Friday, May 26, 2023

Staying in Wicklow? Ireland’s oldest hotel at Woodenbridge. Or a well-situated one-room pad in Laragh.

Staying in Wicklow? 

Ireland’s oldest hotel at Woodenbridge.  

Or a well-situated one-room pad in Laragh.

Ireland’s oldest hotel? Not perhaps the Woodenbridge Hotel itself though there has been a hospitality licence (coach-house) here since 1608.

Now the family run two establishments. The hotel itself, on a rise over the bridge, and across the road and down by the river is the more modern, mostly summertime, facility called The Lodge, 29 rooms in the hotel and 40 in the lodge.

We were in the hotel and it does look pretty and oldish, but everything worked well here right up to and including the Wifi and they have 6 EV charging points. They also offer golf packages and one course was visible from our window.

Goats Cheese Salad

Took a short walk around after arrival and then paid a visit to the bar and was very happy to see that they had no less than three taps offering beer by the local Wicklow Brewery. Their Hopknut was our favourite for the night. Dinner was excellent also and music followed. Breakfast was buffet style.


What was striking here was how friendly and chatty everyone was, from the first bar person to the final goodbye at the reception, not just friendly but informative and efficient too. A lovely spot, if a bit expensive accommodations-wise. 

Strawberry Cheesecake

Could have taken a less expensive room over the bar but that came with a noise warning! Perhaps we should have taken that room and spent some of the savings on another pint or two and made some noise ourselves. Wise after the event!

Lamb shank

We spent one night at the Heatherhouse in Laragh. It was our second visit here and there have been changes. On the first occasion, there was a B&B deal where you could have your breakfast at the nearby Wicklow Heather. 

The Bistro, one of the dining options at Woodenbridge

The restaurant now has new owners and that arrangement no longer stands though Heatherhouse will still point you in that direction for both dinner and breakfast. Due to a large event, the restaurant was fully booked out and we didn’t get there this time but two people, both involved in hospitality, told us that the food there is still excellent and they also sell Wicklow Wolf beers!

The Heatherhouse accommodation units are excellent. You have your own “house” in a small terrace. Our “room” was rather large, neatly divided into a sitting area with sofa and TV; a corner with sink, fridge, kettle and espresso machine; and two sleeping semi-separate sections (one double, one single). 

Sitting area at Heatherhouse.

And, we also had a spacious bathroom with a toilet, sink, plus a separate bath and shower. Very comfortable all round. Everything is well maintained and in good working order (lights, heating, TV, WiFi). If you’re heading to Wicklow, the Heatherhouse, so close to beautiful Glendalough, is recommended. We paid one hundred and ten euro for the room.

Also on this trip to Wicklow:

Avondale's Beyond the Trees. Wicklow's Amazing New Attraction.

Two excellent pit-stops in the southeast for you. Hungry Bear in Gorey and Eamo & Ró at Kilmacthomas.

Places to stay in Wicklow: Woodenbridge and Heatherhouse.

Visiting Wicklow Wolf Brewery.

Wicklow. Two days in the Garden of Ireland May 2023

Previous trip: Powerscourt Hotel, Tulfarris

Magnificent gardens at Powerscourt

On a previous trip, with an (enhanced!) budget, we stayed at the Powerscourt Hotel. The estate, there is also a waterfall nearby, is just an hour or so from Dublin and now, with the improved motorways, it is just two and a half from Cork. Use M8, M7, M50, and M11 (to Wexford) and that will leave you with just a few miles of country road to reach your destination.

The relatively newly built Powerscourt Distillery is just a few hundred yards away and you can park outside the door. The tour is excellent and highly recommended. They have a café there also.

Entry to the gardens is free to hotel guests. Our room here was fabulous; indeed, the hotel itself is magnificent, and the lobby is imposing.

The main restaurant is the Sika and you can enjoy dinner and breakfast here with great views out towards the Sugar Loaf mountain.

Interested in golf? Then the Tulfarris Hotel and Golf Resort is worth a look. It is set against the spectacular backdrop of the Blessington Lakes and Wicklow Mountains. Stayed there a couple of years back and enjoyed the dinner (and the bar afterwards).  Aside from regular hotel accommodation, you can share a self-catering lodge or even hire the Manor House itself.

Breakfast view at Tulfarris

The dining room overlooks the spectacular golf course. Set across three peninsulas around the lake shores, the stunning 18-hole championship course is a golfer’s paradise and is definitely an exhilarating test for both amateur and pro golfers. 

The resort covers 220 acres and includes a luxury 4-star hotel, 18-hole championship golf course, clubhouse, conference centre, banqueting suites, a restaurant and bar and self-catering holiday homes. The 18th-century Manor House sits at the heart of the resort and has the classic design and elegant proportions of that time.

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