If you have the good fortune of driving through the Sally Gap in County Wicklow one day (and surviving), you’ll see Lough Tay. It’s a lake the color of freshly poured Guinness, pooled in a deep fissure of earth between mountains Djouce and Luggala. You’ll want to pull off the R759 or pause at a viewpoint along the Wicklow Way and drink it in.
There are proper viewing points, so if you are driving Sally Gap from West to East, don’t risk wandering past the DANGER sign at the first turn off to get a better picture. Keep driving.
As you’re safely enjoying your photo break, here are a couple of facts about the Lough to keep in mind.
- Lough is pronounced lock, not low. (That fact is not specific to Lough Tay, but you should know it anyway. Also, don’t ask me how to pronounce Djouce or Luggala. You’re on your own.)
- The white sand on the north end was imported by the Guinness family. Lough Tay’s dark lager color comes from peat deposits, and locals tell me the Guinness family thought the white sand would top off the lake and give it the appearance of a nice, frothy head – just like the famous beverage.
- The television series Vikings is filmed here. A Norse village stands on the edge of the white sand, and longships can be seen sailing the lake when the show is filming. Unfortunately (and of course) the set is only accessible from a private road.
Cheers to your journey!