Jim Hayes



Jim Hayes

1. **Day** #1
Day 1, Saturday

AM: Drive from home to the viewing point of Lough Tay

Address: Ballinastoe, Co. Wicklow

Parking: Lough Tay Viewing Point OR J B Malone Car Park: Lough Tay Car Park is located along the R759 and can be accessed via the Sally Gap OR the R755 Kilmacanoge-Roundwood Road.
Note – these car parks can get quite busy on the weekends so it may be worth an earlier start.

Info on Lough Tay: Lough Tay is one of the most iconic – and most photographed – locations in Ireland. And it’s not surprising why. In the heart of the Wicklow Mountains, in the bottom of a spectacular glacial valley, is a lake that curiously resembles Ireland’s greatest export. Its dark, peaty water, combined with an oval shape and white-sand beach makes Lough Tay look rather like a giant pint of Guinness. The lake is part of the Luggala estate, owned for many years by the Guinness family. They had the white sand imported to give the lake its distinctive look. So Lough Tay is also known as the ‘Guinness Lake’.

Drive from Lough Tay to Upper Lake, Glendalough – 30 minutes drive

Address: National Park Information Office and Upper Lake Car Park, Derrybawn, Glendalough, Co. Wicklow, Ireland. Starting point.
€4 for the day.

Info on Glendalough: Carved out by glaciers during the last Ice Age, Glendalough or Gleann dá Loch, meaning ‘Valley of the Two Lakes’, combines unfiltered beauty with heavenly tranquillity. Little wonder that St Kevin founded a monastic settlement here in the 6th century. It’s said that he spent seven years in isolation in a cave at the Upper Lake, known as St Kevin’s Bed.

Even as one of the tourism jewels in the crown of Ireland’s Ancient East, if not indeed all of Ireland, you won’t have to wander too far to find the peacefulness and spirituality that drew monks here centuries ago.

Glendalough – Spinc and Glenealo Valley Walk (White Route) – 3.5 hours, 9.7KM. Strenuous loop walk.
The Spinc ridge overlooks the spectacular Glendalough Valley. A tough climb is rewarded with breathtaking views not just of the Valley but as you climb high, the view over the Wicklow Uplands opens out around you. The trail ascends steeply on a path up by Poulanass Waterfall before joining a boardwalk and wooden steps leading to a spectacular viewing point overlooking the Upper Lake. It skirts the top of the cliffs with more breathtaking views before descending through blanket bog and heath into Glenealo Valley.
NOTE: start by going up the steps by the Poulanass Waterfall not Minor’s Road.

Alternatively, there are a number of shorter more moderate routes starting at the National Park Information Centre.

Suggested lunch stop close to Glendalough: The Wicklow Heather (2nd option below)
Laragh, Glendalough, Co. Wicklow – 6 minute drive from Upper Lake car park
Info: The Wicklow Heather is idyllically situated in the picturesque village of Laragh, just minutes from Glendalough National Park. Established over 40 years ago, the Wicklow Heather House & Restaurant is a family run restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. For lunch, options include small plates, mains and sandwiches.
*please keep your receipts*

Alternative suggested lunch stop in Avoca: The Avoca Mill
Info: A self-service café at the weaving mill offering homemade quiches and freshly prepared sandwiches, hearty soups and freshly baked sweet treats. On a fair day, lunch can be enjoyed on one of the picnic tables in the pretty garden, where you can take in the scenery and the babbling river. *please keep your receipts*

PM: Optional activities – these are just suggestions depending on how long the morning walk takes you. Nothing below is booked so these are not required locations should you want to just head straight to the hotel.


Drive from Glendalough to Avoca. 30 minutes drive.

Address: The Mill at Avoca Village, Kilmagig Lower, Avoca, Co. Wicklow, Ireland
Free parking at The Mill.

Info on Avoca Valley and Village: An area associated with the copper mining industry, the valley was immortalised by Thomas Moore in the song ‘The Meeting of the Waters’. The waters in question are the Avonmore and Avonbeg rivers, which meet about 2 miles from the village of Avoca. It also marks the start for a gentle walk along the valley bottom. Avoca is famous for its hand-weaving, the Avoca Mill is Ireland’s oldest weaving mill. On the banks of the Avoca river, you’ll find the Avoca store, cafe and mill. This location is the birthplace of the Avoca experience, and the origin of the family’s company name. Dating from 1723, this very special Avoca location is home to the handweaving mill, Avoca Store, Cafe and a visitor centre (admission free) which tells the story of the mill from the beginning. There are even third generation weavers to show you what goes into the making of an Avoca throw.

From The Mill, you can take gentle stroll along the river into the village.

Drive from Avoca to Macreddin Village. Approx. 15 minutes drive.

Overnight @ BrookLodge & Macreddin Village

Address: Macreddin East, Macreddin Village, Co. Wicklow, Y14 A362

Info: a luxurious country house hotel situated in the beautiful Macreddin Village and surrounded by spectacular Wicklow countryside.

Check-in: 16:00
Check-out: 11:00

8:30pm Dinner: The Strawberry Tree, BrookLodge & Macreddin Village

Info: Ireland’s first certified Organic restaurant.

Please enjoy a three-course meal and alcohol with your food if you’d like it. Your bill will be settled by us.

2. **Day** #2
Day 2, Sunday

AM Drive from BrookLodge to Courtown Woodland Walks – 45 minute drive

Address: Harbour Ct, Ballinatray Lower, Courtown, Co. Wexford, Y25 F763
Parking: Courtown Leisure and Activity Centre at the Harbour

Info on Courtown Woodland Walks: Although mainly a seaside village, the 60-acre wood in Courtown provides a source of shady respite from the nearby beach. During the 1860s and 70s, James Stopford, the 5th Earl of Courtown, established a pinetum in the grounds of Courtown House. Trees remaining from his collection include a Californian redwood, swamp cypress, Japanese cedar, a cedar of Lebanon and numerous pines, yews and true cypresses. Look out for a yew tree planted as part of the collection, but felled years ago, continuing to grow adjacent to the River Walk.

4 waymarked easy walks now wind through the woodland, each one between 1 and 1.9km in distance.

PM Drive from Courtown Woodland Walks to Curracloe Beach – 35 minutes

Suggested lunch stop on route in Gorey, close to Courtown: The Kitchen,
Address: 4 North Parade, Gorey – 15 minute drive from Courtown
Parking: Public car park at Church Ln, Gorey corporation lands, Co. Wexford, Ireland

*please keep your receipts*

Info: Award winning restaurant and café with a focus on sourcing the highest quality local produce and using fresh natural and free range wherever possible. They offer lunch with seasonal changes and daily specials and will also cater for those who want to drop by for a casual lite lunch or coffee.

Address: Coolrainey, Curracloe, Co. Wexford
Parking: Free parking by the beach

Info on Curracloe Beach: This Blue Flag Award-winning beach stretches over 11km from Raven Point to Ballyconigar, near Blackwater. Famous for its soft sand, the sprawling dunes and endless blanket of marram grass are a magnet for both wildlife and the visitors who take great delight in rolling down them! Curracloe Beach provided a suitable substitute for Omaha Beach in Normandy, the opening scenes of ‘Saving Private Ryan’ having been filmed there.

Drive from Curracloe Beach to Whitford House Hotel – 20 minutes

Overnight @ Whitford House Hotel
Address: Whitford House Hotel, New Line Road, Wexford, Ireland
Info: 4 star family run hotel
Check-in: 16:00
Check-out: 10:00

7:30pm Dinner: Seasons Restaurant, Whitford House Hotel
Info: Seasonal menus to reflect the availability of fresh and local artisan producers.

Please enjoy a three-course meal and alcohol with your food if you’d like it. Your bill will be settled by us.

3. **Day** #3
Day 3, Monday

AM Drive from Whitford House Hotel to Tintern Abbey Trails – 30 minutes

Address: Tintern Abbey, Saltmills, New Ross, Co. Wexford, Y34 KR64

Info on Tintern Abbey Trails: These 4 looped walks start from the trailhead at Tintern Abbey, and offer a combination of quiet woodland and coastline walks. The trails, which range from a 20-minute walk to a 2-hour hike, take you past some of the Hook Peninsula’s highlights: Tintern Abbey, Colcough Walled Garden and Saltmills Village. Wildlife lovers should look out for kingfishers, egrets, buzzards, red squirrels and bats on the inland trails and migratory sea birds like Brent Geese along the coastline.

Suggested lunch stop on route: Vine Cottage Bar, Vine Cottage Bar, Saltmills, New Ross, Co. Wexford - a few minutes’ walk from the Abbey

PM Drive from Tintern Abbey Trails to meet Marie, Sea Gardener for 1:30 (1 hour drive, would suggest leaving Tintern Abbey around 12:00 or earlier to make sure you have time for lunch on route)

Address: Ballydowane Beach (Cove), Islandikane South, Co. Waterford, Ireland
Parking: Available at the end of the road right next to the cove.
Address for the map: 4HJV+JW Ballydwan, County Waterford, Ireland
*To note, the spellings vary of Ballydwan and Ballydowane. The road signs read “Ballydowane Cove”.

Info on the Sea Gardener: Marie Power has been running seaweed workshops and events on wildlife for several years on a voluntary basis. She now runs workshops on a regular basis, introducing people to seaweed and wild food foraging and cookery, the wider ecological web on the rocky shore and sustainable ways to forage.

Mobile for Marie: 086 8124275

You’ll be taking the Go Wild with Seaweed Workshop: 2-hours of foraging with Marie where you’ll learn about seaweed and cook/eat your own.

Important: please dress for the weather (warm clothes etc.), you will need waterproof footwear too – wellies or old walking boots/runners.

Drive from Ballydowane to Waterford city – 50 minutes

Overnight @ Waterford Castle Hotel
Waterford Castle Hotel & Golf Resort, The Island, Waterford, Ireland, X91 Y722
Note: You will need to get a car ferry to the island. The Island Resort operates a private car ferry providing a constant 24/7 service to and from the Island to the Waterford mainland, with a journey time of just two minutes. The ferry departs every 15mins from the hour from 7am to 10pm, and on demand throughout the night from 10pm to 7am. 
Info: The 4 star Waterford Castle Hotel & Golf Resort is set on a 310-acre Private Island, positioned on an estuary of the River Suir just one mile down river from Waterford City.

Check-in: 15:00
Check-out: 12:00

8pm Dinner: The Munster Room, Waterford Castle Hotel
Info: Fine dining traditional and contemporary Irish cuisine, the Munster Room Restaurant in Waterford Castle Hotel has 2 AA Rosettes and has recently placed on McKenna's 100 Best Restaurants 2019.

Please enjoy a three-course meal from the fine dining dinner menu and alcohol with your food if you’d like it. Your bill will be settled by us.


Optional evening stroll

Visit Waterford Viking Triangle
Info: While there’s no doubt that they were drawn to Ireland to raid the rich monasteries, the Vikings were a lot more than just rampaging warriors.  As time went on, they settled, forged alliances and established trading routes – and became an important part of Ireland’s story. A large fleet of invaders landed in what we now call Waterford City in 914. The Waterford Viking Triangle, part of the city’s cultural and heritage area, sits in the original footprint of the settlement. It’s said that there’s ‘1,000 years of history within 1,000 paces’, with a trio of museums showcasing the city’s Viking, Medieval and Georgian history.

4. **Day** #4
Day 4, Tuesday

AM On your way home, drive from Waterford Castle Hotel to Mount Congreve Gardens – 40 minutes

Address: Mount Congreve Gardens, Mount Congreve, Kilmeaden, Co. Waterford, X91 PX05
Parking: Available on site

Mount Congreve: Open 11:00-5:30

Info: So dedicated was Ambrose Congreve to his gardens, he won no fewer than 13 Gold Medals at the Chelsea Flower Show. Now in the care of the state, the Gardens comprise around 70 acres of intensively-planted woodland, a 4-acre walled garden and 16km of walkways. The entire collection consists of over 3,000 different trees and shrubs, more than 2,000 Rhododendrons, 600 Camellias, 300 Acer cultivars, 600 conifers, 250 climbers and 1,500 herbaceous plants, plus many more tender species contained in the Georgian glasshouse.