This past Tuesday I visited County Wicklow with my friend Sheila. She graciously offered to drive and this was much better than being stuck on a tour bus for most of the day! We started our day at Wicklow Mountains National Park with a walk along the Upper Lake. We also wandered around an abandoned mining village and monastic city in the park.
If you plan on visiting this park, know that the cost of entry is €4 and they only take cash. Fortunately, the car park attendant let us in since neither of us came prepared with cash. The car park had toilets as well as several food and café stalls. Bring cash for snacks or pack your own lunch (as we did).
Next, we visited the largest waterfall in Ireland, the Powerscourt waterfall! This is a short drive away from Wicklow Mountains National Park and costs €6 per person to enter. (They take cards.) The waterfall is a short walk from the car park but don’t expect to get too close to the top. You can walk close to the base but we didn’t find any trails taking us higher. We traversed some of the trails nearby but didn’t spend too much time here. It’s a nice park to visit, though I preferred the other park over this one. Not only is the entry fee for Wicklow Mountains National Park cheaper, the scenery is more impressive.
We ended our day at Avoca Café in the Powerscourt Estate (a short drive from the waterfall). As the sun was setting and we didn’t want to pay any more entry fees, we didn’t visit the gardens here but Sheila recommends them. According to the Powerscourt website, their gardens were voted #3 in the world by National Geographic.
I had so much fun that day! Wicklow Mountains National Park is definitely my favourite location in Ireland so far. I wish I had more time for proper hikes. Maybe I’ll have to return to Ireland after this trip, just not during the winter!