Introducing Counties Wicklow & Kildare
Wicklow and Kildare may be neighbours and have a boundary with Dublin in common, but that's where the similarities end.
South of the capital is scenic, wild Wicklow. Its most imposing natural feature is a gorse-and-bracken mountain spine that is home to one of Ireland's most stunning landscapes, replete with dramatic glacial valleys, soaring mountain passes and important archaeological treasures – from breathtaking early-Christian sites to the elegant country homes of the wealthiest of Ireland's 18th-century nobility.
To the west, Kildare is far more sedate but one of the country's most prosperous farming counties. It is also where you'll find some of the most lucrative thoroughbred stud farms in the world, many with links to the horse-breeding centre of Kentucky in the US. Horse breeding is a big deal in Ireland, but in Kildare it's the very lifeblood of the county, generating many millions of tax-free euro.
As you leave Dublin and cross into Wicklow, the landscape changes dramatically. From Killakee, still in Dublin, the Military Rd begins a 30km southward journey across vast sweeps of gorse-, bracken- and heather-clad moors, bogs and mountains dotted with small corrie lakes. The numbers and statistics aren't all that impressive.