The Wiklow tour includes a region of amazing mountains, valleys and lakes in the county of Wicklow on the east coast of Ireland. Glendalough is a valley within these lush mountains containing ruins of a 6th century monastery. To get here, you take a very winding, narrow road through these amazing mountains.
This tour was by far the best of our trip and should be at the top of the list on a trip to Ireland
There is no reason someone should miss this tour when staying in Dublin as it is only about an hour from the city.
The Wicklow Mountains and valleys are absolutely breathtaking. You truly feel like you are in old Ireland when you tour this area. We took a bus tour for this trip, but if I could have done it over again I would have defiantly rented my own car so I could have taken the time to take it all in and stop and get out of the car and take more pictures (plus the bus was pretty scary on those narrow roads!) We went to Wicklow on the perfect overcast day, all the colors were enhanced and the fog and clouds were rolling in making it a truly tranquil experience.
Suggestion on how to “do” the Wicklow Mountains:
Take your own car through the Wicklow Mountains and stay a night at the Glendalough Hotel. This hotel is secluded in the middle of the mountains all by itself right next to the monastery. I was so disappointed I didn’t know about this little hotel! I would have loved to stay a night and get up early to walk around the ruins and go on the trails around the lakes in the morning. This area is super quiet and just an overall serial feeling.
Glengalough Hotel Website: www.glendaloughhotel.com
If you are an avid outdoorsman, Wiklow is the place for you. It offers hiking, biking and anything outdoorsy you could imagine.
You could stay a few days at the Glendalough hotel if you wanted a truly relaxing get away from the city or just a place to do your outdoorsy stuff. Another option would be driving into Glendalough for the day and then staying in Dublin at night to so you can enjoy the night life or a good dinner in the city. Either ways, it works because they are so close.
Other interesting things in Wicklow:
On the winding narrow road through the Wicklow Mountains, you will notice giant trees. Something that I found in Ireland is that all the trees were so original and unique. In Wicklow, they were enormous! We stopped at a small rest stop shop in the mountains on the way up to Glengalough and this was a great opportunity to take pictures in front of the Giant and interesting trees. If you get an opportunity to do this- take it!
History on the monastery at Wicklow:
The monastery settlement was founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century and was partially destroyed by the English around 1398.
The remains of St. Kevin’s church are completely intact. If I remember correctly, this church was built without mortar which is truly amazing. The area also contains ruins of other little churches and a cathedral. They are all completely surrounded by old gravestones, and giant Celtic crosses.
The most famous building of the monastery is the round tower that was thought to be used to keep watch and seek refuge for raiders such as Vikings. The monks used a ladder to get into the door of the tower that is several feet above the ground. It is debated wither this door was built this way to stop enemy’s from getting into the tower, or because the tower was built on poor foundation. It is also debated wither the tower was built for defense or if it was made as a bell tower. Either way, it’s freaking awesome!