Listed in the 2002 census as being home to just 518 people, the lovely village of Roundwood may be small but it’s got plenty to keep you occupied. Situated on the road between Dublin and Glendalough, 238 metres above sea level in the Wicklow Mountains, it’s one of the highest villages in Ireland. Also known by its Irish name, An Tochar, which means The Causeway, it has links with two former Irish presidents, Seán T. O’Kelly who resided in the area, and Erskine Childers who was laid to rest in Derralossary Churchyard just outside the village.
There’s also a good selection of places to eat and drink in the village, including the Roundwood Inn Pub & Restaurant, an old hunting lodge which has been transformed into a traditional ‘old Irish pub’; the Coach House, which has been catering for travellers for over two hundred years, and An Tochar House Pub located right in the centre of the village.
Plenty of opportunities to explore the great outdoors
Roundwood is great base for hill walking as it’s less than two miles away from the great Wicklow Way, Ireland’s first long distance walking route. It’s also right on the edge of the Wicklow Mountains National Park and, as such, makes a great starting point for many of the area’s most popular walks.
If you prefer to relax and enjoy a leisurely day fishing, the Vartry Reservoir Lakes, which were built in the 1860s, are the perfect place to while away a few hours and wait for the fish to bite. Between March 15th and September 30th, day tickets are available from the Vartry Waterworks right beside the dam, which allow you to fish the shoreline. In these reservoirs you’ll find brown trout, although if you prefer rainbow trout, you might want to head to the Annamoe Trout Fishery just 3 miles outside of Roundwood.
A mystical surprise awaits you in Roundwood
No visit to Roundwood would be complete without a trip to the Indian Sculpture Park, an open air arts park with a fantastic display of 24 granite sculptures. Spread over 22 acres of open fields, woodlands and ponds, these amazing sculptures range in size from 5 to 15 feet tall and weigh anything between 2 and 10 tonnes. You’ll also find 3 bronzes, including a 14 foot tall Fasting Buddha, the only one like it in the world. In keeping with the Buddhist theme, you’ll also get to see 11 Buddhist relic pagodas known as stupas.
The park is designed to be a place of contemplation, somewhere where you can take in the peace and splendour of the beautiful Wicklow countryside. One of the main areas to explore is the ‘Enchanted Forest’ which was created to represent the major phases of life. You enter via a 20 tonne ‘birth canal’ hewn out of black granite to come face-to-face with a set of 9 monolithic Ganeshas. And, if you fancy a bit of ‘forest bathing’, you’ll find several wooden recliners where you can lay back and relax, and simply contemplate the marvel of life and the awe inspiring grandeur of the sculptures.
You’ll need to set aside at least one hour to make the most of your time in the Park, and don’t forget to come well prepared for the Irish weather – an umbrella and waterproof clothing is always advised, even at the height of an Irish summer.