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County Wicklow City Guide

Famous for the stunning scenery of its daunting inland mountain range and its pretty coastline, County Wicklow is just a stone’s throw from Dublin, making it popular with both tourists and the inhabitants of Ireland’s capital. Magnificent monastic ruins, handsome mansion houses and glorious gardens abound along the Wicklow Way, the country’s most popular walking trail. Given its proximity to Dublin, you can be exploring the county’s many delights quickly and easily by car or through a combination of public transport and walking boots.

Stretching more than 80 miles from Dublin’s southern suburbs to Clonegal in County Carlow, the Wicklow Way takes in nature trails, old bog roads and disused military supply lines. Typically, it can be completed in five to seven days, with up to 24,000 people walking the most popular sections every year.

A Landscape Full of Drama

As you leave Dublin for County Wicklow, affectionately known as the “Garden of Ireland”,  the landscape changes dramatically. The journey south crosses moors, bogs and mountains splashed with lakes. The desolate, wild peaks mix with deep glacial valleys to produce an unforgettable landscape.

The most remote parts of the mountains and surrounding wilderness can be explored via the Military Road. The best place to join it is at Glencree, allowing you to head south through the Sally Gap, the Glenmacness Valley, famous for its waterfall, Laragh, the Glenmalure Valley and Aghavannagh.

Glendalough, or the Valley of the Two Lakes, features prominently on most people’s must-see lists. Home to an important monastic settlement as well as two dark lakes surrounded by forest, it is one of the most beautiful, romantic locations in the whole of Ireland.

On the Coast

County Wicklow’s coastline plays second fiddle to its dramatic inland attractions but there is plenty to explore when you fancy a breath of bracing sea air.

Keen to maintain its own identity from Dublin, the resort of Bray has a fine stretch of sand and a great coastal walking route to Greystones, which has a charming seafront centred around an idyllic harbour. The town of Wicklow, set on the curve of a bay stretching for more than seven miles, is also home to an impressive harbour.

See and Do

County Wicklow is full of attractions steeped in history. One of the most notable, Wicklow’s infamous jail, opened in 1702 to deal with prisoners held captive under the repressive anti-Catholic penal laws of the time. It was renowned throughout Ireland for its harsh living conditions and the brutal guards who patrolled its bleak corridors.

Spectacular Russborough House, one of the country’s finest stately homes, can be found at Blessington while the “uncrowned king of Ireland”, nationalist leader Charles Stewart Parnell, was born in Avondale House, the heart of a magnificent 500-acre estate.

Surrounding the ruins of a Queen Anne house, the 52-acre National Botanic Gardens are located in Kilmacurragh while the Powerscourt Estate, which gives a real insight into the lives of 18th century Ireland’s wealthiest citizens, is on the doorstep of the handsome village of Enniskerry.

Guide to Exploring Wicklow

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See all 584 Hotels in Wicklow
Esplanade Hotel Bray

Esplanade Hotel Bray

Strand Road, Bray
of 5, from 89 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Offering direct access to the beach, this Bray hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of National Sealife Centre and Bray Head. Bray Golf Club and Woodbrook Golf Club are also within 3 mi (5 km).

Wilton Hotel Bray

Wilton Hotel Bray

Southern Cross Road, Bray
of 5, from 16 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Situated near the beach, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Killruddery House and Gardens and Bray Golf Club. Bray Heritage Centre and Dargle View Golf Course are also within 2 mi (3 km).

Tinakilly Country House

Tinakilly Country House

Rathnew, Rathnew
of 5, from 36 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Situated in Rathnew, this hotel is within 3 mi (5 km) of Mount Usher Gardens, Wicklow's Historic Gaol, and Black Castle. Wicklow Golf Club is 3 mi (4.8 km) away.

Powerscourt Hotel, Autograph Collection

Powerscourt Hotel, Autograph Collection

Powerscourt Estate, Enniskerry
of 5, from 77 reviews
5.0 out of 5.0

Located in a rural location, this family-friendly hotel is within 6 mi (10 km) of Powerscourt Waterfall, Bray Head, and Bray Golf Club. James Joyce Tower and Dundrum Town Centre are also within 12 mi (20 km).

The Royal Hotel

The Royal Hotel

Main Street, Bray
of 5, from 127 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

This family-friendly Bray hotel is located on the riverwalk, within 3 mi (5 km) of Bray Head and Bray Golf Club. James Joyce Tower and Dundrum Town Centre are also within 9 mi (15 km).

Hotel Glendalough

Hotel Glendalough

Glendalough, Wicklow
3.0 out of 5.0

Situated in Glendalough, this property is steps from Glendalough Tower, Glendalough Cathedral, and St. Kevin's Church. Lower Lake and Upper Lake are also within 1 mi (2 km).

Druids Glen Hotel & Golf Resort

Druids Glen Hotel & Golf Resort

Newtownmountkennedy, Newtownmountkennedy
of 5, from 37 reviews
5.0 out of 5.0

Situated in the mountains, this luxury hotel is 0 mi (0.1 km) from Druids Glen Golf Club and within 3 mi (5 km) of National Garden Exhibition Center and Glenroe Open Farm. Mount Usher Gardens and Bray Golf Club are also within 9 mi (15 km).

Parkview Hotel

Parkview Hotel

Main Street, Newtownmountkennedy
of 5, from 54 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

This family-friendly Newtownmountkennedy hotel is located in a rural location, within 3 mi (5 km) of Druids Glen Golf Club and National Garden Exhibition Center. Glenroe Open Farm and Mount Usher Gardens are also within 9 mi (15 km).

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