First, I must confess I did not like the city of Dublin--too nondescript and dull for me; however, I did like what I saw of the Irish countryside and that is because of Hilltoptreks. The second thing you might note is that I rarely give five-star reviews so make of my review what you may.
The tour, as advertised, took us to Powerscourt Gardens, Enniskerry, Wicklow Mountains and Glendalough. There are many variations on this itinerary, but I especially wanted one that included the gardens and I was not disappointed.
Powerscourt is advertised as the third best gardens in Europe and I believe it. We had about two and one half hours there and I could have spent many hours more. We visited in June when the flowers and shrubs were in full bloom, but unfortunately we had to rush a bit to complete the far-flung garden circuit in order to get back in time. The garden also features a cafeteria with a nice dining terrace, a separate ice cream stand, and a number of shops with upscale Irish products.
We then had lunch in Enniskerry--a little town built to house the staff for the main Powerscourt house and is quite small. There are only a very few dining options but the tour booked us into Poppies--a small family cafe with seating. Food options are featured in their glass cases with lots of savory pot pie and fruit pie options. The waitstaff was lovely. (Please note the price of lunch is not included in the tour.)
Next we rode through the Wicklow mountains and bog-covered hills. Our tour guide, Richard, was very knowledgeable and added much appreciated information on the terrain and lakes. I particularly loved the Guinness Lake and all the renegade sheep along the roads.
Our last stop, Glendalough, was later in the day and I think I was a bit tired by then so I didn't appreciate it as much as I would had I seen it earlier. Also, forewarned about the Irish weather, I wore a sweater and raincoat, but it was above 80 degrees that day and I was fading in the sun. Glendalough is a ruin of a monastery from the Middle Ages and is also the site of a neglected, haunting cemetery with Celtic gravestones. It is a photographer's dream.
On the way back to Dublin our tour guide played appropriate Irish music which helped us enjoy the last part of our trip. I highly recommend this tour, which, by the way, is for small groups of about 14 people. Our transportation was a mini-van with no bathroom so be forewarned to take advantage of stops. All in all, the best day we had in Ireland.