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Roundwood In Wicklow: Things To Do, Pubs, Food + Accommodation

Roundwood In Wicklow: Things To Do, Pubs, Food + Accommodation

The village of Roundwood in the stunning Wicklow Mountains is one of the highest villages in Ireland.

It’s arguably one of the best places to base yourself if you’re tackling the many things to do in Wicklow, with the likes of Glendalough and the Sally Gap Drive a stone’s throw away.

Throw in several cosy pubs and a handful of great places to eat and you’re on to a winner.

Below, you’ll find things to do in Roundwood along with places to eat, sleep and drink. Dive on in!

Some quick need-to-knows about Roundwood in Wicklow

Although a visit to Roundwood in Wicklow is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.

1. Location

The village of Roundwood is located on the R755 in County Wicklow about 50km south of Dublin. It’s on the main route from Dublin to Glendalough, near the Vartry Reservoir in the scenic Wicklow Mountains.

2. One of the highest villages in Ireland

Sitting on a plateau at an elevation of 238 metres above sea level, Roundwood is one of the highest villages in Ireland. The actual highest is said to be Meelin in Cork.

3. A great base for the Wicklow Mountains

Roundwood is a hop and a skip from Glendalough, the Sally Gap, Victor’s Way and some of the best walks in Wicklow. The village has plenty of cafes, pubs, restaurants and accommodation for visitors wanting to hike or drive in the dramatic Wicklow Mountains National Park. More below.

About Roundwood

Roundwood is ‘An Tochar’ in Irish which means ‘The Causeway’. High in the Wicklow Mountains on a plateau, it’s close to Sally Gap.

In 2016, the village had a population of 948. It’s close to the Vartry Reservoir which provide three easy loop walks in scenic surroundings. 

Roundwood has plenty of independent businesses, pubs, cafes, shops, a church and a National Catholic School. The village has two Gaelic football clubs including a ladies team known as An Tochar GAA

Roundwood has connections with two former Presidents of Ireland. The second President, Seán T. O’Kelly (1882-1966), lived nearby.

The fourth President, Erskine Hamilton Childers (1905-74), is buried in Derralossary Churchyard near the village. 

Things to do in Roundwood and nearby

things to do in roundwood

Photos via Shutterstock

One of the beauties of Roundwood is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best places to visit in Wicklow.

Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Roundwood!

1. Explore Vartry Reservoir

Vartry Reservoir

Photo left: Russell Taylor. Top right: Wojtek Piatek. Bottom left: rick734’s (Canva)

Vartry Reservoir is a two-for-one with an upper and lower lake to explore. There are three main trails totalling around 17km with something for most fitness levels.

Constructed in the 1860’s, there are two embankments damming the River Vartry. The steep sided cutting has plenty of shade from 100-year-old Scots pines.

Bird lovers should keep an eye open for Great Crested Grebes. They have floating nests and are regularly seen from the Woodland Trail.

Other landmarks include the historic Ballaun stone with its hollowed out top, sited near the water’s edge and probably relocated from an ancient monastic site.

2. Drive the Sally Gap

Sally Gap Drive

Photos via Shutterstock

The Sally Gap is actually a crossroads between the R759 and the R115 near Roundwood in the Wicklow Mountains.

From the intersection, you can head north to Dublin, south to Glendalough, west to Blessington or east to the village of Roundwood.

The Sally Gap Drive is a circular route that takes about an hour to complete. Start in Roundwood and go anticlockwise for the best views.

Highlights worth stopping for include the viewpoint over Lough Tay, Glenmacnass Waterfall, Djouce Mountain, scenic trails and some well-earned refreshments in the village of Roundwood.

3. Visit Victor’s Way

victors way sculpture park

Photos by The Irish Road Trip

Victor’s Way is Ireland’s one and only Indian Sculpture Garden designed for encouraging meditation. The lush green park covers 22 acres and has 33 sculptures carved from black granite and 3 bronze artworks.

They range from 1.5 to 4.5 metres in height and took 30 years to complete locally and in a workshop in South India.

The garden is privately owned and there is a (€10) entrance fee. It’s a serene and beautiful place to stroll quietly and there’s a 2km path running through it.

It passes through a forest area with small water features, lakes and benches.

4. Tackle the Ballinastoe Woods Walk

Ballinastoe forest walk

Photos via Shutterstock

Ballinastoe Woods is one of the more popular attractions in the area. There are several walks ranging from 30 minutes to over 3 hours.

The main car park at the top of the hill is a good starting point for any of the walks. Part of the Ballinastoe Woods can be explored on a boardwalk as part of a 3.5km ramble with views from the JB Malone Memorial.

From there you can continue on a longer 10km walk that includes the Slí na Sláinte trail and takes at least 3 hours total.

5. Soak up the views at Lough Tay

Lough Tay

Photos via Shutterstock

Lough Tay (aka Guinness Lake) is one of the most scenic spots in the Wicklow Mountains. It’s on a private estate belonging to the Guinness Family Trust but there are several public viewpoints overlooking it.

The lake is one of the highlights of the Sally Gap Drive. Park at the JB Malone car park and cross the road to the actual viewing point.

There’s an alternative viewing point a little further north along the R759 but parking is limited. 

6. Climb Djouce Mountain

Djouce Mountain

Photos via Shutterstock

Keen hikers will love the challenge presented by the 725 metres (2,379 feet) Djouce Mountain.

The mountain and Djouce Wood are part of the Powerscourt Estate. Starting from the JB Malone car park, the trail is 8km total and takes 2-3 hours to complete.

Expect uneven surfaces and railway sleepers on the maintained boardwalk which helps protect the bog and soil from erosion.

You’ll pass a memorial to the Wicklow Way creator, JB Malone, at a breathtaking viewpoint. 

7. Explore Glendalough

the spinc hike Ireland

Photos via Shutterstock

Despite the remote location in the stunning Wicklow Mountains National Park, Glendalough is one of the most visited attractions in Ireland.

It is world-famous for its Monastic City, an ancient settlement dating back to the 6th century. St Kevin founded the monastery here and for 600 years it thrived with farms, an infirmary, church and dwellings.

Although there are plenty of things to do in Glendalough, it’s the various walks in Glendalough, like the Spinc hike, that steal the show.

Places to stay in Roundwood

roundwood accommodation

Photos via The Coach House

There’s not a whole lot of accommodation in Roundwood, however, the guesthouses and B&Bs that are operating are well worth considering.

Note: if you book a stay through one of the links below we may make a tiny commission that helps us keep this site going. You won’t pay extra, but we really do appreciate it.

1. Lus Mor

Enjoy a stay in the mountains at Lus Mor B&B. This is a B&B with private bedrooms and a hearty Irish breakfast served each morning to set you up for hiking, fishing, horse-riding and sightseeing.

2. The Coach House

The historic Coach House in Roundwood is a bar and restaurant with B&B accommodation in four double and two twin rooms all with ensuite bathrooms. Guest rooms are tastefully furnished and include TV and free WiFi. If you want to stay central, book in here.

3. Roundwood Caravan Park

Situated on the edge of the Wicklow Mountains National Park, Roundwood Caravan Park is one of the more popular places to go camping in Wicklow. The award-winning park has excellent facilities for campers, caravans and motor-homes with modern toilets and showers, laundry room, heated campers kitchen/dining and TV lounge, playground and BBQs.

Pubs and restaurants in Roundwood

Tochar House pub roundwood

Photos via Tochar House on FB

Despite its size, there are some excellent pubs and restaurants in Roundwood in Wicklow.

Below, you’ll find our favourites. If we’ve missed somewhere you think needs to be added, let us know in the comments.

1. Byrne & Woods Bar & Restaurant

For a tasty feed, the Byrne and Woods Gastro Bar comes highly recommended. It’s in the Michelin Pub Guide and overlooks the Vartry Reservoir. Delicious food, live music and a well-stocked bar, the pub has a modern homely interior and serves everything from curry and ribs to cod and chips and mouthwatering rib eye steaks.  

2. Tochar House

Historic Tochar House is a family-run business nestled in the Mountains and is the oldest pub in the village of Roundwood. There’s a cosy bar and lounge with a log fire adding to the ambience. Whether you want a pint or a game of pool, Tochar House is well worth dropping in.

3. Kavanagh’s Vartry House

At the top of the village near scenic woodland, Kavanagh’s Vartry House is Ireland’s highest village pub. Have a pint or two in this friendly traditional watering hole which is also a well-known music venue on weekends. 

4. Roundwood Inn

Once a traditional hunting lodge, the Roundwood Inn is a lively pub and restaurant that welcomes families. They serve excellent food from noon and the menu often features pheasant or lamb stew, chicken in a basket, pizza and other old-fashioned favourites.

5. The Coach House

The black and white Coach House is a landmark in Roundwood and is one of the highest pubs in the area. They serve a delicious restaurant-standard menu with plenty of old pews and leather seats in nooks and crannies. Perfect for lingering with a glass or wine or a pint in front of the fire. 

FAQs about Roundwood

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Is it worth visiting?’ to ‘What is there to do in Roundwood?’.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

Is Roundwood the highest village in Ireland?

Sitting at 238 metres above sea level, Roundwood is one of many villages that claim to be the ‘highest village in Ireland’. Antoher is Meelin in County Cork.

Are there many things to do in Roundwood?

No. Aside from the Vartry walks there isn’t much to do in the village. However, the beauty of Roundwood is that it’s surrounded by endless things to do, which is why it’s a perfect base for Wicklow.

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