Affectionately known as ‘The Garden of Ireland’, Wicklow is a truly picturesque part of Ireland and an area that should go on your list of places to visit in Ireland in 2018. From dominating mountains and stunning coastline to quaint villages and wonderful pubs, there is so much to see and do in Wicklow that you’ll probably want to consider spending a few days in the ‘Garden County’. Here are 10 reasons to get yourself along to Wicklow.
10 Reasons You Need to Visit Wicklow
1 Wicklow Mountains
If you’re a fan of the great outdoors, then Wicklow is simply a must visit. The vast Wicklow Mountains are a big draw for many visiting the area, and as Ireland’s largest national park, you’ve so much to see and do that you can easily spend a few days enjoying the many great walks and views that the Wicklow Mountains have to offer. Highlights include the Wicklow Way walk, the monastic city of Glendalough, the scenic driving routes of Sally Gap and Wicklow Gap, and the spectacular Lough Tay.
2 Monastic City of Glendalough
One of the undoubted highlights of the Wicklow Mountains, and indeed Wicklow itself is the ancient monastic city of Glendalough. With wonderful views of the Wicklow Mountains, Glendalough dates back to the 6th Century when it was founded by St Kevin. While much of Glendalough is in ruins today, the round tower and church buildings continue to make this one of the most popular visitor attractions in Wicklow, and is a must see when visiting the area.
3 Powerscourt Estate & Gardens
Voted one of the top 10 houses in the world by Lonely Planet readers, and the number three garden in the world by National Geographic, the Powerscourt Estate is steeped in history and beauty in equal measure. With some 19 hectares of stunning gardens to explore and views of the nearby Wicklow Mountains, it’s easy to see how Wicklow has earned the title of ‘The Garden of Ireland’, with sites like Powerscourt just waiting to be explored. Some of the highlights of Powerscourt Estate include Triton Lake, the Italian Gardens and Powerscourt Waterfall.
4 Powerscourt Waterfall
While exploring Powerscourt Estate and Gardens, be sure to give yourself time to visit Powerscourt Waterfall, the largest in Ireland at 121 metres high. The waterfall itself is about 6km from the main estate but provides a great reward when you trek the path.
5 Explore Coastal Bray
The coastal town of Bray is well worth a visit when exploring Wicklow. With plenty of accommodation options in Bray, it can even make for a great base from which to explore the area. Located a short distance from Dublin, and with several golf courses nearby, Bray is an increasingly popular area for a weekend golf break. Enjoy a scenic cliff walk at Bray Head or visit the National Sealife Centre, especially if you’re travelling with kids. The wonderful Kilruddy House and Gardens is another attraction to visit when exploring Bray, with the stunning estate featured in Angela’s Ashes and My Left Foot.
6 Wicklow Town
Another popular town to explore when visiting Wicklow is Wicklow Town. Begin by visiting the picturesque Wicklow Harbour, and be sure to explore the historic sites of Wicklow Gaol and Black Castle. A town founded by the Vikings, there’s so much history to Wicklow Town, while the nearby Silver Strand Beach is worth a visit anytime of the year.
7 Russborough House
With over 275 years of history, Russborough House has seen it all, including two fires, two forced occupations and is even said to be haunted in parts. This beautiful house, with an adjoining parkland area, is a great addition to any activity, and an area that you can explore in great detail in a couple of hours. If time is on your side, take a guided tour of the house and marvel at some of the stunning artwork and artefacts on display.
With a playground, magical fairy island, maze, parkland walks, walled garden, artist studios and the National Bird of Prey Centre, there’s a lot to see and do for those of you looking for activities with kids when visiting Wicklow.
8 Wicklow Brewery
There’s just something captivating about a brewery and distillery tour, and the Wicklow Brewery in Redcross is a highlight for many visiting the county. Adjacent to the popular Mickey Finn’s Pub, the Wicklow Brewery provides regular brewery tours and a beer hall to just add to the visitor experience. If you like your craft beers, Wicklow Brewery is a must visit.
9 Arklow Maritime Museum
Located in the picturesque coastal town of Arklow, the Arklow Maritime Museum provides lots of information on the maritime history of Arklow, focusing in particular on its boat building, lifeboat and fishing traditions.
10 Johnnie Fox’s Pub
While technically in Dublin, if you’re visiting Wicklow and visiting Powerscourt or Bray, or even happen to be travelling via (or staying in) Dublin, a trip to Johnnie Fox’s Pub is a must. Johnnie Fox’s lays claim to being the highest pub in Ireland, so stop off for a tipple and enjoy the views as you travel.
Plan Your Wicklow Holiday Today
Whether it’s a weekend break or an extended break, ‘Ireland’s Garden’ has lots to see and do, and is a great destination if you love a trip that gets you outdoors. Plan your Wicklow break today by checking out the latest deals for Wicklow hotels.
Images via Fáilte Ireland