Wicklow county in Ireland

'Bray Promenade, Wicklow, Ireland' - Ireland
'Bray Promenade, Wicklow, Ireland' - Attribution: IvanWalsh.com

Known as 'The Garden of Ireland,' Wicklow is the epitome of natural beauty and scenic vistas that rival any other place on earth. The entire country of Ireland is stunning, and Wicklow stands out even in the face of that standard. The Vikings arrived in 795 A.D., but the Gaelic name harks back to St. Patrick's time.

Wicklow is on the sea, making it more appealing than it is already, and the opportunities for outdoor recreation are endless. Just about every known water sport is available here. Kayaking, kiteboarding, sailing, fishing, swimming and other energy-sapping activities await, and don't forget scuba diving.

On land, Wicklow is equally impressive. The hiking trails are without peer, and the Wicklow Way is a good example of what to expect. It is a network of self-guided, marked paths that cover many kinds of terrain. Mountains, valleys, mountain lakes, waterfalls, streams and so many more delightful natural resources are on view.

Wicklow is spectacular and should be explored by hiking enthusiasts and horseback riders. There are plenty of places to stay in Wicklow after an active day outdoors. In town and around the county are many types of guest housing and dining from very affordable to upscale.

Glendalough is a popular attraction in Wicklow County. The monastery built in the sixth century by St. Kevin is remarkably intact after centuries of use. The Round Tower is 34 metres, or 111 feet, tall and is in very good condition for its age of almost 1,000 years. There are two churches from the 10th and 12th centuries and other structures that will impress and amaze.

The polar opposite of Glendalough is the historic Wicklow Gaol in the town of Wicklow. Built in 1702, it was used as a jail until 1924. Cruelty and horror is the theme here and the haunted 18th century jail experience is exhibited and narrated by tour guides to visitors who have the nerves for it.

Local tradition in Wicklow Town includes trad, or Irish traditional music. It can be heard and seen in Philip Healy's bar on Wednesday nights and Emie's bar on Friday nights at 9:00 p.m. The list of instruments used is fascinating: fiddle, bodhran, tin whistle, melodeon, flute, banjo, concertina, guitar, Uilleann pipes, button accordion, mandolin, piano accordion and of course, voice. Now that's entertainment.

See Wicklow at holiday time for a frosty and memorable Victorian experience.

Hotels and apartments at Wicklow