Church of the Toothless One. Wait…what?


Cill Mhantáin is Irish for “Wicklow” and translates to “the church of the toothless one.” Curious to know why?

“The origin of the Irish name Cill Mhantáin bears no relation to the name Wicklow. It has an interesting folklore of its own. Saint Patrick and some followers are said to have tried to land on Travailahawk beach, to the south of the harbour. Hostile locals attacked them, causing one of Patrick’s party to lose his front teeth. Manntach (toothless one), as he became known, was undeterred and returned to the town, eventually founding a church.”– The Annals of Clonmacnoise, being annals of Ireland from the earliest period to A.D. 1408. Mageoghagan, Conell & Murphy, Dennis, 1896, p. 66.

On Sunday March 3, 2013, some girlfriends and I planned to take the Dublin Bus to Enniskerry village in County Wicklow. Fellow erasmus students raved about the breathtaking Powerscourt Waterfall, which is the highest waterfall in Ireland. Not to mention…the romantic drama P.S. I Love You was filmed in County Wicklow in 2009. Who wouldn’t want to walk the ground Gerard Butler once stood on? Butler plays the role of Gerry Kennedy, a rugged Irishman with a crooked smile, bewitching brogue and a heart of gold made from the leprechaun’s pot of stash itself.

Holly Kennedy: Do all Irishmen sing?
Gerry Kennedy: Aah. Only the really well-hung ones.

Anyway…while you were drinking coffee and reading the Sunday paper, six girls sprinted down O’Connell Street to catch the number 44 to Enniskerry. The bus driver chuckled, honked and pointed his finger; we eventually caught up about four blocks later. My aching legs and heaving chest were sending me a message: a diet of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pasta dishes and cold pints would not do.

The ride from the Dublin City Centre to Enniskerry was about an hour. It was lunchtime when we arrived in the village but for a place with a population of only 1,811, they sure know how to fill up a space. Poppies Country Cooking is a humble “picnic style” restaurant best for a quick bite or cup of coffee. Although it can become quite crowded, Poppies is a number one destination on tripadvisor.

The waterfall is about 6 km from Enniskerry so we rented bikes from Enniskerry Bike Hire for a group rate of €10 per person for four hours. The route to the waterfall had a fair share of uphills, which made me feel even more out of shape, but the ride was beautiful. There are open views of the Wicklow Mountains, which are lovely on a clear day.

At 398 feet, the Powerscourt Waterfall is set in a parkland at the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains. The area is perfect for picnics, BBQs and pick-up sports. We sipped hot chocolate at the base of the waterfall after taking loads of pictures. However, I wanted a closer look. One loose mossy rock and soaked pant leg later, I was truly at the base. There’s a belittling effect when you’re staring up at water rushing down Ireland’s highest waterfall.

We wanted to tour the Powerscourt House and Gardens on our way back into Enniskerry, but the €8.50 student fee onto the grounds was a bit disheartening to our student bank accounts. Perhaps another time. I highly recommend a day trip to County Wicklow. It is the perfect trip if you’re in search of some fresh air and Irish landscape.

Check out my photo gallery of County Wicklow.

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