Wander through wild Wicklow As a must-see experience along Ireland’s Ancient East, Wicklow truly is a walker’s paradise. From the 127km Wicklow Way to the lush trails of Avondale House and Forest Park, there’s adventure for every level of hiker and nature explorer. Cycling enthusiasts can meander through the series of mountain bike trails in Ballinastoe Forest, offering views of the Sugar Loaf Mountain, before slicing down along single-track paths through moorland, thicket spruce and rocky ridges back to the foothills. The stunning Wicklow Mountains National Park combines scenic drives with 20,000 hectares of wild bogland and heath perfect for hill walkers. This treasure trove of nature includes native oak woodland, conifer forests, serene lakes and herds of sika deer scattered throughout. These are the hills in which Irish rebels once hid. They’re the place into which the powerful Powerscourt and Glenmacnass waterfalls spill. Ancient history The true crown of this nature haven is Glendalough, a monastic settlement founded by St Kevin in the 6th century. Welcoming thousands of visitors each year, the Round Tower, churches and graveyard nestled in this mystical land are crowned by an awesome natural backdrop of soaring mountains and glossy lakes. Further along the trail, explore the manicured beauty of Powerscourt House and Gardens, and Ireland’s highest waterfall nearby, which is enveloped in sprawling wildlife and birdsong. Russborough House and Parklands offers stunning views of the Blessington Lakes and the Wicklow Mountains, along with guided tours of this lavish estate, which once entertained the likes of Coco Chanel and Mick Jagger. Star of the screen Russborough isn’t the only Wicklow location with star quality. For years, Wicklow has been Hollywood’s movie location of choice in Ireland, with Powerscourt, Kilruddery House and the mountains themselves forming the backdrop for productions including Braveheart, The Count of Monte Cristo and P.S. I Love You, starring Hillary Swank and Gerard Butler. The dark waters of Lough Tay (Guinness Lake) is known as the primary film location for drama series, Vikings, while neighbouring Lough Dan also features in this hit television show. Located just thirty minutes south of Dublin City Centre, it’s no wonder Hollywood’s finest want to capture the untamed beauty of this land. As Irish poet Thomas Moore once penned, “There is not in the wide world a valley so sweet.” The wonders of Wicklow are a true sight to behold, here in the heart of Ireland’s Ancient East.