Posted by: jeanne | March 27, 2008

Mom and Dave – Wicklow

print out these directions

russborough house, blessington lakes

sally gap

kippure

enniskerry

powerscourt house

powerscourt waterfall

glendalough

glenmalure

avoca

arklow 

greystones

vico road, dalkey

road back to naas

Get off at the N81 and head west thru suburban Dublin. I used to live around this part of town, when I first came to Dublin, a place called Terenure, which you’ll hit if you’re going the wrong way on the N81.

The N81 will take you from Tallaght, a ‘new town’ up into the Dublin mountains, following the River Dodder, a little stream. You’re heading for Blessington Lake, or Poulaphouca in Irish. It’s the main reservoir for Dublin water, and the purest water in the world (yeah).

You’ll want to stop at Russborough House (http://kildare.ie/heritage/historic-sites/russborough.asp), which is a wonderful old place with a great view of the lake. It’s two miles past Blessington on the road towards Baltinglass or Tullow, at the junction to Bishopstown. There’s a little sign.

Then keep going south on the N81 for a few miles, to a little town called Rathattin, and turn left at R756, going for a long way over the Wicklow Mountains via the Sally Gap. See map. (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&saddr=Russborough,+Kildare,+County+Kildare,+Ireland&daddr=glendalough,+wicklow,+ireland&mra=pe&mrcr=0&sll=53.090765,-6.439335&sspn=0.191337,0.354309&ie=UTF8&cd=1&ll=53.050295,-6.457901&spn=0.191517,0.354309&t=h&z=11&iwloc=ddw0&om=1)

Here’s the part I’ve amended. I’d like to take you thru Kippure, which is an alternate pass over the mountains, and absolutely breathtaking. Here is a link to the directions: (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&hl=en&geocode=261376585255337952,52.922124,-6.241106&time=&date=&ttype=&saddr=russborough,+county+kildare,+Ireland&daddr=53.166739,-6.386833+to:R752+%4052.922124,+-6.241106+to:kippure,+wicklow,+ireland&mra=dpe&mrcr=0&mrsp=1&sz=12&via=1,2&sll=53.132766,-6.465111&sspn=0.095575,0.177155&ie=UTF8&ll=53.132766,-6.465111&spn=0.19115,0.354309&z=11&om=1)

It’s a rather complex route, thru Killysutten Upper and Lower, and might can get you lost, and being lost in the Wicklow Mountains is no joke, for there’s nor a pub or gas station for miles. The google map site has a picture of the route that doesn’t appear in the link, so maybe you’d like to print it out yourself. Anyway, if you’ve got a good map, you can find it. There are several ways to get to Kippure, the most straightforward being to retrace your route up N81 going thru Blessington and back up to Tinode, and take a right on the road to Kilbride. It’s a bit more of a main road than the way the map website’ll have you go. Even still, I can’t find a name for it on the map. It’s either R759 or R115.

If you take the first route, you’ll come straight over a pass into Glendalough (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glendalough), which is well worth braving the traffic and the parking lot to go walk all thru. There are old graves and churches, and the most wonderful fiordlike loughs, an upper and a lower. If you’re tiring, then only see the lower lake, but do take the walk up there.

Then continue down the R756 until you come to Laragh, only a mile or two, and head off to the right down the R755 until you get to Rathdrum. At Rathdrum, you’ll come down the main street, and then turn right after you’re thru the center, onto R752, to Corballis. The road splits, stay to the left, on R752.

This road takes you to Avoca, a lovely little vail that also has the Avoca Handweavers (http://www.avoca.ie), where you can get a wonderful lunch, and buy stuff. I used to stay in this area when I’d go to visit friends. It’s called Tigroney House, and it’s above Avoca on a hillside. It’s a big manor house with a huge garden and lots of outbuildings. My friends lived in the outbuildings, and the manor house was used at the time for new-age conferences, etc. A wonderful place, but you’d be lucky to get thru the front gates for a look at the house, so never mind trying to find it. Avoca is a lovely little village. The BBC show Ballykissangel (http://www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland/ballykissangel/webguide.shtml) was shot there, and so there’s a bit of a touristy thing going on. If you don’t fancy the lunch prices at Avoca Handweavers, stop at the local pub here – Fitzgerald’s – for a pint and a toasty ham and cheese. But do stop into the mill, because you’ll want to buy some little thing.

Then you can continue down the Vale Road until you come to Arklow

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