last day's walk unnecessarily long, non-scenic and almost pointless, it was also very anti-climatic. We were expecting some type of sign saying something along the lines of, "Congratulations on Finishing the Wicklow Way" or even "Wicklow Way End Point." But instead, there was a really disappointing pub, and zero cheer. I don't know what I was expecting or hoping for, but honestly, what separates happiness is a simple mindset change of expectation vs. excitement. I think because we had read so much about the trail and just put ourselves through 7 days of walking a grand total of 186km (115 miles) we were hoping for some type of acknowledgement, even if it was just a simple sign post. I don't think the locals realize how much money comes into their towns in the way of tourism dollars and how a simple, thing like saying "good job" when we walk to order our celebratory pints of Guinness could have made a world of difference. But instead, we got greeted by a dark, gloomy pub, filled with disgruntled, unfriendly people, and if it wasn't for walking around the corner into a small park, we never would have even found the official Wicklow Way sign. 

 I want to thank the one random person in town that shared in our excitement, the random car that drove by and honked when I was jumping up and down near the "Clonegal Town Limits" sign. It was perfectly captured in the video, and that small act of kindness really made not only my day, but also my entire week. Writing this and reflecting back, I realize how little things can make a huge difference. I had read on a lot of copy and paste websites about the Wicklow Way that "Osborne’s Pub might include a completion certificate with the price of your pint" but nothing was offered at least when we were there. 

From a business point of view, a simple paper sign in front of the bar saying "Congratulations to Wicklow Way finishers, come in for a pint and a certificate of completion" would bring in a ton of money and customers. A 1 cent piece of printed paper, would have not only made our day, but would have also made it across the internet, bringing even more tourists to do the walk, and more people buying rounds of beer to celebrate their achievement. 

But at the end of the day, looking back, seeing the photos, and reliving the journey by watching the entire video, even with the anti-climatic ending, it's an important reminder that the journey itself is what's really important. It's not a piece of paper saying you did it, or a sign post that says you've finished, but knowing that it'll always be with you and that the true beauty of the walk, experiencing the nature, and both the highs and the hardships really can't be shared in any other way than experiencing it yourself. Watch the full video below for just a glimpse of what I mean and what you can experience if you make the trip yourself.

Day 8: Clonegal to Dublin 

So you'd think the walk would end here, but what people don't tell you is that you still need to make your way back to Dublin or wherever your next destination is, and that Clonegal is so tiny that no buses run through the town. Instead of having the walk be over, I added another 5.5km or so by making the 1.5 hour walk from Clonegal to Bunclody which is the next biggest town where buses to Dublin leave from. Unfortunately here's where more annoyances began. After waiting an hour for the bus, it never showed up, and after trying my luck again for a second hour, it never came either. According to the workers in the supermarket, they just sometimes decide not to come and there's nothing you can do about it. Maybe it was because it was a Sunday and a long weekend, the driver decided to take a day off, or change the schedule without announcing it anywhere, but either way, I was stuck and wished I would have planned the hike to end of a weekday instead as there would have been more buses. 

To get from Bunclody to Dublin, you'll need to take the bus from in front of the EuroSpar supermarket. Don't wait at the bus stop across the street, but wait in front of the white church to the right of the supermarket. The actual bus stop has turned into customer parking, and the sign is hard to see. Make sure you stand in the middle of the street as the bus will leave you if you don't flag it down. The cost is around 18 euro and can be paid in cash on board. 

Bunclody to Dublin Bus

For me, I wasn't so lucky and ended up standing by the side of the road for almost 3 hours, including the last hour or so in the rain. Giving up on the actual bus, I ended up hitch hiking into the next biggest town, Enniscorthy where they had buses to Dublin leaving every hour at a well marked bus stop. I ended up getting back to Dublin around 7pm and staying at the Ashfield Hostel, which turned out to be really comfortable and well worth it. 

As for Clonegal, since there are no actual hotels or accommodations in the town and we didn't want to have to take a taxi into Bunclody that night, we ended up booking a place on AirBnB, which turned out to accidently be the 17th Century Huntington Castle which was an epic surprise to end a crazy trip! 

Final Tips and Thoughts:

I would say defientely do the hike. It's well worth it and Ireland is beautiful.  Our total walking distance ended up being 186km or 115 miles over 8 days. The people we came across have been so friendly and kind and the landscapes are beautiful. Try to go during May-July as Ireland only really has a few short months of summer and it's too cold and rains too much during the other months. But the main reason to go during these months aside from the weather is the amount of day light you'll need to complete the trek. If it wasn't for the fact that the sun didn't set every night until 9:30pm here, we would have been in fear of getting lost after sunset during our longer days. 

Bring as little with you as possible, and keep your pack light. I don't know exactly how much my bag was, but it'll depend on your own body type and physical fitness. A 40L bag was perfect, especially if you don't fill it up all the way. Bring 2L of water with you everyday just in case, and at least a bag of nuts just in case the hike takes longer than you think. In the video below (coming soon) I explain what was actually left in my backpack by the end of the 8 days and what items I gave away during the trip that I wish I never would have brought with me in the first place.

I would also suggest doing the walk from South to North instead of the traditional route of North (Dublin) to South (Clonegal) as we did. The scenery is much more beautiful closer to Dublin and gets much less interesting starting from Glenmalure to Clonegal. To do this route, you'll just have to read my blog post backwards and work from there, ending in Dublin which is actually quite nice as you get to celebrate there that night. Another alternate route that no one has mentioned is simply to go from Dublin to Glenmalure or  and back up to Dublin. This would take you around 10 days total, but would be nothing but beautiful scenery. You could also shave off two days and make the U-Turn in Glendalough which is also a nice place to end the trip. Which ever route you choose, I'm sure you'll enjoy the journey as much as I did. Feel free to leave a comment below and ask me any specifics that I didn't get a chance to cover in this post. 

I hope you guys enjoyed this write up. Check back soon as I'll be updating it with more videos, or subscribe to My Youtube Channel for updates there!

If you end up doing the hike, leave a comment below to let us know how it goes! Feel free to ask any questions as well!

Update: Post-Packing Video!

Here's everything left in my backpack after the hike, including what I threw away, what was vital, and what I wish I never brought with me in the first place!

Update #2: Wicklow Way Podcast

Take a listen to episodes 163 and episode 164 of the Travel Like a Boss Podcast where we talk about life on the Wicklow Way!

Hope you enjoy your backpacking trip or thru-hike in the Wicklow Way!

Warm Regards,

Johnny FD

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Post a Comment

  1. This is great! I just did the Wicklow Way a month ago. I was going to to do the Irish Coast to Coast Trail, but injured myself so had to get off. But I will be back to finish next year!! I would love to follow you on the rest of your hike, is that possible? Good luck!!

    1. Hey thanks so much for the message. Sorry to hear about your injury, I hope you got better. I finished the hike after the Wicklow Way, but my friend Sam kept going all the way to Galway. He said after the Wicklow, it was mostly road walking and wasn't scenic or pleasant and not recommended unless you find another actual marked trail.

  2. Thank you Johnny for this great article. My husband and I went to Ireland for our 30th wedding anniversary, which I planned. If not for listening to your podcast, we would have skipped Wicklow altogether, but we stayed in Wicklow 2 days (didn't hike the Wicklow Way, but hiked nonetheless) and it was breathtakingly beautiful. Love your podcasts and listening to your adventures around the world. Good for you, for finding a way to make $$$ the untraditional, creative way.

    1. Wow congrats on your wedding anniversary! I'm glad my podcast and the blog helped you plan, and allowed you to see how beautiful Wicklow was!


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