We recently celebrated our 2 year wedding anniversary by taking a bus trip through the Wicklow Mountains to Glendalough. And of course I had to share with you the review of the tour! Some quick facts/tips about the tour and area:
- Glendalough is pronounced Glendalock
- The tour costs EUR27 per person, there are lots of tours going out to Glendalough, we went with Wicklow Mountain Tours. Our tour guide/bus driver really made the trip!
- There are two pick up and drop off spots (City Center and Ballsbridge) – I recommend getting on and and off at city center, this is because we got on at Ballsbridge and by then spaces were limited to two individual seats only so we weren’t able to sit together. If you want to sit together, then get on the bus early. We were lucky that we asked the bus driver and he was able to make a plan for us to sit together. Since you are travelling on the bus for a large part of the trip, it makes sense that you would want to sit next to each other.
- The Tour starts at 9am and you arrive back in town around 5pm. It is a long day, so bring snacks!
- You stop for photos at various spots along the way but the bulk of your time is spent at Glendalough exploring the upper and lower lakes, and the monastic cemetery yard.
- I recommend you pack a lunch (saves you cash too!), even though the tour does stop at a restaurant in Avoca Village. It arrives at the pub quite late in the day, and you get an hour there – enough for a pint (or two) but a bit rushed for a full meal.
This particular tour stopped at various scenes from the popular rom-com PS I love you. So it was full-on romantic cheese for our wedding anniversary (I am still not sure how I managed to rope Rob into doing it). I also managed to get Rob to watch the movie the night before so we would know where we were going. Naturally, I balled my eyes out when we watched the movie – it’s such a sweet film! Rob and Jack eye rolled so hard I wasn’t sure they were going to see properly ever again!
Even if you are not a fan of the movie (who doesn’t love Gerald Butler, swoon). The trip is definitely a must-do and if you are without a car, taking an organised bus tour is a great way to get out there and explore it just for one day. The Wicklow mountain tour group offers a bunch of tours, we chose the Glendalough and Avoca village tour. In hindsight, I am sure there may be better tours to go for. The reason I say this is that we mainly just wanted to see Guinness Lake and take a walk around the Wicklow mountains. There were one or two stops that in my opinion could have been shortened or removed completely from the agenda as they just weren’t that amazing or necessary for me.
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The best part of this tour and the main reason we did it, was to see Guinness Lake and to take a hiking trail through Glendalough in the Wicklow mountains. The trail is fairly straight forward, barring a steep section for about 10 minutes at the start. But it is well worth the effort, the views and the wilderness were beautiful to look at and you can walk at a slow pace (there is enough time to stop and take lots of pics!). If you are not up for the hike, then you can stay at the visitors center, but I loved that our bus driver offered us the option to take a walk with him. It was a great way to see it and experience in real life instead of being inside the visitors center.
The walk ends by cutting through the monastic cemetery, in the last little while we have found ourselves in quite a few cemeteries (look out for my next post about all the places to visit in Dublin for Halloween!). It was interesting to walk around, but heavily populated by other tourists, which in my opinion, kinda ruins it. I realize I was part of a tour group, but kids running and screaming through a cemetery is hugely disrespectful (not part of our tour group thankfully!)!
The restaurant at the end of the tour in Avoca village is quaint, but definitely not the best Irish pub we have visited. Although the food look good and is well priced, I think the ambiance and atmosphere is lacking. We had a pint and people watched the locals and other tourists in our group.
As I said in the beginning, it is a great tour to take if you don’t have a car, but I think once we do own a car – driving there yourself is probably heaps better because you can skip the random spots and head to the mountains early, take a longer hiking trail (there are several routes) and stay for a slow picnic.
DO OTHER TOURISTS ON TOUR BUSES ANNOY YOU, OR IS IT JUST ME?
Unlock the simple life,
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