County Wicklow is within ideal striking distance of Dublin, and city dwellers retreat here as often as they can. It's dubbed the ‘Garden of Ireland' due to its carefully regulated countryside. You won't find much in the way of development in the area. What you will find is spectacular mountain scenery best explored with car hire in County Wicklow.
Arklow is the busiest tourist depot in Wicklow. Its robust maritime history draws visitors to the maritime museum and the local harbour where Sir Francis Chichester built his famous transatlantic yacht. Bray, with its seaside esplanade and stoic estates, is another popular stop.
With a Wicklow rental car, you'll enjoy a high degree of access to the mountains, but at some point you'll feel the urge get leave the cabin and explore on foot. When this happens, consider a visit to Wicklow Mountains National Park and jump on the Wicklow Way, a 130-kilometre walking path that passes through glacial valleys, crosses mountain streams and, on fair-weather days, provides a clear line of sight to the sea.
There's no denying that nature trumps cosmopolitan character in County Wicklow, and Dubliners come to escape the city buzz rather than revel in it. That said, there's no shortage of seaside villages and mountain hamlets with enough pubs, clubs and boutiques to keep life interesting after sunset. Johnnie Fox's pub is known as Ireland's 'highest' pub where traditional Irish music & dancing 'Hooley Show' takes place.
Accommodation in County Wicklow runs the gamut. Cosy inns in Avoca give way to the stunning Ritz Carlton Powerscourt at Enniskerry. In between these extremes are several four-star establishments like the Glendalough Hotel, which hugs a forested valley in reach of popular ecclesiastical ruins.
Driving into County Wicklow is easy. The M50 bypass circles Dublin and connects to the N11 coastal highway. Follow this for 50 kilometres to reach Wicklow Town. Arklow is 20 kilometres farther on.