Nestled in the heart of Ireland, the Wicklow Mountains National Park is a true gem. The park spans over 20,000 hectares and is home to some of the most stunning scenery and wildlife that Ireland has to offer.
One of the main attractions of the Wicklow Mountains National Park is the hiking trails. There are numerous trails to choose from, ranging from easy strolls to more challenging hikes. The Wicklow Way, a 131-kilometer long-distance trail, runs through the park and is a popular option for hikers looking to take on a multi-day trek.
As you explore the park, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of rolling hills, shimmering lakes, and cascading waterfalls. One of the most iconic landmarks in the park is the Glendalough Valley, home to the ancient monastic settlement of St. Kevin. Here, you can explore the remains of the monastery, including the Round Tower, and soak in the peaceful atmosphere of this historic site.
If you’re a wildlife enthusiast, the Wicklow Mountains National Park won’t disappoint. The park is home to a variety of animals, including red deer, foxes, badgers, and hares. Birdwatchers will also be in their element, as the park is home to a wide variety of bird species, including peregrine falcons and kestrels.
The Powerscourt Waterfall
Another must-see attraction in the park is the Powerscourt Waterfall. At 121m it’s the second highest waterfall in Ireland (after the ‘The Devil’s Chimney‘ in County Sligo). The waterfall cascades down a rock face and into a pool below, surrounded by lush forest and greenery. You can find it at the base of the Glensoulan Valley on the River Dargle near Enniskerry.
The easiest way to get to the park is by car, as it provides the most flexibility and freedom. The park is located about 30 kilometers south of Dublin, and there are a number of routes you can take to get there. The N11 is the main route from Dublin, which leads to the park’s main entrance at the Glendalough Visitor Centre. There is plenty of parking available at the park, so you won’t have to worry about finding a spot.
If you don’t have a car, there are regular bus services that run from Dublin to the park. The 44 and 44B bus routes run from Dublin’s city center to Glendalough, with stops at various points along the way, including the Powerscourt Waterfall. You can purchase bus tickets online or at the bus station.
The nearest train station to the park is in Bray, which is about 20 kilometers away. From there, you can catch a bus or taxi to the park. The train journey from Dublin to Bray takes around 45 minutes, and there are regular services throughout the day.
Another popular option is to join a tour group that visits the park. Many tour companies offer day trips to the Wicklow Mountains National Park, which includes transport, a guide, and sometimes additional activities such as a visit to the Guinness Estate or a horseback ride through the park.
Once you arrive at the Wicklow Mountains National Park, how do you explore the park?
Hiking is one of the best ways to explore the park, and there are numerous trails to choose from. Whether you’re looking for an easy stroll or a more challenging hike, there’s a trail for everyone. The most popular trail in the park is the Wicklow Way, which runs for 131 kilometers through the park and is well signposted.
If you prefer to explore the park on two wheels, cycling is a great option. There are a number of cycle routes that run through the park, ranging from gentle, family-friendly routes to more challenging mountain bike trails.
If you have a car, driving through the park is another option. The park is home to a number of scenic driving routes, including the Military Road, which offers stunning views of the park’s mountains and lakes.
If you prefer not to drive or cycle, there are a number of public transport options for getting around the park. The park operates a shuttle bus service during the summer months, which connects various points in the park, including the Glendalough Visitor Centre and the Powerscourt Waterfall. There are also local bus services that run from nearby towns and villages to the park.
For a unique way to explore the park, horse riding is a great option. There are a number of equestrian centers in and around the park that offer guided horse rides through the park’s stunning scenery.
No matter how you choose to get around, make sure to bring plenty of water and appropriate clothing and footwear for the weather conditions. Personally, I’d always bring a rain jacket, even if Google is predicting low chances of rain for the day!