Wicklow, rightfully named the "Garden of Ireland", has a great variety of scenery. In the east, the coast is generally low and sandy, with a few exceptions, where it gives birth to headlands. Arklow and Bray, two of Ireland's main resorts, are on this coast. The centre of this county is made up of granite mountains with deep glens and beautiful wooded valleys, while the edge of the central plain lies to the west. The Wicklow Mountains are the most prominent feature of these lands, with their highest peak Lugnaquillia (3039 feet). These mountains used to be a refuge for the Irish rebels in the past and, afterwards, a source of inspiration for artists. Rivers Liffey and Slaney rise on this county's territory.
Arklow, Wicklow, and Bray are the main towns. Wicklow's Historic Gaol and Mount Usher Gardens (Ashford) are just two of the tourist attractions of Wicklow town. The latter comprises over 5,000 varieties of plants. Bray, almost a satellite of Dublin, is renowned for its beach and pier; its landscape is dominated by Sugarloaf Mountain and by Bray Head. It was here that James Joyce lived for three years. Also in Bray, there's the National Sea Life Centre, that displays mare than 100 different marine species. However, the real treasures of this county lie in the little villages dotting the valleys, ideal bases for exploring the area. Blessington is one of them, and the Blessington Reservoir, built in the 30's to service Dublin, is definitely worth seeing. Russborough House is also open to visitors, with a fine exhibition of furniture, tapestries, carpets and porcelain.
Glendalough, "the valley of the two lakes", is remarkable for both its scenery, with the sometimes mirror-calm lakes, and the variety of its wildlife - it is in fact one of Ireland's natural monuments. However, most tourists come to Glendalough to see the former home of Saint Kevin, and the present-day round tower, one of the largest in the country (over 110 feet). Saint Kevin's Church is also near, as well as the Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral. The unfinished Celtic High Cross, St. Kevin's Cross, is 11 feet tall and it is made of hard Wicklow granite. Saint Kevin lived in a cave that is now called "Kevin's Bed", up on one side of the valley, not far from his original chapel.
The Valley of Avoca is another gorgeous valley, that begins at the confluence between the Avonmore and the Avonbeg, where they form the Avoca. About three miles downstream, in the village of the same name, the Avoca Hand Weavers can be visited, the oldest functioning mill in Ireland, that makes accessible to visitors the entire weaving process. The Avondale Forest Park, not far before the confluence of the two rivers, contains, on 528 acres, collections of elm, ash, oak, maple, larch, beech, to name just a few. The Avondale House commemorates its former resident, Stewart Parnell, the famous Irish patriot. In the Vale, on the way to Rathdrum, sits the granite Motte Stone, from the top of which one can actually see Wales on a clear day. The stories about it, most of which involve the giant Fionn Mac Cool, are most interesting.
Going up through the gap, the tourist can reach Hollywood, that has two churches dedicated to St. Kevin and, on the south side of the village, a bronze age stone circle - the "piper's stones"; the tourist will surely want to enjoy the warm welcome of the locals and the charm of the legends coming from long-forgotten times.