The Wicklow Way is Ireland’s most famous long-distance walk. Starting on the outskirts of Dublin in Marlay Park, the Wicklow Way covers 130 km over the course of 5 –…
The Wicklow Way is Ireland’s most famous long-distance walk. Starting on the outskirts of Dublin in Marlay Park, the Wicklow Way covers 130 km over the course of 5 – 10 days walking. Finishing in the village of Clonegal, the walk takes in the best of the Wicklow mountains while visiting countless small villages and providing some of the best walking in all of Ireland.
We’ve created this Wicklow Way map guide to help provide an overview and introduction to walking the Wicklow Way. Included you’ll find in-depth maps and navigational resources to help you understand the basics of this incredible walk.
Let’s get started.
In this Wicklow Way Map Guide
- Where is the Wicklow Way?
- Interactive Wicklow Way map
- How long is the Wicklow Way?
- Wicklow Way Elevation Profile
- Which maps should I carry on the Wicklow Way?
Where is the Wicklow Way?
The Wicklow Way is located in Ireland’s Wicklow mountains, which begin just south of the capitol city of Dublin. Officially beginning in Marlay Park on Dublin’s southern edge, the walk is very convenient to get to given it’s relatively urban beginning.
From Marlay Park the route immediately begins to climb and descend through the Wicklow mountains as it makes it’s way to Clonegal. As the route progresses, the terrain shifts from the mountainous beginning to a flatter and more pastoral feel in the south. The route is traditionally walked north to south, although there is nothing to stop you from walking in the opposite direction.
The Wicklow Way is exceptionally easy to access from the rest of Ireland as well as from international destinations. Given that the route starts on the edge of Ireland’s largest city, Dublin, you’ll have no trouble reaching the start at Marlay Park. On the southern terminus of the route in Clonegal it is a bit harder to return to Dublin, although you’ll still have plenty of options.
There are busses to Dublin available in Kern and Kildavin as well as the train from Bagenalstown. All of these options will require a taxi from Clonegal to reach them.
Along the walk, the Wicklow Way has some of the most beautiful and varied scenery in all of the Ireland. You’ll take in beautiful mountain views and views of Lough Tay, visit the historic monastic village of Glendalough, and take in the Powerscourt Waterfall, Ireland’s tallest waterfall.
Most hikers with some experience and reasonable fitness will find the Wicklow Way to be quite manageable in terms of difficulty. There are some long days walking as well as mountainous terrain to cross, yet you are always reasonably close to civilization and never encounter extremely difficult days.
In general, most walkers will take between 5 – 10 days to walk the Wicklow Way. The number of days will depend on physical ability, time available, the weather, and your personal preference. The most common itinerary covers the route in 7 days, and that is what we’ve chosen to include in the Wicklow Way maps included in this guide.
Below is a common 7-stage itinerary for the Wicklow Way:
- Stage 1: Marlay Park to Knockree
- Stage 2: Knockree to Oldbridge
- Stage 3: Oldbridge to Glendalough
- Stage 4: Glendalough to Glenmalure
- Stage 5: Glenmalure to Moyne
- Stage 6: Moyne to Shillelagh (Boley Bridge)
- Stage 7: Shillelagh to Clonegal
Interactive Wicklow Way map
The interactive Wicklow Way Way map below will allow you to zoom in on the various stages as well as view the traditional stops along the route.
How long is the Wicklow Way?
Most sources list the Wicklow Way as being 131 kilometers or 81 miles long. When we measure via GPS mapping we find the entire route to be just shy of that number at 128 kilometers from Marlay Park to Clonegal.
However, the exact distance of the walk will have very little practical value for the average walkers. You’ll certainly end up walking quite a bit further than the 128 km we measure, and many of the accommodation options are a short ways off the main trail. Combine that with the option to detour to attractive pubs with fresh Guinness on tap and you’ll surely end up walking well over 130 kilometers!
However, while it may not be important to know the exact distance of the walk down the last kilometer, it is a good idea of have a sense of the distance of each stage on the Wicklow Way. This will help you prepare for the walk, plan your itinerary, and provide valuable information to all walkers.
The Wicklow Way map below does just that, showing the distance in kilometers for each of the standard seven stages it takes to complete the walk. Use this map to help plan your own route and remember that the distances listed don’t include any detours or side trips!
Wicklow Way Elevation Profile
The Wicklow Way has approximately 4,700 meters (or 15,400 feet) of elevation gain as the walk makes its way from Marlay Park to Clonegal. Over the course of the typical seven stage itinerary that averages out to approximately 670 meters of elevation gain per stage. While certainly nothing to sneeze at, this amount of elevation gain should be manageable for the majority of walkers.
However, it is important to remember that all of that elevation gain isn’t perfectly spread out across the entire walk. The northern, more mountainous sections contain much of the total elevation, although the southern stages shouldn’t be underestimated. The most difficult day in terms of elevation gain is likely to be the second stage, from Knockree to Oldbridge which entails climbing to White Hill, the high point on the Wicklow Way.
Other notable stages for their total amount of elevation include Stage 4 from Glendalough to Glenmalure which entails a climb up a steep saddle as well as Stage 5 from Glenmalure to Moyne, which contains lots of elevation spread out over undulating hills.
For more information on what each stage is like in terms of total elevation gain and loss, take a look at the Wicklow Way elevation profile below. You’ll be able to get a sense of what the various climbs on the route are like, and how they compare to other stages on the walk.
For those not familiar with reading an elevation profile, you’ll find elevation on the left (y-axis), and distance on the bottom (x-axis). Each blue dot on the route corresponds with a stop along the walk, with the stop name listed at the top.
The steepness of the line between any two points reflects the steepness of the trail for that particular stage. The distance between the two points shows the length of the stage.
For example, you can see that the stage from Moyne to Shillelagh is rather long in terms of distance, while the walk from Knockree to Oldbridge has lots of elevation gain.
Which maps should I carry on the Wicklow Way?
Overall the Wicklow Way is a very well marked route. You’ll find handy directional signage at most trail junctions and there is rarely a time the actual trail is difficult to follow. However, as with all long-distance hikes, it is best to prepared with a map or some sort of navigation.
This is especially true for sections of the Wicklow Way that intersect with other trails such as the Dublin Mountains Way which shares a short section towards the start of the hike.
We generally prefer to use a GPS map downloaded to our smartphone to navigate on trails like the Wicklow Way. This works well for trails like the Wicklow Way where it is nice to have some context of the surrounding towns and villages, especially given that your accommodation is likely to be off the track a bit in many places.
As far as apps go, we like to use Gaia GPS, although any good navigation app will work just fine.
Additionally, we highly recommend bringing a paper map for the route given that a bit of unplanned rain or sudden drop can render your smartphone useless.
There are several excellent Wicklow Way maps out there, with a few of your best bets listed below:
Ordnance Survey Ireland Maps
The Ordnance Survey Ireland Maps provide the most comprehensive set of physical maps for the Wicklow Way. You’ll need to carry three maps with you (50, 56, and 62) to cover the route at a 1:50,000 scale. Note that these maps don’t include the final kilometer of the walk into Clonegal, but we think you’ll be just fine navigating that section!
Walking the Wicklow Way: Cicerone Guidebook
Although not a formal map, this excellent guidebook from Cicerone guides is a must bring. It includes basic maps as well as detailed descriptions of the entire walk. It also features helpful accommodation lists and some interesting adjacent trails worth a walk.
Have a great Wicklow Way adventure!
We hope this post has given you all the information you need to get a basic overview of the Wicklow Way. Let us know your questions or comments below. Happy trails!