East Ireland - Dublin & Wicklow
Ireland’s capital city pulsates with a compelling mix of ancient history and youthful cosmopolitan culture. Hip bars stand side by side with old traditional pubs and modern glass architecture rubs shoulders with elegant Georgian buildings.
Dublin is certainly Ireland’s cultural capital, with a long and varied history. Founded as a Viking settlement on the River Liffey and home to the largest urban park in Europe, Dublin’s got a lively nightlife, great restaurants, a strong literary tradition, and fascinating museums.
Ireland’s Ancient East tells a different story with the rural farming counties of Kildare, Meath and Wicklow offering a contrasting slice of life. Only a few miles from Dublin stretch the wild, open heather covered Wicklow Mountains. Known as the “Garden of Ireland” is acclaimed for its scenery and grand houses. It is home to one of Ireland’s national parks, which is the setting for the 6th century monastic site of Glendalough. This area offers fantastic hillwalking all year round.
What to see and do in East Ireland:
- As the capital of Ireland, Dublin city is a microcosm of culture and history. From well-known attractions like the Guinness Storehouse, Jameson Distillery, Trinity College and the Book of Kells, Grafton Street, St Stephen’s Green, and Merrion Square to the lesser-known corners like EPIC Museum, Marsh’s Library and 14 Henrietta Street, Dublin will keep you busy! It is also full of pubs and restaurants, with anything from casual dining to Michelin-starred eateries.
- Just south of Dublin, Wicklow Mountains National Park offers an array of spectacular scenery and breath-taking vistas perfect for hiking. Traversing this beautiful park is Ireland’s premier long-distance hiking trail, the Wicklow Way.
- Glendalough Monastic Site is certainly the jewel of Wicklow. Ireland may be full of ancient monastic ruins but Glendalough is easily the most important and was once a powerful centre of learning, religion and knowledge.
- Djouce Hill is one of Wicklow’s prominent peaks. Though a moderately difficult climb, it’ll provide you with some pretty amazing views from the top.
- Powerscourt Estate, Gardens and Waterfall are another of Wicklow’s historic gems. Not only is the estate and manor house a fascinating look at upper-class country life from bygone eras, but the gardens are also a wonder of their own – and were even listed on National Geographic’s list of most beautiful gardens! Powerscourt Waterfall is the highest in Ireland.
- Meath is littered with ancient Neolithic heritage sites that stretch back as far as 5,00o years. Newgrange and the rest of the Boyne Valley tombs are the most famous, though also worth visiting is the Hill of Tara and Loughcrew tombs for more insight into Neolithic Ireland.