From a heart-shaped lake to a Neolithic tomb, here are the top five best hidden gems in County Wicklow.
Once an early Viking settlement, this popular tourist destination located on the east coast of Ireland is said to be rich in heritage and culture.
The so-called ‘Garden of Ireland’ or ‘Garden County,’ is home to the Emerald Isle’s largest national park. It also hosts highest waterfall and the third-best garden in the world (according to National Geographic in 2014).
Better still, it is famed for its mountain range, cliff sides, sandy beaches, and all-round rugged landscapes.
However, County Wicklow contains many lesser-known spots and features – or ‘hidden gems’ – that tourists might be unaware of despite such prominence.
To make things easier, we have compiled a list of some of the best must-see locations and attractions for anyone planning a visit to the east coast of Ireland. Read on to discover the top five best hidden gems in County Wicklow.
IB4UD’s top 5 fun facts about Wicklow
- Wicklow Mountains National Park covers a significant portion of the county, 51,000 acres, and stretches into County Dublin.
- Wicklow’s coastline stretches for about 50 kilometres.
- The Wicklow Way, Ireland’s oldest long-distance hiking trail, traverses the county for approximately 127 kilometres, leading adventurers through diverse landscapes and offering panoramic views.
- Located in the village of Avoca in Wicklow, The Avoca Handweavers is the oldest working mill in Ireland.
- Wicklow’s film-friendly landscapes have been featured in numerous movies and TV series, including scenes from Braveheart, P.S. I Love You, and Vikings.
- The Wicklow Mountains are home to Lugnaquilla, the highest peak in the county and the entire province of Leinster, reaching a height of 925 meters.
5. Victor’s Way – for scary spiritual sculptures
Established in 1989, this 22-acre park consisting of numerous bizarre black granite statues took around two decades to complete.
Designed with the intent to encourage spiritual progression and enlightenment, the garden features many tributes to Hindu deities and other weird and wonderful creations.
Dedicated to the famed Mathematician Alan Turing, the park is only open during the summer months. It is also subject to an entrance fee and age restriction due to the nature of the content.
However, for those deemed applicable, it is certainly one of the most unique and best hidden gems in County Wicklow.
Address: Mullinaveige, Co. Wicklow, Ireland
4. Vartry Reservoir – perfect for scenic views
With around 20 km (12.4 miles) worth of trails to choose from, walks around the Roundwood Vartry Reservoir are full of flora, fauna, and mountainous views.
There are various routes available – namely the Woodland, Upper Vartry, and Lower Vartry trails. Plus, there is also a stone Draw Off Tower that can be accessed by an iron girder bridge.
Purpose-built as the main supply site for Dublin, this mid-19th-century construction boasts stunning surrounding views. It is the ideal location for those wishing to visit one of Wicklow’s lesser-known lucky finds.
Address: Vartry Reservoir, Co. Wicklow, Ireland
3. Lough Ouler – in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains
This spot is undoubtedly one of the best hidden gems in County Wicklow. Lough Ouler is located along a 7.4 km (4.6 miles) loop trail on the side of the Tonelagee Mountain, which is considered one of the best spots for wild camping in Ireland and is one of the best camping spots in Wicklow.
Along the way, visitors can partake in many different Wicklow activities, including hiking, swimming, and bird-watching.
Those wishing to discover the iconic heart-shaped lake will have a tough trek. However, trust us when we say that the incomparable views following the ascent are worth it!
So, whether searching for a secluded spot to swim or simply looking to liven up your Instagram feed, we strongly recommend a trip to Ireland’s ‘Lake of Love.’
Address: Lough Ouler, Laragh West, Co. Wicklow, Ireland
2. Seefin Passage Tomb – a 5,000-year-old structure
This national monument and passage grave is located at the top of Seefin Hill in County Wicklow. At nearly 18 ft (5.5 m) high, the stunning Neolithic tomb offers fantastic views of the surrounding hills, fields, and lakes.
This site is perfect for hikers or those interested in prehistoric archaeology and ancient Irish burial tombs.
However, it should be noted that Seefin Passage Tomb is located next to an active military firing ground. This should be taken into consideration by those looking to visit this primordial treasure.
Address: Scurlocksleap, Co. Wicklow, Ireland
1. Meeting of the Waters, Avoca – where two become one
‘The Meetings’, as locals know it, is best known as the place where Irish poet Thomas Moore wrote his famous work ‘The Meeting of the Waters’.
As the name would suggest, the location is the site of the meeting point between the Avonmore and Avonbeg rivers. These then flow together to create the Avoca River.
Alongside the stunning scenery and peaceful sound of rushing water, you can also find a small gift shop and joint pub and B&B nearby.
Needless to say, this unique location is undeniably one of the best hidden gems in County Wicklow!
Address: Knockanode, Co. Wicklow, Ireland
And there you have them: the top five best hidden gems in County Wicklow.
So, are you looking for something a little bit different and off the beaten track? If so, we highly suggest checking out the locations listed above!
Your questions answered about Wicklow
If you still have questions about Wicklow and its hidden gems, we have you covered! In this section, we’ve compiled some of our readers’ most frequently asked questions that have been asked online about this topic.
Is Wicklow worth seeing?
As one of the most naturally beautiful regions in all of Ireland, with mountains, lakes, and its famous national park, Wicklow is definitely worth seeing.
What is the famous waterfall in Wicklow?
Powerscourt Waterfall is a famous waterfall in Wicklow. It is Ireland’s second-highest waterfall and is found at the base of the Glensoulan Valley.