Dublin & the Ancient East - 8 Day Hike - Self Guide
Dublin is situated at the mouth of the River Liffey and encompasses a land area of approximately 115 square kilometres (44 sq mi) in east-central Ireland, with a population of approx. 1.5 million. The name DUBLIN comes from the Gaelic word Dubhlinn, meaning “black or dark”, and lind meaning a “pool”, referring to a dark tidal pool where the city originally grew up. Coincidentally – this is also where Guinness grew up, supposedly taking its water from the River Liffey!! Today, the famous Guinness Brewery is still situated beside the River Liffey, creating the wonderful “black stuff” from water that is drawn from a crystal clear source in the Dublin mountains!!
The Viking settlement which was responsible for Dublin becoming the trading capital that it is today, was preceded by a Christian ecclesiastical settlement known as Duibhlinn. Back in the 9th and 10th century, there were two settlements where the modern city stands. The Viking settlement of about 841 was known as Dyflin, from the Irish Duibhlinn, and a Gaelic settlement, Áth Cliath (“ford of hurdles”) was further up the river Liffey – not too far from Guinness brewery!!
To the south of Dublin are the Dublin/Wicklow mountain range and to the north & west, flat, fertile & rich farmland. The Liffey divides the city in two between the Northside and the Southside & still today there is a fun rivalry between “northsiders” & “southsiders”!! It is a fascinating & vibrant city to visit – cosmopolitan & cultural – small, compact & easy to get around in a short time. Night life is always filled with good music, great food & of course the famous Irish “craic” – simply meaning fun & enjoyment – and the Irish are terrific at ensuring everyone who visits the city of Dublin has plenty of fun & enjoyment.
Wicklow is often referred to as ‘the Garden of Ireland’, alluding to the fine agricultural land and magnificent scenery south of Dublin city. The Wicklow Mountains offer magnificent walking and the glorious valleys in-between are just waiting for you to discover them – the best known being Glencullen, Glencree, Glendalough and Glenmalure.
The jewel of Wicklow is undoubtedly Glendalough, ‘the valley of the two lakes’ where St. Kevin founded a monastery in the 6th century. Several buildings remain (mainly from the 10th and 11th centuries), including the cathedral, a chapel known as St. Kevin’s Kitchen, the round tower and several subsidiary churches.
The nearby Visitor Centre has an audio-visual presentation on monastic life in Ireland and a scale model showing how this ancient monastic city would have looked in its heyday. The Upper Lake at Glendalough is in a deep U-shaped glacial valley which can be appreciated in full by making the steep climb to the viewpoint of the Spink.
This holiday is an ideal area for you to enjoy splendid with a terrific mix of City & Country Life, including many of the riches of Ireland’s Ancient East. Most of the walks are on well-walked tracks, many of them waymarked, with some stretches on minor roads. The climate in Wicklow, being on the east coast, is noticeably drier than in the West of Ireland.