In this article of our Staycation Ireland 2020 series, we bring to you a cycle to Blessington Lake. The lake is located in the Wicklow Mountains. This is a day trip you can do from Dublin, go and come back on the same day. Blessington Lake is a natural beauty that deserves a visit on a sunny day. If the Irish weather allows you will have a great time. Enjoy!
A bit about Blessington lake
Blessington Lake or Poulaphouca reservoir is situated in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains, about 41km from Dublin. Although it is not very far from the city, the Lake offers a great sense of peacefulness and contemplation. A day spent there is not a wasted day. We went there by bike from Dublin on a sunny weekend in May and it was a great day out. We recommend it if you are around Dublin and are looking to do something different. You can grab some lunch or food with you and make a great picnic out of it.
This is an artificial lake that was formed 50 years ago, in the late 1930s. Back then, Ireland had a very poor infrastructure to supply water to the urban areas. To solve this, the government decided to create a water reservoir and build the Poulaphouca Dam & hydroelectric station. Currently, it provides essential water and energy supplies to the city of Dublin.
Fun fact: underwater there used to be a town called Ballinahown, which was home to about 70 families. In 2018, there was a very hot and dry summer, and some people saw some of the remnants of the village that became visible.
Our experience cycling to Blessington from Dublin
As we searched where to cycle to places not too far from Dublin, we found this beauty. On a sunny Saturday in June, we grabbed some sandwiches and off we went to Blessington Lake. Google maps gives you a pretty good itinerary to follow. The way to get there is easy to do, only in the last 2km or so there’s a steep hill one needs to go through. Nonetheless, you still need to cover the roughly 41km that takes you to get there.
On our way there, we bought some fresh and tasty Irish strawberries that were being sold on the road. Strawberries like these you cannot find in Dublin. They were so delicious, Yummy! As we arrived in Blessington, we got closer and saw this big lake slowly forming in front of us. We are not used to seeing natural beauties every day. So it’s so nice when you see a lake this big, even if it is artificial.
We made our way to the shore and found a great spot right by the water. It was a bit windy, but the sun was strong and warm. We parked our bikes just in front of the water and absorbed the view. We enjoyed the landscape while eating our delicious homemade avocado & smoked salmon sandwiches.
After, we explored around by walking and biking. There are several small walk paths around the lake that you can take to enjoy the natural surroundings. The area around the lake is large enough that you don’t bump into people all the time.
We only passed through the town close to the lake, which is a typical Irish town. You should make a quick stop for a coffee or a beer if you have the time though.
What activities can you do on the Lake?
The lake has a 26km loop around it that can be done by car. The views from the shore are stunning. They provide a great backdrop for a scenic car drive, a cycle or a long walk. There are also different spots around the lake, where you can enjoy a nice picnic.
You can row and kayak there. There is a place close to the lake that you can rent kayaks from. Because of strong currents, it is not allowed to swim or dive for safety reasons.
How to get there?
From Dublin, the easiest way to get there is via car, which takes about 1h. To cycle and come back on the same day takes yous about 2h-3h, depending on the speed and weather. You can pack a lunch and enjoy the scenery around. If you have a car you can easily enjoy there for a few hours and head up to Wicklow/Glendalough area.
When to go?
We went on a Saturday in June, when the weather is the most pleasant in Ireland. It was windy that day, but the sun was shining and the temperature was warm.
Check out our other Staycation Ireland 2020 series!
This is the fourth article in our Staycation Ireland series 2020.
- “3 Easy Cycle Routes in and around Dublin – Staycation Ireland 2020”
- “Cycling to Victor’s Way Park- Staycation in Ireland 2020″
- “Cycling the Gap of Dunloe & Killarney National Park – Staycation in Ireland 2020“.
Stay tuned for the next one!