A/H19 — Roadtrip
We're taking you with us on a beautiful Irish getaway. So, ready for the adventure?
Ireland is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes and wilderness. So the best way to get to know this new country is to explore it, in a van! This 4-day trip combines several atmospheres: the softness of Wicklow County and the raw and steep landscapes of Mayo County. Add to that, the freedom to travel in a van, far from the crowds, sometimes on cliffsides. From the plains to the ocean: it's time for adventure. The real one
Before getting into a travel story, let's do a logistics overview! We used the Irish car rental company: Bunkcampers. Here we drive on the left... the first time it's surprising, but we quickly get used to it! Plan a little time to adapt though!
The best way to enjoy it is to take the road: Sally Garp, Old Military Road R 759.
Arriving by air at Dublin Airport, we headed straight south from the capital to discover the lush flora of Wicklow County. At about 1h30 drive, it is THE showcase of a wild nature near the capital. Nicknamed the Dubliners' Garden, the access road is one of many roads in Ireland recommended for its beauty. Take the Sally Garp Road, Old Military Road R759 : you won't be disappointed!
Like a bitumen ribbon, it stretches between wild heather and peat bogs. Surrounded by mountains and forest, take a breath of fresh air! It is very close to the R759 road, it's in this idyllic environment, full of tranquility that we spent the night. In the early morning, the awakening was smooth, by a herd of sheep who came to greet us!
Lough Tay Lake, otherwise known as Guinness Lake
To admire it is simple, 2 different panoramas are available to you:
• From the "JB Malone" car park where you have access to a hiking trail called the "Wicklow Way"
• From the "Ballinastoe" car park
After a shy sunrise in the mist, a stop at Lake Lough Tay seemed to be the right thing to do! We recommend this little corner. Amateur of Guinness, manors, the Vikings series or simply the wonders of nature, a stop near this lake is absolutely necessary!
For the record, its nickname is due to the fact that it still belongs to the very famous Guinness family ! Wearing our Bernadette et Richard, we followed a path surrounded by green ferns. From the first point of view, we can quickly appreciate his perspective. And for those with good eyes, you will see a part of the manor below. That day, the sky was almost perfect blue! However, some clouds were reflected in the dark waters of the lake. And that's good! Because Ireland under a bright sun is no longer really Ireland: -)
For those who have more time on site, take the Wicklow Way (127 km or part of it) which will offer you even more beautiful panoramas.
To discover the surroundings and take a little height, you can choose from several hiking routes classified by colour.
Our first days of discovery take place under the sun. Extremely rare for Ireland? We couldn't confirm that for you. Anyway, this valley nestled between two lakes is a beautiful discovery. 4:30 p.m., the golden hour, you can enjoy all the beauty of its coniferous forest but also and above all the softness of the shores of Upper Lake. A few ducks come to greet us, probably used to receiving a few breadcrumbs.
This time, it is our André & Andrée Vintage* running's sneaker that are in the spotlight. In this atmosphere of almost autumnal colours, the combination of tones is perfect. On the way back, at the very entrance to Glendalough Park, we recommend that you stop to discover these monastic remains. You will quickly see a round tower, 33 metres high from IXth siècle. That is also Ireland, a land where history is omnipresent. An ideal county for those who want to recharge their batteries in just one day from Dublin. For our last night, we enjoyed the last rays of the sun on this beautiful day in a small car park along the Wicklow Gap (R 756)
*Please note: these are not shoes for long hikes with a vertical drop. On the other hand, because of their lightness and comfort, you can very easily walk for long hours with them.
How to get there:
PHead towards Glendalough, either by bus, or like us, with your vehicle. A parking lot is accessible and free of charge for visitors.
To complete your desires you can directly find a lot of information on the the Wicklow Mountains National Park website
• In a van via the Park4night application
• At the campsite (with or without the van) by searching directly on the website Camping Ireland
• B&B offer, and mansions transformed into luxury hotels especially in the city of Enniskerry or Blessington.
To let yourself be carried, to drive, to stop, is the freedom to travel in a van! By taking part of the Wild Atlantic way, we became aware of the beauty of the place.
Ireland, the country that had awakened our curiosity and imagination so much... did not disappoint us! Mayo County has fulfilled all our expectations! As we discover the greenery, the landscapes pass by and we are presented with a succession of beautiful panoramas.
Located in Mayo County, Mweelrea is a rather imposing Irish mountain range. You can't miss it. Moreover, its highest point culminates at 814 metres, on Mweelrea itself. This time, no ascent for us but a beautiful relaxing walk in these wide open spaces. It is hard not to stop to contemplate the particularly beautiful flora of this region.
Believe us, it is an ideal spot for hikers, lovers of wide open spaces or simply for those who wish to admire all the beauty of Ireland. We went around and around and it was great. We continued to the charming city of Westport where we had booked our campsite.
To get to Achilles Island from Westport, you will have to take the direction of Mulranny and then the R 319.
We drove around Achill Island in our van. On this west coast, we had to brave the rain sometimes! But that didn't stop us from making many stops. Between secret beaches and steep cliffs: the magic happened quickly.
What do we remember about Ireland? His sheep! Symbols of the country itself, it is impossible not to stop to observe and photograph them. On the horizon, their silhouettes, sometimes stained with green, sometimes red or purple, mix. These paint marks allow herds to be distinguished in Irish landscapes.
Head to the charming beach of Keem Bay for Sunday ritual: a long walk by the sea, wearing our shoes perfectly matched to the colour of the sand. Continuation of the journey on Asheam Road, which offers a colourful landscape and wildlife tinged with yellow, green, purple and burgundy. On a mountainside? Our friends sheep! Always there to remind us how authentic Ireland is!
It is easily accessible by parking in a small free car park facing the ocean. The size of the waves makes us quickly understand that the place is popular with hikers and surfers!
To finish this day, we reached the cliffs Downpatrick Head. A must-see place in Ireland! This is where we discovered the power of the West Atlantic coast. As soon as we arrived, we were struck by the profusion of green! Add to that, a small fine rain and the atmosphere takes a completely different turn: it is as if the colours are accentuated by the reflection of the raindrops. Fascinating!
Ireland, full of surprises, once again offers us an astonishing landscape: a quilted, soft vegetative cover overlooking the ocean. On the edge of this cliff, like a promontory: the show! The waves crash with force and vigour on the cliffs. In the middle of the water, stands the Dun Briste rock. Majestic, amazing! Detached from the cliffs, this rock offers itself to us, bathed in a tumultuous and whirling water of a deep blue and an immaculate white. Sumptuous but not without danger! Vigilance is required because the cliffs are very steep and a fall can be fatal.
On the way back, we took a small (very safe) staircase to contemplate a 30-metre chasm dug naturally by the erosion of the ocean. We spent our last night in the same parking lot as we arrived. And we did the right thing! Imagine an awakening rocked by the song of the sea spray in front of this view of the ocean, its vertiginous cliffs and this changing color of the sky. Simply magical!
• 1 hour from the city of Galway
• 4 hours from Dublin or like us from Wicklow County
It is the number of kilometres covered during this road trip, between wild beauty and idyllic landscapes. If you are also a fan of these wide open spaces, it is possible to fully enjoy the destination, even during a long weekend.