Last weekend Laura and I went camping in the Wicklow Mountains. It was Laura’s first time sleeping on a tent, and I could see that although excited, she seemed scared too.
As for me, I’ve always loved the great outdoors, even though I hadn’t had a chance to see the really great outdoors with mountains that go all the way through the clouds, just the smaller ones.
Laura on the other hand is more of a city-girl. She likes comfort as much as the next city-girl: sleep in a soft bed, take a warm bath and enjoy her meals preferably hot. By all means, there’s nothing wrong with that, we’re just different in this matter.
So when she told me she wanted go along with me in one of my hikes, I felt surprised, but very content, for is nice to have a partner with you on long hikes – specially someone that is your partner. We decided to go on a two day hike to Glendalough, Co. Wicklow.
Backpacks packed, shoes ready, sandwiches sandwiched, canteens filled: it was time to go.
We start the journey in Enniskerry, a small village 5 minutes south of the Dublin border, in the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains. We were planning to walk from there to Powerscourt Gardens and then take a trail to Powerscourt Waterfall. Sadly our map was inaccurate, and the trails and roads on the Gardens were private. We had to take a massive detour, but since we’re in Ireland, the route was very charming.
We were famished by the time we reached the Waterfall, so we ordered cheese and chips to eat with the sandwiches. They have a little kiosk that sells almost anything you’d expected to find in a kiosk and maybe a little bit more.
Powerscourt Waterfall is splendidly beautiful, at 121m is Ireland’s highest waterfall. The weather was nice and warm, so there was loads of people enjoying some sun time. We relaxed and took some pictures, while getting mentally ready for the next round.
Djouce Woods and Djouce Mountain
Upon arriving in the waterfall, we asked the gatekeeper if it was possible to walk through Djouce Woods’ tracks. He said that the way was closed, but there was a section of the fence that had fell over, and maybe we could try there: “Just go over it”, he said.
It was there that our adventure truly begun, for the tracks were all old and unused, and there was so many of them that I had to consult the map all the time. We’re tired and eager to get to the campsite before nighttime, so we pressed ourselves to keep going. Finally we found our way to the other side and to the Wicklow Way, what a relieve!
We set up our tent amongst millions of midges and other bugs – seriously, I’d never seen so many insects together – on the base of Djouce Mountain (380m), right on the middle of that spectacular scenery! You could see the Irish sea between Bray and Greystones, just astonishing.
The rain didn’t stopped all night, and then we heard the screams: angry or maybe terrified, one guy was searching/hunting someone, we still don’t know each one it was for sure. That startled us for a bit, so I went outside to check the whereabouts. I saw a couple of guys on top of the Maulin Mountain, (probably) searching for a missing friend which apparently they’d found, because all of a sudden the screams stopped.
The Invisible Lough Tay
Early morning we broke camp and moved on to the Wicklow Way. It was a cool and windy morning when we start moving. Unfortunately started to rain and in 5 minutes time we were soaking wet. I couldn’t take any pictures. The rain and fog persisted through the mountains, so Laura wasn’t able to see Lough Tay, the beautiful lake that is part owned by the Guinness Family, and where the History Channel recorded their hit series Vikings.
Our destination was at hand. After one day walking under the rain we arrived in Glendalough (from the Irish Gleann Dá Loch, meaning “The Valley of the two lakes”). It’s an early Medieval monastic settlement founded by St Kevin in the 6th century. Really beautiful place surrounded by mountains, in the heart of Wicklow.
On the way to the Monastery, unexpectedly, we found the Trinity Church. The most westerly of the churches at Glendalough, they say it was built between the 11th and 12th centuries. Two fragmentary Latin crosses and several plain grave slabs are placed near the church.
We arrived at the Monastery and walked through the site, just soaking it all in. Glendalough is a famous tourist destination in Ireland, so the place is filled with hotels, restaurants and pubs – of course!
That was the end of our journey, we were immensely tired but pleased to have walked those two days, it sure was worth it. I hope you guys like our little adventure, and if you’re visiting Ireland, we highly recommend walking the Wicklow Mountains Way, at least until Glendalough.