Wicklow Mountains day tour from Dublin - eNidhi India Travel Blog

Wicklow Mountains day tour from Dublin

Wicklow Mountain tour was a day trip I took from Dublin. Had booked the tour by paying cash at Visit Dublin shop, which cost me some 33 Euros whereas online booking would have cost some 29 Euros.

The tour is operated by Greyline and the itinerary included the following
  • 30 Min stop at Glencree Cemetry
  • 5 min stop at PS I Love you bridge
  • 10 min stop at Guinness Lake
  • 2 hour stop at Glendalough for walk to upper lake
  • Lunch stop at Avoca village
Tour started at 9.15 AM and we were back in Dublin city centre by about 5.30 PM. There're few other variations of this tour, some of which include other destinations like Kilkenny, Sheep dog trail etc. Do some research and select what interests you. There are many other operators like Paddywagon tours and so on. I had heard Greyline brand before hence decided to book with them.
The bus: The coach used by Greyline was standard Mercedes Benz Tourismo coach, which had overhead USB cable ports. Otherwise a standard tour coach, fairly comfortable for a day tour. Coach didn't have on board toilet. There is an emergency exit but no extra leg room for passengers seated behind it, due to a hand rail barricade between the seat and exit steps. Else would have been nice to sit here and stretch our legs.

The driver was good, kept us entertained with stories and facts. He wanted to keep a count of moving tractors we see during the trip- unfortunately got only 1 that day.

Stop 1: Glencree Cemetry: 
We were given 30 min stop here, had a coffee shop and rest rooms-there was supposed to be some exhibition etc- but couldn't spot where. Campus was nice, a nice stream was nearby and a war memorial as well. This place has some historic importance but not really a tourist spot.

History: Glencree holds Ireland's only German war cemetery where 134 German pilots and navy persons are burried- their bodies were found on the Irish beaches as their planes crashed or boat sunk. There are also many civilians who died while being transported to Canada. There are also many military barracks in the area used by IRA, many are in ruins, few are used as administrative building today- the main building you see in pics above. More details here
Stop 2: P.S. I Love You Bridge
A small, ordinary bridge but now a tourist attraction because it was featured in a movie. Too much hype. I would have preferred to skip these first two spots if I had known well or had been presented with alternate options. But I guess they are on the way and not a major deviation for tour company.
Above: P.S. I Love you bridge on Wicklow mountain range
Below: Still from the 2007 movie, P.S. I Love you, showing the same location
Below: Bus load of tourists photographing the bridge thanks to the hype created and inclusion of this spot in day tours. Reminds me of James Bond Island, Phuket
Stop 3: Guinness Lake
An extremely scenic Guinness lake, also known as Lough Tay, - we got 10 min stop to get some photos. Clear sky helped a lot. We couldn't get to the bottom of it though. Would have been great to give us an hour or so to be able to hike down to the lake and come back. But Guinness lake is located in a private property so I guess we can't go closer.
Step 4 Glendalough
Supposed to be major attraction of the day- got two hours time here, mainly because the lake is 1.5 kms away and needs some walking. Bus stopped at visitor centre, we were asked to take photograph of a map showing us the path to take.

This to see in Glendalough
With the information in the map and visitor centre, I roamed around for 2 hours in Glendalough area and saw following
#1 Cemetery
#2 Lower Lake
Lower lake comes first in the walking trail but most tourists head straight to the upper lake- probably because the later is more scenic and there's much facilities near lower lake (like benches to sit, proper walking trails etc)
#3 Upper Lake
Google map showed a spot much further and somewhere in centre of the lake. It was closer than what map showed- about 1.7 kms from visitor centre. Nice large lake with some ducks. Not much activities to do. Spent some time walking around and headed back

#4 A small waterfall exists near upper lake- sound of which is hard to forget- but view is limited and needs climbing a few hundred steps- this spot was not shown in the map given to us by driver- probably because tour company doesn't want people to waste time going out looking for waterfall and delay the return. Isn't really a great waterfall either.
#5 Some ruins
Lots of churches and other damaged buildings can be spotted around- if you have more time to walk and explore.
More walking trails
We were to be back at the bus by 3.20 PM. At 3.20 all but two tourists had not returned. Driver informed his office, left a brochure at information counter and told us that he is required as per company rule to wait for a certain duration and then leave. Both his tour office and tourist information centre staff would know that coach had to leave because passengers didn't report on time. Those who miss the coach will have to take a 4 PM public transport bus back to city or stay there and return next day or hire a taxi. But minutes before driver would have left the parking lot the two tourists showed up!

Stop 5: Lunch at Avoca Village
A small village with just one or two shops & restaurants. The restaurants they took us to didn't have much options in Veg to my liking. I went to another shop adjacent- got a bowl of soup, a veg sandwich and some steam rice for 10 Euros. Had an additional cup of cup noodles from a convenience store nearby and my lunch was done.
Totally loved the calmness of this small village Avoca.
Then headed back direct to Dublin city- reached by about 5.30 PM. Visited Howth during rest of the evening.
Overall, the Wicklow mountain tour didn't leave with with WOW! Have seen more scenic lakes and spots in India but Wicklow is a popular day tour from Dublin probably due to lack of much better destinations to explore. It was OK but nothing astounding in my opinion. No big regrets- it was good to travel through the Irish country side, view scenery on sunny day (lucky) and head back. 33 Euros (close to INR 2500) isn't too bad for the experience. But you can take a call from above pictures.

Related: Things to know before planning your visit to Ireland * Cliff of Moher day tour (coming soon) * Giant's Causeway tour from Belfast Edinburgh free to explore attractions * Brecon Beacons National Park * London Public Transport explained * 


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