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(Wicklow, County Wicklow)
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"Most Picturesque Walking Trail in Ireland"

The countryside of Ireland is a potpourri of the various landscape, including different mountainous and highland areas. One of the most striking of these is Wicklow Way, located in the County Wicklow. Wicklow Way is a fascinating mountain trail which is a part of a chain of "way-marked ways" walking trails throughout Ireland. It offers breathtaking experiences of the majestic mountains, tranquil lakes, glacial valleys, whirling streams, rich forests, and lush farmland.

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Wicklow Way

The Wicklow Way is a 131-kilometre long-distance trail that crosses the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland. It runs from Marlay Park in the southern suburbs of Dublin through County Wicklow and ends in the village of Clonegal in County Carlow. It is designated as a National Waymarked Trail by the Irish Sports Council and is waymarked by posts with a yellow "walking man" symbol and a directional arrow. Typically completed in 5–7 days, it is one of the busiest of Ireland's National Waymarked Trails, with up to 24,000 people a year walking the most popular sections. The Way is also used regularly by a number of mountain running competitions.

The trail follows forest tracks, mountain paths, boreens and quiet country roads. Mountains, upland lakes and steep-sided glacial valleys make up the terrain of the initial northern sections of the Way before giving way to gentler rolling foothills in the latter southern sections. Much of the route follows the contact point between the igneous granite of the western side of Wicklow and the metamorphic schists and slates of the eastern side. The principal habitat of the upland sections is a mixture of broadleaf and coniferous woodland, heath and blanket bog while in the lowland sections the hedgerows marking the boundaries between fields support a variety of wildlife. The Way also passes the Monastic City at Glendalough, founded in the 6th century by Saint Kevin.

The Wicklow Way was originally proposed by J. B. Malone in a series of newspaper articles in 1966. In 1977, Malone was appointed to the Long Distance Walking Routes Committee of Cospoir, the National Sports Council and set about making the concept a reality. Malone’s original proposal for a circular route around Wicklow was dropped in favour of the linear route that exists today because the Government wanted the Wicklow Way to form part of a network of walking routes around the country. The first section opened in 1980 and the trail was fully completed in 1982. It became the first of many National Waymarked Trails to be developed in Ireland: there are now over forty such trails, covering a distance of over 4,000 kilometres . The Way forms part of European walking route E8 which stretches from the Atlantic coast of County Cork to Istanbul in Turkey. A memorial to J. B. Malone, who died in 1989, was erected on the Wicklow Way, near Lough Tay, in honour of his contribution.

The provision of and access to the routes through the countryside used by the Wicklow Way is dependent on agreement with local authorities and landowners. Accordingly the route has been criticised for excessive use of routes through forestry plantations and roads. Proposals to address these issues were put forward in a review of the National Waymarked Trails published in 2010.


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