Don't miss this stunning hidden gem in the Garden of Ireland
Walking in Co. Wicklow
County Wicklow (the garden of Ireland) has a vast network of beautiful walks with stunning scenery. From gentle strolls through ornamental gardens, to serious hikes across the Wicklow mountain range, and coastal cliff paths to take your breath away. As Wicklow is right beside Dublin, there’s a lot you can do in a day trip from Dublin City, whether you take an organised tour or hire a car. This is the first in our series of Dublin Day Trips and some are real hidden gems. The Vale of Clara is a stunning hidden gem and incredibly peaceful at any time of year.
The day we picked to go was one of those perfect Autumnal days - Not too hot, not too cold, a gentle breeze and the sun helping those bursts of golds and reds stand out in the trees. The valley has 4 walks of varying lengths and we chose to take it easy with a 6km walk. All the trails start from the same point, just in off the road where there's a small lay-by for cars. They are well-marked loop walks so you can't get lost. The valley has an abundance of native trees and this forest has one of the few remaining stands of oak left in the country.
The trails meander through the forest on well maintained gravel paths and your senses are treated to the sound of little babbling brooks and the sight of dancing butterflies. You will definitely feel rejuvenated by a walk in here. We stepped off our trail to rest by the Avonbeg river and if it had been summertime we both would have got in for a dip. It's a beautiful wide river and it must be lovely for kayaking - yet another activity we've been threatening to do. We tore ourselves away even though we could have just sat there for the day meditating on its banks. Going uphill from the river a wee bit we slowed our pace and felt the sun's warmth through openings in the forest canopy. This provided great opportunities to try out some action shots with Neil's drone. There's a little video here that Neil put together, I think it sums up our walk nicely 😀
We said hello to a couple of hikers who were geared up for a much longer hike - probably the Avonbeg Way which runs through the valley. It gave us a little reminder of the bigger walks we want to tackle at some stage but that's for another day's post!
For more delightful day trips that can you do from Dublin, take a look at our other posts. Glendalough Monastic Settlement is very close to Clara and, both Newgrange and Loughcrew Cairns are located in Co. Meath. For an ancient Gaelic Fort turned Norman Castle have a look at The Rock of Dunamase in County Laois. We’ve loads more to share, so stay tuned!