I recently spent a few days in Wicklow with my boyfriend's mother. She showed me some of her favourite spots from growing up herself in Wicklow and raising Killian.
We started our morning off with a beach walk. Nothing like the sand at your feet and the wind on your face. Right? Maybe that should be changed to salt on your skin and hair in your mouth. I was loving the views, but oh boy when I got back I felt as tacky as tape! We couldn't walk too far because the tide had come in. Almost the entire beach has disappeared over the past 30 years. Global warming, eh?
Most of my to-do list had been crossed off the day before when we visited a haunted jail, gorgeous gardens, and the beach. So today was full of surprises. The first of which was a stop at a recently erected memorial park (recently being defined as the past few years). It was an absolute hidden gem! Tucked away off the main road under a bridge, this park was a beautiful tribute.
Along one side of the park was a huge, open field lined with huge trees.
On the other was a river. Across the river was a golf course, but that can't really be seen from the park.
The winding path takes you from the entrance down through some trees to a little sitting area with a picnic table and benches.
Above, the small wall you can see hides one of my favourite spots in the park- the old bridge. Below you can see the old bridge compared to the "new" one, just upstream. The old one used to hold train track as well, whereas the new one is for cars and walking only.
Then around the corner is the actual memorial. Names are listed below the town in Wicklow that they were from.
Below is the view from the bridge of the other side of the river. The green area is part of the hotel that's at the end of the bridge.
On our way to the next stop, we came across some European tourists traveling by an old gypsy wagon. Modern Irish gypsies, called travelers, no longer use these, but often times people from other countries will rent them out and travel on restricted paths to different areas where they're allowed to sleep. The road below was not one of the approved routes, so they had to get out and push the wagon up the hill to help the horse! This caused quite the traffic jam with 5 cars backed up when we arrived.
After our little traffic jam, we got to the Meeting of the Waters. Another bridge-centered site, this was somewhere that Killian grew up visiting often.
There's a little bit of a park when you come down from the bridge. There's a few bridges over small ponds that were very spongey. I was worried we'd fall right through!
But this view was the real star of the show, and the namesake of the place. The Meeting of the Waters is where 2 smaller rivers (at the bottom corners of the photo below) come together to make the Avoca river.
Right along the river is a grassy area with a bunch of picnic tables. How amazing of a view would this be to have a little picnic?! There were some adorable mushrooms and fairy doors lined up along the footpath. There was no sign to explain them, but it looked like they'd been made by a local school.
I could've stayed there all day with some food and a book. I loved it. But I had neither, so it was on to the next! We went back down the river through the town of Avoca to the Avoca Mill. Avoca is a pretty popular interior decor shop & restaurant here. It's kind of got the vibe of Anthropologie. But with food. Yes please.
The grounds are gorgeous. You can go inside for a free tour of the entire mill, which is amazing. Not many things are free these days! And it was so incredible to see all of the different stags of such an elaborate process. Below is a picture of just one area of the mill.
There's also a shop (the original Avoca). Clothing and blankets made in the mill are sold across the grounds along with some little trinkets and home goods.
Our last stop for the day was Powerscourt. There's two parts to the estate (each has a separate fee). I chose to skip on the house & gardens since I'd seen very similar in this trip as well as past trips. I went for the waterfall. There area lots of streams in Ireland, and of course the sea, but not really many waterfalls unless you go up to Northern Ireland. So I was pretty excited to see a huge waterfall.
Powerscourt didn't disappoint!
You can get an idea of just how big the waterfall is from the people. You can also see a person for scale on the right photo above. He's wearing black, and is standing near the bush on the right. Those are some big boulders.
What I didn't realise is that there is a walking path. It starts off following the stream down from the falls.
How cool are these trees?! They were all over the area. Nearly every single tree had a little cove like this!
There's a small bridge that crosses the river and the path continues on around a bend. We didn't follow the entire path. You can also loop back up to the parking lot rather than walking back to the waterfall.
Everything was just so lush and green and peaceful. It's €6 just to get in, which is a little sad in my opinion because not enough people get out to enjoy nature anymore. Having to pay a lot isn't going to help! But I was really glad that I went, and I'd definitely love to go back and follow the walking paths.