Back in August, we had plans to go to Galway, but with the LOKdown, that proved impossible. And so, began the long-distance that so many of us are used to once again. In order to help us through this next lockdown, we began to plan a trip we could run away to as soon as it was lifted. Now, in all honesty, it took a very long time for us to settle on a location or hotel. We had gone to Bray just a couple of months prior so we were reluctant to go straight back to Wicklow. But, I’m glad we did.
Although we knew the dates we would go, it ended up being booked the night before when we finally found something that was right up our street. The Bridge Tavern is a beautiful spot, right in the centre of the town. The room was just charming, with lovely big windows, bringing in lots of light, and gorgeous photos of all the town’s local attractions scattered throughout each wall. I really did fall in love with the location. It was everything we had anticipated and more.
Aside from the room, the food was also so delicious. We had our breakfast there both days and were never disappointed. Even if you are just in the area, I would recommend stopping here for a bite to eat. My favourite was the blueberry pancakes. It was so tasty, and definitely kept me going for the day ahead.
The weather was quite sunny originally. With the blue skies, we treated ourselves to some ice cream, which was genuinely an insane portion size, though amazing all the same! We had a lovely walk along the promenade and made our way up to the Black Castle, which is the ruins of an old Norman castle build for protection and was destroyed back around 1301. It was wonderfully peaceful up there with only a handful of local dog walkers passing us as we took in the views of both the sea and the surrounding town. Watching the sea crash into the rocks below us was mesmerising.
Unfortunately, soon after is when the heavens opened up. With nowhere to run for cover, we decided to go back to the warmth of the hotel. Not before stopping for a look in the book shop across the road first though. The shop had grabbed my eye as soon as I saw it. A quaint little shop on the corner. It was a welcomed retreat from the stormy weather that had attacked the town so suddenly.
For dinner, we went to this spot just 5 minutes from where we were staying. (Though, everything was only a short walk from there in all honesty). The Brass Fox was another lovely spot for food in the town. We were spoilt with all the scrumptious options around. It was a very aesthetically decorated pub. And the important part: they made a great mojito. A couple of drinks later, very satisfying dinner and not forgetting dessert, we went for a nighttime stroll before bed.
It was coming up to Halloween, so we wanted a bit of a spook. We went to Wicklow Goal where we had booked the daytime tour for the following day, hoping for something creepy to jump out at us. We walked by St. Patrick’s Church, keeping a close eye on each of the statues as we wandered past them. We finally made our way back before a final walk down the coast. It was a very relaxing evening.
The next morning it was sunny once again. We hit up the abbey grounds, which we had passed the night before to our surprise. Yet another quiet spot, we basked in the sun, enjoyed more ice cream and slowly made our way to the Gaol for our tour.
I am a lover of a good fright and anything eerie, especially if the mood is right. I had been wanting to visit Wicklow Goal for quite some time, especially on a night tour, but they were not an option this time around. Luckily, I am pretty easy to scare so this did suffice. We were given the liberty to walk around on our own, checking out each room. The cells had statues of specific people and when you enter them they ‘spoke’, which made me jump every time?? Honestly, it was probably a good thing it was the middle of the day. When we went down to the dungeon where people had been tortured over the years, both of us had a fairly uncomfortable feeling, there was an uneasy energy about it. So, we did listen to each section and read everything, but were happy to not stay any longer than necessary in there.
I particularly enjoyed at the end where they talk about paranormal experiences people had in the goal previously. I still do want to go some night. I really think it would be such an interesting experience.
With the sun still shining, we went on another trek out to the black castle, hoping we could spend some more time at it this time around. We found a little cove beside it, and guess what! Rain poured. Quite literally so suddenly, the blue sky greyed over and darkened as we reached the cove, and ice-cold rain just began bucketing down. We originally took shelter in a mini sort of cave, but eventually, we just embraced the rain as it was proving too challenging to hide from.
Our respective train times were fast approaching, and our bags were still back at Bridge Tavern, so we made a break for it. The rain was seriously freezing, and we were seriously saturated. But, it was actually kind of enjoyable. A funny situation. We just know that next time we head out to the Black Castle, no matter how good the weather, we will need rain gear!
After we eventually got back to the tavern, we got some tea and soup to warm ourselves before we made our next break to the train station. The waitress was the same one as our breakfast that morning and was just the sweetest! She chatted to us about different things and just ten out of ten, an incredible person!
Thankfully, the rain had subsided by the time we were leaving. What was an incredible culmination of a freezing yet sunny couple of days. It was a magnificent holiday nonetheless, filled with a variety of things to see and do and lot’s of delicious food in between.
If you are looking for somewhere to stay in the Wicklow area, just look no further than the Bridge Tavern. Central location, beautiful rooms, amazing food, and an all-round wonderful and cosy atmosphere.