I couldn’t leave Ireland and not visit Glendalough, within Wicklow National Park, about an hour’s drive away from Dublin. Glendalough is what you imagine a place like Ireland to be; lush rolling valleys, stone ruins, mossy forests, and bubbling streams. It’s a gentle hike around the valley, towards the lake and at this time of year, the trees are bursting into different shades of orange and gold.
I’ve said it before, but my hardened London eyes love being out here in the countryside! The air feels so clean and fresh, and I took great big gulping breaths of it to clear out the smog and dirt from my insides.
Along the trail, we stopped at the ruins of an old monastery. Ismay’s dad told me that the monks that lived here long ago lived off the land, catching fish from the lake. The Round Tower from the ruin is one of the first things you notice at the start of the trail.
Bubbling streams straight out of an Enid Blyton book.
As is the theme with most of my trips, I wasn’t dressed properly for a genteel hike around Glendalough. My trainers were fine, but boots would have been better. And it is up cold up here, so wear extra layers and a woolie hat!
Luckily we had packed a picnic, and popping open a hot flask of tea in the brisk chill was heavenly.
The locals are friendly, but busy…those sticks don’t move themselves you know!
Halfway through the trail, you’ll arrive at the lake that has amazing views of the valley beyond.
The water is crystal clear and even though the wind was whipping at my hair and gripping me with chill, I had to laugh when I saw some ducks swim by, without a care in the world.
There’s a path leading out from the lake, towards a car park and some food kiosks, but behind it is where the trail picks up again as a boardwalk, to lead you back to the start.
Whereas the walk we had just been on was all lush green forests, springs and moss, this side of the trail was much sunnier and drier- but equally beautiful.
The boardwalk overlooks the side of the lake we had just been walking along and catches more of the sun. Trees and foliage are different golden shades of brown and even the wildlife is different…
We were really lucky that to come across a Doe with 2 of her babies just hanging out near the fenced off path.
I took approximately eleventy billion photos of this little deer family.
They weren’t spooked by the humans watching them eat their dinner and they soon ambled off into the next pasture for what I assume must be pudding.
By the time we arrived back at our original starting point, I was wrecked.
I swear all that fresh air does something to you! I fell asleep in the car on the home.
There are coaches and tours that will take you to Glendalough from the Dublin city centre, and I can’t stress how gorgeous it is. Definitely one worth booking if you have the time! It’s free to enter and is the perfect place for a picnic.