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2 Cool Dublin to Wicklow Day Trip Itineraries Accessible with GoCar and YUKO Ireland

Learn more about using GoCar or YUKO Ireland for a Dublin to Wicklow day trip and the pros and cons vs hiring a car. Hire a YUKO or GoCar in Dublin.
Dublin is an amazing place to call home. If you live near the City Centre like we did, Dublin is so compact that you don't need a car. 

We could easily walk into town or take a bus or the DART to explore most places in and around Dublin city. However, there were occasionally times when we want to go further afield outside of Dublin and a car makes things much easier. 

If you only need to drive occasionally, Dublin's various carshare services are a cost effective alternative to owning a car. Grab a car for an hour or two to run errands or book a car for the day to take a day trip outside of Dublin. 

In this post, I'll share two different County Wicklow one day driving itineraries to give you a sense of what is possible if you book a GoCar or Toyota YUKÕ car in Dublin. 

Exploring Wicklow for a Day with GoCar

We recently tried GoCar to unlock a day trip to Ireland's County Wicklow. There are a number of pros and cons that I'll share with you today and I'll show you the fantastic places we were able to visit on this one day Wicklow Ireland itinerary.

GoCars in Dublin, Ireland

How GoCar Works

GoCar is a car sharing service much like ZipCar in North America. Sign-up for an account, scan the front and back of your driver's license, wait for your license to be validated and then you're good to go.

GoCar will send you a membership card that you can use to unlock their vehicles (you can also use the GoCar app to open the car). The next step is to make a reservation. 

You'll pay an hourly rate that maxes out at the daily rate for trips of 6 hours or longer. Think carefully about where you want to go because you'll be charged a per km rate once you pass 50 kms. Here's an overview of how GoCar works

A One Day Wicklow Itinerary with GoCar

Now let's take a look at the cool places you can visit on a day trip from Dublin City to County Wicklow with a GoCar ride share reservation.

1. Mount Usher Gardens

Tables and chairs at Mount Usher Gardens in County Wicklow
We used GoCar to visit Mount Usher Gardens, approximately 40 km outside of Dublin. Upon arrival, pass through some high end shops and an Avoca Cafe, buy your ticket (10.00 EUR at the time of writing) and explore the grounds.
Mount Usher Gardens in County Wicklow
A lazy river runs through the property.
Tree stumps at Mount Usher Gardens in County Wicklow
Moss paths at Mount Usher Gardens lead up into a forest featuring trees curated from all around the world.
Mushrooms at Mount Usher Gardens in County Wicklow
It was definitely damp when we visited in the Autumn and gorgeous mushrooms were growing in various shady places around the gardens.
Purple flowers at Mount Usher Gardens in County Wicklow
Pink rose at Mount Usher Gardens in County Wicklow
Summer was not so far gone though. Plenty of colorful flowers still brightened the landscape at Mount Usher.
River running through Mount Usher Gardens in County Wicklow
We walked along the river and practically had Mount Usher to ourselves. It pays to visit County Wicklow in the shoulder season after the hordes of summer tourists have departed.
Waterfall running through Mount Usher Gardens in County Wicklow
We enjoyed listening to the sound of a small waterfall rushing past.
Suspension bridge in Mount Usher Gardens in County Wicklow
We swayed across a rickety suspension bridge. I must say, I was slightly alarmed when I emerged on the other side and noticed a warning not to jump on the bridge. Uh oh.
Warnng sign on the suspension bridge in Mount Usher Gardens in County Wicklow
Ireland is known for lush gardens and County Wicklow has a number of lovely examples. We wandered past an old mill wheel at Mount Usher inside a walled garden overflowing with riotous wildflowers.
Walled Garden and millstone at Mount Usher Gardens in County Wicklow

2. Wicklow Town

Wicklow Gaol
After a good long walk, we left Mount Usher Gardens and drove to Wicklow town. Public parking is free on Sunday so we parked our GoCar at Wicklow Gaol and went in to have a look around (tickets cost 9.50 EUR for an adult at the time of writing). 

In use since the 18th century, Wicklow Gaol has a storied history. The self-guided tour of Wicklow Gaol introduces visitors to a number of key characters in the gaol's history. 

Petty thieves were locked up with murderers in extremely cramped conditions. Rebels from both the 1798 Rebellion and 1916 Rising were incarcerated here. 
Characters at Wicklow Gaol

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Not in the mood to drive? There are two other ways to get to Wicklow. Take public transportation and head to Glendalough for a day of hillwalking. Alternatively, join a Wicklow bus tour from Dublin.

Characters at Wicklow Gaol
There is even a replica transportation ship on the upper floor to show what conditions would have been like on the journey to Australia.

3. The Black Castle

Harbour near Wicklow Town
After we finished our tour of the Wicklow Gaol, we left our GoCar parked there and proceeded to explore Wicklow Town on foot. We were running out of time on our reservation but there was still more we wanted to see. 

No problem... we checked the GoCar app on our mobile phone. Since no one was waiting to pick up the GoCar upon our return, we were able to extend our reservation by one hour. 

This allowed us to travel down to the waterfront in Wicklow Town. We followed the Vartry River to the spot where it meets the Irish Sea. 

Climbing a small hill, we arrived at a windswept point overlooking the sea. 
Cannon near the Black Castle in County Wicklow
The ruins of Wicklow's Black Castle stood nearby, clinging to the cliffs. Dating back to the 12th century (now I see why they call this region Ireland's Ancient East), the remains only hint of the castle's former glory in the era after the Normans arrived in Ireland.
The Black Castle in County Wicklow
We scrambled up and around the hill enjoying spectacular views out to sea. It's easy to understand why this spot was ideal for a fortification in centuries past. It was a clear day and we could see for miles.
Ruins of the Black Castle in County Wicklow
The views from Wicklow's Black Castle were simply stunning. Some might even rate Black Castle among the best castles in Ireland.
Ruins of the Black Castle in County Wicklow
After exploring the Black Castle for about 30 minutes, we made our way back to our GoCar for the return journey to Dublin.

The Pros and Cons of GoCar vs Hiring a Car

GoCars in Dublin
So, what are the pros and cons of using a GoCar instead of hiring a car for a day trip from Dublin?

GoCar Pros

  • Picking up and dropping off a GoCar is much faster and simpler than renting a car from Hertz, Enterprise, or the like. Unlock the GoCar with your card or mobile phone once the reservation starts and off you go. 
  • You can reserve the GoCar for just the amount of time you need (we booked the GoCar for about 6 hours for our trip to County Wicklow).
  • There is no need to refuel the GoCar before returning it under most circumstances
  • You can extend your trip using a mobile phone as long as no one has a reservation immediately after yours.
  • You aren't beholden to a car hire company's office opening hours for pick up and drop off (i.e., the Hertz location in Ballsbridge is only open limited hours on Sundays). 

GoCar Cons

  • If the GoCar has less than a quarter tank of petrol, you are supposed to refuel using the card provided. Both times we've used GoCar, the fuel gauge has been at or below a quarter :-/ The refueling card is not the most intuitive to use (you need to go to a specific brand of petrol station and figure out what your car number and PIN are).
  • GoCar can be more expensive if you take one for a long time or long distances since you are charged by the hour plus a per km surcharge.
  • You are only allowed to associate one driver with a GoCar reservation. If you are planning a longer drive, it would be preferable to be able to share driving duties with a spouse, family member, or friend.
Overall, we found that the pros outweighed the cons in taking a GoCar on a day trip from Dublin to County Wicklow. It was a bit more expensive than hiring a car but the convenience more than made up for it. 

We look forward to using GoCar to get to more places that aren't well served by Dublin's public transportation system.

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Looking for other Dublin day trip ideas? Explore things to do in Kildare including the Wonderful Barn and Irish National Stud.  I also recommend taking the ferry from Howth to Ireland's Eye for beautiful hikes and birdwatching on an uninhabited island.

Exploring Wicklow for a Day with YUKÕ Toyota Car Club

On another occasion, we reserved a YUKÕ Ireland car share for a day trip from Dublin to County Wicklow. There are just so many cool things to see and do in Wicklow that we felt it justified a second visit by car.

Yuko Ireland car share

How YUKÕ Ireland Works

YUKÕ Ireland is another car sharing service that operates in Dublin and is a GoCar competitor. Download the YUKÕ app to your smartphone, upload your driver's license for verification, and in about 48 hours you'll be good to go. 

Reserve a car via the app and use your phone to unlock the car at the time your reservation begins. 

We found that the pros and cons of taking a YUKÕ car vs a traditional car hire were similar to those of GoCar. However, we found that there are a couple of advantages to using a YUKÕ car instead of a GoCar. 
  • YUKÕ Ireland allows multiple drivers per reservation. If we are traveling a long distance, you can split up the driving duties. As mentioned, this is not possible (at least not at the time of writing) with GoCar.
  • YUKÕ's fleet of cars is entirely Hybrid. That means that you get an automatic transmission. I always find it easier to drive an automatic (less stress and hassle on the road) even though I can drive a manual transmission (stick shift).

A One Day Wicklow Itinerary with YUKÕ Ireland

Now let's take a look at the fun day trip to County Wicklow that we constructed for the reprise of our car share adventure. 

1. Delgany and Firehouse Bakery

We'd heard great things about Delgany village and in particular Firehouse Bakery so it seemed like the perfect first stop on our car share enabled Wicklow drive.

Park in the back and walk through the posh grocery store to access the bakery. Prepare for an indulgent experience. 

We had a sausage roll with chili jam, a chocolate filled cruffin, and a cappuccino to fuel our Sunday adventures.

Pastries and cruffins at Firehouse Bakery in Delgany

2. National Botanic Gardens in Kilmacurragh

Next up, we checked out the National Botanic Gardens in Kilmacurragh. We've been to the National Botanic Garden location on Dublin's Northside near Glasnevin in Dublin City many times (home of the inspiring annual exhibit of Sculpture in Context), but this was our first walk in the Wicklow Branch. 

You'll find sweeping views of Wicklow Mountains National Park and plenty of old growth trees surrounding a dilapidated mansion.

Bee on a sunflower in the National Botanic Gardens Kilmacurragh in County WicklowLake and dilapidated mansion at National Botanic Gardens in KilmacurraghExtremely tall tree at Lake and dilapidated mansion at National Botanic Gardens in Kilmacurragh

The amazing flowers at The National Botanic Gardens Kilmacurragh will lift your spirits.

3. Take a Hike at Glendalough

We decided to head over to Glendalough, Wicklow's famous 6th century monastic city to see what was going on. That's the advantage of taking a car to Wicklow, you can adjust your plans as the whim strikes. 

Round tower at Glendalough among the County Wicklow landscape

It was not too crowded when we arrived at noon. We paid 4 EUR to park and then hiked to the monastic settlement and around Lower Lake. 

Lake at Glendalough in County Wicklow

Upper Lake was essentially a beach for the day thanks to the seasonal summer weather. The lake was very busy with families splashing around. 

Beach goers on Upper Lake at Glendalough in County Wicklow

There was a queue to park at Glendalough by the time we left. It pays to go early. 

4. Lunch at the Coach House in Roundwood

We stopped at the Coach House in Roundwood to wait out some afternoon thundershowers. A glass of Wicklow Wolf craft beer and perfectly-crisp-out-of-the-fryer fish and chips was a welcome interlude on our Wicklow day trip.

Facade of the Coach House in Roundwood, County Wicklow Ireland

5. Victor's Way

One of the main reasons we decided to drive to Co. Wicklow again was the opportunity to visit Victor's Way. 
Entrance to Victor's Way in County Wicklow

Pay 10 EUR to explore this Indian sculpture park and meditative forest walk near Roundwood. The owner of the experience asks that you maintain silence and a mood of contemplation when you visit.

We discovered absolutely amazing views from the Wisdom Seat at Victor's Way. 
Wisdom Seat in Victor's Way in County Wicklow
The wide open field featured a set of musicians in the form of Ganesh including one wearing a flatcap and playing uilleann pipes.

Mouse sculpture with a Guinness and bodhrán at Victor's Way in County Wicklow

Mindfully observe the Ganesh statues from all sides and you'll be rewarded with the details that come into focus and bring a modern touch to this ancient god. 

Ganesh and Hanuman statues at Victor's Way in County Wicklow Ireland

Can you spot the laptops and mobile phones among the sculptures?

Sculpture of a Nokia phone at Victor's Way Sculpture Park in Co. Wicklow

Hanuman guards the entrance to the Meditation Forest Path at Victor's Way. The well-marked path will lead you past a series of engaging and occasionally disturbing statues. Take time to read the context, observe from all sides, and contemplate life.

Disturbing statue cutting itself with a sword at Victor's Way in County Wicklow

I decided to go all in on the Victor's Way experience and take a brief "forest bath" on a rustic forest recliner. Lay down on the rickety wooden bench and look up at the treetops and sky.

The Meditation Forest Path takes you around a series of serene ponds dotted with sculptures. I'll admit that this sculpture made me relive many a scene from The Walking Dead 😄 

Scary sculpture emerging from a pond at Victor's Way in County Wicklow

Keep an eye out for signs with inspirational and slightly cryptic messages throughout the Victor's Way Forest Walk. E.g., 
"The right way is the untrodden, it becomes the wrong way when you step on it" 

"The right way is the untrodden, it becomes the wrong way when you step on it" written on a red board
A field of sheep and bales of hay at the perimeter of the Victor's Way Forest Walk made my day. 

6. Wicklow Wolf Brewery and Taproom

After spending about 90 minutes at Victor's Way, we headed to Wicklow Wolf Brewery and Taproom, our final stop of our YUKÕ car driven (see what I did there 🙃) day out.

Wicklow Wolf tasting tray at the Wicklow Wolf Brewery in County Wicklow

We sampled 4 Wicklow Wolf craft beers on a tasting tray: Heff Bezos hefeweizen, Tundra Tropical IPA, Mammoth IPA, and Raindrop Mixed Berry Sour. 

Grab a seat upstairs overlooking the brewery. Slàinte!

Summing up the Dublin Car Share Day Trip Experience

GoCar and Toyota's YUKÕ car share service offer a cost effective and low stress option for unlocking a day trip outside Dublin city. County Wicklow is a great destination option for a car share road trip. 

Because you pay by the hour with a surcharge for long distances, the convenience of Wicklow makes it an ideal option for a car-share day trip that also keeps your costs down.

Did you enjoy this post about travelling to Wicklow by car with GoCar Dublin and YUKÕ Ireland? Sharing is caring...

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: 2 Cool Dublin to Wicklow Day Trip Itineraries Accessible with GoCar and YUKO Ireland
2 Cool Dublin to Wicklow Day Trip Itineraries Accessible with GoCar and YUKO Ireland
Learn more about using GoCar or YUKO Ireland for a Dublin to Wicklow day trip and the pros and cons vs hiring a car. Hire a YUKO or GoCar in Dublin.
Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog