Been There: Wicklow Mountains National Park & Glendalough
It’s quite easy to day dream about adventuring in foreign lands around the globe, and very easy to forget about the gems we have on this little green island of ours. One of those being Glendalough in Wicklow, home to the ‘valley of the two lakes’ and great hiking trails around the Wicklow Mountains National Park. So, as a fun outdoor date-day, my boyfriend and I took the day off work to go exploring.
First thing’s first, your checklist. The walks I would recommend are 3-4 hours long, so make sure you have the following things:
- Hiking boots (some of the terrain is on dirt-tracks and bog)
- Water & snacks for half way through
- Light rain jacket because you just never know
- Camera – definitely a GoPro if you have one!
- Dress comfortably. Shorts or gym leggings depending on the weather
- Plasters for those unexpected blisters
You can park at the visitors centre where there’s toilets and a hotel restaurant (stop here for a well deserved glass of vino after!) From there you’ll walk through a stoned arch way and then a cemetery until you get to some signs.
Then, take the upper lake green road which will lead you to the entrance to the Poulanass Waterfall which you’ll walk up alongside – at the top is where you can choose a trail route. Do note that you must pay attention as the arrows are small and you can easily walk passed them!
There are various trails you can take but I would recommend the Spinc & Glenealo Valley (9km – white trail) or Spinc & Wicklow Way (11km – red trail) which is the one we did. I’ve done both and they’re both as great and tough as each other, it’s just one is a little shorter. You can choose which direction you go in, every trail loops back around to the start again. The Wicklow Way route is a little more off-track than the Glenaelo Valley so you can sometimes be the only people around, which I loved!
You’ll come across sections that are tracked out with sleepers – this will be in the more boggy areas of the mountains. Also, as they’re studded, hiking boots really are the best shoes to wear.
One of my favourite sections is getting to the viewpoint that looks over the two lakes – it’s breathtaking. My GoPro was on hand to get some wide angle snaps!
This route should take you around 4 hours if you’re going at a steady pace and take a pitstop for a snack, and don’t forget – look up!
Millions of people grace our shores every year to take in the beautiful sites that Ireland has to offer, so it’s time to get out there and enjoy them for yourself. So, go forth and hike!