A short cry from the hustle and bustle of Dublin, you can find yourself breathing in the fresh clean air of Co. Wicklow.

Lough Tay, Wicklow, Photo Credit Giuseppe Milo

Lough Tay, Wicklow, Photo Credit Giuseppe Milo

Many people head straight for Glendalough which is a wonderful place, but it gets very crowded. If you were to go there on a bank holiday Monday in October, you’ll find almost as many people as you would Christmas Eve on Grafton street.

But there is a lot more to Wicklow than just Glendalough, beautiful and all as it is. Wicklow has one of the biggest National Parks in Ireland and it is less than an hour’s drive from the Spire in O’Connell Street. Wicklow’s National Park covers 20,000 hectares and is mostly bog, mountain, and heath. Here you can find many beautiful walking trails and lakes. Wicklow is also covered in forests and Coillte, the national forestry agency, makes these forests very accessible to people through developing walks and bike trails. One such forest is Ballinastoe Woods on the road between Enniskerry and Roundwood. These woods have many kilometres of path ways that are great for walking. The uppermost walking trail brings you out to a beautiful view above Lough Tay and the former Guinness estate at Luggala. This forest also has a  16 kilometre system of bike trails.

Greystones to Bray Cliff Walk, Photo Credit, Giuseppe Milo

Greystones to Bray Cliff Walk, Photo Credit, Giuseppe Milo

Accessible from the same road is a really nice walk of about 3 hours which takes in great views of Powerscourt Waterfall valley and fantastic views of the Wicklow mountains from the top of Maulin.

Powerscourt Waterfall walk, Photo Credit Sean MacEntee

Powerscourt Waterfall walk, Photo Credit Sean MacEntee

If you don’t have access to a car you can have a lovely train journey along the coast as far as Greystones followed by a 2 hour cliff walk from Greystones back to Bray.

Grade: Moderate, the route is marked with Red arrows
Distance: 7km
Estimated time: 2.5hrs
Total height climbed: 130m
Suitable for: families with older children etc

The Maulin Mountain Loop is a fantastic route with the most amazing views along the way, including the Powerscourt waterfall.

Grade: Moderate to Hard, involves a lot of uphill. Route is marked with Red discs with a footprint.
Distance: 6km
Estimated time: 2hrs to 2.5hrs
Suitable for: Anyone with reasonable fitness

The Sugar Loaf 

The Sugar Loaf is a very distinctive mountain, visible from the coast or inland Wicklow. It is a popular walk for families and has lovely views from the summit. The last part of the climb is a scramble so good footwear and some care are required to enjoy the outing.

Grade: Strenuous
Distance: 4.3km
Estimated time: 1 – 1.5hrs
Suitable for: anyone of reasonable fitness.

Blessington Greenway

The walk starts at Blessington village and leads south along the shores of Blessington Lakes and through forest and natural woodland. The Greenway can be accessed from the N81 at either end by car or by Dublin Bus No. 65 to Blessington or Russborough.

Grade:  Easy
Distance: 6.5 kms
Estimated time: 1.5 hrs
Suitable for: Anyone