Wicklow Way – Day 1
Marley Park to Knockree (21km)
The Wicklow Way starts in Marley Park in south Dublin. The start is fairly easy to get to by bus or taxi. I find it strange starting from here with all the people walking around the park; pushing prams and playing with children and me with a rucksack on appearing quite out of place. However it does not take long to get to the top of the park and head along the side then under the new M50 motorway. At that point I start to feel I am in the country side, but the noise of the traffic is with you for a while yet.
After passing under the motorway the route starts up toward Kilmashogue Mountain the start of the Wicklow Mountains, passing St Columba’s College, once the Eton of Ireland. It is all up hill at the start of the Wicklow Way. Soon the Way leaves the road and enters Kilmashogue Woods. There are great views over Dublin city and bay now for quite a while.
A few kilometers into the woods the route takes a sharp right into the forest and up a steep bank. If you are on a bike this will be the first, and not the last, time you will have to get off and carry over a rocky path. There is a signpost at the bottom of this path indicating no cycling. At the top of this path the route continues along a good track, sweeping round right it eventually leads down into the valley of Glencullen and turns left along the Glencullen Road.
This is about the half way point to Knockree, and there are plenty of sheltered areas here to stop for lunch, however there are no cafes or restaurants nearby, unless you want to walk the 3km round trip along the road to Jonnie Fox’s pub at Glencullen, (one of the best pubs in Ireland); otherwise you will need to carry food and water for the whole day.
The route starts another climb after crossing the low point at the Glencullen River. It is not as hard as the first climb round Two Rock. Prince Williams seat like most Irish mountains in this area is a flat top.
The way marking is generally good except for this point. The route looks like it is straight on here but it is not, it turns up right. Many people make the mistake of walking straight on and then having to walk all the way back. This is the only point on the first day that the marking is unclear.
Traversing round Prince William’s Seat the Wicklow Way route drops down through the recently harvested Curtlestown Wood to cross the Glencree Road and pass round Knockree to the Youth Hostel. There is a new path here and it makes life much easier now along the top and going down the side of the hill.
As far as I am aware the Youth Hostel, (http://www.knockreeyouthhostel.com/), is the only accommodation in this area, unless you have arranged for a bed and breakfast to collect you.
The only real alternative is camping. This can be done in the fields in front of the Youth Hostel. Cross the style in front of the hostel and go all the way down to the Glencree River. Here you can see where many before you have camped.
Please be advised that from April 2011, due to a massive increase in anti-social activity, trespass,littering and destruction of trees, An Oige (the landowner) no longer permits camping on its land at Knockree.
If you have a Bed & Breakfast in the area and cater to walkers please send me your details and I will list them on this page – please see contact page for details of listing and form