Ah, Dublin! Friendly people, incredible pubs, great music, and literary history surrounds you in this vibrant city. While I loved our time in Dublin, it’s always nice to take a break from the city and get away. It was really a hard decision, do we go to Kilkenny and Glendalough, do we visit the Aran Islands, or do we go on a Dublin to Cliffs of Moher tour? After doing some research, we decided that we definitely wanted to see the charming town of Kilkenny and the beautiful monastic site in Glendalough. For this outing, we selected the Kilkenny, Wicklow Mountains & Glendalough Day Tour from Wild Rover Tours and boy were we glad we did! Read on to hear all about our perfect day trip from Dublin! If you find yourself short on time while visiting Dublin, then you definitely want to check out these Dublin stopovers!
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Meeting Our Guide
We began our day bright and early by meeting our guide at one of the three convenient locations right in the heart of Dublin. After boarding our tour bus and meeting some of our fellow travelers, we set out on our journey. Our guide, Conner, did a fabulous job of immediately engaging us in some of Dublin’s fascinating history. I found myself intrigued by the stories of the hard-working spirit of the Irish people and loved the stamina they portrayed throughout a turbulent history. Don’t worry, you won’t be bored though. Conner did a great job of sliding in some humor and fun facts into his stories.
Getting out of Dublin and into the Irish countryside seemed to take no time at all. Listening to Irish tunes and watching the beautiful green fields out the windows made time literally fly by. Before I knew it, Conner was back on the microphone telling us about the town of Kilkenny, our first stop. Not only did he share some of the history of the town, but he also advised us on all of the things that are available to do in the town as well as giving us food recommendations.
Upon arriving in the charming town of Kilkenny, we had the option to explore on our own or to take a walking tour with Conner. Of course, we chose to take the walking tour. Conner taught us all about the history of Kilkenny Castle, including it’s ties to some of the characters in The Game of Thrones!
Walking through the town I couldn’t help but notice all of the fabulous shops and cafes we were passing along the way. Note to self must come back!
Stopping across the street from one of the town’s attractions, the Rothe House, Conner told us all about the ‘witch of Kilkenny’, Dame Alice Kyteler. Born into nobility in 1280, Dame Alice was married four times. Suspiciously, all four of her husbands died, making her the heir to their estate. Accused of rejecting the Christian faith and after being tried for heresy, Dame Alice fled to England in 1325 never to be heard of again. However, her servant, Petronella de Meath, wasn’t so lucky. Petronella was burned at the stake in 1325, making her the first person in Ireland to be accused of heresy and burned at the stake!!!
Yeah, so after that fun story, Conner advised us that we have about an hour to tour the town. He gave us tips on where to visit and off we went. Marty and I chose to just roam around the streets, admiring the architecture and beauty of the city before grabbing a picnic lunch and of course, and ice cream from Murphy’s.
Upon leaving Kilkenny, our awesome driver, Joe, strategically navigates our tour bus into the Wicklow Mountains. As we make our way into the mountains, I quickly understand why so many movies choose to use this stunning area as backdrops for their films. Surrounded by gentle slopes and rounded peaks that are covered in green, I find myself lost in the beauty of nature. Stopping for a quick stretch and photo opportunity, I can see why millions of visitors come to this area every year. It’s absolutely stunning!
Upon arriving in Glendalough, we joined Conner on another walk as he explained the history and importance of this beautiful monastic site. I was fascinated at the story of how the hermit, St. Kevin, gained many followers, thus creating the monastic site that we see today. The 33-meter tall round tower was said to have been built as a landmark so that locals could locate the monastery even from far away. I loved hearing all about how the tower was used by the monks as a defense against the invading Vikings.
Wandering around the site, surrounded by the beautiful Celtic crosses that dot the graveyard, I didn’t think I was ever going to get Marty from out behind the lens. LOL!
Pulling Marty away, we wander down to one of the lakes on the site. We chose to take the boardwalk through the marshes to the southern lake, but you could also choose the upper path by the forest. No matter what path you choose to take, you end at the gorgeous lake nestled in the valley of the Wicklow Mountains. There was a serenity that seemed to surround us at this site, inviting us to stay all day.
Irish Sheep Dog Demonstration
The highlight of our trip was the final stop on our tour, and something that is completely unique to Wild Rover Tours, a sheepdog demonstration! Upon arriving at the sheep farm, we are introduced to a family of sheep farmers that explain the unique process of training these fabulous pups. After answering all of our questions, then we are treated to two different demonstrations. I could not get over how smart these dogs were. Marty and I truly loved this part of our tour!
Concluding Our Tour
After a great day touring the Irish countryside, we relaxed on our drive back to Dublin, reflecting on all of the memories we created. Conner advised of places to eat and visit in Dublin as we reentered the city, and gave directions to everyone as needed. He and Joe were so helpful and professional during our journey. I felt like we were 100% taken care of the entire time and will totally book another tour with Wild Rover Tours.
Please note, this was a sponsored post. Marty and I were provided with a complimentary tour, but as always, all opinions are our own.
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