The Best Hikes near Dublin

Getting out into the great outdoors from Dublin is not all that difficult. While having your own car facilitates traveling from one spot to the next, nearby counties such as Wicklow are easily accessible on local buses. County Wicklow is home to the Wicklow National Park, iconic Glendalough, Powerscourt Waterfall, and other mesmerizing sights. The best hikes near Dublin in County Wicklow are:

Glendalough Valley

The Glendalough Valley (see Chapter 8) contains some of the best easy walking in East Ireland. The trails are well marked in color and do not require a compass. Maps can be purchased from the onsite visitor center and the views afforded from the Lugduff Mountain overlooking the An Spinc are worth the sweat.

Wicklow Way

Not only was the Wicklow Way (www.wicklowway.com) Ireland's first National Waymarked Way, it is also one of Ireland's top-rated routes. Typically walked north to south, the 130km (80-mile) path departs from south Dublin at Marlay Park and ends at Clonegal in County Carlow. The hardest part of the journey takes place through the Wicklow Mountains, while the easiest section is from Tinahely to Shillelagh and into Clonegal.

Numerous hikers opt to hike small sections of the Wicklow Way. The entire route can last eight to twelve nights. Staying in B&Bs throughout the journey is the best option. The average hiking time per day is five to eight hours, covering 12km (7.5 miles) to 22km (13.6 miles), with a total ascent of 3200 meters (10,500 feet). More information, maps, and reference material is available at the Dublin Tourist Offices.

Essential

On the Wicklow Way, going to Glenmacnass and to the top of the popular 925-meter (3,035-feet) peak of Lugnaquilla, commonly called Lug, is an optional side trip. Other worthwhile sights in Wicklow include Devil's Glenn, which has a Sculpture Trail, the steep Djouce Mountain, and Luggala, known as “Fancy Mountain,” with views of the white and sandy beach of Lough Tay.

St. Kevin's Way

An easier and shorter route than the full Wicklow Way, St. Kevin's Way (www.visitwicklow.ie) is a pilgrimage route from Hollywood to Glendalough. Not impossible to do in one summer's day, the 30km (18-mile) route traverses forests, mountains, and back roads. OS Map #56 details the area in full.

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