Town, forest, mountain peaks, rivers, and impressive views over Dublin; this trail is at the heart of Irish hiking and is a section of Ireland’s busiest trails.
Being the first section of Ireland’s oldest way-marked trail, the 131km Wicklow Way, it’s certainly a bucket-list hike and a national treasure that many would argue is a rite of passage for any keen hiker, however you hike it (in sections or in one go).
This end-to-end section can be walked in either direction, but usually starts from Dublin County’s Marlay Park and ends in Knockree, County Wicklow. A varied and moderate hike, the 21.7 km takes around 7 hours to complete, leading you from the car park next to Marlay House, where you may be tempted to stop in at the nearby café for a caffeine hit before the day’s miles, taking you from the city into the Kilmashogue forest and onto the mountains.
The route boasts varied scenery the whole way, from forest tracks past ancient burial tombs to hillside vistas over the city, before taking in the highest of the Dublin Mountains, Kilmashogue, Tibradden and Two Rock or ‘Fairy Castle,’ a Bronze Age cairn and megalithic collapsed passage tomb, at Two Rock’s summit. From here on a clear day enjoy far-reaching views of the Wicklow Mountains to the South, Dublin City and Dublin Bay.
The trail then descends down to Glencullen valley, following the road before your next ascent, Prince William’s Seat Mountain (1821ft) as you cross into the ‘Garden of Ireland’, the county of Wicklow, for more 360-degree panoramic views of the mountains and Irish coastline.
Here the route takes you down into the Glencree valley and to the final peak of Knockree (1295 ft) where this section of the Wicklow Way finishes, unofficially at the nearby Knockree Hostel.
A well-marked and well-maintained trail, follow the yellow ‘walking man’ symbol on this predominantly off-road route that takes in forest trail, mountain track, small country road sections.
History of the Wicklow Way
The Wicklow Way as established in 1981 by John James Bernard Malone (JB Malone), an Irish hiking enthusiast, who after years of campaigning through newspaper articles and television programmes, negotiated access rights for Ireland’s first official walking route, turning his dream into a reality.
Local area & amenities
Find the car park, cafes, and other amenities in and around Marlay Park, whilst at the other end you’ll find hot meals, quick bites, a mini shop, and a bed at Knockree Hostel.
Things to know before you go
Dogs are allowed on the trail but must be kept under control and on a leash at all times.
Other things to do
- Drop in at the world-famous Johnnie Fox’s pub in Glencullen, ‘Ireland’s highest pub’ for traditional Irish music and famous Irish dancing.
- More accommodation can be found in nearby picturesque village of Enniskerry, at the Enniskerry Inn. Here you can also visit Powerscourt House and Gardens, 47 acres of landscaped garden voted 3rd best garden in the World, and just a 35-minute drive from Dublin.
- Visit Glendalough Cathedral, the ruins of a 6th century monastic settlement built by St. Kevin.