The Garden of Ireland - County Wicklow
Posted by Emer Kelly on the 20th of July 2012 at 16:37:19
A friend came to visit me last week and we decided to go to County Wicklow because I’ve heard so much about it. There are so many things to do, but I was especially interested in the Wicklow National Park and doing some walks!!!! I was expecting a lot and it was even better! It was so wonderful!
County Wicklow is less than one hour south of Dublin city centre, by bus or car. It is known as “The Garden of Ireland” and is one of Ireland's true scenic treasures with it’s magnificent hills and mountains, long sandy beaches, rivers and lakes…
We started our trip by Glendalough (or Gleann Da Loch, meaning “The Glen of the Two Lakes”) situated in the heart of the Wicklow Mountain’s National Park. Glendalough is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Wicklow and indeed in all of Ireland. When we arrived we were surprised by the number of tourists that were there but as the weather was lovely that day I suppose people were eager to get out and about and explore as we haven't been that lucky with the weather in Ireland this summer unfortunately!
There are several walks that start from the visitor centre that can take anything from 30 minutes up to 4 hours to do. We decided to do the “white” walk which is a 10km walk and it’s the most popular. We didn’t know which path to choose, so we choose the path to the right (whether or not it was a bad choice, it’s up to you!) If you would like to go up quickly, then take the left path and go up the 600 steps of stairs if you're able! If you want to go up slowly and take your time, then take the right path.
We were very lucky because the day was sunny and warm. The view on the upper lake was amazing. I still don’t know how to describe this landscape…it really is just truly breathtaking....
At the beginning when I saw how crowded it was near the visitor centre, I was a little worried that we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the nature, but most of the people stayed near the lake and didn’t really do the walks, or maybe they took the shorter paths so we really enjoyed our walk and only met a few people along the way.
After 4 hours on our walk with some picnic stops along the way, we returned to the visitor centre and visited the cemetery with the famous tower and we had a walk around the world famous monastic site.
As I’d heard so much about the sunset on the lake and the weather was so good with no clouds, we decided to go to the lake again after dinner there was no one around and we were completely alone… The sun had already disappeared behind the mountains but the colours were still beautiful.
I recommend the "white" walks as it really was a beautiful walk and it really was so lovely staying in Glendalough after 7pm as alot of people has left and it was so quiet and peaceful, and the lake was like a mirror.
After a good nights rest in the Glendalough Hotel and a hearty breakfast, we were up early and decided to visit Powerscourt House and Gardens.The gardens were magnificent and provided a very pleasant walk with lots of little nooks and crannies and the fountain at the end of a monumental stairway from the house is just beautiful. The gardens are very well maintained and are definitely worth a visit.
Next on our stop was Powerscourt Waterfall which is Ireland's highest at 121m. When we visited the Powerscourt Waterfall, it was an amazing sight but when we got too close we got soaked when the wind changed direction, however we still really enjoyed it! I would like to return when the weather is a bit better, so that we could stay longer and walk around the park.
Not too far away you can find Russborough House. This is one of the great Palladian houses of Ireland. If you are in the north of Wicklow area or heading west from there, it is a must see. It does not have the extensive gardens like Powerscourt, but the house interior is in wonderful shape. Our tour guide was excellent - very knowledgeable and interesting!
Unfortunately we didn’t have time to do more but there is so much to do and see in Co. Wicklow.
Click here for a list of all the attractions in Co. Wicklow and you can also contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions about your future trip to Ireland.
Have a great weekend Everyone!