Things to do in Wicklow – A Self-Catering Stay

Escape to the stunning Wicklow Head Lighthouse, a historic treasure conserved and cared for  by the Irish Landmark Trust in Co. Wicklow, part of Ireland’s Ancient East. This lighthouse is the ideal getaway for those looking to leave the city behind and reconnect with nature. Situated in the “Garden of Ireland,” Wicklow Head Lighthouse allows visitors to explore the county’s fascinating history and awe-inspiring landscapes.

Wicklow’s rolling hills, lush forests, and striking coastline will captivate you throughout your stay, making you want to return again and again. The county’s numerous hiking trails, scenic drives, and historical sites offer endless opportunities for adventure and discovery.

To help you plan your visit to Wicklow Head Lighthouse, we’ve created a 7-day itinerary highlighting the best activities and attractions in the area. From exploring the lighthouse to uncovering the county’s hidden gems, this guide will ensure that your stay in Co. Wicklow is filled with unforgettable experiences.

History of the property

Wicklow Head Lighthouse was restored by architect Maura Shaffrey, whose approach aligned with The Irish Landmark Trust‘s philosophy of preserving architectural heritage while adapting buildings for new uses. Shaffrey incorporated modern facilities sympathetically, using compatible materials and finishes.

The Irish Landmark Trust acquired the lighthouse in 1996 and began conserving the tower, which involved re-plastering walls, installing windows, wiring, plumbing, flooring, and a water pumping system. The restored lighthouse features six octagonal rooms arranged vertically, with high arched windows set into thick walls.

The windows were newly made using traditional joinery practices and double-glazed to withstand the exposed location. Special blinds made from sail fabric were fitted to the arched windows, allowing the alcoves to be usable even when closed at night.

The interior walls were painted white, giving the building a contemporary feel. The lighthouse was furnished minimally with a nautical theme, as no historical evidence of its previous furnishings existed. The furniture was either built in-situ or dismantled to be brought up the 109 steps to the top. The bathroom features mosaic tiles influenced by similar samples found in other lighthouses.

Day 1: Arrival and Cliff Walk

After checking into Wicklow Head Lighthouse and exploring your accommodation, head out to enjoy the Glen Cliff walk. This waymarked trail starts at Glen Beach, just outside Wicklow town, and follows the coastline south to Lime-Kiln Bay and the Lighthouse road before looping back to the starting point. The walk covers a distance of about four kilometres.

The Glen Cliff walk offers a fantastic opportunity to experience one of the most spectacular stretches of the Wicklow coastline. Along the way, you’ll enjoy stunning views of the Irish Sea, rugged cliffs, and diverse birdlife. The walk typically takes 1-2 hours to complete, depending on your pace and the number of stops you make to take in the scenery.

Day 2: Explore Wicklow Town

Start your day by visiting Wicklow Gaol, where you can take an interactive tour that provides insight into the lives of 18th-century inmates who participated in the Irish Rebellion of 1798 and those awaiting transportation to Australia. For a truly memorable experience, consider taking a night tour. 

After exploring the gaol, join the Wicklow Town heritage trail led by local historian John Finlay. This free tour, offered every Saturday during the summer months, covers the town’s history over 25 stops, from the arrival of St. Patrick in 432 to the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922.

In the afternoon, visit An Tairseach organic farm and ecology centre, founded by the Dominican Sisters in Wicklow Town in the mid-1990s as a response to the climate change crisis. The centre was established to promote care for the earth through sustainable living, environmental education, and earth spirituality. Explore the farm shop onsite and inquire about any courses or events that may be running during your visit.

Day 3: Glendalough Adventure

Drive to Glendalough (45 minutes) and explore the monastic settlement. Choose from 9 hiking trails, depending on your fitness level. If you’re up for it, hike the Spinc Route (2.5 hours) for the best views of the waterfall, lakes, and scenery. Have lunch – pack a picnic or eat at the Wicklow Heather or the Glendalough Hotel. Explore the monastic sites and take a walk to the lake for photos.

On the way home, stop at the Glendalough Distillery to buy whiskey, gin, or poitin.

Take a scenic drive home through Wicklow National Park. From Glendalough, drive to Lough Tay (the Guinness Lake), a 25-minute route. Then, drive home to Wicklow (30 minutes).

Day 4: Coastal Exploration and Wildlife Watching

Drive to Greystones (30 minutes) and embark on the Greystones to Bray walk, which takes approximately 2 hours. This scenic coastal walk offers stunning views of the Irish Sea and the surrounding landscape. 

After completing the walk, take some time to explore Bray. Stroll along the promenade and treat yourself to an ice-cream, or visit one of the local restaurants for a bite to eat. 

If you’re looking for more activities in Bray, consider some options including:

  • Visiting the National Sea Life Centre
  • Exploring Bray Head
  • Checking out the Bray Head Cliff Walk
  • Visiting Killruddery House and Gardens
  • Enjoying the arcades and amusements along the promenade
  • Spend the afternoon at your leisure, taking in the sights and sounds of this charming coastal town before heading back to Wicklow.

Day 5: Houses and Gardens

Wicklow is home to several stunning period houses and gardens, each offering a unique experience. While it may not be possible to visit all of them in one trip, here are some options to consider:

Powerscourt House and Garden (30-minute drive from Wicklow Lighthouse): Rated as the third-best garden in the world, Powerscourt is a must-see. The gardens span 47 acres and feature unique areas like the Italian Garden and Japanese Garden, as well as the impressive Powerscourt Waterfall. 

Russborough House (70-minute drive from Wicklow Lighthouse): Located in Blessington, Russborough House is home to the famous Beit collection. This historic house and its beautiful gardens are well worth the journey. 

Killruddery Gardens (30-minute drive from Wicklow Lighthouse): Killruddery Gardens offer a seasonal supper club with a menu inspired by ingredients from the garden and farm. They also have tea rooms, a pizza shed, and house tours available. 

Mount Usher Gardens (15-minute drive from Wicklow Lighthouse): These stunning gardens offer guided tours, and you can enjoy lunch at the Avoca Café on site. 

Day 6: Beach Day & Tree Top Adventure

Spend the morning at one of Wicklow’s beaches, such as Silver Strand (4.5km from Wicklow town) or Brittas Bay (12km from Wicklow town). To find out more about the local beaches click here

Drive to Avoca village (30 minutes) and visit the Avoca Mill and Handweavers. Then, head to Avondale House and Forest Park (10 minutes) for the Beyond the Trees treetop adventure and a tour of Avondale House. 

Day 7: Golf and Spa Day

For golf enthusiasts, the Wicklow Golf Club is conveniently located right next to the Lighthouse. This stunning course offers beautiful views and a challenging round of golf. 

After a morning on the greens, treat yourself to a relaxing spa experience. Co. Wicklow has several spa options to choose from. 

Some popular spa choices in the area include:

  • The Rainforest Spa at Summerhill House Hotel
  • The Well in the Garden Spa at Macreddin Village
  • Druids Glen Hotel & Golf Resort Spa
  • Spend your afternoon unwinding and rejuvenating at your chosen spa before heading back to the Lighthouse for a peaceful evening.

Where to Eat Locally

Wicklow Town offers a variety of dining options to suit every taste and budget. 

One highly recommended restaurant by our guests is Blue Restaurant known for its delicious seafood and stunning views, this is a must-visit for food lovers. 

For a unique dining experience, consider trying a Farm to Fork food trail. These guided and self-guided tours showcase the best of Wicklow’s food and drink producers, connecting visitors with the journey from farm to fork. Guided tours include return coach travel to various destinations such as farms, historic houses, food and drink producers, and farmer’s markets. Some of the places you may visit include Russborough House, Daisy Cottage Farm, Coolattin Cheddar, BrookLodge, An Tairseach Organic Farm, and The Powerscourt Distillery. 

Another interesting option is a foraging tour with Wicklow Wild Foods. During these tours, you’ll learn about the edible plants and fungi found in the wild and how to incorporate them into your cooking. 

If you prefer to cook your own meals, there are several farmers’ markets in Wicklow where you can buy fresh, locally-produced ingredients. 

With so many dining options available, you’re sure to find something to satisfy your cravings during your stay in Wicklow.

When to Visit

Wicklow is a beautiful destination year-round, and the Lighthouse is always ready to welcome guests. Throughout the year, there are various events and festivals taking place across the county. Click here to see a comprehensive list of events.

One special occasion to note is National Heritage Week, during which the Wicklow Lighthouse opens its doors to the public. This is a fantastic opportunity to explore the Lighthouse and learn about its history, even if you’re not staying overnight. 

One great thing about staying with the Irish Landmark Trust is that the longer you stay, the more affordable it becomes. So, if you have the time, consider booking a few extra nights to fully immerse yourself in all that Co. Wicklow has to offer.

Please note that all of the information here is correct at the time of writing. (Summer 2024). Please always check the relevant websites for up-to-date opening times and booking details. It is advisable to pre book all activities and restaurants in peak periods.

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Booking Conditions


It is possible to reserve dates online at but bookings are not confirmed until a confirmation email is received from the bookings desk.     


Your booking must be for holiday purposes only.  Irish Landmark reserve the right to refuse hire for purposes other than holiday accommodation. When you make a booking, you accept full responsibility for all persons who will use or visit the property during the period booked.  When you book, you agree to indemnify us against all loss and damage arising directly or indirectly to the property and its contents from any deliberate or negligent act or omission by yourself, or any person accompanying you. 


The hiring contract shall be between the Hirer and Irish Landmark and made subject to these Booking Conditions . The Contract of Hire is not effective until Irish Landmark dispatches to the Hirer written confirmation of a booking. 


Irish Landmark reserves the right to increase or decrease the price of unsold holidays at any time. However, such amendments to price will not be applied to holidays already confirmed.   


All prices quoted are based on current prices and rates of V.A.T. at the time of going to press. Irish Landmark is unable to absorb increases in Value Added Tax or any new forms of taxation which may be introduced. Any such increases will be charged as notified and will be payable. 


All bookings can be paid for in full at time of booking. All bookings made within 12 weeks of stay must be paid in full at time of booking. Bookings made more than 12 weeks in advance of stay require a 30% non-refundable deposit with the balance due 12 weeks before arrival.  Irish Landmark shall be entitled to treat any failure to pay by the due date as a cancellation of the booking and will notify the Hirer by email.  The maximum number of payments for a booking will be limited to two – the deposit and balance payment.   A separate payment may be due where an amendment has been made to the original booking.  


Payments can be made by credit/debit card (Visa or Mastercard ONLY).    

Payments for properties in the Republic of Ireland are taken in Euros, payments for properties in Northern Ireland are taken in Great British Pounds. 


Please note that only one voucher can be used per booking.  Vouchers have a strict expiry date. 


Upon receipt of payment by our bookings office, you will receive a confirmation of your reservation.  All charges for the booking will be confirmed in this notification.  Once confirmation has been issued, the Hirer is responsible for the total advertised price of the property and any extras notified.   

AMENDMENTS TO BOOKINGS (excluding cancellations):    

Irish Landmark does not offer a transfer of dates option. A complete change of dates is treated as a cancellation 

CANCELLATION POLICY: We hope that you will not have to cancel your stay, or part of your reservation.  If for any reason this is unavoidable, cancellations must be notified by email to In the event of cancellation (this includes a reduction in number of nights) your deposit is non-refundable and the following cancellation charges will apply:  

Date of Cancellation 

Cancellation Charge 

More than 12 weeks before start date 

The deposit of 30% 

84 – 28 days before start date 

50% of total rental 

Fewer than 28 days 

100% of total rental 

Irish Landmark does not operate a cancellation insurance scheme for any reason, including Covid-19, and strongly recommends that all guests take out full holiday insurance cover.    

PARTY SIZE AND COMPOSITION:  In no circumstances may more than the number of persons listed on the booking form occupy the property overnight.   Irish Landmark reserves the right to refuse admission if this condition is not observed. Bookings can only be made by adults and cannot be accepted from anyone under the age of 21.  Irish Landmark only allows guest stays where the lead guest is aged 21 years or over.   


Upon receipt of final payment, you will receive Access Details and Important Information via email about your rental. This includes the contact information of the Local House Manager, directions to the property, arrival and departure time, etc. However, the specific arrival time must be agreed with the relevant local House Manager at least four days prior to holiday start date.  It is the responsibility of the Hirer to arrive at the property at the time agreed with the House Manager. Irish Landmark reserves the right to levy an additional charge if the property is not vacated in accordance with these terms on the day of departure.  


The number of day visitors will be limited to the capacity of the property – i.e., a 2-person property may have 2 day visitors, etc.   Prior written consent must be obtained from Irish Landmark Trust for additional numbers of day visitors. 

PERSONAL BELONGINGS: Baggage and personal belongings are always at the Hirers risk. No responsibility can be accepted for loss or damage to any car or its contents. 


Only certain Irish Landmark Trust properties accept a dog.  ALWAYS check this before you book.  Hirers who have made a reservation and are taking a dog will be required to read and agree to special terms, which details the conditions of bringing a dog to one of these properties.  Failure to comply with these conditions could result in the guest being asked to leave a property.  The rental cost is non-refundable in such cases.   


Irish Landmark respectfully request that you charge your electric vehicle at the nearest charging point and not at the property.  


The Hirer is responsible for the property and is expected to take all reasonable care of it. Our House Managers work hard to maintain and clean the buildings and aim to ensure that the property is in a satisfactory condition for your enjoyment.  We ask that you leave the property in a clean and tidy condition upon departure, including all equipment, utensils etc. If the property is left in an unsatisfactory condition and additional cleaning costs are incurred, Irish Landmark reserves the right to recover these costs from the Hirer.   All breakages and damage must be reported to the House Manager immediately so that they can be rectified. All breakages and damage are the legal responsibility of the Hirer and the cost of repair or replacement must be paid to Irish Landmark upon demand.   If there are problems relating to the functioning of the building, please let the House Manager know immediately. Please note that candles are NOT permitted at any Irish Landmark property. Smoking is not allowed inside any Irish Landmark property. 


While every effort has been made to ensure that the representations stated on our website, or any printed literature, are made in good faith, neither they nor any oral representations made by employees or representatives of Irish Landmark Trust will create liability on the part of Irish Landmark. 


There shall be no liability for any claim arising from the act, omission or neglect or default of Irish Landmark Trust, its employees or representatives unless proved to be done with intent to cause damage or recklessly and with knowledge that loss or danger would probably result. Irish Landmark’s agents, servants and employees or other representatives have no authority to waive or modify these Conditions other than in writing. 


On rare occasions Irish Landmark may need access to the property for essential maintenance work, should it be necessary, Irish Landmark will give you as much notice as is possible.   There is no need for you to stay in the property since our House Manager can accompany any such visits. 


If you have any complaint during your holiday, please contact the House Manager.  If the matter is not dealt with to your satisfaction, please email outlining details of your complaint.   


Irish Landmark reserves the right to refuse any booking and cancel any booking already made, if in its absolute discretion it considers this to be necessary. Where a booking is cancelled by Irish Landmark, every effort will be made to offer an alternative holiday at no increase in cost.  If the Hirer does not accept the alternative holiday offered, Irish Landmark will return to the Hirer the deposit paid and any other sum paid to Irish Landmark by the Hirer.  Liability for all consequential loss, damage and disappointments is accordingly limited to such return. 


It is the hirer’s responsibility to ensure they book a specific dog-friendly property if they are bringing a dog.  There are specific terms and conditions that to which the hirer must adhere: 

We allow a dog, but only when they have been booked in and paid for. The “Taking a Dog” option must be selected at time of booking.  A charge will apply.  

Our policy is strictly ONE DOG. If you arrive at the property with more than one dog the House Manger is entitled to deny you access to the property.  If it becomes known during/after your stay that more than one dog is/was with you, you may be asked to vacate the property and a charge of €100/£100 per dog will apply. 

You must bring your own crate/bed in which your dog can sleep.  Please also bring bowls, towels, and waste bags for your dog. 

Your dog must be house-trained and kept under proper control.  Dogs are STRICTLY not permitted on beds, sofas, or any furniture.  There is no exception to this rule.  

Before departure, please thoroughly clean the property, paying particular attention to removing pet hair from rugs and soft furnishings.  A vacuum cleaner is available to you.   

If there is evidence that you have not cleaned up adequately after your stay, you will be charged a flat rate of €100/£100.   

You must double-check that the outside area around the property is free of any foul. Dog fouling inside the property is completely unacceptable.  Guests will be asked to vacate the premises immediately if this is discovered.  

Your dog must not be left unsupervised in the property.  We ask that you take your dog with you when you go out.  Please be mindful of any livestock nearby. 


By accepting a confirmation of a reservation from Irish Landmark the lead guest agrees: 


I have read and agree to be bound by the Booking Conditions. 

I agree to be held responsible for the balance of hire for the property due and payable in accordance with these terms. 

I understand that most Irish Landmark properties have no television or internet access; that some have no washing machines or dishwashers; and that many have limited mobile phone coverage. 

I understand that as the Lead Person, I am responsible, before their arrival, for informing all guests of Irish Landmark’s booking conditions, and for their observance of same. 

If I am bringing a pet or having day visitors, I have particularly noted the special conditions that apply in these situations 


Hirers making a reservation over the telephone are deemed to have read all Booking Conditions and agree to be bound by them.   


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Republic of Ireland
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Important Notes

1-night stays are not permitted.

Bank Holidays & Special Dates have a set minimum number of nights.

Deposits are strictly non-refundable & non-transferable.

Cancellation Fees will apply if you cancel your reservation.

Terms and Conditions apply to all bookings.

Special Offers and Discounts are not valid against existing bookings.

There are restrictions on arrival and departure dates over the Christmas and New Year periods.
Strictly no arrivals or departures on 24th, 25th and 31st of December.