Wicklow Mountains National Park, also known as the Garden of Ireland, is one of the country’s six national parks and an easy day trip from Dublin, only 18.5 miles (30 km) away. Travelers frequent this County Wicklow mountain range to spend time away from the city and enjoy the stunningly wild landscape that is so markedly different from the typical green, grassy plains of the Emerald Isle. You’ll find 50,000 acres (20,000 hectares) of low mountains, serene lakes, and deep glacial valleys offering chances to fish, kayak, and hike.
Wicklow Mountain Scenery
From bog lands to heather fields, stunning mountain landscapes awaits at the Wicklow Mountains. The park features Glencree Valley and Sally Gap, in addition to one of Ireland’s highest waterfalls, Powerscourt. Other must-see spots include the P.S. I Love You Bridge; Powerscourt Gardens at the Powerscourt Estate; the Wicklow Gap, where much of Braveheart was filmed; and Lough Tay, also known as Guinness Lake. Many tours include nature walks with a tour guide, and some allow for exploring nearby medieval villages such as Kilkenny and the round tower at the Glendalough Monastic Settlement, founded by St. Kevin in the sixth century. Because there’s so much natural beauty to take in at the national park, it’s recommended that you spend a full day here.
Stop by Fitzgerald's Pub in Avoca in County Wicklow for lunch at a traditional Irish pub. Plus, what’s lunch on the Emerald Isle without a Guinness to go with it?
Things to Know Before You Go
- There is no entrance fee for the national park, but you will have to pay for parking.
- Although the area is widely remote, most facilities can be found in the Glendalough area, including the Glendalough Visitor Center, where you’ll find historical exhibits and park information.
- Most coach tours offer free WiFi on the bus.
- A few paths and trails near Upper Lake and Lower Lake have been deemed fit for wheelchair users.
How to Get There
Wicklow Mountains tours are offered with daily departures from Dublin city center. The scenic route to the mountains from Dublin takes about an hour by car or coach via the winding Military Road, which passes numerous bogs and lakes along the way. It’s also possible to arrive by rail tour, which removes the hassle of navigating mountain roads without compromising the stunning views of the Irish countryside.