Hi Everyone. I hope you’re all keeping safe and well. These times are certainly challenging for all of us as we all hunker down at home. Getting out for the daily walk is certainly the highlight of the day for me and it’s good to see that spring is springing here in Ireland. It gives me hope. It also reminds me how I love to see our beautiful Irish landscape come to life at this time of year. So starting today, I thought it would do us all good to take a virtual tour of our gorgeous island county by county and discover some of its hidden gems. So let’s get on the virtual road-first stop County Wicklow!
County Wicklow’s Hidden Gems
1. Mount Usher Gardens
These stunning gardens in Ashford began life in the mid 1880s. Edward Walpole designed and planted the gardens in the “Robinsonian” style, named after the Irish man William Robinson. William began his career as a garden boy in Curraghmore, County Waterford , employed by the Marquess of Waterford. He went on to popularize a style of wild planting, much used in the classic English cottage garden.
Mount Usher gardens were bought by Madeleine Jay in 1979. With her team, she set about restoring the gardens to their former glory. The gardens are situated in the stunning setting of the River Vartry Valley. The many walking trails take you on a guided history of the gardens while you enjoy stunning woodlands, wild flower meadows and tranquil riverside views.
2. The Sally Gap
Time to get into the car and go for an unforgettable drive through the Sally Gap. The Sally Gap is a mountain pass that runs east to west across the Wicklow Mountains. The views are simply breathtaking. The road itself is called Military Road and was built by the British after the 1798 Irish rebellion to enable the seeking out of Irish rebels. Ok so maybe not strictly a hidden gem but one of my favorite drives in Ireland and a definite must-do on any trip to County Wicklow.
3. Victors Way
My next pick is most definitely a hidden gem and truly unusual. Situated in Roundwood Victors Way is a 20 acre sculpture park and meditation garden. The statues are mostly made of granite and include depictions of Buddah, Shiva and Ganesha. The park is dedicated to the mathematician and code-breaker Alan Turing. The owner of the park is German born Victor Langheld and is open to the public during the summer months-strictly adults only though!
4. Silver Strand Beach
Small but beautifully formed, Silver Strand beach just outside Wicklow Town boasts golden sands and is surrounded by cliffs on all sides making it a beautifully sheltered sun-trap-if you happen to get lucky with the Irish weather! There’s also a campsite right by the beach if you you fancy waking up to the sound of the waves!
5. Kilmacurragh Botanic Gardens
I know during these times, people who are lucky enough to have a garden are finding great solace in their little piece of the outdoors. With that in mind I’m going to end with another stunning County Wicklow garden- It is The Garden of Ireland after all! The National Botanic Gardens at Kilmacuuragh were developed in the 19th century and are simply heaven! I particularly love their impressive rhododendrons. The show is dazzling when they bloom in April/May.
That’s all from me for this week. I’ll be back next week to continue the virtual road trip!
In the meantime take very good care of yourselves and eachother,
Slán go fóill!