Guinness Lake (Lough Tay): your 2024 travel guide

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 (Lough Tay).

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, which is one of the most beautiful places in Wicklow.

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

Guinness Lake gets its name from its dark peaty colour, which is caused by water runoff from the nearby bog. Guinness 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 brewing family, who are most well known for producing the “black stuff”, own Luggula Estate that borders Lough Tay. It was first built in 1787 but was bought by Ernest Guinness, the second son of Edward Guinness, in 1937.

It was most recently the home of Garech Browne, the great, great, great grandson of Arthur Guinness. The famous family are said to have imported white sand to give the lake its distinctive look.

Ireland Before You Die’s interesting facts about the Guinness Lake

  • Famous for its striking resemblance to a pint of Guinness due to its dark water and white sandy beach, earning it the nickname “Guinness Lake.”
  • Lough Tay is privately owned and forms part of the Guinness estate, which has been owned by the Guinness family since the 18th century.
  • The lake is situated in the Wicklow Mountains National Park in Ireland and offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and countryside.
  • Did you know the area around Guinness Lake has been featured in various films and TV shows, including the popular series “Vikings?”

When to visit Lough Tay 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 National Park 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 if you want to enjoy the stunning scenery of 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 Guinness Lake itself is set on private land, you can get some pretty stunning views of this scenic lake from above. Nestled between the Irish peaks of Djouce Mountain and Luggala Mountain, there is no better place to go for a stunning hike than through the County Wicklow countryside.

For a lovely three-hour hike with fabulous views over 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 National Park, and the County Wicklow coastline along with views of Lough Tay and Lough Dan.

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 of this scenic lake.

Address: Ballinastoe, Co. Wicklow

Check out: Most dramatic mountain lakes in Ireland.

Things to know – top tips for visiting Guinness Lake

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 County Wicklow and the Wicklow Mountains National Park.

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, it featured as one of the iconic locations in the series Vikings used Lough Tay to depict the home of Ragnar Lothbrok’s family.

The Guinness Lake and the 6,000 acre estate have also been used in the filming of Braveheart, King Arthur, and P.S. I Love You. We’re not surprised the Wicklow Mountains National Park has gained so much Hollywood attention, thanks to the breathtaking beauty of this scenic lake.

Read more: 5 stunning walks and hikes in Wicklow.

What’s nearby – other things to see in the Wicklow Mountains National Park

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 one of the most popular day trips in County Wicklow, as its not far from Dublin City.

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

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

Address: Carrigeenduff, Newtown Park, County Wicklow

Read also: Scenic walks in Glendalough.

What to bring – come prepared

What to bring to Guinness Lake.

If you are embarking on a hike around Guinness Lake and the Wicklow Mountains National Park, 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 to Guinness Lake

Directions to Guinness Lake.

From Dublin, take the M50 south towards County Wicklow. 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 in County Wicklow.

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, County Wicklow

Your questions answered about Guinness Lake

Why is it called the Guinness Lake?

Guinness Lake gets its name from the distinctive dark colour of the water, the white sand beach, and its oval shape, making it resemble a pint of Guinness.

Who owns the Guinness Lake?

Before being sold in 2019, Guinness Lake was part of the County Wicklow estate owned by the Guinness family.

What is the Guinness Lake called?

Guinness Lake is otherwise known as Lough Tay.

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