‘TWO DAYS IN WICKLOW’:  Train to Bray, Cliff Walk, Greystones, Wicklow Town, Fat Bikes, Wicklow Jail

This is our first “Two Days in Wicklow” tour package proposal. This tour can be enjoyed without cars using only train from Dublin City Centre. Enjoy stunning walks along the Cliff Walk, Food in Greystones, Fat Bikes in Wicklow Town, dinner and overnight in Wicklow Town then visit and lunch at Wicklow’s Historic Gaol. In March 2018, we brought a few journalists on this tour and this is our full itinerary details:

DAY 1: Cliff Walk & Fat Bikes

Train to Bray Seafront:

We all took the Train/Dart from Dublin City Centre and met at The Martello in Bray for handmade scones, tea or coffee. There we gave our bags to Theresa from Wicklow Way Baggage to be delivered to our accommodation in Wicklow Town.

Walk the Cliff Walk to Greystones:

Orla from Sugarloaf Adventures took us along the 7 km stretch of the Cliff Walk between Bray to Greystones through Bray Head overlooking the Irish Sea.

Lunch in Greystones – Train to Wicklow Town:

We enjoyed the Happy Pear’s unique cuisine and flavour for our lunch, and after a short stroll through Greystones, we took the afternoon train to Wicklow Town.

Fat Bikes Tour in Wicklow Town:

Ian from Fat Bikes Adventures was waiting for us for a great tour around Wicklow Town. This included a cycle up the famous Black Castle and along the beach at the Murrough.

Dinner and overnight:

After dropping our bags at the Grand Hotel for some and the Halpin’s Townhouse for others, we all enjoyed a great dinner at the Bridge Tavern overlooking the river. The Bridge Tavern also offers overnight accommodation. We finished the night checking some of the local pubs.

DAY 2:  Wicklow Jail

Visit of Wicklow’s Historic Gaol:

No visit to Wicklow Town is complete without taking a tour of Wicklow Jail. There the Jailers gives you an introduction through how tough life was here, there we all meandered through the various floors of this unique place.

Lunch at Jailer’s Rest & Wicklow Town:

Located within the Jail’s walls, The Jailer’s Rest Cafe offers local dishes as well as diverse flavour mostly made from local ingredients.   Most of the afternoon was spent walking around Wicklow Town for some shopping, then we headed back to take the train.


Here is the list of resources that will help you prepare this trip:


  • There are on average five train services from Dublin to Bray on the DART
  • Irish Rail operates six trains from Greystones to Wicklow and same back to Dublin
  • Check timetables and book your ticket at http://www.irishrail.ie

Luggage Transfer:


Food & Drinks:




The Lantern Festival on Friday 2nd March is the conclusion of the Chinese New Year Celebrations.

This is also the EU China Tourism Year when the “Lightbridge” project will see major buildings across the European Union – including Powerscourt House – floodlight in red.

2018 is The Year of the Dog in the Chinese Zodiac, it is also designated as the EU China Tourism Year.

The Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, Cllr Edward Timmins, explained that “In honour of Wicklow’s Friendship agreement with Hainan Province China, Wicklow County Council and Powerscourt Estate are participating in the EU Lightbridge Project.  This event will see beautiful Powerscourt House and Gardens, located within the 1,000-acre Powerscourt Estate in County Wicklow, shine red to celebrate the EU China Tourism Year, in conjunction with a number of other European sites.”

Set in County Wicklow and overlooking the Sugarloaf Mountain, Powerscourt enjoys a breath-taking panorama, with 47 acres of gardens and Ireland’s highest waterfall to explore as well as golf, retail, food and a 5-star hotel.

“Powerscourt is one of the must-see destinations in Ireland and we light up the house with pride to celebrate the bond we have developed with the Chinese over recent years” according to Sarah Slazenger, Managing Director of Powerscourt Estate, “We are delighted to work with Wicklow County Council on the EU China Lightbridge Project to encourage cross-cultural contributions and foster this special friendship between Ireland and China.”

Powerscourt is one of several tourist attractions in County Wicklow that  are popular with Chinese visitors and looking forward to an increase in numbers when direct flights from China commence later this year.

The Lantern Festival or the Spring Lantern Festival is a Chinese festival celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month in the lunisolar Chinese calendar. Usually falling in February or early March on the Gregorian calendar, it marks the final day of the traditional Chinese New Year celebrations. During the Lantern Festival, children go out at night to temples carrying paper lanterns and solve riddles on the lanterns. Traditionally people will eat Yuan Xiao for this last day of the Chinese New Year’s celebration, then start to travel and work from the nexy day.

More on Powerscourt

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Wicklow features prominently in the new Irish Specimen Fish Committee Report 2017, which has logged the largest fish of various species caught all over Ireland during 2017!

Such large specimens being caught by anglers in the Wicklow Estuary and, most especially, off the Wicklow coastline are certain to bring Wicklow to the attention of anglers all over Ireland, and beyond, as they plan their 2018 calendars.
Among the most prevalent large specimens in Wicklow were Spur Dogfish, Tope, Flounder, Black Bream, and a category winning Smooth-hound (a species very prolific in the area) specimen weighing 8.25kg and 120cm long caught by Michael McCarthy in June 2017.

In 2017 Wicklow Boat Charters boasted 109 Specimen Fish, 61 Smooth-Hounds, 11 Tope, 36 Spurdog and their first Black Bream and Garfish. Regular customer Michael Mc Carthy took the biggest Smooth Hound of the  year with his 17lb fish. With regular custom from all over Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, USA, UK and many more Countries Wicklow has been the gateway for Irish Specimen Fish for numerous anglers of many Nationalities.

The Irish Specimen Fish Committee Report 2017 is published by the Irish Specimen Fish Committee, which is supported by Inland Fisheries Ireland, and is an independent all-Ireland voluntary body which verifies and records the capture of large fish caught on rod by anglers in freshwater and marine waters.

Read the whole report at http://fishinginireland.info/news/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Irish-Specimen-Fish-Commmittee-Report-2017.pdf

The Piper’s Stone – Ireland’s Ancient East

We’re here in Athgreany, Hollywood, 2.5 kilometers south of Hollywood, in county Wicklow, on the N81. This very ancient site consists of a ring of stones knows as the Piper’s Stones. Click here for location and access info

The Legend:

This is a very ancient site of pagan worship. There’s an out-layer stone, which is referred to as the Piper, while the stones forming the circle are referred as the dancers. Local folklore says that the dancers were defying the Sabbath Day and they were turned into stones. People around here are superstitious about a place like the Piper’s Stones; for example, it would be considered highly unlucky to interfere with the whitethorn tree here (Sceach Gheal as it’s called in Irish) given its location. There was a tradition where people used to leave petitions or offerings here, very much in the same tradition as people leaving offerings or money coins in holy wells. This shows the continuity between Ireland’s ancient pagan past and our Christian past which replaced it.

As old as the Egyptian Pyramids:

The stones where laid probably 1,000 up to 2,000 years before Christ, which makes it 3,000 to 3,500 years old. This circle of stones is very much in the tradition to Newgrange and Stonehenge.

The Piper’s Stone has markings on it, north, south, east, and west. During the Autumn Equinox, the sun would rise over there and shine directly across the line on the stone. As the sun moves around the circle, it marks the different months, the different calendar of the year.
Athgreany is an Anglicization of Achadh Gréine,  which in Irish means the Field of the Sun. This shows the ancient purpose of a stone calendar where people would judge the seasons of the year and celebrate certain rituals. This ancient circle is very much at the center of the pre-Christian pagan world. People here still have huge respect for this place and its association with the past.”

About John:

John Glennon (also known under his Irish name Seán Mag Leannáin) is a retired Civil Servant. He was a Principal Officer in the Department of Social Protection for 15 years up until his retirement in 2010.  John has lived in Hollywood all his life and has had a lifelong interest in the local history of his area.  He has published various articles about Hollywood in the Journal of the West Wicklow Historical Society.  He is also editor of the Hollywood Fair book which is published to coincide with the annual Hollywood Fair each August. John is at present working on a history of Hollywood since the eighteenth century, and hopes to publish his book in 2016.  John can be contacted at his email address: seanmagleannain@gmail.com.

The highly anticipated third edition of The Wicklow Calendar is out now!

The calendar of stunning Wicklow landscapes, kindly donated by 9 local photographers, is now on sale across the Garden County now for €10 each.

It’s aim is to raise funds for the 5 Cancer Support Centres in the County and the Wicklow Hospice Foundation.

The project was the brainchild of Marlena Murphy, who worked closely with East Coast FM for the last 10 years and has participated in every year of the East Coast FM Coffee Morning.

In partnership with local designer and photographer Richie Kelly, Marlena designed, co-ordinated and executed the calendar. The duo want to both boost funds for the annual East Coast FM charity event, they raised over €13,000 in the last two years since the inaugural edition, and also create awareness of the wonderful beauty spots around the County.

The team hope this year’s calandar will be even more successful than in the past two years. “We were overwhelmed with how successful the calendar became over the last two years and how many countries it reached. It turned out to be a very popular christmas present and it has reached every continent (apart from Antarctica! If you know everyone down there let us know and we will send them a copy), We hope this year we can raise even more much needed funds and give people 12 stunning images for their wall to look at throughout 2018”
The team at East Coast FM will be promoting and selling the calendar throughout November and December.

The calendar is available to buy at many locations all across Wicklow, for details of points of sale see www.facebook.com/wicklowcalendar also available to buy online from East Coast FM www.eastcoast.fm/calendar

The Chinese are coming, and Wicklow has a great opportunity to stand out from the rest of Ireland

Wicklow County Council and Wicklow County Tourism recently traveled to China to promote Wicklow and strengthen the partnership with the Province of Hainan.

In July 2017, Wicklow County Council and the Province of Hainan in China, signed a friendship agreement. Late November, a delegation from Wicklow went to visit Hainan, and attended the 2017 Hainan International Tourism Island Carnival Exhibition.

Wicklow and Hainan are looking at various cooperation opportunities in sectors such as Education, Tourism, Agriculture, Culture & Arts, and Film Production.

Hainan is an island South of China’s mainland, and is fighting very hard to become one of the world’s top holiday destination. Hainan has been called the Hawaii of China, and just hosted the Miss World competition. The nine million Hainan inhabitants welcome some 70 million visitors annually, mostly from mainland China.

Tourism in China is growing at a fast pace, and one in three Chinese took a holiday last year. Tourism Ireland is expecting the launch of two direct flights from China next year. There are also talks about opening direct flights from Hainan’s capital Haikou to London early next year.

“Although there are no direct flights flights with China, Ireland has managed to attract some 70.000 visitors this year” says Fred Verdier from Wicklow Tourism. “New Zealand is roughly as far as Ireland from China, and currently enjoys some 70 direct flights, welcoming 300.000 chinese visitors annually”.

“Wicklow has a tremendous opportunity to figure on the ‘must do’ list for Chinese visitors. Wicklow businesses like Powerscourt Gardens and Avoca are already welcoming growing numbers of visitors from China” adds Pat Mellon, Chairman of Wicklow Tourism. “The Chinese international tourism market is set to grow for the next ten years, and through our friendship agreement with Hainan, we are investing in attracting some of that huge market to the Garden of Ireland”

Eugene Finnegan with students from Hainan University/DIT tourism programme

Wicklow Tourism stand at the 2017 Hainan International Tourism Island Carnival Show

Delegation from Wicklow County Council and Wicklow County Tourism at the 2017 Hainan International Tourism Island Carnival Show

Wicklow County Council Cathaoirleach Edward Timmins, and Eugene Finnegan with Amy Wang from Hainan Travel Agency at the 2017 Hainan International Tourism Island Carnival Exhibition in China

Wicklow Musicians Performing at the Hainan Island Carnival Show

Hainan Tourism Promotional Video

Rathsallagh Golf Club recently celebrated the relaunch of the exciting new course layout.  Rathsallagh Golf Club was originally opened in 1994 and sits in tree-lined parkland near Dunlavin, Co Wicklow.  Under new ownership since 2015, the magnificent course was originally designed by Peter McEvoy and the late, great Christy O’Connor Junior – and has now been brought back to its previous splendour after many months of hard work and investment.

The course has been reconfigured so that play begins and ends in front of the clubhouse and a new Par 3 hole has been built in the woods between the old 1st and 2nd holes bridging a small river. The old 10th hole (index 1) is now the opening hole – so the ‘wow factor’ is evident right from your very first shot. The re-routing occurs during the middle of your game and players will intertwine the ‘old’ back and front nines for a totally fresh experience.
Our new 11th hole will be the signature hole of the eagerly anticipated redesign. It is a par 3 measuring 127 metres from the Black Tee and 110 metres from the Ladies’ Tee. When golfers finish on the 18th hole it is just a few steps away from the verandah of the stunning clubhouse.

“Since re-opening in June 2016, the Club has gone from strength to strength,” says Mick O’Shea, PGA Professional at Rathsallagh. “Staff numbers have increased by over 50 per cent and there has been steady growth in membership, golf societies, large groups and corporate events. We are also delighted to be hosting the Top Golfer play-offs in the coming days – an event where only the highest standards are accepted.”

Rathsallagh is a course built to championship standard, routed over rolling terrain and with a number of burns, ditches and ponds that bring water into play on several holes. Hundreds of mature trees flank the fairways, the bunkers are always challenging – often described as some of the best in Ireland, both in terms of construction and intelligent placement – and the slick greens were built to the highest USGA specification. Over the years it has challenged and delighted golfers of all abilities – and now a fresh challenge lies in store.

For further information go to www.rathsallaghgolf.com

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On Thursday the 05th of October 2017, The Brooklodge & Macreddin Village is hosting a unique dinner for 100 lucky guests who will experience something never achieved before!

Evan Doyle, The Kitchen Brigade and The Crew at Macreddin Village have been knee deep in preparation since August 2016 for the World’s First ZER0KM Dinner.

Absolutely every tiny morsel served on this ONE NIGHT next month, for this ONE DINNER will be reared, grown and harvested within ONE KILOMETRE of our kitchen.

This tall order has brought about some challenges and the team at the Brooklodge has depended on the advice, guidance, expertise and knowledge of our farmer and producer friends since the beginning of this journey to assist and help us towards achieving the best harvest for this unique ZER0KM Dinner.

Evan Doyle, explains where the idea came from:

“The growing public desire for more knowledge as to the provenance of the food they consume has been answered by many restaurants worldwide with innovative concepts such as Fifty Mile Foods or Ten Mile Meals.  However, there have always been niggling questions about these Food Stories. Questions such as; did the milk really come directly from a farm within a ten mile radius, what about the flour for the bread, where did the oil or vinegar used in the kitchen come from, even the wine served at the dinner; was that grown, pressed and fermented within ten miles?
This got us thinking here in Macreddin Village, would it be possible to actually produce a totally complete Dinner here from within a ten mile radius and we agreed that we thought we could.
And then while we were discussing all the ingredients required for such a Dinner, we realised that with a little help from our producer and farmer friends we could actually rear, grow and harvest all the produce and ingredients required for one Dinner on one Night within less than one Kilometre from Macreddin Village…the world’s first ZER0KM Dinner!

Discover the full project and concept at http://zer0km.com

Scott Berney is a seasoned traveller who shares his experiences on his own blog:  TakeBackRoads.com.  He shares his travel experiences to encourage people to get off the major highways and explore the back roads instead.  Scott and his Wife recently visited Wicklow and experienced the Cliff Walk from Bray to Greystones

My wife was in Ireland recently for a short-term doctoral internship, and I flew over from America to join her for a couple days of traveling together.  Based in Dublin, we spent most of our time exploring the city and all it has to offer. During a conversation with a University College Dublin professor, however, we were given a suggestion that turned into one of the greatest travel experiences of my life.

We asked the professor for recommendations of things to see in Dublin, and his immediate answer was “You absolutely have to go hike the Cliff Walk from Bray to Greystones!” After giving us a break down of what it was and how to get there, he offered a couple other suggestions and we were on our way.

Early afternoon the next day, we hopped on the DART train at the Tara Street station for the half hour journey south. Before long, we were out of the city centre and rattling along the Irish coastline, observing the beautiful blue water from our large picture window. We decided beforehand that we were going to ride to Bray, the northernmost terminus of the Cliff Walk, hike south, have dinner in Greystones, and take the DART back to Dublin from there.

The Cliff Walk starts after a short traipse along the adorable promenade in Bray. Houses, hotels, and family-owned businesses sit opposite a rocky beach in the shadow of the lush green face of Great Sugar Loaf Mountain. Walk to the end of the promenade and up the hill that forms the distant border to the beach, and you’ve found the beginning of the Cliff Walk.

The Cliff Walk itself defies description. The sights and sounds, the smell of the salt air, the feel of the cool sea breeze… only by witnessing these things in person can you fully understand the magnitude of the experience.

The hike is a 7km low-intensity walk along an old railroad construction pathway that winds between the steep hills of Sugar Loaf and the Irish Sea coastline, and runs parallel to the DART tracks below. The path is made up of fine gravel and rock, and in many places is lined on the ocean side with a concrete and wire fence to keep you from falling overboard.

We got extraordinarily lucky with the weather that day: Beautiful blue skies, sunny and mild with a nice breeze, and not a drop of rain! But it’s the views, both uphill and out to sea, that made this such a breathtaking lifetime experience – the sweeping panoramas of green and blue ocean water to one side, and often nearly-vertical walls of lush greenery and wild flowers to the other make nearly every step a new vista to behold – there is no drab scenery here!

The variety of landscapes across the relatively short hike was mind-boggling. There were virtually no stretches where the scenery was unchanged on both sides – which caused us to stop often to take in the newest view. The coastline, of course, was along for the walk for the vast majority of the way, but even that brought a good deal of variety with it – there were rocky beaches, steep cliffs, and several spots where massive stones jutted out of the water. Along the path we encountered massive slopes exploding with wildflowers of yellow, orange, red and purple, craggy cliffs and pastoral meadows – and we even encountered a thick cluster of knobbly old trees!

The hike finishes by dropping you onto another beach, this one wrapped in small boulders and even rockier than the beach in Bray. The yellow swatches of wildflowers blanketing Sugar Loaf’s southern face contrasted perfectly with the grey-green waters of the sea. We dipped our bare feet into the frigid water for a minute or so – about as long as we could stand it!

The village of Greystones is a charming terminus for the hike! Most houses are meticulously maintained, with vibrantly-colored gardens and primly manicured yards. There are a broad variety of shops to browse through, and many options to eat as well.

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An idyllic, three-day running adventure through an Irish wonderland

By Brian Metzler – MotivRunning

The premise seemed interestingly arduous, but infinitely intriguing: fly to Ireland and run rolling trails of the Wicklow Way for three glorious days, finishing each run at a pub with a fresh and frothy pint of Guinness.

OK, twist my arm, I’m in! I don’t have a trace of Irish blood in me, but on my previous trip to the Emerald Isle I became enchanted with a brief visit to the Wicklow Mountains south of Dublin. Running several sections of the 127K route that connects the remote village of Clonegal and the suburbs of Dublin was going to be an amazing odyssey.

That’s exactly what my running buddy, Adam Chase, and I embarked upon in late April. We ran about 95K (roughly 59 miles) over three days, and it was everything it was cracked up to be and more. I’ve been fortunate to run on trails all over the world and yet running the Wicklow Way ranks up there with the greatest running adventures I’ve ever tackled.

Running amid a sea of green in the heart of the Wicklow Way, about 20K south of Dublin. Photo: Brian Metzler

Upon landing in Dublin on Friday morning, we took a short bus ride to the city center and hopped on an express train that zipped through the southern edges of the city and then along the coast abutting the Irish Sea. Before long we were at the small village of Greystones.
After a short drive into the Wicklow hills, it was clear he knew what he was talking about. Like a scene from a postcard, everywhere we looked it was lush and green and full of life. We arrived at Glenmalure Lodge, a classic Irish inn situated in the longest glacial valley in all of Ireland. Inside the pub, we met local trail runners Stephen Brennen and Paul Daly, enjoyed a cup of coffee and a light lunch while looking over maps and discussing the 20K route we’d be running that afternoon. Hearing their enthusiasm for the route was exciting and made me forget that I only slept about an hour on the overseas flight.

After gearing up with hydration packs and wind shells, we were off. The climb out of Glenmalure was a steep forested route that eventually gave way to impressive views of the surrounding mountains and fertile valleys.

Because much of the terrain along the Wicklow Way is wet and boggy, long sections of wooden plank trail have been built to preserve the main hiking routes. The large, flat timbers are covered with industrial staples (and, in some places, a sturdy, metal mesh) for optimal traction. It was a bit odd to be running on this unique surface, and it took some getting used to, but we appreciated the secure footing.

Before long, we were atop Wicklow Mountains National Park at one of the higher points of the region, eventually towering over the long and narrow Glendalough Upper Lake that filled in the valley below. After taking in the views and snapping a few pictures, we began descending along the perimeter of the valley, eventually running down to the Glendalough Monastic Site, the well-preserved remains of a medieval village dating back to the sixth century. We were in awe as we toured the grounds, which included a still-intact, 30-meter stone tower, the remains of an ancient church and a cemetery with dozens of tilted and half-fallen headstones preserved in a way that Tim Burton might have orchestrated. The historic site was something to behold, for sure, especially because we arrived there on foot on routes dating back to ancient times.

Spending the afternoon sharing the passion of trail running with new friends was a lot of fun, but finishing it off with a cold pint of Guinness, a traditional meal of Irish stew, boxty (potato pancakes) and cabbage, and a bit of whiskey tasting at Wicklow Heather restaurant was a storybook ending to an amazing first day of this adventure. As Adam and I walked down a country lane on the way back to the Glendalough Hotel after dinner, we marveled over the richness of our first 12 hours in Ireland.

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Brian Metzler is the Content Director of MotivRunning.com. He was the founding editor of Trail Runner magazine, a senior editor for Running Times and the editor in chief of Competitor. He’s wear-tested more than 1,500 pairs of running shoes, raced every distance from 50 meters to 100 miles, has finished three Ironman triathlons and enjoys the quirky sport of pack burro racing.