County Wicklow Information
Referred to as the ‘garden county’ of Ireland, Wicklow is part of the province of Leinster. It is situated due south of Dublin and is easily accessible on commuter rail, motorway and bus routes. Carlow, Kildare and Wexford also border it.
Wicklow’s main attractions are its stand-out scenery, particularly the Wicklow Mountains, its beautiful manor estates and its wonderful gardens. Wicklow’s close proximity to Dublin makes any of these attractions an ideal day trip from the city. The seaside towns of Bray and Brittas Bay are worth a visit, especially on a sunny day and Wicklow town is a good base from which to explore the county with plenty of accommodation, culinary and nightlife options.
Serene, secluded Glendalough, in the heart of the mountains is a highlight with its dramatic scenery, as is the beautiful Sally Gap located in the north of Wicklow. The grand houses at Powerscourt Estate, Avondale House(birthplace of Irish historical figure Charles Stewart Parnell) and Russborough House are all highly recommended.
Outdoor activities include excellent walking and hiking trails, particularly the Wicklow Way which runs the length of the Wicklow Mountains. Various walking festivals are held in the county during the year, including the Footfalls Walking Festival. Druid’s Glen is its most famous golf course.
Wicklow’s Top Five
TV and Movies – Those who have never visited Wicklow, have probably still seen the county starring on the silver screen as Wicklow is one of Europe’s top filming locations. Braveheart, The Tudors, My Left Foot, Excalibur, Micheal Collins, PS I love You and many other movies, TV series’ and dramas were all partly filmed in Wicklow. Wicklow has played host to a multitude of film crews over the years, it has impersonated many different countries and ages, and visitors can take a cinematic trip from Scotland to America to Russia all within its county borders.
The Wicklow Mountains – The Wicklow Mountains are a highly accessible (especially if on a visit based in Dublin) mountain range with Lugnaquilla as their highest point. A section of the mountains is designated as one of Ireland’s six national parks. The Wicklow Way bisects the mountains, running over 130kms in length, and it can be walked fairly easily in its entirety in around a week to ten days, stopping at B & Bs or hostels on the route, although there are shorter sections of the route worth exploring.
Brittas Bay – One of Ireland’s most famous sun-traps, Brittas Bay is among the nicest beaches on the east coast of Ireland. A popular spot with Dublin daytrippers, it has a 5km stretch of golden beach, and a blue flag award from the EU, certifying its quality and cleanliness. Brittas Bay is a great place to go walking, sailing or swimming. A little further north, Bray is larger and livelier and may be accessed on the DART trainline direct from Dublin city centre.
Glendalough – Nestled in the heart of the mountains, is a glaciated valley with two lakes, known as Glendalough. Serene and tranquil, this monastic site was founded by St. Kevin in the 6th Century, and it is well preserved, containing a round tower, .stone churches and decorative crosses. The walks in the valley and views of the lakes are truly breathtaking. There is a Visitor Centre which provides guided tours, a photographic exhibition and audio visual resources.
Powerscourt Estate – Located in the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains,Powerscourt Estate offers visitors a stunning mix of beautiful gardens (including the Italian gardens, walled garden and japenese garden) terraces, ornamental statues, and lakes. Although a castle built on the site dates from the 12th Century, the Powerscourt Mansion and Estate as it is today, was built in the 18th Century by Richard Castle (however much of the mansion was destroyed by fire in the 1970’s). Powerscourt Waterfall, Ireland’s highest, at 120 metres is located 6km from the main estate and is a lovely spot to enjoy a picnic on a summer’s day with lots of wildlife and walks in the vicinity. The Ritz Carlton Hotel, which is located within the Powerscourt Estate is a luxury resort and hotel. Children will really love the Museum of Childhood within Powerscourt House, which features a beautiful 20 room dollshouse - Tara’s Palace - filled with exquisite furniture, and lots of other exhibits.
A Taste of Wicklow’s Festivals
The Footfalls Wicklow Walking Festival is held on the October bank holiday weekend and is aimed at encouraging people to enjoy the wonderful walks, mountain scenery and outdoor beauty and lifestyle in the county.
The Wicklow Garden Festival is a long-running festival celebrating the beautiful and diverse range of gardens throughout the county and attracts about 50,000 visitors to Wicklow during the month of June. Bray Summerfest takes place throughout the month of July and has a diverse programme of music, a funfair and street theatre.
The Wicklow Arts Festival is held in May and celebrates film, theatre and music in Wicklow.The Arklow Seabreeze Festival takes place in July every year, and is a family friendly festival of street music, fireworks and a ‘pig derby’ in a carnival atmosphere.The Wicklow Regatta Festival has been a staple of the Wicklow summer calendar since the 1870’s, making it one of the longest running festivals in the country, featuring a rowing regatta, the regatta ball, and a comprehensive music, family fun and entertainment programme. The Tinahely Agricultural Show is one of the longest running agricultural shows in Ireland, and has been celebrating Irish rural life and traditions since 1937.
The Bray Jazz Festival takes place at the start of May attracting musicians from Europe and beyond. Music under the Mountains takes place in Hollywood in September (2011 is its 20th year) and promotes traditional music in the west Wicklow region. Wicklow Adventure Racing runs a number of multi-discipline adventure races during the year (6 in 2011).
Bunratty Folk Park
Bunratty Folk Park
Kilmallock Co. Limerick
Peaceful path in Wicklow
Walk in Glendalough
"Without new experiences, something inside of us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken" - Frank Herbert