Monday, May 29, 2023

Wicklow. Two days in the Garden of Ireland May 2023


Two days in the Garden of Ireland May 2023

Glendalough. Round Tower and hotel

During a fairly busy 2-day trip to Wicklow, Ireland’s Garden County, we found the perfect spot to relax for a spell on the afternoon of the second day. It was at the well-placed Glendalough Hotel which has an outdoor spot by the river. Sat back there and enjoyed the chat while drinking nothing strong but bottles of sparkling water from Galway, watching the visitors come and go to Glendalough.

We had just visited the famous round tower nearby but, having already done our quota of walking for the day, didn't stroll around either of the two lakes on this occasion. Next time!

Wicklow Wolf's Elevation Ale in Lynam's

This latest trip to Wicklow had begun with a lovely visit to the excellent Wicklow Wolf Brewery in Newtownmountkennedy. You can read all about it, including its impressive sustainability programme and our chat with CEO Quincey Fennelly, here.

On our way to our room for the night, we remembered that breakfast wasn't included so we made a call to the Roundwood Food Store in the middle of what is claimed to be Ireland's highest village. It is a casual café with good food and coffee, by most accounts. It is also a deli and here we picked up a few bits and pieces for the following morning. They also sell wine and I noticed some local beer (Farringtons) on the shelves as well.

Seed Restaurant at Avondale Forest Park

On then to Laragh where we checked into our self-contained little house in a purpose-built terrace of similar accommodation collectively called Heather House. We had stayed here previously but then they had a breakfast arrangement with their neighbours the Wicklow Heather  Restaurant who now have new owners and the arrangement no longer holds. Read our separate post on Heather House here

Unable to get a table, because of a sold-out event at the Wicklow Heather, we strolled over to Lynam’s Bar & Hotel for dinner. Excellent service here from two hard-working and busy ladies. The food itself was adequate and the highlight was probably the Elevation Ale, the best-selling beer by Wicklow Wolf. That was on draught as was the same company’s Tundra Tropical IPA.

Tree Top Walk, Avondale. Every so often, there is a side attraction.
Here, on the left, you try and balance yourself on a thick rope

We left Heather House in the morning and headed for a highlight of our break: the relatively new Treetop Walk and Viewing Tower at Avondale Forest Park. Well worth the trip and you can read about it and see some spectacular photos here.

Viewing tower, from outside.
You could spend the day here. Avondale House was the home of Charles Stuart Parnell and guided tours are available. The estate has a huge amount of trees, some of them very large indeed and there are a number of walks on the grounds, beginning with relatively easy ones around the 3km distance. And sustenance is available at the new and impressive Seed restaurant that can cater for up to 250 people.

After our treetop walk and stroll to the top of the tower (both by the way are wheelchair and buggy accessible) and our ground-level walk (we took the Cairn route), we enjoyed a snack in the restaurant. And it was after that that we found our way to Glendalough.

It was a great day weatherwise and the sun was still strong as we checked in at the Woodenbridge Hotel; there has been a hospitality licence at the venue since 1608. Very friendly staff here and the food was really good. They didn't have Wicklow Wolf on draught but they had three taps pouring beers from the Wicklow Brewery (based at Redcross) and their Hopknut Irish Pale Ale soon became our favourite here.

Before dinner, we had taken a short walk over the bridge and it was there that we found the World War 1 memorial. Down by the river, a series of upright slabs recall the names of the 1,224 Wicklow people that died during the war, including no less than twenty-seven victims killed in a single incident on September 21 1917 in an explosion at the Kynoch Munitions factory in Arklow. 

WW1 Memorial at Woodenbridge

The 1224, including nine women, is a surprisingly high proportion for such a small county. They are remembered here with dignity in a beautiful spot by the River Aughrim. That was a sobering walk for us.

Our trip to Wicklow was book-ended by two fine lunches in small cafés. On the way up, via Dungarvan and Waterford, we were well fed by The Hungry Bear in Gorey (Co. Wexford) and on the way home, by Eamon and Ró in Kilmacthomas, Co. Waterford. More on those pleasant stops here

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

No comments: