One of the best places that I’ve visited in Ireland in recent years is Victor’s Way in Wicklow.
Located just outside of Roundwood and a stone’s throw from the Sally Gap Drive, I, like many, had heard people describe Victor’s Way as if it was some kind of freak show.
So, when I originally decided to visit, I did so with the intention of seeing some mad-looking statues while whittling away an hour or two.
However, the reality of what happened on my visit to Victor’s Way was so monumentally different to what I had expected, as you’ll discover below.
Some quick need-to-knows about Victor’s Way
Although a visit to Victor’s Way in Wicklow is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
2. Opening hours/admission
There are two time slots at Victor’s Way – the early visit (12pm – 2:30pm) and the evening visit (2:30pm – 5pm). As far as I can tell the sculpture park is seasonal, as it says ‘Open until Sunday, 8th October’ on the website. Tickets cost €10+ a booking fee.
3. What it’s all about
Victor’s Way sculpture park was designed as a contemplative space for adults. Those that visit can take time in the extremely tranquil surroundings to reflect and meditate (there are forest recliners to relax on!). The park is home to 10 major and 35 minor sculptures. More on this below.
4. Arguably not suitable for kids
As this is a place to take time out (in silence), it’s arguably not suitable for kids. In fact, the website says ‘Parents are discouraged from bringing their children’. However, if you do, and if you think the sculptures are suitable for them to see, they go free.
5. Best experienced solo
I visited Victor’s Way on my own on a warm summers afternoon. It took me the guts of 1.5 hours to walk around the park. The majority of that time wasn’t spent looking at the statues – it was spent reading the little notice boards that prompt you to think. I find it hard to reflect. Victor’s Way made it effortless.
About Victor’s Way
Victor’s Way sculpture park spans a beautifully manicured 20 acres and there’s a rough 2km trail that takes you on a journey through it.
The park was designed to offer solace and spiritual rejuvenation to those undergoing a ‘mid-life purpose transition crisis’.
The garden boasts 10 black granite sculptures, each of which symbolises a unique life transition phase.
There’s also 35 minor sculptures. Each sculpture varies in shape and size, with some finely plonked in forest openings while others sit within the lake.
It took 30 years to create
The creation of Victor’s Way took a staggering 30 years. Each of the sculptures was designed in Roundwood.
They were then hand-cut in a workshop in Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu in India by the artists T. Baskaran and D.V. Murugan.
Etiquette when visiting
When I visited Victor’s Way I saw several other cars parked at the entrance. However, when I went inside, it was like walking into a cathedral. There wasn’t a sound aside from the wind whipping through the trees.
Visitors are asked to avoid talking, whether it’s to the person with them or on their mobile phones. It’s advised that you make your way through the garden slowly.
Things to look out for at Victor’s Way sculpture park
There’s no real need to be aware of what Victor’s Way in Wicklow contains, as the beauty of this places lies in the ‘discovering’.
However, if you’re curious, here’s a taste of what to expect from a visit (note: dress for the weather).
1. When you first enter
When you leave the car park you’ll walk through a fairly interesting gateway sculpture.
Now, I’ll leave you to interpret it for yourself, but my impression was that, as you walk through the short tunnel, it represents you being born.
You’ll emerge into a large, beautifully kept field with several statues, from a cobra (on the right) to the trio seen in the top right of the photo above.
2. The trail
When you leave the big field the forest walk begins and it’s from this point that you start to encounter the more unusual statues.
One of the most notable ones is the Split Man which ‘symbolises the awful mental and physical state of the dysfunctional because undecided human’.
Another is the Ferryman’s End, which is arguably the most familiar of the Victor’s Way sculptures (the person emerging from the lake).
3. Forest bathing
As you saunter along the trail you’ll stumble upon multiple forest recliners hidden away in the trees. They’re wooden ‘beds’ that you plonk yourself on.
If you had told me when I was entering Victor’s Way that I would soon be happily lying down on a bit of wood and gazing up into the trees I would have said ‘Yea, right…’.
However, the park, the sculptures and the notice boards… I was going to say ‘change you’, but that’s not right. It’s like the process of working your way through the park immerses you and prompts a different way of thinking.
4. The lake
One of the more impressive elements of Victor’s Way is the lake that you encounter at around the half-way point.
There’s a lovely little trail leading around it along with a couple of benches where you can sit and relax for a moment or three.
FAQs about Victor’s Way park
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Is it suitable for kids?’ to ‘What’s it all about?’.
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.
What does the statue of the ferryman mean?
It’s said that the Ferryman’s End symbolises someone that has lost their way in life. According to Victor’s Way, ‘This ferryman’s craft lies dead in the water. In simple Irish terms, this ferryman has ‘lost the plot’ and feels awful.’
Is Victor’s Way worth visiting?
If you’re looking for a fun day out with friends or family or if you’re just after a laugh, then no. However, if you’re open to a new experience and you’re willing to take time to reflect and absorb the true meaning of the park, then yes.
Keith O’Hara has lived in Ireland for 34 years and has spent most of the last 10 years creating what is now The Irish Road Trip guide. Over the years, the website has published thousands of meticulously researched Ireland travel guides, welcoming 30 million+ visitors along the way. In 2022, the Irish Road Trip team published the world’s largest collection of Irish Road Trip itineraries. Keith lives in Dublin with his dog Toby and finds writing in the 3rd person minus craic altogether.