My personal project of doing 12 hikes this year with my Irish man is still alive and kicking, and this made me think I could double the goal for next year (Calm your tits, Taís, you should focus on the 4 hikes left!). I can’t help myself, I’m this kind of person who likes to think ahead.
This hike was number 8 of 2016 and we went to Wicklow, one of my favourite counties in Ireland. We go there often, maybe one day I will be able to say I’ve hiked all over the entire county. That’s me, again, thinking ahead.
Our choice this time was the Avondale River Walk.
Avondale River Walk is located inside Avondale Forest Park, in Rathdrum, County Wicklow. It is the longest and hardest walking trail of the Park (I think there are 4 more walks in there). This one is a circular walk, it’s starts at the car park and finishes there also.
This is a moderate level trail, circa 5.2km, walking through the forest and going down towards the river; down hill to go and up hill to go back. If you try to find information about this trail, it says that the hill back is a little bit difficult. But, to be honest, I thought it was OK and anyone with reasonable fitness won’t have any problem with that.
To start the trail you go into the forest, passing through a variety of tree species.
The ground is good and firm most of the way, with some steep descents. In certain parts, climbing can be tough. Strong footwear here is highly recommended. Leave the flip flops at home for the beach. Seriously, I’ll never understand how people can hike wearing flip flops or any footwear with a thin sole!!
Along the way, down the valley, you also have a magnificent view of the Vale of Avoca.
It is hard for me not to take a billion pictures and stop in every corner. Nature is the best thing to keep me inspired. And, if I have my camera in hand, in these moments, my photographer instincts goes to the next level.
That was a very nice summer day, not too hot, not too cold, with sunbeams passing through the cracks of trees.
As you’ll have noticed, our way towards the river was just amazing. I love walking around forests! And as we approached the river, the more we could hear that pleasant sound of flowing water.
This is Avonmore River, in Irish ”An Abhainn Mhór”. It means ”The Big River”. It flows from Lough Dan, a lake near Roundwood village, crossing the Wicklow Mountains, passing Avondale until it arrives in Arklow to flow into the Irish Sea.
The walk along beside the river is very calming and relaxing. I love the sound of gently flowing water. For me, it charges my batteries, giving me energy to face my routine. And I have to say these river sights and sounds rejuvenated me very well after a busy week moving into our new home.
Here in this link you can check the trail map, and understand better its way. The river walk is marked with the white spots throughout. We started from the forest (the left side of the map) and the river was the last leg. We like to leave the main attraction for the end, it is like a reward after all the walking.
An interesting fact about this place: inside the Avondale Forest Park you can find Avondale House, which was the house and place of birth of Charles Stewart Parnell, one of the most influential Irish politicians of the 19th Century. Those living in Dublin, or already came visit here, might know or remember one of the most famous streets named after him – Parnell Street. Avondale House today is a museum in his memory, but we didn’t go there, we were more interested on the trail. That’s up to you, at least now you know you can hike and visit a museum at the same spot.
> What about you, do you also enjoy walking alongside a river?
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