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Reviewed on 25 Jul 2020
Considered by many as The Garden of Ireland, the vast mountains, many gardens, cliffs, sandy beaches and hidden lakes have made Wicklow a destination that will make you fall in love with the great outdoors. Less than 30-minutes from Dublin, with several popular coastal towns and historic sites, Wicklow has so much to offer visitors looking for a short-break in Ireland’s south east.
The largest national park in Ireland, Wicklow Mountains are one of the many reasons travellers visit this beautiful part of the country. As one of Ireland’s premier outdoor destinations, Wicklow Mountains offer visitors the chance to explore some 220 km2 of picturesque surroundings, including the ancient monastic city of Glendalough. Walk, cycle or drive through the park and marvel at the impressive natural surroundings around you. When visiting Wicklow Mountains be sure to take time to visit the ancient monastic city of Glendalough, established by St. Kevin in the 6th century. While much of the site lies in ruins today, the views over the park and lakes from atop Glendalough are among the most impressive anywhere in Wicklow.
From here make your way towards Powerscourt House & Gardens, once voted the 3rd best garden in the world by National Geographic. Powerscourt has several picturesque gardens to explore, with the Japanese Gardens particularly impressive. Some 6km away from Powerscourt House lies Ireland’s largest waterfall, the Powerscourt Waterfall. With so much natural beauty to discover, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to take in everything Wicklow Mountains and the surrounding area has to offer.
While Wicklow Mountains, Glendalough and Powerscourt will provide plenty for visitors to Wicklow to see and do, the rest of the county has plenty on offer, taking you on a journey through time, making Wicklow a key destination along Ireland’s Ancient East. Head to Wicklow Town where you can discover more about the history of the county at Wicklow Gaol and Black Castle, while the towns of Avoca and Arklow are worth exploring. Russborough House is another impressive stately home to explore, with this 18th-century building located on the Kildare-Wicklow border. The nearby Blessington Lakes provide a tranquil walking environment, with views of Wicklow Mountains in the distance. The popular seaside resorts of Bray and Greystones are worth visiting when you travel through Wicklow, with the National Sea Life Centre in Bray a must-see if travelling with kids. For hiking fans, the 131km Wicklow Way Walk is one of Ireland’s must do walking routes, taking you from Marlay Park in Dublin to Clonegal in Carlow, passing through the Wicklow Mountains on route. Killruddery House just outside Bray Vartry Reservoir are well worth checking out when visiting Wicklow, while Avondale House, the birthplace of Charles Stewart Parnell attracts many visitors across the year.
Accommodation in Wicklow is plentiful, with many towns and villages leaving you well placed to explore the vast Wicklow Mountains, arguably the most popular part of the county.