Walk through Glendalough’s glassy lakes, wooded valleys and silent ruins and it’s easy to see why St Kevin was drawn here in the 6th century. The saint lived as a hermit in solitude and prayer in this pastoral wonderland, before establishing a vibrant monastic settlement that still survives today.
The Round Tower, cathedral and priests’ houses made the “valley of two lakes” a bustling hub – and a natural target of merciless Viking raids.
Make sure to walk up to the Poulanass Waterfall before you leave – it’s pretty as a picture. The stunning landscapes continue as you drive on through Glenealo Valley towards Russborough House, a masterpiece of Palladian architecture. Bought by Sir Alfred and Lady Beit in 1952 as a place to hang their magnificent art collection, the house has played host to a glittering list of celebrities from Fred Astaire to Mick Jagger. But it’s had its fare share of drama, too, with four high-profile art thefts over the years.
After a quick lunch at the award-winning Ballymore Inn in Naas – it’s off to Newbridge for the Museum of Style Icons. Iconic clothing worn by everyone from Grace Kelly to The Beatles is on display here – including Audrey Hepburn’s original Little Black Dress from the film Charade