A trip out to the Wicklow mountains is an absolute must if you’re in Dublin for more than a few days – stunning views, lakes, mountains, quaint villages, castles and churches galore. This is a chance to see what real rural Ireland is all about.
The Sunday tour is the reverse of the usual Wild Rover Tours route, but all the stops are the same. So we started with Glendalough a wonderful valley with a couple majestic lakes, wonderful for the photo ops. You’re given the choice between a guided tour of the monastic city or to let off the lease to explore at your own pace. The tour provides you with bucket loads of information on the history of the area, while going free allows you to see as little or as much as you like.
The next stop is the terrifically exposed to elements Wicklow pass, the highest road through the mountains offering spectacular views in all directions – just be prepared for the wind and the rain.
On down the road is the small city of Kilkenny, overwhelmed with ancient churches and castles this is a very picturesque town. Again you have a choice, a tour of the nearby caves of Dunmore (price included) or longer to spend in Kilkenny itself. We opted to fully explore the city and were rewarded with a climb to the highest structure, which doubles as the oldest building. The views from the top are magnificent 360 degrees over the city, and only 3Euro. The Black Abbey was another highlight of our improvised tour, which features hugely impressive stained-glass windows and some medieval coffins for those with a historical/archaeological streak.
Finally the castle is an obvious stop, especially as it’s the bus drop-off point. A tidy and well maintained example of an Irish castle, this one looks and feels a little more like a manor house than a castle, but is still a good photo spot and site to explore.
From there it’s a short ride home (perfect for a nap) and you’re back in Dublin city centre.