When I began hiking the Wicklow Way in October, I had little idea what to expect. Starting in Dublin, I had intended to hike the entire way to Clonegal but I ended up getting a little sidetracked. The truth is, the very first few days of hiking the Wicklow Way are much more remote, scenic and rewarding than what comes afterward.
Things to Know Before Hiking the Wicklow Way
1. Wild Camping on the Wicklow Way
You must keep in mind, Ireland is a very tourist orientated island. That is to say; the tourist board has done a fantastic job of commercializing every aspect of the country, even the Cliffs of Moher. Anyway, for this same reason, you will be pushed and guided toward either organized tours or rather expensive accommodation.
Now, please disregard if you wish to stay in guesthouses every night but also know that wild camping on the Wicklow Way super easy and the most affordable way to enjoy one of the most beautiful long distance hikes in Ireland. In fact, between Dublin and Glenmalure, I felt sad having to pass up on many wild camping opportunities for the fact that it was too early in the day.
Why should you go wild camping on the Wicklow Way? More fun and less money.
2. Water is Free
Access to water is one of the main concerns while hiking the Wicklow Way. However, there are mountain streams every day and as long as you make a habit of carrying one or two litres, there is nothing to worry about. In fact, with the ridiculous price of water nowadays and the fact that you will be drinking so much, I recommend making use of the rivers.
Pick up a water treatment kit as part of your Wicklow Way Packing List.
3. Take Out Your Sleeping Bag On Arrival in Camp
Most sleeping bags consist of down feathers which take time and space to expand. Keep in mind, these are the feathers which keep you warm at night and having been stuffed into a backpack all day, they are likely squished. For this reason, it is not a bad idea to take out your sleeping bag when you get to camp and allow it expand.
4. Stop Trying to Keep Your Hiking Shoes Clean
In other words, if you see a puddle or a particularly large amount of mud, don’t be afraid to step right in there. Of course, the intention should not really be to step in these puddles but rather to quit procrastinating and just let it be. If you spend each day trying to avoid mud and puddles, you are choosing anxiety over adventure. Similarly, you can also avoid the disappointment of when you do accidentally step in cow dung.
5. Do Not Play Games in The Wild
Although hiking the Wicklow Way is possible for hikers with no experience, make no mistake, the trail is still extremely wild. Many rescues are required in Wicklow throughout the year and most often, for the fact that the hikers were unprepared. You should expect bad weather, slippery slopes and even the prospect of getting lost. Now, you might think this sounds dramatic but try telling the Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team that when they come to pick you up.
When are you hiking the Wicklow Way? Please let me know in the comments below!