The Wicklow Way
A short cry from the hustle and bustle of Dublin, you can find yourself breathing in the fresh clean air and sit back and observe the riverside monastic city in Glendalough, County Wicklow. Many people head straight for Glendalough which is a wonderful place, but it gets very crowded. If you were to go there on a bank holiday or during the summer, you’ll find it has almost as many people as you would see on Christmas Eve on Grafton street.
There is a lot more to Wicklow than just Glendalough, beautiful and all as it is - Wicklow has one of the biggest National parks in Ireland and it is less than an hour’s drive from the Spire on O’Connell Street. Wicklow’s National park covers 20,000 hectares and is mostly bog, mountain and heath. Not only is it the largest of the six National Parks in Ireland it also boasts one of the best scenic drives in the country as you pass through places like the famous Sally Gap. Here you can find many beautiful walking trails and lakes.
Wicklow is also covered in forests and Coillte, the national forestry agency, makes these forests very accessible to people through developing walks and bike trails. One such forest is Ballinastoe Woods on the road between Enniskerry and Roundwood. These woods have many kilometres of pathways that are great for walking. The uppermost walking trail brings you out to a beautiful view above Lough Tay and the former Guinness estate at Luggala. This forest also has 16 kilometre systems of bike trail. Accessible from the same road is a really nice walk of about three hours which takes in great views of Powerscourt Waterfall Valley and fantastic views of the Wicklow Mountains from the top of Maulin.
If you’re interested in learning some history, the German Military Cemetery is nearby, it contains 134 graves - six of the burials are soldiers from World War I and 128 are from World War II. The majority are German Air Force or Navy personnel who died in aircraft crashes or were washed up on the Irish shoreline. Many of those buried have never been identified. This is Ireland's only German military cemetery and it holds the remains of a spy who was moved there under the cover of darkness.
If you don’t have access to a car you can have a lovely train journey along the coast as far as Greystones followed by a 2 hour cliff walk from Greystones back to Bray.