Welcome to County Wicklow Hotels Guide
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It is surprising to many visitors to Ireland that not all of Ireland's spectacular landscapes are in the west of the country. Merely 16km south of Ireland's vibrant capital, wild and desolate mountains dominate County Wicklow's majestic landscape dotted with small pockets of settlements and people. The most picturesque parts of the county lie within a north-south expanse extending from the centre of the Wicklow Mountains, starting at Glencree and ending at Avoca in the South. The River Liffey's source is amidst the gently undulating granite hills to the south, ideal terrain for trekking.
Nestling amongst the spectacular Wicklow Mountains is Glendalough, the site of the best-preserved early-Christian remains in Ireland. Its past and present status is thanks to the Bishop of Saint Kevin who established a monastery in the 6th Century, catering for thousands of students and teachers. Today most of the buildings in this extraordinary former monastic site date from the 10th and 12th Centuries, each spread throughout the breathtaking Glendalough Valley in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains National Park.
Hugging Ireland's East Coast, Wicklow is home to spectacular coastal scenery and seascapes from the commuter town of Bray - accessible by frequent DART trains from central Dublin, to the Arklow in the south of the county. The county town of Wicklow boasts an excellent harbour with fresh catches of the day and plays host to the biennial Round Ireland Yacht Race. Wicklow town's best features are its sweeping expanse of the beach and bay to the north and its prominent headland in the south, offering spectacular seascapes to take pleasure in. Further south near Wicklow's border with Wexford, Arklow is the county's most visited town besides Bray. Originally a minor fishing village, Arklow is now one of Ireland's busiest ports and is home to a small maritime museum depicting its boat and schooner building past. This bustling commercial centre serves as an excellent base for exploring both the Wicklow Mountains and South East Ireland's coast.
Wicklow is particularly known for its fine formal gardens and over the course of the Wicklow Garden Festival in May and June, many gardens, which are often closed to the public, welcome hundreds of visitors. Open daily from March to October, the magnificent Powerscourt Estate near Enniskerry dates from 1743 and is surrounded by a 20-hectare formal gardens featuring a stunning collection of flowers, plants and trees from all corners of the globe.
For the energetic and active, Count Wicklow has an excellent provision of sporting and leisure pursuits ranging from organised walks and cycle paths in the Wicklow Mountains National Park to windsurfing and sea angling along its breathtaking coastline. The county's major attraction in the sport and leisure arena is the 132 km Wicklow Way, crowned as Ireland's first long distance trail. Despite the fact that it starts in County Dublin and ends in Clonegal in County Carlow, it does span the length of Wicklow. Established in 1982, The Wicklow Way encompasses a variety of terrains from forest walks, sheep paths and bog roads to mountain passes that offer trekkers spectacular vantage points along the way. Allow 8 to 10 days to complete the trail.
A daytrip or vacation to County Wicklow and its extraordinary countryside conjures images of Ireland's past and present prosperity with its elegant grand mansions and stunning gardens as well as providing the discerning visitor with an exuberant selection of fine restaurants and luxury accommodation. From rolling granite hills and verdant mountain passes to imposing cliffs, headlands and breathtaking coves, Wicklow has a chain of hidden treasures awaiting to be explored.
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