When the great JB Malone created the long distance walking route from Marley to Clonegal known as the Wicklow Way, he was not thinking about "Flat Whites" and Americanos! In reality, these would have been hard to find in the Ireland of the 1970's - coffee tended to be instant or even worse, it would come in a bottle labelled "Irel"! One of the striking features of this 72 mile/135 km long route is the fact that the route stays away from towns and villages and only passes four pubs in it's route down through the entire county of Wicklow.
Walking in a southerly direction, you would have built up a great thirst if you walked from Marley Park, all the way down to Glendalough where the first pub is situated. The Glendalough Hotel was formerly the Royal Hotel, and is the only surviving hotel of four that were originally located in Glendalough (the others were Laragh House Hotel, Richardson's Lake House Hotel and Grant's Lake Hotel). Today this hotel is a busy place, with tour groups and locals alike enjoying the food and drink at the bar.
The next pub on the route is located in Glenmalure, a wonderful deep valley with history, great hiking, and a strong community. The Glenmalure Lodge is popular with walkers and locals alike and is always busy on a fine weekend. Built in 1801 as Wiseman's Inn, now owned by the Dowling family, it is a welcoming place. A couple of years ago it featured on the BBC programme "Countryfile" when they did a segment on the Wicklow Way. My walking group and I have been lucky enough to enjoy a "post Christmas lunch" here for the past few years and try to visit a few times in the year - sitting outside in the sunshine after a tough walk, with a few pals, is always a pleasure....
Here we all are - about to head up to Lugnaquilla - talk will turn to the sausages, chips and beer in the pub afterwards after a few hours!
The third pub on our route south is Tallons or better known as "The Dying Cow"! Apparently back in the 1920's, a number of after hours drinkers were discovered on the premises - the excuse for their presence being that they were helping the owner with her "dying cow"!!
This pub lies on a narrow country road - as walkers we have approached it both from the north and the south, and on each occasion it felt like reaching an oasis in the Sahara! Small, but perfectly formed, the relaxed courteous manner of the owners makes a visit here very pleasant - put it on the "to do" list when you are next in the Tinahely area!
Enjoying St Patrick's Day with some fellow walkers!
And the final pub on the Wicklow Way - or the first, if you start in Clonegal, is Osbornes. This had been on my radar for quite some time - this pub issues certificates to those who have completed the entire Wicklow Way and it is everything a proper pub should be. Clonegal is a wonderful little village where counties Wicklow, Carlow and Wexford come together and it regularly features well in Tidy Towns competitions.
Last year I organised a St Patrick's Day walk, with one group starting 20 km away from Osbornes, and one 10km away - the aim was to be installed in front of the television in time for a very important match - Ireland V England playing rugby with the Grand Slam at stake! In the photo below you can see some serious concentration from some of the pub patrons,and of course, there was a very satisfactory result!