Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Wicklow Way day 1 - Tinahey to Shielstown Forest (staying Jyle’s Farm)

overview map. start in Tinahely heading north to Shielstown Forest

Let’s get this out of the way right off: we are not doing the entire Wicklow Way. The entire trail runs about 82 miles and we are doing about 60 of them leaving off the southernmost bit. Our section hike will require five days which will be enough for us to enjoy the journey.   We arrived in Tinahely mid-afternoon and quickly came to the conclusion that there is little to do in town. We made a quick exploration and settled back into our rooms at the B&B to relax before dinner at Connor’s pub. An early evening for everyone.

The morning dawned clear and with the promise of great, for Ireland, heat. We got ourselves on the trail at about 09:30 and were soon leaving the roads of the village of Tinahely behind. Sadly we were destined to return to the B&B because I was pretty sure I had failed to pack some stuff. It turned out I had packed the item but in the wrong place. An extra 1.5km would be added to our hiking day because of this little mistake. An extra bit of time too so our day began again a  bit after 10:00. Oh well. We had plenty of time.

tinahely view


According to the somewhat meager directions our walk would be about 14km and follow country lanes, minor tarmac roads , and paths through farm fields. We quickly learned that the directions Sherpa provide aren’t quite as detailed as Inntravel gave us. That might just be for this trip but it is still a shame that they don’t provide at least more distance information. For example, tell us that the hike from the start of the Wicklow Way to the stream crossing is such and so kilometers long. I suppose you might be able to work some of that out with a good map but having the extra bit of information would be a nice touch. Besides, they do provide it sometimes.

The first 2.5km are actually not on the Wicklow Way.  We followed a narrow, just wide for the large tractor ,to pass us not once but twice putting our toes at serious risk of being crushed. A narrow dirt lane indeed. We found the Wicklow Way and soon were following a path through pastures that were home to numerous sheep gradually ascending and then leveling off for a time before dropping down again. Easy walking with just two or three stiles to climb over. Along the way we had panaramic views of Tinahely and other places. We also found ourselves walking past a couple sheep that were not all that long dead in a case or two. No idea how they died.


After passing a small herd of horses that seemed to be waiting for something we returned to country lanes for a while. Fortunately these were sheltered by trees because by this time, late morning, the temeprature had crept well into the 70s and showed no signs of easing off: not a cloud in the sky.

We worked our way up and down through gentle hills past a memorial or two, an old school house, and no doubt much else. Through a set of fields infested with buzzing annoying flies that may have been biting but were certainly annoying as they buzzed us while we climbed the field path  up towards more country roads that would lead us  past the hamlet of Moyne. Our shade evaporated and we were faced with a road walk under the blazing, mid-80s now, sun.  

We encountered a couple coming the other way and learned they were also staying at Kyle’s Farm. They would get there via a trail turning we had passed a couple kilometers back. Tomorrow we will be staying where they had come from today but our day tomorrow will be a good 5km shorter as we are starting it that much closer to our eventual endpoint. 

We pushed on along the road: less than 4km to go in an hour before our expected pickup at the entrance to  Shielstown forest. It turned out to be closer to 3.5km and we got there with time to spare and settled down on rocks in wonderful shade to await our ride. Phew.

This is a lovely little farm with nice rooms, very accomodating hosts, 3 dogs, and not much to do once you arrive.  But that is alright. I am tired and think I will fall asleep easily even though my room is a bit warm. I do wish I could sit outside here in a shadier spot and enjo the slowly setting sun but that is not going to be. I really do not want to go to sleep before sunset as I definitely do not want to wake up well before, like hours before, breakfast.

view from Kyle’s Farm

Stats: Walk 13.5km with an extra 1.5km tacked on due to my mistake. Ascent (offical walk only): 372m, descent 223m.The lion’s share of ascent happened in the first 7km with much of the descent then too. A couple steeper bit like the farm path field just before Moyne too. Weather: clear and sunny all day with a high pusihing 85F in the sun.


  1. Overview map. Start at Madeline’s B&B  in  Tinahely.
  2. A view back towards Tinahely.
  3. Typical view from the hillside pastures in this area.
  4. Horses. Need I say more.
  5. A view from the deck looking northernly here at Kye’s Farm. Sunset is still 2.5 hours away.

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