Guinness Lake (Lough Tay): when to visit & things to know

One of the most photographed locations in County Wicklow is this stunning lake surrounded by beautiful mountains. Here is everything you need to know about Guinness Lake.

Guinness Lake (Lough Tay)

When people think of Ireland, they think of rolling green hills and pints of Guinness. Effectively, they are thinking about the wonderful Guinness Lake, otherwise known as Lough Tay.

You will find this magnificent wonder just a short distance from the infamous Glendalough, nestled in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains.

The lake gets its name from its dark peaty colour, which is caused by water runoff from the nearby bog. The lake’s oval shape and the frothy white sand make it appear as though you are looking at the biggest pint of Guinness known to man!

The renowned Guinness family, who are most well known for producing the “black stuff”, have an estate that borders Lough Tay. The Guinness family are said to have imported white sand to give the lake its distinctive look.

When to visit check the weather before you go

When to visit Guinness Lake (Lough Tay).
Credit: Fáilte Ireland / Tourism Ireland

The lovely thing about the Wicklow Mountains is that the area is so vast and expansive that you will have most if not all of it to yourself for the duration of your hike.

We advise checking the weather before heading out on your hike to view the Guinness Lake as mist and rain can make it difficult to see.

What to see – an amazing view from above

See the amazing view of Guinness Lake (Lough Tay) from above.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland / Tourism Ireland

Although the lake itself is set on private property, you can get some pretty phenomenal views of it from above. Nestled between the Djouce and Luggala mountains there is no better place to go for a stunning hike than through the Wicklow countryside.

For a lovely three-hour hike with views over the Guinness Lake and the nearby Lough Dan, you should do the Knocknacloghoge and Lough Dan hike.

While the route isn’t clearly signposted, a map can easily be found online, so you don’t stray too far.

The route has forest tracks, trails, and small roads, and is inaccessible to cars. On this hike, you will get beautiful 360-degree views of the Wicklow Mountains, and the Wicklow coastline along with views of both lakes.

However, if hiking isn’t quite your style, you can still enjoy the breathtaking views of Guinness Lake without breaking a sweat!

Head to the Lough Tay Viewing Point for a place where you can park your car and get phenomenal views.

Address: Ballinastoe, Co. Wicklow

Things to know – top tips

Things to know before you go to Guinness Lake (Lough Tay).
Credit: Fáilte Ireland / Tourism Ireland

The Knocknacloghoge and Lough Dan hike is not too steep, so it is suitable for most children. It is the easiest of all the hikes in the Wicklow Mountains.

Be aware that no dogs are allowed, as a lot of the route goes through privately owned land. Be aware that if you do bring a dog, you may be asked to leave.

Guinness Lake has been part of many famous television series and films. Most notably the series Vikings used Lough Tay to depict the home of Ragnar’s family.

The Guinness Lake and the estate have also been used in the filming of Braveheart, King Arthur, and P.S. I Love You.

What’s nearby – other things to see

Visit Sally Gap nearby the Guinness Lake (Lough Tay).
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Whether you’re heading to or from Guinness Lake, make sure that you drive along the Sally Gap Drive.

This is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful drives in all of Ireland. As you cross the Wicklow Mountains, the road begins to twist and turn while offering breathtaking views of the area.

Nearby is the beautiful Glenmacnass Waterfall, which is the perfect opportunity to get some stunning photos. The sound of the stream along with the view across the valley make this pit-stop truly magical.

Address: Carrigeenduff, Newtown Park, Co. Wicklow

What to bring – come prepared

What to bring to Guinness Lake.

If you are embarking on a hike around Guinness Lake and the surrounding area, you must wear shoes with a good grip as part of the trail is uneven.

Be sure to bring a rain jacket in case it starts the rain, which is quite likely when hiking near a valley. Dress warmly and have another layer on hand as the wind has quite a chilling effect.

How to get here – directions

Directions to Guinness Lake.

From Dublin, take the M50 south, then take the N11 exit toward Roundwood/Glendalough.

From there, it’s under 20 minutes to Luggala Lodge where you can park up. It is approximately a one-hour drive from Dublin City to Guinness Lake.

Where to stay – fantastic accommodation

The Coach House is a great place to stay.
Credit: Facebook / @coachhouse2006

The Coach House in the nearby village of Roundwood, one of the highest villages in Ireland, is a great place to stay.

This comfortable B&B has double and twin en-suite rooms and acts as the perfect place to relax and unwind after a day spent exploring the area.

With a roaring fire to welcome you and hearty food, this is the best place to stay while in the area!

More Info: HERE

Address: Main St., Roundwood, Co. Wicklow

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