County Wicklow is located less than an hour south of Dublin and has been nicknamed the “Graden of Island” because of its scenic treasures and natural beauty. Wicklow has quickly turned into a holiday destination for locals and international travelers, and tends to attract couples heading to Ireland on a romantic getaway. Wicklow’s town center is a charming area that offers a wealth of things to do and enjoy year round. The scenic landscapes around Wicklow are well-suited for driving tours, outdoor activities, and photography adventures. Whether you’re planning a short-term stay or a long trip to Wicklow, you’ll find a number of interesting things to do and experience around this scenic town throughout the year.
Wicklow is the county town of County Wicklow and is located on the eastern coast of Ireland. It is linked to the main rail network to Dublin so it’s fairly easily accessible from other parts of Ireland. This region was founded by the Vikings around 795 AD and the natural harbor and fertile land are still some of the major draws of the region. You can still see examples of Norman influences throughout the area. You’ll find that some of the regions around County Wicklow are old surviving settlements and towns, and home to several ruins and Bronze Age monuments. The famous Franciscan Abbey, for example, is located at the west end of Main Street within the gardens of the local Roman Catholic parish grounds.
Since the mid-90s, Wicklow has undergone some significant changes and growth from thanks to a flourishing Irish economy. You’ll find some relatively new residential developments along Marlton Road and some attracting housing developments around the neighboring village of Rathnew. Wicklow is home to several distinct towns and villages, and many are populated with dozens of archaeological sites, historic areas, and interesting neighborhoods ripe for exploring. The region is divided into four distinct areas: South Wicklow, Mid-East Wicklow, North-East Wicklow, and West Wicklow.
County Wicklow is fondly referred to as the Garden of Ireland because of its beautiful mountain ranges and breathtaking landscapes. This region is surrounded by crystal-clear rivers and some beautiful lush forests. It’s a fairly rural area but you’ll find plenty of unique villages and hamlets scattered throughout the countryside. Most of the villages around Wicklow have some quaint shops, locally-owned pubs, and historic churches that are well worth exploring.
Even though much of the land around County Wicklow is relatively rural, this area is surrounded by some beautiful mountains. The mountains run through the North and the center of the county but the coastal areas are still fairly flat. South Wicklow is where you’ll find a lot of the farmland and greener pastures. The mountains are covered with peat so you can see them dotted with some vegetation. In addition to the small neighborhoods and villages around Wicklow, you can find some interesting tourist attractions just a short drive out of the county and near the county’s borders. Popular destinations include Glendalough, the Powerscourt House &Gardens outside Enniskery village, the Powerscout Waterfall which is Ireland’s highest waterfall, and the Meeting of the Waters.
Whether you’re visiting Wicklow for a single day or for an entire week, you’ll find plenty of interesting things to do and unique places to explore throughout this scenic region. Take some time to learn about the different regions and historic sites so you can make the most of your visit.
Wicklow Weather and Best Time to Visit
Like the rest of Ireland, the climate in Wicklow is largely dominated by the Atlantic Ocean and has some very mild and damp summers, and cold, wet winters. The weather is always changing and can be fairly unpredictable. The wettest months of the year are during the winter season and the driest months are during June and July. Since Wicklow is located in the southeast corner of Ireland, it does tend to get more sunshine than many other areas around the country. This region does tend to get snow during the winter months so visiting during the winter season may mean you’re limited to outdoor activities. Still, Wicklow does experience all four seasons and some of the best times of year to visit are in the late spring and early summer. Summer is from May through September with average highs hovering around 20 to 25 degrees Celsius and with little or no wind and rain.
Wicklow is comprised of dozens of towns and villages and each one has its own set of churches, historic buildings, tourist attractions, and eateries. The town of Blessington in West Wicklow is the biggest town in the county and is steeped in history. You won’t want to miss a trip to Donard which is a small, pretty village located on the northern end off Glen of Imaal. The village of Stratford in West Wicklow is a fairly small and quiet village, and is tucked inside one of the most scenic areas of West Wicklow. This is one of the cleanest and most serene villages you’ll ever visit.
When you’re visiting the northeastern part of Wicklow, don’t miss the chance to visit the town of Bray. This established seaside town is known as the “Gateway to the Garden of Ireland” and is home to a lineup of great shops, dining destinations, and entertainment hotspots. This has quickly become a prime tourist destination, especially during the summer months. Spend a few hours visiting Delgany, a picturesque and historic village located at the doorstep of Glen of The Downs. This is an attractive destination to enjoy some outdoor and recreational activities, and is also within easy reach of some other interesting villages and sites. You could also spend some time exploring the charming village of Enniskerry which is home to several attractive cafes, shops, and cottages.
If you find yourself in Mid East Wicklow, be sure to explore the scenic village of Ashford. Ashford is home to the famous Mount Usher Gardens and is also one of the more charming neighborhoods in the area. Some other destinations to visit around this part of Wicklow include: Newcastle; Glenealy; Roundwood, and Wicklow Town.
South Wicklow is best known for its fishing hotspots and quaint villages that are within easy reach of the mountains and event grounds. Head to Arklow to walk down the riverside walk and explore the fishing village. Avoca was famous for its copper mines and was also the filming venue for the BBC series Ballykissangel. Make your way to the village of Shillelagh to see the 17th-century planned estate village and the historic clock tower.
No matter which part of Wicklow you end up visiting, you’ll be treated to some picturesque landscapes, beautiful scenery, and have plenty of options for outdoor and tourist activities. Take some time to learn about the different sites and villages throughout each part of Wicklow so you can make the most of your visit.
Known as the garden of Ireland, Wicklow is a 20 minute drive from Dublin city. The sights that should not be missed when you visit are the beaches, mountains, lakes, and their majestic gardens. Wicklow is a beautiful vacation destination throughout the year.