Tour of Wicklow and Glendalough from Dublin
Glendalough and Wicklow Tours from Dublin written by Linda
I recently went on Hilltop Trek’s Tour of Wicklow and Glendalough and would highly recommend it! Why? Well, what I personally liked about this tour was that it was on a mini bus with max capacity of 16 people. The advantages of this being the minibus is able to visit area’s the larger buses can’t reach. We drove through country scenic roads over the Wicklow Mountains and took in a lot of the popular scenic spots along the way. The mini bus offers a more intimate tour. You can get to know your fellow passengers and have the “craic” along the way!
Let me give you a run down of this tour..
So, we got collected at the Molly Malone Statue on Suffolk Street in the city center at 9.20am. When we initially booked the tour online, we had the choice of booking one of 3 activities that take place on the morning of the tour. The choice was to either visit Powerscourt House and Gardens, go Horse Riding in the Wicklow hills or go for a Guided Walk.
We chose to visit Powerscourt House and Gardens.
On the morning of the tour, we all loaded up at the Molly Malone. The bus was full and I have to say our bus driver Gillian was great throughout the whole day.
Our first stop was just outside the village of Enniskerry. Here 8 of our fellow passengers got off to go horse riding. It looked like a great place and with the nervous excitement of the passengers getting off, I was kind of sorry in that moment that we hadn’t booked the horse riding!
After dropping our horse riders off, the bus continued on through the village of Enniskerry and up to Powerscourt House and Gardens. We learnt at this point that the Powerscourt Gardens are listed 3rd best gardens in the world by National Geographic. Powerscourt House itself is listed in the top ten best mansions in the world by Lonely Planets! In order to visit the actual gardens, we had to pay a small entrance fee which we even got a discount on when Gill came in with us and said we were with HilltopTreks!
We got our maps and Gill filled us in where everything was. She then headed off to bring the remainder of the passengers on a guided walk.
There was so much to see at Powerscourt. In the house itself we watched a mini movie, which was easy and enjoyable to watch and gave us great insight into the history of Powerscourt and the awful destructive fire that took place in 1974.
Within the house also is a lovely café, terraced balcony and designer shops to potter around. The crème de la crème though were the actual gardens! Oh my gosh they were amazing. We rambled along a 2km tree trail that was breathtaking. Within the gardens 47 acres are an Italian garden, a walled garden, Japanese garden, Tower valley, Pet cemetery and so much more, all dating back to the 18th century. It is quite something.
We didn’t see the 2 hours go by and before we knew it we were back on the bus with all the other passengers heading for lunch.
Lunch was 5 minutes down the road in the little quaint village of Enniskerry in a local café called Poppies. We were spoiled for choice with hot foods, cold foods, tea’s, coffees and cakes!
After lunch we all boarded the bus and took the scenic country road high into the Wicklow mountains over to Glendalough. Along this route we got to see first-hand some of the most amazing Irish views.
Ireland’s lands are carved out by glaciers from the ice age 10,000 years ago. Along the route we got to see valleys and lakes cut into the upper mountain ranges. Being summer, the heather throughout the Wicklow hills was in full purple bloom alongside green ferns, yellow gorse and granite rock.
We were totally spoiled with the beauty of the land. Higher up we drove through the famous blanket bogs. We stopped off at one particular Lake known locally as the Guinness Lake, simply because it looks dark brown like a pint of Guinness with a swirling white Guinness head. This is also the film location for the series “Vikings”.
We also stopped off at a small stone granite bridge in the middle of nowhere. This small bridge with its mountain stream running under is were Holly met Gerry in the famous film “PS I Love You.” Even if you haven’t seen the film it is still a lovely piece of Irish landscape to stop and experience
After taking lots of photos in these areas, we boarded the bus and headed on to our final destination of Glendalough.
Gillian explained to us about the history of Glendalough valley dating back to the 5 and 6th centuries and the arrival of St Kevin who pilgrimed to this area and lived as a hermit for over 7 years. St Kevin attracted a lot of followers and in time a Monastic city was formed. The remains of this Monastic city can still be seen today with its entrance archway still standing since the 6th century! On arrival to Glendalough we had an hour and a half free time to ramble as and were we pleased. Gillian pointed out different areas and answered whatever questions we had.
We decide we would ramble down the forest path to view the 2 lakes. We also popped up to see the Poulanass Waterfall which was magical in itself, cut out into the high ground and surrounded by native Irish trees.
We were back on the bus for 4 o clock and started our journey back to Dublin city passing rolling Irish hills, the unique standalone Sugar Loaf mountain with farmlands and lots of sheep!
Approaching Dublin, Gillian recommended different places within Dublin, she chatted about the night life and gave tips on places to go for food and good Irish experiences.
What a full day we had. We got to see the best sights of Wicklow. We were not disappointed by any part of this tour. Highly recommended!! ***** 5 stars