Wicklow is a lively Irish port south of Dublin and the county town of what has been nicknamed the “Garden of Ireland”. In Irish, it’s known as Cill Mhantáin, which translates as “Church of the Toothless One”. Wicklow serves as a gateway to the glacial valley of Glendalough and Wicklow Mountains National Park.
Things to do in Wicklow
Perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Irish Sea are the remains of the Black Castle, which was built by the Normans at the end of the 12th century. It was subject to numerous attacks and changes of possession throughout the years, with the remains of its triangular keep still visible today. From the castle, you can enjoy sweeping views of the Wicklow Mountains and the surrounding coastline.
If you’re feeling brave, head to the Wicklow Gaol, which is said to be one of the most haunted buildings in the world. There’s been a prison on the site since the 1798 Rebellion and it held Republican prisoners during the Irish Civil War. Step inside to be immersed in the gaol’s audio-visual experience, which includes holographic appearances by characters from the building’s past.
A short drive north-west from Wicklow is Mount Usher Gardens, which was laid out in 1868 along the banks of the River Vartry. Sprawling across nine hectares, it is considered one of the earliest and finest examples of a Robinsonian garden in Ireland. Stroll along the leafy trails while admiring the outstanding collection of plants and trees before relaxing at the Avoca Garden Café.
Getting around Wicklow
Wicklow is around a one-hour drive from the centre of Dublin and an hour from Dublin Airport, with trains coming and going from the Wicklow railway station. Buses travel throughout the town while the centre of Wicklow is compact enough to explore on foot.