We’ve all been there. Rise with the lark, taxi to the airport, check in, through security, sit down, miserable that you’re leaving and with two hours until your flight departs. The terminal is quiet save for a few diners sipping coffee and munching on breakfast. Breakfast? Now there’s a way to kill a few hours and stop your tummy from grumbling all the way home.
Only thing is, that when you open your wallet all that’s in there is a moth packing his bags. It’s been the holiday of a lifetime, but if only you had had some thrifty tips, you might have saved enough for a coffee and a croissant. That’s where our budget series comes in! So far we’ve forayed frugally in Northern Ireland, we’ve munched for buttons in Dublin and we’ve chomped cheaply through Belfast. Now we’re off to the wilds of Wicklow with nothing but a few shillings and a smile. Let’s go!
Firstly, getting to from (stock up on picnic supplies at first) is an absolute steal! Hop on the chariot of dreams that is the 65 bus and you will find yourself surrounded by green fields, mountains, sheep, cows, trees, joy etc in one hour for the price of €3.30. Alight at ‘The Lambe’ where you can take the very short stroll/drive to Hunting Brook Gardens – less gardens more a dreamland of fantasy flowers. Afterwards, stroll the one mile to the tiny stone-walled village of Manor Kilbride. Stop in for a look at St Brigid’s Church with its simple yet stunning interior and charmingly worn pews kindly left open by the local priest for prayers, visitors, those after a slice of quiet and you.
It’s widely known that Wicklow is bursting at the seams with natural beauty. In fact, my own grandmother still takes ‘the long way’ to the shops just to travel over Golden Hill, blessed as it is with sumptuous views and so named because of its profusion of yellow gorse bushes. To give your Wicklow walking some focus follow one of the Wicklow Way’s very picturesque strolls. The entire Wicklow Way is a right thumper clocking in at 127km but can be broken up into shorter stroll. The Knockree to Roundwood walk is a personal favourite and promises heart-breakingly stunning views of Lough Tay (known as Guinness lake for its porter brown bog-coloured hue topped off with the private Guinness estate beach as a creamy head) and the Luggala Valley.
Amount Spent: Picnic grub for two- €15, Hunting Brook Gardens €6 and Bus €3.30 = €24.50. You’re welcome wallet!
After a day of rest it’s off to the gem in Wicklow’s crown – . Bottom line – stone has never looked this good. Wrapped up in ribbons of cartoonishly verdant woodland and dipping valleys, this monastic masterpiece of stone towers and churches was once the home of Saint Kevin and dates back a stunning 14 centuries. Total serenity for €3? I’ll take all you’ve got!
Once we’ve managed to shut our jaw, we let our sweet tooth guide us to The Mill at Avoca – home to delicious cakes and a stunning working mill in the famously (the setting for the very charming and very popular series Ballykissangel). Delectable cakes and tarts starting from €2 while entry and a tour of the nearly 200-year old working mill are free. Tooth sweetened we make for Wicklow’s coast, a winding strip of velvety green fields that fall into the infinite blueness of the Irish Sea. And the cost for plonking your backside on a stone wall and staring dreamily out to the horizon? €0.
Amount Spent: Glendalough Serenity - €3, Tea, cake and a Mill Tour at Avoca - €5, Uninterrupted Views of the Irish Sea - €0. Total - €8. Spending a beautiful time and saving a load of money. Lovely.
So long Wicklow, it’s been a real treat. Most importantly though, it’s been cheap.
The savings don’t end there! We’re went all over the island in pursuit of budget guides for our readers, including a great value city break in Belfast, cheap eats in Dublin and Ireland’s wild Northwest.