In 1966, J.B. Malone planned a long-distance trail that would become the Wicklow Way National Trail. The first section of the route was officially opened in 1981. It’s an incredibly scenic walk through the Wicklow Mountains, and below are some of the best sights you can make along the way.
Interested in taking a Wicklow Way Hiking Tour?
1. Glendalough Monastic Village & Valley
St. Kevin founded the monastic site at Glendalough in the 6th century. It remained as one of the most important monastic sites in Europe for six centuries after St. Kevin’s death (618 A.D.).
The site remains in excellent condition today with stone churches, crosses and a 33m-high round tower.
This tower was used by the monks to hide from invading Vikings, and to protect their precious manuscripts.
The doors of round towers are raised 2 to 3 metres off the ground, meaning entry is only possible with a ladder. This would have been pulled up after the the monks were inside.
2. J.B. Malone Memorial
J.B. Malone, the driving force behind the Wicklow Way, was a local hillwalking enthusiast and now has a memorial dedicated to him overlooking Lough Tay – his favourite spot on the trail.
3. Powerscourt House
The Powerscourt Estate dates back to the 12th century. By 1300, the Power family – from where it takes its name – had built a castle on the grounds.
Through several change of families, each made their own improvement to the grounds, making it into what it is today – one of Europe’s great treasures.
Gardens, terraces, statues, lakes, walks and over 200 variations of trees and shrubs now lie within the grounds.
4. Powerscourt Waterfall
Powerscourt Waterfall is the highest waterfall in Ireland, at 121m (398 ft.). It’s located roughly 6km from the Powerscourt Estate.
The trees in the park surrounding the waterfall were planted 200 years ago. The giant redwoods there – native to California – can grow to be 4,000 years old!
5. Johnnie Fox’s Pub
Johnnie Fox’s Pub is famed for being the highest pub in Ireland, as well as being one of the oldest.
It is at the top of the Wicklow Mountains, in Glencullen.
A traditional Irish music session can be found in full swing every night here, as well as during the day on weekends.
The pub also features an award-winning seafood restaurant.
6. Newtownbarry House & Gardens
Newtownbarry House is from the Victorian era, with its main attractions being the art gallery and gardens.
The Sunken Garden, The Rose Garden and a lake are just some of the picturesque features.
Plants are in abundance throughout May, June and July with over 6,000 types covering the bordering walls.
7. Avondale House and Forest Park
Charles Stewart Parnell, a great Irish political leader, was born at Avondale House in 1846.
The house is now a museum dedicated to him. Having been built in 1777, it still contains original furniture from the Parnell family.
There are a number of scenic walks situated on the 500-acre grounds and woods.
At over 700 meters, the Djouce is one of the highest peaks in the Wicklow Mountains.
The view from this mountain is therefore phenomenal: look out over the green valleys, mirrored lakes and rolling hills of this unique nature reserve.
Several hiking trails lead around the mountain, where various prehistoric monuments and burial sites have been found.
9. Lough Tay
This lake is not very big, but it is exceptionally picturesque! Nestled between the mountains of Djouce and Luggala, Lough Tay is one of the most beautiful places in Wicklow Mountains National Park.
The dark waters and white sand beach have likened this body of water to one of Ireland’s most famous beverages: locals know Lough Tay as “Guinness Lake”.
The beach at Lough Tay is also an important filing location for the TV Show Vikings.
10. Marlay Park
The Wicklow Way route ends in the outskirts of Dublin. Even in the Irish capital, however, you can still admire some wonderful greenery.
Marlay Park consists of forests, ponds and extensive lawns. Stroll through the peaceful park and gradually get used to the sounds of the city that grow closer as the walk nears its end.