Thursday, 25 August 2016

Exploring: Wicklow Gap and Glendalough



Apologies in advance for the picture heavy post, but there was too many gorgeous pictures to choose from - this is very much whittled down!

Yesterday was the most gorgeous and sunny day, and as Shane was on holidays from work we decided to take a break from painting and renovating and head out for the day. 

When we initially set out, we had just planned on going for a drive to see where we might end up, but then I remembered that I'd being dying to go to Glendalough after hearing how lovely it was up there from one of the parents in work.




We set off from Kildare, and went through Hollywood (no, not the one you're thinking of - the much smaller village!) to the Wicklow Gap. Here, you have the most stunning views of part of the Wicklow mountains, with Lough Nahanagan directly in front of you, and heather all around - the smell is glorious, and you can hear the buzzing of bees all around!













We travelled on from there - using the 'Braveheart' trail (as the film was shot around this location) until we reached the Glendalough visitor centre. Surprisingly, for Ireland, the car park was free and entry to the walls was free - but we did splash out on a map to find our way around for 50 cent! We took the yellow trail on the map as we only had two hours before we had to leave and get back - and we really needed those two hours. Shane reckoned we could have done it in a quicker time if I hadn't stopped to take so many pictures, but I couldn't help it - the sunshine makes everything in Ireland look so pretty.











Following a tip from the man at the visitor centre we took the left hand turn starting out on our walk rather than going right, as we walked into the views of the Upper Lake rather than have them at our back. It also meant that our uphill journey wasn't as straight up - you have to walk uphill at some point whichever way you choose to walk, but our way was much more zig-zagged in comparison to the straight up of the other route. 

It also means that as you're walking along, you'll have more chance of spotting the pathway to St. Saviour's Church. This is very much off the beaten path, down a muddy hill but just gorgeous when you get to it. There was only three people there when we got down, and after they left, nobody else came along and we didn't even bump into anyone on our way back up.













Back on the actual trail, the view when you reach the top of the hill is just incredible, and we stumbled along this empty bench with no one around so we could sit in peace and just admire the views for a while.














 The climb up in the heat was worth it to see that view!


On the way back down, we passed by Poulanass Waterfall which runs right into the Glendalough valley.







We also walked alongside the Upper Lake, before coming along the Round Tower and finishing off our circle.



 Unfortunately we didn't have time to go up close to the Round Tower, but we did say if we came back again we'd definitely allow a lot more time to spend here, so we could explore more and maybe even have a picnic on the grassy area in front of the visitor centre. It was well worth the visit though - we've already decided that we're going to go back again, and hopefully the weather will be just as nice that time too!


Fiona x






























































































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