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Two friends and I (three fifty-something academics, two Bulgarian, one American), hope to spend a week in Ireland in July. We will not have a car. Two of us have visited Dublin in the past; the third thinks she might want to spend a day or two there (and I am interested in a Boyne Valley tour) but is more interested in smaller towns, pretty views, and decent pubs. One of us is very taken with the idea of Wicklow because of its reputation as "the garden of Ireland" and its proximity to a walkable coast; she loves the seaside and wants to visit Glendalough as well.

Has anyone stayed in Wicklow? It is not an area that Rick recommends, but my friends are very interested in a low-key town where we can stay in a pleasant guesthouse or hostel, walk in lovely places, and spend time together as we see each other only every few years because of the distance between our homes.

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Hi Rebecca,

Back in the 80s/90s I spent about 11 years in Dublin and I spent a lot of time walking the Wicklow hills.... Of course it has been a long time, but I always found Wicklow to be a great place to spend time. However one thing I did find that it can get packed at the weekend as it is so near to Dublin, but during the week it is very peaceful. I would suggest you look at Donard as a possible base as it is easy to get to and there are plenty of walking possibilities in the area.

One of my favourite walks was to walk across the mountains to a very simple youth hostel at Glenmalure, stay overnight and return the next day. Another possibility of course is to climb Lugnaquilla, Ireland's highest mountain, on a clear day you can see right across to Wales.

Enniskerry would also be a great option, although it is more touristy, so you can expect crowds even during the week. Again it is within easy reach of Dublin and there are plenty of walking opportunities. There is also the Powerscourt estate, which is an absolutely fabulous place to spend time.

I hope that gives you a few things to consider.