Wicklow: Ireland’s Garden County.

Um- there’s a bloomin pyramid in Wicklow! More on that later!

And now we come to the portion of the adventure that’s just Mommy, Ro Ro and KJ traveling around Ireland. First up, the gorgeous county of Wicklow.

Before I get going, I want to preface this post. If you see me in a photo (that is not a selfie) and a head or limb is chopped off, it is because a four or six year old took the photo. Cases in point:

We had a whale of a time in Wicklow. I think it is the county that inspired many of the Irish fairytales and folklore. It’s a beautiful place with so much to do- we stayed four nights and could have easily stayed another three. It also helped that the weather was savage most of the time! Here are some of the adventures we had while in Wicklow.

Aughrim

This was our base and it was ideal. Our Airbnb was in the small Aughrim Holiday Village where the kids had new friends to play with every evening. The tiny town of Aughrim has won the Tidy Towns competition a few times and I can see why. The place is spotless. It’s a charming spot with lovely walking trails winding around the outskirts of the town.

Kilmacurragh Botanic Gardens

This place is gorgeous. We packed a picnic, wandered around for an hour and soaked in the sunshine. The Cromwell seized Kilmacurragh House now sits in ruins after a 1976 fire. Rumor has it a renovation may be in its future.

The good old game of banana phone is still alive with my two!

Brittas Bay Beach

Brittas Bay Beach is a lovely, sandy Irish beach on the coast of Wicklow. We went on a glorious June bank holiday Monday not realizing that half of Dublin would also be there. Rock collecting and burying each other in the sand kept my two very busy. They also took a dip in the Irish Sea.

Glendalough

No trip to Ireland, not mind Wicklow, is complete without a visit to Glendalough. The name actually means ‘the valley of the two lakes’. It has monastic city ruins right in between the two lakes. We got in early to avoid the crazy crowds (it was still pretty busy) and parked at the lower lake. It costs 4 euro to park, but entry in is actually free.

There are nine walking trails of varying length at Glendalough. We followed the pink trail which fed in to the beige trail. This led us to the upper lake, on a steep climb up along Poulanass waterfall and down past Reefert Church. All in all, a three hour leisurely adventure including the trip to the monastic city.

If you ask my two littles what the highlight of Glendalough was, it will have nothing to do with the cool ruins or the beautiful surroundings. They will tell you all about the sheep that ‘followed’ us some of the way.

Clara Lara Fun Park

This is an outdoor park for kids five minutes away from Glendalough with a waterslide, a little race track, mini golf, lots of playgrounds and outdoor water activities. The promise of this park after Glendalough was the reason the kids hiked so well for me. Bribery at its finest! Poor KJ though- there are height restrictions on a lot of the activities. This place is more suited for six year olds and above. You also need a change of clothes for the kids. I did not realize this and Ro was like a drenched rat in the back of the car for the twenty minute journey home. Well worth it though. This was the highlight of her trip in Wicklow.

KJ did in fact do the waterslide one time, but I was too busy yelling at him to hold on tight that I didn’t get a picture. He said ‘he almost losted his brain’ doing it so once was enough for him.

Avoca Village

This small village has a few things going for it. First off there is Avoca Weaving Mill where three sisters started a now thriving business in 1723. You can take a self guided tour of the operating mill. One of the workers gave my two littles some yarn and made their day! It really is the little things with those two!

Avoca is also the setting for the the 90’s Irish soap Ballykissangel. (Game Of Thrones, Eat Your Heart Out!)

The Meeting of the Waters is also in the Avoca Vale. This is where the Avonmore and the Beg Rivers come together to form the Avoca River. It is the famed place that Thomas Moore wrote the verses of his most well known Irish poem.

Greenam Maze and Farm

My two LOVED this place. Obviously enough, there is a maze. We spent twenty minutes inside it but could not solve it! Actually, we were lucky to get out again. Lol!

The farm itself is pretty small but the nature walk around the grounds has lots of beautiful fairy doors and a treasure hunt with clues that kept the two littles enthralled and at the end they got to pick a ‘gold’ chocolate coin.

There are also two small farm museums here. One of them had a bottle exhibit. I am a self professed history nerd and I could have spent a lot longer in this room if I had been kid free.

Hidden Valley

This was the one attraction that was way over-priced in my opinion. It is a holiday home park that has a few activities for kids, especially on the weekends. Alas, we did not go on a weekend. We got a playground and a nice paddle boat ride out of it though.

Kilbride Old Cemetery and the Howard Mausoleum Pyramid

This was one of the highlights of my Wicklow trip. The cemetery itself is tiny, forgotten and hard to find! The GPS coordinates for this place are close but not exact. I’m so glad I persevered though. The Howard Mausoleum Pyramid was commissioned by Ralph Howard, the Viscount of Wicklow, in 1785 at the height of neoclassicism. Eight people have been laid to rest in this pyramid.

Powerscourt Estate and Gardens

Yep- this one might have been my Wicklow favorite. It is one of the many grand mansions in Wicklow but it is the gardens that sets this one apart. Just gorgeous. Two glorious hours were spent here.

This place gives the garden from Alice In Wonderland a run for its money.

There is a Japanese Garden in the center of the huge grounds.

Another garden houses The Pepper Pot Tower.

The favorite of the two littles was the garden with the pond that had tadpoles!

The estate also contains a little pet cemetery from the early 1900’s. Dogs, cats, horses and even cows have been laid to rest here.

Wicklow- what an amazing little county you are. Next up-  magical Northern Ireland.