If you are looking for day trip ideas from Dublin, then look no further than Glendalough. It literally means valley of the two lakes and is located in Ireland’s County Wicklow. It is just south of Dublin and combined with a drive through the Wicklow Mountains it is the perfect day trip to get away from the hustle and bustle of Dublin city life.

Getting there

Driving through the Wicklow Mountains

You can take an organised tour departing from Dublin or you can rent a car and drive. We chose to rent a car because we wanted to do things at our own pace. We recommend using Europcar because they have a great range of vehicles to choose from at good prices. Another perk to renting a car is that  you can stop along the way if you want to.

Driving through the Wicklow Mountains

Leaving Dublin

Departing from Dublin we drove south towards the Wicklow Mountains. As you start to leave Dublin you will notice a dramatic change in the Landscape. Everything become more rugged and mountainous and the roads become quieter. You almost get a sense of isolation driving through the mountains and for us it was rare to pass another vehicle. This just added to the magic.



Glendalough Valley is located in the Wicklow Mountains National Park. It is renowned for its early medieval monastic settlement. This was founded in the 6th century by St Kevin. As you walk around you really start to see what attracted the monks here in the first place. The rugged mountains with deep lakes in between really make you feel insignificant and almost spiritual.

The Upper Lake is the sight of St Kevin’s original settlement. This is also one of the two lakes that gives Glendalough it’s name. There are trails you can follow around the lake and this really is a great place to explore.

visit Glendalough

Another prominent sight is the Round Tower which is 33 meters high. It still remains in it’s original condition except for the roof that had to be replaced in 1876 after a lightening strike.

The Valley is really about walking and climbing so make sure you bring some good shoes. We definitely recommend following one of the marked walkways. This is the Ireland that postcards are made of. And it may just evoke your spiritual awakening.

Looking for more Irish inspiration then checkout these articles:

Why you must visit the Aran Islands 

Our guide to planning a roadtrip around Ireland 

A must see guide to County Cork

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