This year, for my mom’s birthday, I wanted to take her to someplace beautiful. She loves gardens and flowers, so I typed into Google: “Ireland’s most beautiful gardens” and Mount Usher Gardens, in Ashford, Wicklow, was near the top of the list. I love Wicklow, partly because it reminds me a little bit of where I’m from, in Oregon. There are mountains and big trees and a different type of scenery than I see on a daily basis, living in the midlands. Driving through Hollywood, over the Wicklow Gap and down into Glendalough showed that the destination was not the only desirable part of the day, but the scenic trip as a whole.

Arriving at Mount Usher, we took in a sight that was very appealing to my eyes: the words “Avoca Cafe”. I knew there was a cafe, as we had planned to have lunch here after our walk through the gardens, but somehow the Avoca part either never entered my mind, or completely slipped it. Boy was I thrilled though! (for those of you who don’t know, it is my goal, and pleasure, to visit every Avoca Cafe on this lovely island. Why? Because I call Avoca my happy place. And we all want to be happy, right?) If only for that, I would’ve been content with my visit, but there are several other shops, an ice cream parlor, and an Avoca Market, where you can get delicious grocery items or food for takeaway to eat outside on the lovely garden furniture. I want everything in that market.
We decided to have some coffee and desserts before we went through the gardens and, seeing as it was a gorgeous day, we sat outside the cafe comfortably at the tables and chairs on the green. Once we were all sugared up and caffeinated, we made our way to the garden trail.
Ben saw that there was a park just up the road, so he decided to take our three olders to play while the rest of us walked the gardens. The website wasn’t very obvious in the fact that there is a cost to walk to tree trail, so we were unaware of that. Children ages 4+ are €3.50 and adults are €7.50…so we decided that, instead of repeatedly telling our kids not to climb the trees or pick the flowers and, as a meander would probably turn into a race, Ben would take them to the playground and meet us for lunch when we were finished.
When we asked how long it would take approximately to walk the trail, the lady said it could take from 1 hour and 20 minutes to a whole day, depending on whether we were ants or humans. Just kidding, she did not say that. We walked it in the shorter amount of time because we wanted lunch, but I’d say it would be easy to stay a couple hours and take it all in. There are over 5,000 species of plants! It was absolutely gorgeous, with woodsy parts, grassy parts, flower parts, forestry parts, everything all in one place.
Next time I go, or advice for you who have not yet gone, I will either bring a picnic lunch or get some beautiful food items from the market and take my food into the garden trail to have a picnic there along the River Vartry, where there are many grassy areas to sit. We had lunch in the cafe (obviously-how could I not?) and it was very delicious, and priced accordingly 😉 I would love to return on a date with just Ben and I, to be able to walk through at our leisure and have a romantic picnic in the grass. (Then dessert after at the cafe of course!) Will that ever happen? Likely not, but a girl can dream…
All in all, this is a fantastic place to take, well, anyone I suppose. I was going to say, someone special, but why would you be spending time with anyone who wasn’t special to you, let alone be looking for a place to take them? I guess a distant cousin who is visiting from some far away place maybe. Either way, this is a great day out location. Maybe not for the whole family, but definitely for anyone who appreciates beauty (and can resist climbing trees or picking flowers.)
Rachel Miller
I'm Rachel, married to Ben and mommy to Titus, Zion, Eden, Isaiah, and Selah. They're my favorites and if you knew them, you'd understand why. I love to create. It energizes me and makes me feel like I'm doing what I was made to do. So here you will see my ramblings, creative pursuits, and maybe some insight here and there that will hopefully encourage, inspire and make you smile. Grab a cuppa, let down your hair, and join me for the adventure...