Wicklow is dubbed the “garden of Ireland” since it is home to wild landscapes, stunning coastlines, and welcoming villages that the Emerald Isle is known for. The countryside of Wicklow also serves as Dublin’s vast natural playground. Its close proximity to the bustling capital provides Dubliners and tourists a quick refuge from the city’s hustle and bustle in just 45 minutes or less.
August is the last month of the long summer season in Ireland — a brief time when the weather is comfortable, warm, and dry, the flowers are in full bloom, and nature-filled trips are a must. What better way to spend the rest of the summer days than visiting Wicklow?
1. Visit the historic Glendalough Monastic Site
This ancient heritage site that lies in the heart of Wicklow Mountains National Park is a highlight for many visitors. Glendalough is one of the most significant monastic sites in Ireland, nestled between two beautiful lakes (Gleann dá Loch, meaning “Valley of the Two Lakes”). The main attractions include the 1000-year-old Round Tower, a ruined cathedral, and a small church known as St. Kevin’s Kitchen.
2. Take a trip into the wild landscapes of the Wicklow Mountains
Wicklow Mountains National Park is the largest of the six national parks in Ireland, making it an explorer’s paradise. The park covers a vast area of central County Wicklow (54,000 acres) and even stretches into the south of County Dublin.
There’s more to the national park than mere scenic walks and viewpoints. The vast park also has a lot of marked trails for hikers and visitors who’d love to go horse riding, mountain biking, and climbing. Wicklow Mountains National Park is also perfect for scenic drives.
Aside from Glendalough, you should check out other natural attractions and hidden gems dotted around the expansive national park:
- Sally Gap Drive
- Lough Tay Viewing Point
- Glenmacnass Waterfall
- Lough Ouler
- Sugarloaf Mountain
- Ballinastoe Forest Walk
3. Book a hotel near the Blessington Lakes
The western side of the Wicklow Mountains, which is home to the breathtaking Blessington Lakes, is less visited. If you’re looking for a quiet hideaway during the peak travel season, consider booking a hotel in Wicklow situated in this peaceful area.
This hotel in Wicklow, for instance, is only 45 minutes away from Dublin yet it offers lakeside luxury in the Wicklow countryside. The hotel is housed in an 18th-century manor house, perched on the banks of Blessington Lakes, against the backdrop of the Wicklow Mountains.
4. Adore the heather in Wicklow Mountains National Park
While Wicklow Mountains National Park is beautiful all year long, summer makes the scenery even more breathtaking. During the summer and early autumn, the vibrant heather is in full bloom, blanketing the hills with vivid hues of purple and maroon.
5. Explore Powerscourt Estate and Waterfall
If you’re going to Wicklow Mountains National Park from Dublin, it’s a crime not to visit Powerscourt Estate, a stunning 64-sq km estate in Enniskerry. The estate is home to the elegant 18th-century Palladian Mansion and beautifully landscaped gardens, set against the backdrop of the Wicklow Mountains and Sugar Loaf Mountain.
Take a 6km drive to the separate part of the estate and you’ll see the highest waterfall in Ireland: the 121m high Powerscourt Waterfall. You can explore the nature trail laid out around the waterfall’s base, go birdwatching, and have a picnic with your family.
6. Head to the seaside town of Bray for nature and culture
Bray is a scenic coastal town that’s popular among Dublin day-trippers due to its close proximity. Aside from the stunning views of the Irish sea that are perfect for sightseeing and water activities, Bray also offers a free, beachside festival during the long summer season. The festival comes with a funfair, a couple of live music events, and free outdoor cinema.
You can also stay warm and dry by simply checking out the fantastic cafes and pubs, lined along the Bray seafront. When the sun sets, make sure to enjoy a perfect pint of Guinness and traditional Irish music in one of the best pubs in the world: the 200-year-old Harbour Bar.
7. Climb the Bray Head
Want a scenic way to get some exercise? Stretch your legs and climb Bray Head, a hilly promontory at the end of Bray promenade. Marking the summit is a massive concrete cross — an iconic Bray landmark.
Though the paths to the summit are rocky and uneven, climbing the top is achievable for all ages and abilities. Plus, your one-hour exertion will be rewarded with a fantastic 360-degree view of the seaside town, Wicklow mountains, and the surrounding countryside.
8. Take the scenic Bray to Greystones Cliff Walk
If you don’t feel like climbing the summit, you may take a coastal walk instead from Bray to Greystones. From the end of the Bray promenade (where the climb to Bray Head starts), you may continue walking along the path to the neighboring town of Greystones. The 7-kilometre long walking route offers breathtaking views of the Wicklow coastline and the Irish Sea.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a foodie and travel blogger who loves discovering new sights and experiences. Her fondness for travel, food, and cultural appreciation makes it easy for her to write inspiring pieces of content about them. To know more about hotels and travel blogs, you may visit Tulfarris Hotel Wicklow.