THE EAST HOTELS
WICKLOW AND THE EAST OF IRELAND – WHY GO?
The counties surrounding Dublin come with rugged hills, regal stately homes and lush gardens. The heather-covered slopes of the Wicklow mountains south of Dublin are criss-crossed with walking trails while the sandy beaches of Arklow and genteel Bray (once home of writer James Joyce) are a draw in summertime.
Poets have long eulogised about the Vale of Avoca, south of Wicklow, and the village itself – home to Ireland’s oldest hand-weaving mill – was the set of ’90s TV hit show Ballykissangel.
Dubbed the Garden of Ireland, County Wicklow has an abundance of restored stately homes with impressive Italianate grounds. The finest example is imposing Powerscourt House, set in a 14,000 acre estate by the Great Sugar Loaf Mountain in the pretty village of Enniskerry.
Fishing is big and County Wicklow boasts several world class golf courses. Best known of these is Druid’s Glen – home to the Irish Open during the ‘90s. Wicklow town itself has a fascinating old jail and heritage centre.
North of Dublin, the heritage town of Carlingford makes a great base for exploring County Louth. This attractive lakeside resort has a ruined Norman castle, plenty of historic buildings and terrific waking country in the hills behind.