The Wicklow Mountains National Park is a very interesting area - we wished that we had had more time to fully explore and enjoy its wonders. It was a strange landscape as we entered this upland area of 2800 foot peaks. The largely granite landscape in many places was devoid of trees and instead was a velvety green landscape dropping down into valleys. The road we were on had little other traffic (one of the reasons that we thought we must be lost) but there were amazing views around every turn. One strange thing was that, every so often, we would come across a burned out wreck of a car in the ditch. Having a piece of junk laying there in this green landscape seemed strange because there were no other signs of human habitation for most of the drive! This 700 square mile area contains Europe's longest glacier-formed valley. (Nov. 2004 update from 'birchy99' - he says that the young lads in Dublin at this time had a habit of stealing cars, crashing them into various objects and then driving them into the countryside where they torched them!)
Avoca is a small village just a few miles inland from the Irish Sea coastal town of Arklow. It was made famous as the location for the BBC TV series 'Ballykissangel' about the trials and tribulations of a Catholic priest and his feelings for the young lady who runs Fitzgerald's pub. Because we were fans of the series, that was our main reason for having a look! That being said, it was quite enjoyable to be able to stroll around such a small village with very few other tourists milling about and just taking in the Irish atmosphere! In the photo, the Stone Bridge leading into town can be seen at the right. It leads to both Fitzgerald's (yellowish building) and the Avoca Cafe (white) at the end of the bridge.
St.Kevin's Kitchen is the quite strange name for this small stone-church in Glendalough founded by St.Kevin in the 6th century.It was of course never used as a kitchen, but with the small bell-tower on top of that little church, that was similar to a oven-chimney, people used to call it St.Kevin's kitchen.
Once that you had payed a small entrance-fee at the parking you are free to walk around all of the sights of Glendalough freely and without restrictions. During the night they are totally open.
the round tower of Glendalough is one of the few round towers left over in Ireland and science still has problems to find out about the purpose of these towers.
In the hight of about 5 meters above the ground there is a door that could be blocked in case of enemies approaching.
So this was for saftey reasons, but why would they have built such a high tower just for that ??
There are severalsmall lakes next to Glendalough and they are really scenic, BUT the location Glendalough Lakes that is listed in VT under County Wicklow seems to be rather in the Ring of Kerry-area - take a look at the map that is provided by VT and compare it with villages closeby like Waterville (16km) and Sneem (15km).
Unfortunately lots of VT-members show their pics and tips about Glendalough there...
Powerscourt palace and Gardens are situated south of Dublin in the Wicklow Mountains opposite the 'Great Sugar Loaf Mountain'.Unfortunately the building burned 1974 and since that time there is only the fassade of the House left.
But the gardens are in a wonderful condition!There is a Japanese Garden, an Italian Garden, and even a cemetary, where the Manor's owners buried their dogs,cats and even horses and cows .
Powerscourt Palace & Gardens were built in 1730
Today you have to pay an entrance fee at the entrance to the park and the parking of your car inside the park will be included.
Triton-lake is an artificial lake built in eth centre of Powerscourt - park and it got its name from the small sculpture of the fountain, that is a copy of one of Bernini's works in Rome.
The steps of the terrace of the powerscort palace led directely to this small lake, stepping down lots of artificial steps, that were dug into the landscape and surrounded by the so-called "Italian garden "
Walking around the most important parts of Powerscourt castle and park will take about half a day !
Next to the lakes there are also some remains of the old monastery of Glendalough, nother special is left over, except a few remains of nice arches and a few decorations.
Glendalough consists only of a large parking-lot, the few ruins , a kiosk and maybe 2 private houses...
...this might be the reason , why VT does not have it's own page for it, although Glendalough is one of the major sights in Ireland.
Celtic Crosses could be seen quite a lot in the small cemetery of Glendalough. They are not so very large and ornate like at other places, where you may see so-called "High Crosses" with ornate decorations, but they look really nice in their natural surrounding of the small cemetery around the small church of Glendalough.
At one of the entrance-gates of Powerscourt you will see this interesting gate with ornate decorations : The so-called "Bamberg Gate" was produced in 1770 in Vienna for the cathedral of Bamberg. From there it was taken to Powerscourt in 1850 by the 7th Viscount of Powerscourt, who travelled a lot and brought plenty of artifacts to his Manor.
Just imagine a transport of such a heavy iron-gate by the technical means of 1850.
Fuerst Pueckler - another well-known globetrotter of the 19th century - also came to Powerscourt to admire the park and get ideas for his own park in Bad Muskau, that he had built also in the tradition of "English Parks"
read more about him on my Muskau-page !
Reefert refers to the Royal Graveyard in Gaelic, which is one of the main attractions to this site in County Wicklow.
Pilgrims who have made the long and arduous journey to Rome, bring back earth from the tombs of the martyrs and use it to bless the ground of the new church at the lake shore. It comes to be called Reefert Church, meaning 'royal graveyard'.
Reefert is a key attraction for pilgrims. With its earth from Rome, people come from all over Ireland to visit. Seven pilgrimages to Glendalough equals one to Rome, and so it becomes a natural alternative for those unable to make the longer trip. In time to come, Reefert Church becomes a favoured burial place for the great and good.
Glendelough is situated within County Wicklow which is considered the Garden State of Ireland, and contains several mystical fairy tale type locations.
The Monastery is home to some beautiful views, including a magical lake. Across the lake from the monastery is the Bed of St. Kevin, the founder of the monastery.
It has several unique sites including this picture of the gateway arches.
Visit Glendalough with it's two lovely lakes in the mountains and the early Christian monastic site.
Glendalough is probably my favourite spot in Wicklow and I used to go there quite regularly. There are numerous walks around the lakes and in the mountains. There's also an ancient monastic site with a very interesting history.
The Sally Gap (Bearnas na Diallaite, meaning Gap of the Saddle) can be found above Loch Tay not far to the north east of Boleyhorrigan Bridge. I guess that Gap of the Saddle which refers to a mountain pass, became too much of a mouthful for the Irish and somewhere along the way it became Sally Gap.
This feature of the Wicklow Mountains is the name given to the high crossroads through the mountains. There are many places to stop for photo opportunities which are found in spades along this road (the R759). The panorama is nothing short of breathtaking. My photos are ones that I have chosen to illustrate the general area in and around The Sally Gap.
Co. Wicklow was a riot of colour when I was there in September, 2011. The hills and valleys were awash with greens and browns and the wonderful purple of the heather. Wildflowers grew in profusion.
We were also very fortunate to see some wild deer not to mention the obligatory sheep and cows that call Co. Wicklow home. Be prepared for lots of camera stops.
Newtownmountkennedy, County Wicklow, 2a, Ireland
Good for: Solo
Strand Road, Bray, Ireland
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Families
Vale of Avoca, Co Wicklow, Ireland, Arklow, County Wicklow, Ireland
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Families