My husband and I added a few days in Dublin before the start of our Ireland Tour. We will be there in early October and would like to spend a day hiking in Wicklow National Park. It looks close enough to Dublin for a day trip but I cannot seem to find a way to get there and back without driving ourselves, or being on a guided tour. Any ideas? I have picked out a number of interesting trails but for the life of me can't seem to organize a way there and back. Thanks!
Here's a link to a bus service that runs daily from Dublin to Glendalough: St Kevins Bus Service I've never used it myself, just found it by googling Wicklow Mountains National Park. Looks like you would have less than 4 hours at Glendalough for your hike, but maybe that would be enough - especially if it's raining. Have a wonderful trip!
Believe that your best choices for scenic walks in the Wicklow Mtns. are the several hikes in and around the Glendalough Monastic Site. We spent a week in the Wicklow area a couple of summers ago and it seemed that whenever we tried to hike a significant section of the Wicklow Way we kept emerging into areas of clear-cut timber operations - not exactly the wilderness experience we were hoping for. The hikes around Glendalough, on the other hand, were all scenic and challenging. For avid hikers there's one in particular that circles the valley, climbing to a boardwalk about 1500 ft above the valley floor with panoramic views everywhere. It's a good stretch of the legs...about 6-8 miles as I recall, with herds of red deer, goats and other critters available to pose for photo ops. Would be a full day for you.
Suggest just biting the bullet and renting a car to allow yourselves maximum flexibility for the day, maybe a vehicle with driver if driving on the left is an issue for you. There are rental car locations located outside central Dublin (including the airport) that wouldn't require you to drive in the city, which I wouldn't recommend anyway.
The visitor center (and the bathrooms) open around 9:30, which is when the tour buses start to roll in as well. If you get there early however you'll have the place all to yourselves, and there's hardly anyone else on the trails at any time of day.