Ireland Road trip Itinerary — Dublin and the Wicklow Mountains

This is Part 1 of the series “Ireland Road trip Itinerary”.

After 3 days in Dublin our first stop on the road leads us up the breathtaking Wicklow mountains – literally and figuratively.

A  few years ago The Mr and I decided to move abroad to serve where the need is greater. Read more about it at “We’re moving to Ireland!” and “What is a Need Greater?” That’s why in 2017 we spent 2 weeks in Ireland, to see if we actually like the country we might call home soon. Here is a Recap of our Road trip through the country.

Read about the Part 2 „Cork and the Ring of Kerry“ or Part 3 „The Cliffs of Moher and Galway

Days 1-3 Dublin City

  • Guinness Storehouse

The Guinness Storehouse is a must visit location in Dublin. You can find it housed in an old fermentation plant in St. James Gate Brewery. The Storehouse consists of a seven floor Visitors Experience and the name says it all. It is not a museum or gallery it is a whole experience. Through all seven levels, we were guided through the process and history of the Brewery; from the ingredients through advertisement to tasting, leading up to the Gravity Bar on top with a breathtaking 360 degree view over the city. Therefore I would advice everyone to visit at least once, no matter if you are in the city for one day or one year. The price of 25€ for the Skip-the-Line Signature Package was worth every cent.

  • Trinity College

Since I like to do some hobby photography, I did a lot of research about locations I wanted to visit to take some great shots myself. Hence Trinity College was one place I needed to be. That’s why we were standing in the middle of the Library Square, looking at the line of hundreds of tourists waiting for the entry to the Old Library to see the Book of Kells and we unanimously decided to not join them. Disappointed we walked away, when we only by chance entered one of the other buildings and found the one hall I was actually looking for, and not one tourist in sight. I later got to know, that the Museum Building follows a college tradition that it includes some form of stone from every quarry working in Ireland when it was built. But at the time it was just stunningly beautiful.

  • Howth Head

On our last day in Dublin, we wanted to visit the peninsula at the Dublin Bay. Initially we wanted to do some walking and enjoy the great view across the Bay,  but we actually had only a few hours to walk around the harbor and eat some local seafood. Had we been smarter we would have set aside a whole day to explore the whole peninsula.

Fun fact: On the West Pier you can find George IVs footprints. He was expected to land at Dun Laoghaire for a Royal Visit in 1821, but landed in Howth instead at the other side of the Dublin Bay, much to the disappointment of the welcoming party, who had named their town Kingstown after him. He first set foot on Irish soil “very high in spirit“, which is a nice way of saying he was totally wasted.

Day 4–5 Wicklow National Park

  • Lough Tay/Guinness Lake

Lough Tay is a small lake located on the Road to Glendalough. The northern coastline forms part of an estate belonging to the Guinness family. That’s why it is also known as Guinness lake. It is edged with a beach of startlingly white sand, the dark peaty water and the white sand create a striking similarity to a pint (a glass) of Guinness.

  • Poulanass Waterfall and Glendalough Hiking

When we visited Scotland, we didn’t have a lot of time to do some hiking. This time in Ireland we wanted to spend a little more time outside, enjoying the quiet and raw nature. We didn’t know what we were getting into. I found a hiking trail around the Glendalough Upper lake that seemed to be perfect.

First we started at Poulanass Waterfall and went further on the trail called „The Spinc“. It is one of the best trails to get completely around the upper lake and back to the parking lot. Yet we didn’t know about the 380m total height we had to climb. And we were struggling at the Waterfall stairs already.  “An Spinc” is Irish for ‘pointed hill’ and the trail is appropriately steep. In order to get to a starting point you need to ascend a zigzagging wooden staircase with about 600 steps. If we would have known, we wouldn’t have started at all and we DID think about going back several times, while we just tried not to cry and hear the birds though our blood pounding in our ears.

After 20-30 minutes we reached the top and got a glimpse of the glacial beauty of The Valley below. About half way through a jogger overtook us, having a quick morning run around the lake! Why?! Finally we had enough oxygen in our brains to feel some sort of pride we made it up at all, when every jumping step he made seemed to mock us personally!

All in all it took us 5 hours to get around the lake and I’m glad we didn’t know how steep it would get. In conclusion I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Next we were going to Cork. Read about it in „Ireland Road trip Itinerary – Cork and the Ring of Kerry

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