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An Active 1-Day Wicklow Itinerary (Hikes, Food + Unique Attractions)

An Active 1-Day Wicklow Itinerary (Hikes, Food + Unique Attractions)

This article is sponsored by Ford Ireland

Mapping out a 1-day Wicklow itinerary can be a pain.

And I type that after spending a good 4 hours this week working one out so that we could hit the road in the All-Electric Ford Mustang Mach-E and put it to the test for the first time this summer.

However, planning pains aside, you can squeeze an awful lot into 1-day in Wicklow, as you’ll discover below.

Some quick need-to-knows about this Wicklow itinerary

Mustang Mach-E Ireland

Although this Wicklow road trip is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.

1. Start and finish point

We’re starting and finishing this in North Dublin, but you can kick-it off from wherever you are, just adjust the order if you need to.

2. The early bird…

If you’ve ever arrived up around Sally Gap after 09:00 on a fine weekend, you’ll know parking can be a nightmare. Get up and on the road early to avoid parking hassle/crowds.

3. An electric road trip

As you’ll see below, Ford Ireland provided us with their very impressive Ford Mustang Mach-E. The Mustang Mach-E is fully electric with up to 450-610km* range. 

We’re in the AWD Extended Range model and we easily did this trip with around a 70% charge on the battery, so there was no need to plan in charging pit-stops.

Stop 1: Lough Tay

ford mach-e at lough tay

We hit the road nice and early (05:00, to be exact!) and landed up at Lough Tay at around 06:00. The beauty of the early start is that we had the whole place to ourselves.

There’s plenty of great spots to soak up a view of Lough Tay, but make sure to take note of the signs and avoid walking anywhere you shouldn’t.

Stop 2: The Ballinastoe Woods Walk

walking through Ballinastoe

The Ballinastoe Woods Walk is a peach of a ramble, but it’s one that causes a fair bit of confusion, as there are several different entrance points and trails.

If you just want to see the boardwalk and get a good aerial view of Guinness Lake, try the trail outlined here (it takes 30 – 40 minutes).

On this occasion, we entered up at the car park outlined in this guide, walked the boardwalk and then headed up to the JB Malone Memorial where you’re treated to a glorious view of Lough Tay and the Wicklow Mountains.

Stop 3: The Wicklow Heather for breakfast

wicklow heather breakfast

When you finish up at the woods you’re a handy, 20-minute spin in the Ford Mustang Mach-E from one of the most aesthetically pleasing restaurants in the land – the Wicklow Heather.

If you’ve followed our Wicklow itinerary to this point, you’ll be in need of a feed – the breakfast and the coffee here are the business.

The interior is also a little bit like something from Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter series, which adds to the experience. A peach of a spot.

Stop 4: Lough Ouler

climbing lough ouler

Now, our next hike is a tough enough one – if you’d rather a handier trail to tackle, you could always head to Glendalough and do one of the lake walks.

If you fancy a trek, head for Turlough Hill Car Park. It’s from here that you start your ascent of Tonlegee.

The climb from the car park is tough – it’s pure incline, as you’d expect, and the trail can be tricky to spot at times.

However, after you’ve reached the summit and followed the trail down the other side, you’ll be treated to mighty views of Lough Ouler.

When I did this last week, it took me around an hour and 25 minutes to get to the viewing point for the lake and around 45 minutes to get back to the car park.

Stop 5: Avondale Forest Park

beyond the trees avondale

The drive out to Avondale from Turlough Hill is a good 25km / 25 minutes. To get there, we used the Mustang Mach-E’s Connected Navigation which has a very handy voice control function.

Once the destination has been locked in, the route is clearly plotted out on its huge 15.5 inch touchscreen. The reason for our spin out to Avondale Forest Park is that they’ve just launched a treetop walk along with Ireland’s tallest slide.

Now, if you’ve no interest in batin’ down a slide, don’t worry – the park is a joy to ramble around. I gave the new treetop trail a crack and it was excellent, despite the crowds.

It takes you through the treetops at the park and brings you out at the massive structure that holds the slide. You can walk to the top and soak up views of the surrounding countryside.

Stop 6. Victor’s Way

Few places in Ireland have surprised me as much as Victor’s Way (a 30-minute drive from Avondale).

This place is paraded by some as a ‘weird’ attraction, but it’s more a place of mindfulness and enlightenment than anything else.

Yes, there’s bizarre statues, but each has a meaning attached to it. There’s a beautifully manicured forest to stroll around (complete with ‘forest recliners’ where you can kick-back and soak up the sounds of the trees) and several lakes and ponds.

I’d argue that this isn’t a tourist attraction, but it’s a place I know that I’ll visit many, many more times.

This spin only used up 20km’s of the car’s range, leaving us with plenty in the battery to tackle the long spin home without having to factor in a pit-stop for charging.

Wrapping up our Wicklow road trip

Wicklow itinerary

It was only when I was typing this up that I realised how much we squeezed into a relatively short time.

The Ford Mustang Mach-E made the drive an enjoyable and luxurious one (I’m never giving this thing back…!) and the weather played ball the entire day. 

The entire trip only used 245km of the battery so we comfortably made the round trip without needing a charge. Our next road trip with the Mustang Mach-E takes us down to the Comeragh Mountains, where we’ll really be putting the extended range to the test.

If you’re struggling to plan out a Wicklow itinerary, 1-day or otherwise, just shout in the comments below and we’ll do our best to help!

Check out more about the Ford Mustang Mach-E on 

*Based on full charge. Estimated range using Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) applies to RWD model with extended range battery. Actual range varies with conditions such as external elements, driving behaviours, vehicle maintenance, and lithium-ion battery age.


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