Forty eight hours in Wicklow will not allow you see every aspect the beautiful county has to offer, but you can get a good run at it, as we say locally. We had the weather on our side in early July- maybe a little bit too much on our side- but that can only help when photographing an Irish county. We are not allowed to complain about sunshine but who in Ireland is capable of dealing with temperatures reaching over 25 degrees for a long period of time? Not I. I complained a bit.
This post will focus on a place to stay, a few highlights to visit and I will gift you with a few eating gems. Of course. Have I let you down on cake information to date?? Well I am not about to start now.
Woodenbridge Lodge and Hotel. Our location in the Vale of Avoca was pleasant, linked to the past in fascinating ways and good value for money. I enjoyed the historical connections to the self proclaimed oldest hotel in Ireland. It was here John Redmond made a famous and controversial speech promoting young Irish volunteers to enlist to the British army.
The concern was that many thought it was anti-Irish to fight in a British war just as Ireland were fighting for Home Rule. Others thought that Irish support at this time would make a grateful Britain who in turn would help Home Rulers in their cause after the war. More thought ‘Britain’s difficulty was Ireland’s opportunity’ which led to revolutionaries attempting a fatalistic uprising in 1916.
Redmond had hit an emotive nerve and his stance signed the death warrant of his popularity. Becoming known as the butcher, he would be blamed for the deaths of many young folk who possibly just wanted an opportunity for something different and had no personal allegiance to either side in war.
These WW1 Irish fighters would never be accredited as heroes in Ireland at the time. It was this olden day inn that saw that time period of tragic and almost uncontrollable emotions. Today there is a memorial park to those who died, a poignant reminder of a lost youth and dashed hopes. Ireland’s oldest inn is now a pleasant hotel with food and music, good staff and modernised enough for comfort. Prettily presented desserts and a pleasant atmosphere for relaxed cocktail sipping. A perfect base to see Wicklow from.
I loved Ballykissangel as a teenager. There was some terrible acting and a few awful storylines but then there were some golden moments and the killer plot of a priest/ bar landlady in their will they/ won’t they romance which was thrilling in an era of two channels and no sky plus. Colin Farrell got his start in the soap as a rough and ready hottie from the city with a bad boy attitude. The village has been beautifully kept, barely changing in twenty years. Just like Colin Farrell.
If you are a fan of the now out of date series, you will love to come here. The luxurious food and fancy goods chain of Avoca shops has a base here also which is another essential visit. We went to the supersize version in Rathcoole on our way here where I lunched on a chicken pie, but I might have overdone it by having three side salads. It was the salad surely that pushed me over the edge. This is the place for amazing cake too. A failsafe. It was the salad however that was my digestive undoing. I swear.
A twisty, winding, stomach challenging drive will take you to this natural attraction in the Wicklow hills. Upon entry, we were charged six euros per person in the vehicle which seemed steep for what you get. A prepared person will spend the day at the waterfall, as many were, barbecuing, drinking, talking and playing various games. We were just there for a look so for the passer-by this is not cheap. Due to our recent heatwave the water that is actually falling is in shortage which takes from the true magnificence of the falls, but I still think not much takes away from the experience of being around and near the falls. Beautiful.
Glendalough is an ancient monastic site founded in the sixth century by St Kevin in the hope of sustaining Christianity in Ireland. A history ridden glacial valley, it is now a popular tourist attraction.The round tower is iconic in Ireland as a symbol of learning, religion but also proof of the need to protect people from attack at a violent time.
We hit on a warm day, enjoying our walk and amazed by the amount of people here to picnic, paddle and sunbathe. Virtually Californian in health! Of course then we found the chipper van. It was beside the ice cream van. Handy.
Dedicated to St Kevin do you think maybe we are forgiven a cheeky potentially blasphemous burger? We indulged after our picturesque walk to the church site. It was still a treat to eat outdoors in comfort during the heat wave with no flies.
A working graveyard (you know what I mean) surprised me as the modern was allowed so close to the ancient. It is a lovely spot though once you get through the crowds driving in.
Wicklow has a lot more to see press here.We did try another hotel in Macreddin for afternoon tea (it wasn’t available without booking) so we had fancy lemonade and tiny cream tea scones.
Elderflower dot com. The Strawberry Tree at Macreddin village is a fancy spot full of the artisan produce, vast greenery and golf that is trending currently with an organic restaurant on site just to cement the essence of rich hipster that it radiates. Nice to visit if you enjoy that sort of thing.
The Highest Pub in Ireland- Johnny Fox’s. I have supped in the highest Irish bar in the world (Cusco.) Subtle brag. So why would we not add Johnny Fox’s to the list? A tourist dream, the old style bar is packed with nostalgic quirk,vintage dust collectors, momentoes, humour and history; something to see in every corner. It has a restaurant and provides live entertainment. Irish dancing shows, sessions and so on.
We went for dinner and a drink. I love a place that demands photographs to be taken. I am always however a little disconcerted to indulge in a place that makes you walk past a former famine soup pot to enter. Twenty first century obesity crisis guilt is not a tasty sauce.
I took plenty of snaps, omitting the more sexist signs that are proving to be popular humour around here. I had a lot to omit. Otherwise, the pictures of previous visitors (famous ones, not just Sheila from Moate wuz ere), old clippings and images are really fun.
We ate well, drank in more than atmosphere and left singing and pointing out the Sugar Loaf. Traditional Irish pub works its magic, you leave tipsy and tuneful. I had a platter of BBQ ribs with a speciality whiskey sauce. It was impressive to look at, tasty to eat but I wouldn’t rush back for it purely because ribs are not my favourite. I eat them every two years maybe and that is my fill. My friend’s crab claws looked juicy and delicious. The pork belly had no frills but I think it might have been just perfect. Crunchy, delectable and decadent.
A weekend in Wicklow is a lovely experience with plenty of families, couples or groups of friends looking for cake and a good rest, walks into history and a room with a view providing religious chips as a bonus. Leaving you with the warning notice that can be seen at the back of the toilet doors at Powerscourt Waterfall. Too many questions. If you have to put up a sign like this you have to wonder at humanity. As for recommendations? Wicklow is a go. Even if people tend to attempt aerobic activity when relieving themselves.