Wicklow Tourist Attractions
Wicklow (Cill Mhantain, "St Mantan's Church"), county town of Wicklow county, lies not far to the south of Dublin at the southern end of a wide curving bay on the Irish Sea.Here the River Vartry reaches the sea, after opening out into an inland lagoon 2mi/3km long, separated from the sea by a grassy spit of land (now a promenade and recreational area). The Vikings took advantage of this safe harbor, establishing themselves in the old monastic settlement founded by St Mantan in the fifth century and renaming it Wykinglo.Wicklow saw significant expansion in 1995 with residential development and economic growth. The completion of the Ashford/Rathnew bypass in 2004 links Wicklow to Dublin, which has created steady growth as a commuter town.
The old Wicklow of narrow streets grew up in the shelter of Black Castle (12th C), a Norman stronghold on a rocky promontory east of the town, which until the 17th C. was subject to repeated attacks as rival clans contended for its possession.There are some remains of a Franciscan friary (13th C) in the garden of the parish priest's house. Built into the 18th C. parish church is a beautiful Romanesque doorway.
The restored 18th C. prison presents displays that tell the story of prison life for over 200 years. Visitors can experience the conditions under which prisoners lived.
Wicklow Regatta Festival
The Wicklow Regatta is a 10 Day event - Ireland's oldest Festival catering to every age. Events include Children's days, Concerts, Dances, Boat Racing, Swimming, Raft Races, and sports events.
The surroundings of Wicklow are worth visiting.
From Wicklow Head, 2mi/3km southeast of the town of Wicklow, there are fine views. Unusually, there are three lighthouses on the point. Farther south the sandy beaches of the "Silver Strand," now spoiled by excessive numbers of holidays trailers, extend down to Brittas Bay and Mizen Head.
South of Wicklow Head, 2mi/3km southeast of the town of Wicklow, the sandy beaches of the "Silver Strand," now spoiled by excessive numbers of vacation trailers, extend down to Brittas Bay and Mizen Head.
The R750, later the N11, runs northwest from Wicklow through Rathnew to Ashford, attractively situated on the River Vartry.
Mount Usher Gardens
Close to the village of Ashford, along the banks of the River Vartry, are the very beautiful Mount Usher Gardens, with many varieties of trees, plants and shrubs, including subtropical species. The gardens, then covering little more than an acre/0.4ha, were originally laid out by Edmund Walpole in 1860; they now extend to some 20ac/8ha. The gardens, with shops, a tea room and a collection of carriages, traps and snares etc., are open to the public.
Opening hours: Mar 15 to Oct 31: 10:30am-6pm
Entrance fee in EUR: Adult €6.00, Group of 20 or more €5.00, Students €5.00, Child €5.00, Pensioners (OAP) €5.00
Disability Access: Partial facilities for persons with disabilities.
Facilities: Gift shop, Restaurant or food service
Transit: Coach: Ashford
Up the Vartry Valley from Mount Usher Gardens outside Wicklow we reach the Devil's Glen. This well-known beauty spot is a deep chasm, the craggy sides of which are covered with trees and shrubs. On entering the glen the river falls nearly 100ft/30m into the Devil's Punchbowl. There are fine views of the waterfall from paths constructed in the glen.
Kilmacurragh has an early collection of woody plants, planted during the 19th C. by Thomas Acton in conjunction with David Moore and his son, Sir Frederick Moore, curators of the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin.
Guinness International Cartoon Festival, Rathdrum
Rathdrum is an ideal starting point for exploring Wicklow by car, bike, horse or on foot.The annual Guinness International Cartoon Festival takes place over three days in early June.