Sprawling south of Dublin, County Wicklow was established in 1606 and takes its name from an Old Norse word for “Vikings’ Meadow”. It has been nicknamed the “Garden of Ireland” due to its exceptional scenery, with the county’s woodlands and glacial-carved valleys protected by Wicklow Mountains National Park.
Things to do in Wicklow
With its seaside towns, majestic mountains and ancient ruins, County Wicklow is deservedly one of Ireland’s top destinations.
Hike the Wicklow Way. Stretching for 130 kilometres from the southern suburbs of Dublin to the village of Clonegal, the Wicklow Way is one of Ireland’s most popular long-distance walks. It takes in mountain paths, forest trails and quiet country lanes as it winds its way through Wicklow Mountains National Park. The Wicklow Way also passes by the monastic settlement of Glendalough, which was founded in the 6th century by Saint Kevin.
Explore the seaside town of Bray. North of County Wicklow is this charming coastal town, which is a popular day-tripping destination from Dublin. It was established in the 19th century as a seaside resort following the extension of the Dublin and Kingstown Railway. In addition to its sand and shingle beach, Bray is home to the National Sealife Centre. Architectural landmarks include the turreted Esplanade Hotel and the Elizabethan Revival-style Kilruddery House.
Be imprisoned in Wicklow Town. Serving as the county seat, Wicklow Town overlooks the Irish Sea at the mouth of the River Vartry. It’s famed for its Historic Gaol, which housed inmates from the 17th century to 1925 and is said to be one of the most haunted buildings in Ireland. It’s just one of many stops along the Wicklow Heritage Trail, which passes by St Patrick’s Church, Barrow Green and the ruins of the Black Castle.
Getting around Wicklow
County Wicklow is around 30 minutes’ drive from the centre of Dublin and Dublin International Airport, which has flights to destinations across the globe. Trains connect to major towns throughout the county while buses serve smaller destinations. Renting a car is the most convenient way of getting around County Wicklow.