In August 2015 I went to walk the Wicklow Way from Iron Bridge to Dublin with Markus, a friend from Germany. If you start in Iron Bridge you will be walking 5/7 of the entire way. My wife gave us a lift to Iron Bridge on a Sunday Morning and we started our trip at 10:00 am with light drizzle and a feeling that this is going to be a beautiful and exciting trip. We were well equipped so the rain didn't bother us at all. After a very steep beginning through forest we arrived at a hut, which at that time didn't catch our attention. At the beginning it wasn't easy to leave reality behind and become one with the surroundings. But soon nature revealed its ancient face and some amazing colours.
We continued our ascent and reached the top of the first mountain pretty soon.
After a small detour to explore the regional forest and the boggy landscape we arrived in the valley of Glenmalure where we stayed for the night.
After a huge full Irish breakfast we left Glenmalure in the morning at about 10am. In the first part of our walk we had a beautiful view of Carrawaystick Waterfall and stopped shortly after at Mullacor Hut for our second breakfast.
After another steep hike further uphill we reached the top of Derrybawn Mountain. In every hut, there is a little letter box which contains a book for Wicklow Way walkers to write in. It was fascinating to see how many different cultures were represented in the book. Although the actual Wicklow Way track led us a different way we decided to take another detour to the mountain top to have a short lunch break.
I guess, this is where we first realised that we have finally escaped reality and arrived at the heart of mother nature. Apart from the amazing weather, this day had a lot more in store for us. Descending from the mountain we were soon surprised with magnificent views over Glendalough.
Again we wanted to leave the actual track and search for a more adventurous way. We found a small river that led us right to the Poulanass Waterfall and decided to walk alongside the river bank until we reach the waterfall. Easier said than done as this turned out to be a little jungle trip. 1 km way took us about 3 hours.
After our jungle adventure we finally reached Glendalough valley, where we stayed for the night.
Our third day started with light drizzle in Glendalough valley. Again we had to begin with a steep uphill walk which lead us to Brusher's Gap Hut just after Paddock Hill.
The rain intensified on the way up so we were very happy to find shelter in the hut where we stayed for probably two hours. During that time we met other walkers who joined us for a short break from the rain. As we had to reach our destination in Oldbridge we had to leave the last hut on the way.
We walked through this beautiful forest before we reached Lough Dan House just before sunset. And because the rain and the clouds disappeared we decided to go to the top of the hill first to catch some sunlight.
At Lough Dan house we were served a delicious home-made three course dinner, had a bottle of wine in front of the fire and a nice chat with the other residents in the house.
Although we always went off the main track and took the scenic route most of the time, our walking distances on the first three days were only averaged 20 kilometers per day. This was about to change.On the fourth and fifth day we had to walk around 60 kilometers altogether.
After a rainy third day the fourth day looked very promising. The first half of the actual way looked very predictable to us on the map so we decided to head down to the beautiful beach of Lough Dan. This is were we were rewarded with this stunning scenery.
From there we went further up the Inchavore River which we had to cross in order to get back to the Wicklow Way. Because of the heavy rain on the previous day the water level was high and the current very strong. After about 2 kilometers we found a passable way through the river.
On the other side we had to face our next challenge: bog and jungle-like vegetation. After we got through this very wet area we climbed over rocks to reach the peak of Knocknacloghoge with a stunning view.
Descending wasn't as easy as it looked from the top as we had to fight our way through three meter high and overgrown fern. We arrived at the bottom of the hill, on the other side of Lough Dan where we had to cross Cloghoge River. In comparison to the previous one this was a piece of cake.
After ascending through Ballinrush we met the Wicklow Way again which led us all the way up to the highest summit of our tour: Djouce Mountain. On the way up we heard a rumbling noise coming from the Wicklow Mountains towards us. More rain was coming. The great thing about it was that we were blessed to be eye witnesses of a double rainbow on our way down to Powerscourt Waterfalls.
We definitely miscalculated the amount of time it would take us to get from our starting point at Lough Dan House to our destination in Coolakay. So after a beautiful sunset we arrived in total darkness at Coolakay House at around 10pm.
The weather on our last day was just perfect. We started our final section of the Wicklow Way at Onagh Bridge with another detour along the Glencree River.
On our way to Dublin we had to climb Knockree and Prince William's Seat before passing the Glencullen River to embark our last ascent to Fairy Castle on Two Rock Mountain.
And before we finally had to face civilisation again we wanted to go for one last adventure. And so we did. Instead of taking the actual sign posted Wicklow Way we went straight uphill to the peak of Fairy Castle where we had a magnificent view over Dublin and the coast line.
After a short rest we started our descent while the sun was setting in the West. We arrived at Taylor's pub in Taylorsgrange where we had a couple of pints before we finished our trip at the gates of Marley park under a beautiful full moon. To put it in a nutshell it was the perfect ending of a perfect trip.