Guess what? I think I’ve had one of the best tours I’ve had in a very looooooong while.
Grinning with a glass of warm Jameson Whiskey that slipped ever so pleasantly down my throat, I stared out the majestic beauty that is Lake Glendalough. This was nature at its finest and there were absolutely no way that I could do my pictures of it justice. This was Ireland at its best.
With a couple of days to go until the Travel Blog Exchange Conference (TBEX) in Dublin, I wanted to experience the ‘Garden of Ireland’ affectionately known by the nationals for County Wicklow. County Wicklow is based south of County Dublin also hugging the Irish Sea coast and yet famed for its wonderful and wild nature. So it was apt that I would take a tour with Wild Wicklow Tours. Approved by Failte Ireland, the National Tourism Development Authority, I don’t think they just quite realise how brilliant and funny the Wild Wicklow Tour was!
With Wild Wicklow Tours, you can experience in one day a garden of delights; of hills and valleys, of historic sights and of mysterious of the way places, all led by one of their experienced and local guides. To my joy, I got landed with Denis, a guy with one of those most enthusiastic and upbeat attitudes who mercilessly teased me constantly on the bus. If he was joking around with me at the start, then I knew I would be in for a special time.
With great customer service before the day of the tour, Denis makes sure to confirm with you a pick up point in Dublin by way of an enthusiastic email. With that in mind, you are picked up and sped on your way to explore the Wicklow lands. With interesting facts, fantasy moments and, yes, a heck of a lot of fun, we get given a taste of Dublin as we drive out of the city centre. One of my favourite bits was hilariously learning the Gaelic language from Denis. Of course, he had to pull over where a hiker was walking and get one of the unsuspecting visitors to converse with the hiker!
Before we knew it, after Denis giving us his life story in the most funny way possible, we had arrived in Dun Laoghaire. Used to be Ireland’s main port to Great Britain, Dun Laoghaire is now a suburban seaside town for County Dublin but as we arrived, it has something special. Lo, and behold, there is a well-known skinny dipping point into the Irish Sea! Brrrrr, as you would think, these Irish people are surely made of hard stuff. After being teased by Denis that I would be the one most likely to skinny dip from the bus, I took a wander of Dun Laoshaire and was very pleasantly surprised by the uniqueness and calmess of it all.
After a brief stop for morning coffee and CAKE at Avova handweavers, we then head into the highlands of County Wicklow where lakes, heather and barren boglands breathe their beauty. Inhaling the fresh, crispy and striking air, you may be familiar with the place itself as it’s part of a well-known teary film called ‘P.S I love you.’ With the bridge there where the two pivotal characters kissed, you could re-enact the scene with your partner. Unfortunately, I didn’t have one and I’m not sure Denis would be too happy…I think. This place is called the Sally Gap and you will be told in amusing and interesting stories about how the peat and the heather is used commercially. Meanwhile, here are some pictures of the Sally Gap.
And also did you know that these boglands were also the film set for ‘Braveheart!’ So a Scottish legend on Irish soil. Hmm, I think the two countries would have a lot to say about that to each other!
As the rains set in and the cold crept up enveloping us in fog, we took this the perfect opportunity to grab a warm soup and a pint of Guinness (why not?) at a traditional Irish Pub whilst getting to know your fellow passengers. I was pleasantly joined for the duration of my Wild Wicklow Tour with Romy Mlinzh, a German Travel Blogger also here for TBEX, and we really got on with our sense of humour and our search for an outdoor toilet after walking for ages after the Irish Pub (damn you Guinness!).
Now it was time to go into the past. At enchanting Glendalough, we were led by Denis in the footsteps of Saints and Scholars in this 6th Century Monastic Settlement that also has a round tower. Well, I can see why the monks chose this spot. It’s ‘effing’ beautiful! Situated within a glacier-carved valley, the two mountainous tree-covered sides reach high into the sky and the rolling hills within caused by the moraine gives it a perfect settlement for the graveyards to look yonder across the sweet valley.
After a delightful detailed history talk by Denis about the settlement, we all walked through the valley to reach the two lakes that laid below to the valley culminating with the iconic and outstanding Lake Glendalough. As you walk up to the waterfront, you are gripped with a sense of awe that your eyes can not believe the majestic beauty and the stillness of the lake as you swig a shot of the loveable Jameson Whiskey provided by the tour. You eyes are well truly feasting.
Lake Glendalough was truly the culmination of our Wild Wicklow Tour. Climbing aboard back on the luxury Mercedes Coach, we sit back and take in the view of the Garden of Ireland as Denis plays U2 music on the way back to Dublin. This definitely was the perfect end to a perfect day out.
I cannot stress how fantastic Wild Wicklow Tour really is. I could not find any fault with it except I wish it was over a few days rather than one day! Denis was fantastically funny and warm and gave a very well delivered tour of County Wicklow. Unfortunately, it was wet weather most of the time but I think it rather added to the mystique of the Wild Wicklow Tour. If I am every back in Dublin, I think I’ll be taking this tour yet again!
Prices range from 28 Euros for an adult to 25 Euros for those with concession cards.
If you would like to know more about Wild Wicklow Tours, please click here.