Hospitality Alive and Well
at The Wicklow Heather
At first glance, the inside of the Wicklow Heather, looks like something from a previous century: paintings in gilded frames, old posters for food and drink on the walls, even on the rafters along with copper pots and black bastibles. But then you meet the modern multi-national crew and you realise this place is full of chatty people all determined in the politest friendliest way to make sure you have a memorable meal in this roadside pub in Laragh in the beautiful heart of the county.
And that was exactly what happened during our evening meal. Irish produce well cooked in a variety of styles - everything from Irish stew to Babaganoush - and served with a smile. Quality and yes, quantity too, on the plate. And since there is a full bar here, they have all kinds of drinks. I usually look for the local and enjoyed Glendalough Whiskey (a tasting trio) and an IPA from Wicklow Wolf.
And at the end there was a surprise. “Would you like a drink? On the house.” Yes of course, and we gladly accepted the Bailey’s. Cheers to the Heather and all that sail in her.
We were back for breakfast - they have B&B rooms about 100 metres away. And here that generosity was present again, firstly in a glass, a large glass, of freshly squeezed orange juice. Then a gentleman who had just finished his breakfast met two friends as he was about to exit. So he told the waitress he’d sit and talk with the friends for a while and she made sure he had a cup of tea or coffee while he chatted.
Seafood Salad: a massive plate of warmed grilled fish, smoked salmon Gravlax with avocado and King Prawn with Marie Rose sauce and more!
The Heather’s B&B units are excellent. You have your own “house” in a small terrace. Basically, ours was one rather large room, neatly divided into a sitting area with sofa and TV; a corner with sink, fridge, kettle and espresso machine; and two sleeping section (one double, one single). And, we also had a spacious bathroom with toilet, sink, plus separate bath and shower. Very comfortable all round. Everything well maintained and in good working order (lights, heating, TV, Wifi). If you’re heading to Wicklow then the Wicklow Heather is Very Highly Recommended. We paid ninety euro for the B&B on October 1st.
This, our second day in Wicklow, saw the heavy rain still around as we left Powerscourt Hotel. But rain or no rain, we were determined to see the Powerscourt Waterfall (video below). Paid the entry fee and reached the car park. That is a few hundred yards away from the falls, so we walked in. It was absolutely spectacular - no doubt the flow was enhanced by the recent rains - and well worth the walk and the soaking. Luckily, I was able to use the toilet block to change my pants.
On these kind of trips, you should always put some place on your list as a rainy day option and we had earmarked Sea Life on the promenade in Bray. The wind was wild - whipping the waves that crashed onto the shore - as we walked the few hundred yards from the car park, lucky that the rain was taking a break.
It is not the biggest aquarium you’ll come across but has much of interest. No guide as such but there is a friendly pro-active person going around who’ll give you all the information you need and will also round up visitors at feeding times. They have all kinds of fish here from the tiny guppy to rays and sharks. You’ll also see a softback turtle.
The rain was back when we returned to the car but this time the Wicklow Heather and its warm welcome was just about 30 minutes away and after that the day just got better and better. The sun was even shining as we checked out the following morning and we had fine views as we drove through the Wicklow Gap heading for the motorway back to the south.
|The sheep lane on the Wicklow Gap|