WICKLOW, POWERSCOURT & GLENDALOUGH
We depart from St. Stephen’s Green to commence our tour of COUNTY WICKLOW, otherwise known as THE GARDEN OF IRELAND. We pass through the suburbs of south Dublin along the south shore of DUBLIN BAY through DUN LAOIRE an on through the DALKEY and KILLINEY area, home to many SHOW BUSINESS AND MOVIE CELEBRITIES.
We arrive at BRAY SEAFRONT. BRAY is a typical Victorian era seaside resort town with its own mile-long VICTORIAN SEAFRONT PROMENADE. At the south end you will see BRAY HEAD towering above you. We show you the way to the famous BRAY TO GREYSTONES CLIFF WALK, considered by many as the hidden gem of the Wicklow coast. This is something you can do on another day. We pause here for 15 minutes for a photo-stop.
We arrive at POWERSCOURT HOUSE & GARDENS. This a beautiful demesne with its history and heritage stretching back to the NORMAN CONQUESTS of Ireland. In the 18th century the MEDIAEVAL CASTLE was re-modelled by the famous German architect Richard Castles into a beautiful neo-classical GEORGIAN MANSION. The WINGFIELD family commissioned the garden designer Daniel Robertson to lay out the now famous terraced POWERSCOURT GARDENS. For POWERSCOURT HOUSE you can do a self-guided audio tour at NO CHARGE and there are abundant restaurant facilities, food stores and restroom facilities. However, there is a moderate charge for entrance to POWERSCOURT GARDENS. We strongly recommend that you visit POWERSCOURT GARDENS as they are very extensive, mainly Italianate in theme but also having a PET CEMETERY and a stunning JAPANESE GARDEN. Everything is painstakingly well maintained and the POWERSCOURT GARDENS afford you myriad possibilities for photography. POWERSCOURT GARDENS are listed on the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC website as No. 3 of the TOP 10 GARDENS IN THE WORLD. This really makes them a “must-see” item for any visitor to Ireland.
We depart POWERSCOURT HOUSE & GARDENS and pass through the village of Enniskerry, an estate village built by the Wingfields of Powerscourt to act as a service village for the big estate. The centre plaza of this beautiful 18th century village was used as film set in the filming of the romantic comedy movie “LEAP YEAR”. We then pass on up to Glencree, passing Curtlestown Church where in 1990 the movie stars TOM CRUISE and NICOLE KIDMAN were married. Oh my God, that’s awesome! We pass through Glencree where we show you the GERMAN CEMETERY aka DEUTSCHER SOLDATEN FRIEDHOF GLENCREE and your guide will explain Ireland’s quirky and unusual connections with World War II. We go south along the famous 18th century British “MILITARY ROAD” and next we stop at the Cirque or Corrie Lake called Lough Bray for a photo stop with great panoramic views over the Glencree Valley. We proceed on upwards to the upland plateau to the east of Kippure Mountain where we find ourselves in a wilderness which a part of the WICKLOW MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK. This wilderness is completely free of any evidence of modern life with a complete absence of walls, fences, gates, gateposts, telegraph poles or cables – in fact it remains exactly as it was 1,000 years ago. It is therefore no wonder that the movie producers used this wild and desolate landscape to film the battle scenes in the MEL GIBSON movie “BRAVEHEART”. We proceed south to the high but shallow mountain pass known as the SALLY GAP and we then leave the famous “MILITARY ROAD” to go south east towards the famous LUGGALA VALLEY. Along the way we come to a small bridge over a tributary stream. This bridge was used to film a scene where HILARY SWANK met GERARD BUTLER in the movie “P.S. I LOVE YOU”. Not surprisingly, we have a photo-stop here at what is now known as the “P S I LOVE YOU BRIDGE”. It is not entirely surprising to learn that the Wicklow mountains area is known as “THE HOLLYWOOD OF IRELAND”. Having brought our emotions under control again (!!), we proceed to the upper east side of the LUGGALA VALLEY where we stop for a photo opportunity above the exquisite LOUGH TAY, otherwise known as “THE GUINNESS LAKE”, because it is actually owned by the Guinness family. At this stage we are at the highs altitude we will attain on this outing. We then proceed downhill to the village of Roundwood beside the famous VARTRY LAKES. Roundwood is in fact the highest urban settlement in Ireland.
We arrive at GLENDALOUGH, a rough translation of the old Gaelic “Gleann-Da-Locha”, meaning The Glen of Two Lakes. This valley is very significant in early Christian Ireland as the famous St. Kevin came here in the 6th Century AD and was soon followed by acolytes and clerics who established the famous monastery east of the Lower Lake. St Kevin was a hermit who insisted on living alone and he lived in a cave above the Upper Lake, called “St. Kevin’s Bed”. Your guide will give you a guided walking tour of the ancient monastery grounds and cemetery and give you a full account of the history of the place. After this you are free to walk the beautiful scenic paths to the beautiful Upper Lake. BRING YOUR CAMERA!
We finally leave GLENDALOUGH and make our way up the beautiful GLENALO VALLEY towards the magnificent WICKLOW GAP where we pause for a photo stop. After this we proceed north-west through some really spectacular mountain terrain and eventually we arrive in the quaint village of VALLEYMOUNT. We continue onwards through the very scenic BLESSINGTON LAKES district till we reach the N81 highway. We then go north through the town of Blessington.
5.30 – 6.00 PM
We arrive at Dublin city centre.