When the first primate of the homo species decided to get up and explore the world with their two feet was a wonderful moment. Walking made humans what they are today. In this age and day, we seem to have disconnected from that primal human in us. For that matter, hiking is a great way to reconnect with our inner beings. And what better way to honor our ancestors than taking a magnificent 127 kilometers long hike – the majestic Wicklow Way. If you’re eager to take on this challenge, here’s everything you should know about hiking Wicklow Way.
How long is it?
As we mentioned before, Wicklow Way is around 127 kilometers long. And how long it will take you to conquer it depends on you. The veteran hikers will probably need about five days to do it. On the other hand, medium-experienced people need approximately seven days to accomplish the same task. Of course, the current weather and the other external circumstances play a role in the duration of your hike. However, no matter how long it takes you to do it, once you make it, you’ll feel a joy that is quite hard to compare and match with anything else.
The majority of the path is in the mountainous county of Wicklow. You can have a self-guided tour or do it in a group. There will be times when you trek along portions of paved roads. There is typically very little traffic on the country’s back roads and lanes. Overall, water is not hard to get by (but not guaranteed). Accommodations after each section are pretty priced and upbeat. It’s also feasible to camp out in the woods.
What makes it special?
Even though you’re never more than a few minutes away from a populated area, the Wicklow Way often looks pretty secluded. Every hour brings a new set of hills to conquer, but they’re never too steep and always worth it for the vistas. Most hikers should have little trouble finding their way along the Wicklow Way with only a paper map or a GPS device. For all those reasons, it’s the perfect long-distance path for a first-timer because of the beautiful scenery and convenient logistics.
If you’ve just moved to Ireland from abroad, you’ll find this an excellent step towards being more independent. Also, Ireland offers great opportunities to reconnect with yourself and adapt to new surroundings. According to the pro movers, trying a Wicklow Way hike is life-changing and also a great way to begin your journey into a new life in Ireland.
Is wild camping forbidden?
The practice of “wild camping,” or pitching a tent in an undesignated area, is illegal in Ireland unless the landowner grants permission. One thing you should know about hiking Wicklow Way is that in Wicklow National Park, camping is strictly forbidden. Asking nearby landowners for permission is recommended, however, if you decide to go this route. The Wicklow Way is not ideal for a backpacking trip because of the windy open hills and exposed heathland, the giant sheep pastures that require you to filter all water, and the refusal of many local landowners to give their land to wild camping.
For the most predictable weather, trek the Wicklow Way between May and September. Also, this is when it’s not too crowded so that you won’t bump into people along the way. If you are not an experienced hiker, we suggest you avoid this trek during wintertime. Most hotels (and many restaurants) close for the winter when the summer season ends. In any case, you should avoid these months since the weather is quite erratic.
What should you wear?
An everlasting question that seems like it never has an answer. But we’re here for the rescue this time. You should equip yourself with a reliable pair of waterproof boots. Also, you should bring a variety of non-cotton layers to wear under and over your waterproof coat and pants since the weather in Ireland may change quickly. Bring an additional blanket, a picnic lunch, snacks, and water in a daypack, and fill up your water bottle before you go.
A hat and gloves are always helpful on the road, even when traveling in the middle of summer. Don’t forget to pack some socks for the trail (once again, stay away from cotton). A blister kit and bug repellant are also useful to have on hand for your personal convenience.
Don’t forget the food and water
Also, it’s important to remember that towns are few and far between along the Wicklow Way. So, it is essential to have adequate food for each step. When it comes to grocery shopping, there are no other options outside these cities. There are plenty of places to refill your water bottle along the way. Another possibility is that you just won’t come across one when you need one. You need to carry around at least two or three liters of water at all times. Bear in mind that the water along the journey is not always drinkable owing to animals, farming, and forests. Because of this, investing in a water filter is crucial.
What not to miss?
As with every track, Wicklow Way has its highlights along the way. Of course, everything depends on personal preferences, but some of the points we’d like to highlight are:
- The monastic city of Glendalough
- Lough Tay
- Powerscourt Estate
- Lugnaquilla Mountain