Upon your trip to Wicklow, a visit to Wicklow’s Historic Gaol is a must. The 18th century prison tells the stories of it’s prisoners through interactive tours. The monthly night tours and paranormal investigations are not for the faint of heart but luckily there are tours throughout the day between 10.30 and 16.30. For more information visit http://www.wicklowshistoricgaol.com/ .
After your tour why not walk two minutes down the road to the ruins of Wicklow’s Norman castle, the Black Castle. When exiting Wicklow’s Historic Gaol turn left and walk straight down to the quays, turning right when you reach the water and walk the short distance to the Black Castle. There may not be much left of the 12th century castle but it’s location provides spectacular views of the Wicklow coastline.
Next on the tour should be a picnic among the ruins of the 13th century Franciscan friary. Just across the road from the Grand Hotel, the vast gardens are a quiet haven in the bustling town of Wicklow. The gates to the Abbey grounds are open daily but close at around 19.00. It is free to enjoy the grounds.
If staying for two days in the area of east Wicklow, a visit to Glendalough is needed. The world famous monastery is a mere 30 minutes from Wicklow town. On the route you will witness the counties vast countryside and rolling hills. Glendalough was founded by St Kevin in sixth century when he came to seek solitude within the Wicklow mountains. The remains of the monastery include churches, living quarters, and most famously the round tower. Daily tours are given at the site, and the visitor’s centre is open from 9.30 to 17.00 each day.
If one wishes to explore the “Valley of the Two Lakes” further there are several walking routes throughout the national park, including one that goes right up to the Glendalough mines which have been abandoned but are a great location to view Glendalough entirely. For further information on Glendalough visit: http://www.glendalough.ie/