County Wicklow “The Garden of Ireland” is renowned worldwide for its charming beauty. Wicklow is a walkers paradise and is home to the Wicklow Way, Ireland’s oldest waymarked walking trail.
This popular guided walking holiday takes you through Ireland’s largest National Park, covering 90,000ha in central Wicklow, part of Ireland’s Ancient East. Wicklow Mountains National Park manages and protects some of Europe’s oldest bog lands, heather covered mountains, broad-leafed and coniferous woodlands. The Wicklow Mountains offers a vast diversity of scenery; from woodlands and rolling hills to lush green valleys, streams and lakes. The area provides habitat for native species including sika and red hybrid deer, foxes, badgers, hares and birds of prey.
Central to the area is Glendalough, the famous and globally important monastic settlement where we will walk in the footsteps of St. Kevin. The settlement grew for centuries after its foundation in the 6th century to become Ireland’s earliest proto-urban development and a European hub for education. The imposing round tower overlooks a scene of exceptional natural beauty. Glendalough, meaning a valley of two lakes (Gleann Da Loch) possesses contemplative ambience and is a landscape imbued with the spirituality of its illustrious past.
Your accommodation is in the multi-award winning 4 Star BrookLodge Hotel Macreddin Village.
Prices / Dates
Price: €1,019 per person sharing
Single Supplement: +€375
Sunday, 13 June to Friday 18 June 2021
Sunday, 5 September to Friday 10 September 2021
Tour Grade: Easy to Moderate
Accommodation: Brook Lodge Hotel (4*( hotel)
Included / Excluded
Pick-up at Dublin Airport at 1.00 pm and transfer to the BrookLodge Hotel. After settling in and light refreshments, we will take a nice walk around the village of Aughrim just to get the legs ready for the days ahead! Aughrim is known locally as “The Granite City” because of its many buildings constructed from locally quarried Wicklow Granite.
“That little spot in Wicklow where the air breathes sweet content.” To Aughrim’ a poem by Desmond L. Morley
Distance:5 km / 3 miles, Ascent: little to none
Our first walk starts in the valley of Glendalough, in Irish, (Gleann Dá Loch, meaning "Valley of two lakes").
Before we start our walk you will have a unique experience to see an Irish Working Sheepdog in action and hear the history of sheep in Ireland with master handler Michael Crowe, owner of Irish Working Sheepdogs.
The remainder of our journey takes us into the 6th Century Monastic Settlement, where we will do a short tour of some of the monuments and ruined churches that exist there. From here we will continue along to explore the glacier moulded valley and it’s two lakes, before starting a short ascent to Pollanass Waterfall and into Derrybawn Woods. Here we will be offered stunning views down over the Glendalough Valley and surrounding countryside.
Distance: 9 km/5.6 miles, Ascent: 190 m/570 ft
Today’s walk takes us south through Ballard Forest, We will pass evidence of a forgotten farming community that once lived and toiled the land. We follow a local’s path up the heather covered Trooperstown Hill that will lead to magnificent views in all directions including rolling hills, the Irish Sea, the Wicklow Mountains, and the Round Tower of Glendalough. Our walking trail gently descends into Trooperstown Forest, over the Avonmore River and up Paddock Hill where we will join another part of the Wicklow Way.
Distance: 17 km/10.5 miles, Ascent: 350 m/1050 ft
Our walking trail today takes us to the magical Vale of Clara, a nature reserve containing the largest area of natural hardwood woodlands in the country. The serenity of this ancient oak woodland is contagious and is ideally followed by lunch on the banks of the babbling Avonmore River beside the charming church of Clara (1799). We will then visit the famous Avoca Woollen Mills for an exploration of their historical and operational mill and will finish off the day with a bit of shopping and perhaps a treat.
Distance: 9 km / 5.5 miles, Ascent: 220 m/660 ft
The first part of our adventure today takes us to The National Botanic Gardens, Kilmacurragh, An Eighteenth-Century Arboretum. We will have a guided tour of the gardens and hear the Thomas Acton family's story that developed the estate in the nineteenth century. The guided tour lasts approximately 1 hr. Afterwards, you will have some free time to wander and explore the magnificent gardens and their surroundings.
In the afternoon we will take a short drive to the town of Rathdrum where we will do a circular walk, starting and finishing in the town.
Along the walk, we will visit an old Famine Graveyard, walk part of a mass path used in bygone days as a recognised path or track to and from church and through a Millennium Forest. Finishing with a beautiful relaxing stroll along the banks of the Avonmore River. Of course, no date would be complete without a visit to one of the fine establishments (Bars) that Rathdrum has to offer.
Distance: 8 km/5 miles, Ascent: 80 m/240 ft
Depart for Dublin Airport after our final hearty Irish breakfast, arriving at 12 noon.