The County of Wicklow is only an hour from Dublin is easily accessible by rail, bus or car. Travelling around Wicklow you will encounter the wonderful area of Avoca, Meeting of the Waters and surrounding countryside, and it was here that the television series "Ballykissangel" was filmed, an area previously known for its mines, in days gone by. Take a trip to the Avoca Handweavers for its store, café and a chance to see a working hand weaving mill.
Wicklow offers some wonderful natural and man made scenic areas. Travel through Wicklow and enjoy the seaside towns of Bray, Greystones, and Brittas Bay, with their Blue Flag Beaches. Only a stone’s throw away from Dublin (and a couple of hours drive), you soon meet stunning coastline and vast, rugged mountains rich with wildlife. Here are some of our favourite spots in Wicklow ....
A 19th century seaside town, Bray has a stunning seafront promenade that extends for a mile - make sure you enjoy an infamous (& huge) Teddy’s ice cream cone as you stroll! Literary buffs should visit Joyce’s House at the Martello Tower – surprisingly, admission is free. There’s also a Sealife Centre, with over 900 fresh water and marine creatures waiting to be discovered including fish, starfish and sharks! With 25 displays in total, it’s the perfect rainy day out for kids and nature lovers. Kilruddy House and Gardens on Southern Cross Road are well worth a visit; it’s a working house, gardens and farm, with plenty of nooks and crannies to explore. Enjoy a guided tour or visit the gardens to enable the young ones to let off some steam; if visiting the gardens only, children are allowed free entry. And for the active holidaymaker, walk the impressive Bray Head cliff walk to Greystones. Also worth a visit is the nearby Powerscourt House and Gardens in Enniskery.
Voted by National Geographic as the third best garden in the world, it stretches over 47 acres with breathtaking views of the countryside. There is also a stunning waterfall – the highest in Ireland – in the parkland at the foot of the Wicklow mountains. And for little kids and big kids alike, visit Tara’s Palace Museum of Childhood within the estate; it’s a magical miniature world that includes a house in a bottle, a 300-year-old doll’s house and Ireland’s largest period doll’s house with painted ceilings and marble floors! And best of all, the museum supports children’s charities so you’re also helping those in need.
Powerscourt Gardens, has many walks, walled gardens, and ornamental lakes. Mount Usher Garden located beside Lake Vartry with hundreds of species of trees and plants. Killruddery House and Gardens a wonderful day out also. Above are some of the reasons why Wicklow is called the Garden of Ireland.
Originally a fishing village, this welcoming town has excellent restaurants, pubs and beaches – perfect for a romantic or active break. Sailing and fishing are easily available, and the Recreation Park has an excellent running track and skate park facilities. The cliff top walk here is incredible, and will lead you all the way to Bray; safe in al weather, pack some food in a backpack and meander the coast. If you fancy a drive, head south to Kilcoole to see where the TV programme Glenroe was filmed; there’s a shingle beach that’s full of native and visiting bird species, with the nature reserve leading all the way to Wicklow Town. There’s also a pet farm to visit with animals, an aviary, fairy glen, playground and nature walk.
Built overlooking the sea, this is a hub for sailing, fishing and walking. Visit historic Wicklow Gaol and you’ll be transported back to meet some of Ireland’s most notorious vagabonds as you learn about the building’s past; for the hardy, there are night tours available also. Drive out to see the ruins of Black Castle, with stunning views over the town and North Wicklow coast. And make sure you visit Wicklow Head to see the Wicklow Head Lighthouse, built in 1781. Its stone tower has now been converted by the Irish Landmark trust into a place that you can rent for self-catering accommodation with a difference.
Brittas Bay is a stunning 5km stretch of beach with sand dunes and crystal clear water, this spot has maintained a blue flag for many years now and is a favourite with swimmers, sailors and walkers of all ages.
The top of any list of attraction here should be Avondale House and Forest Park: the birthplace of the uncrowned King of Ireland, Charles Stewart Parnell, this incredible preserved Georgian House is complete with original furnishings and furniture, set in a stunning 500 acre Forest park. Insider tip: the house and gardens are closed during winter so check the website for opening times. For Easter and summer visitors, Greenan Farm Museums and maze is another popular choice, with lots to do for both adults and children. There are two mazes, three traditional museums, a playground, nature trail and fairy tree walk. When you’re all tired out from exploring, check out the tearooms and craft shop.
Famous as the setting for Ballykissangel, a popular TV series, this tiny village is well worth a stop off. Fitzgerald’s pub, as featured in the programme, can be visited for a quick pint and friendly welcome. Meanwhile, the local mill is another popular spot; it’s the oldest working hand weaving mill in Ireland and you can see the whole weaving process from start to finish before browsing the shop for some fine and authentic souvenirs.
Covering 20,000 hectares of wild mountains, lakes and woodland habitat, this is an area of true natural beauty as well as home to one of Ireland’s most important Christian sites. In the heart of the Wicklow Mountains National Park, the sacred monastic site (built in the 6th century by Saint Kevin) of Glendalough is one of the most photographed monuments in Ireland, with its round tower, stone churches and stunning graveyard with decorative crosses. The site can be viewed at ground level or from an array of lookouts along the many guided forest walks. The beauty is unforgettable, with two lakes, oak forests and steep mountains to explore. Rock climbers will love the cliff faces, while hikers will adore the well-marked paths with varying degrees of difficulty. Watch out for the wild goats and deer; they’re difficult to spot when lying still as they camouflage so well. Open year round, the Information Office provides local information, toilets and parking.
Glendalough is a beautiful part of the County of Wicklow it offers wonderful scenery and if you have your hiking boots a great place to take a walk around or just enjoy a gently stroll as it forms part of Wicklow Mountains National Park area. Glendalough is where you will find one of Irelands earliest Christian monastic settlements with St Kevin’s Church and the Round Tower remaining. Russborough House is another great place to enjoy a stroll around or take a tour of this great House. Dwyer McAllister Cottage in Knockanarrigan in Co Wicklow is a fine example of an traditional Irish whitewashed thatched cottage and life at that time.
A village on the edge of the Wicklow Mountains with the biggest manmade lake in the country, there are incredible leisure facilities available as well as a stunning lake drive. Head out to nearby Russborough House and Parkland, a stunning 18th century stately house with sheepdog demonstrations and tours of the grounds. There’s also a maze, gift shop, playground, Exhibition Centre, and tearooms – plenty for young and old in all weathers.
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