Glendalough Lakes Travel Guide

  • Glendalough Lakes
    by ciaobellamici
  • A Back Road to Roam
    A Back Road to Roam
    by ciaobellamici
  • Looked Toward the Lakes
    Looked Toward the Lakes
    by ciaobellamici

Glendalough Lakes Things to Do

  • Glendalough Visitor Centre

    This is just an excellent place to spend a half or full day with the family. The views are beautiful. There are trails around the place, including a boardwalk over a marsh, that is very easy for strollers/pushchairs. There are many interesting historic buildings and sites to see, two lakes, and longer trails, so a complete day would be easy to...

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  • Upper and Lower Lakes

    The Upper and Lower Lakes of Glendalough add significantly to the spectacular setting of the Valley of Glendalough and the area alongside and around the lakes is a popular place for walkers and hikers as well as picnicking day trippers from Dublin City. Around the lakes are several important monastic sites including Reefert Church, The Caher, St....

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  • St. Kevin's Bed

    Just to the west of the church is a small raised platform with a stone walled enclosure. This enclosure held a small enclave of monastic stone huts. Close to this is St. Kevin’s Bed. This cave set in the rock face about 8 metres above the lake is said to have been a place of solitude and prayer for St. Kevin and later St. Laurence O’Toole who used...

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  • Temple-na-Skellig

    This small church can only be accessed by boat due to its situation on a awkwardly placed piece of land on the southern shore of the Upper Lake. You can however catch a glimpse of the church as you walk along the northern shore and look back across the lake to the southern shore. The church was partly rebuilt during the 12th century but the...

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  • Walking Trails

    While most visitors come to Glendalough tosee the fantastic monastic treasures on display, Glendalough is also a National Park and Nature Reserve and the park is a walker’s paradise. There are nine marked walking trails in the valley of Glendalough. The walks vary from a short half hour stroll to a long four hour hillwalk. Large maps of the walks...

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  • Poulanass Waterfall

    Poulanass Waterfall is located a short walk from the UpperLake. The falls are located up a wooded hill on well signposted trail through the woods. The tall but narrow falls are set in a beautiful woodland area and cut through the rock to fall in several steps and form a series of plunge pools along the falls. The name Poulanass derives from the...

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  • The Caher

    Located between the two lakes is the ‘Caher’ which is a large stone walled circular enclosure. The exact date of its construction is unknown. The Caher would have been used as a fort and meeting point and place of prayer for pilgrims. Nearby are several stone crosses which mark stations on the pilgrims route.

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  • Reefert Church

    Reefert Church is located in a small wooded area near the western bank of the Upper Lake. The nave and chancel of the church dates from around the year 1100 but most of the surrounding walls and trenches are more modern. The church displays evidence of projecting corbels which indicate that the church once had a wooden roof but none of this...

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  • St. Mary's Church

    St. Mary’s Church, also known as Our Lady’s Church, is one of the earliest buildings at Glendalough. The remains of the church has some examples of Romanesque moulding and carving while the massive lintel of the west doorway was an unusual saltire cross carving. The church lies to the east of the main monastic city.

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  • St. Kevin's Cell

    St. Kevin’s Cell sits on a rocky outcrop on a ledge above the upper lake near Poulanass Waterfall. Only small traces of the stone ‘bee-hive’ hut remain at the site but there was once a fine early Christian monastic hut with corbelled roof and was reputedly the place where St. Kevin used to sleep when he first arrived to Glendalough and later when...

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  • St. Kieran's Church

    Just before St. Kevin’s Church are the remains of St. Kieran’s Church. These remains were only discovered in 1875. The church is probably dedicated to St. Kieran who is more famed for founding the wonderful monastic site at Clonmacnoise in Co. Offaly. Clonmacnoise had strong connections to Glendalough during the 10th century.

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  • St. Kevin's Church

    St. Kevin’s Church (also known strangely as St. Kevin’s Kitchen) is one of Glendalough’s most impressive buildings. It is quite an unusual church when compared to other early Christian Ireland churches mainly due to its strange looking round bell tower. Originally the building only had a small nave with one door and one small window but the church...

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  • Priest's House

    Another interesting and well restored and preserved building at the Glendalough monastic site is the Priest’s House. The original purpose of this building is not known for sure but it may have housed relics of St. Kevin. The building got its name from its function as a place for burying priests here during the 18th and 19th centuries. The...

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  • St. Kevin's Cross

    One of Ireland’s most unusual and largest high crosses can be seen at Glendalough. The huge cross is carved from one single piece of granite. The cross is unusual in that it is not pierced through the ring like most Irish High Crosses. (In other words there is no opening through the ring of stone intersecting the haft and arms of the cross. This is...

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  • The Cathedral

    The Cathedral is the largest building in the monastic city of Glendalough. The Cathedral was built in several stages with the earliest part being the existing nave and antae. The chancel and sacristy were added later between the 12th and 13th centuries. The main doorway also dates from this time. Under the window to the south is a stone basin used...

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Glendalough Lakes Restaurants

  • Not as such...

    There is no actual restaurant in Glendalough itself. The only options open to you are the chip shop in the car park by the Upper Lake or the local hotel/pub. Alternatively, you could stop in the nearby village of Laragh to fill up.

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  • Great Sandwiches and Soup!

    An Irish pub where they have great soup, Irish stew and sandwiches; especially when you have been out and about for the whole morning... It was great!No, I can't say too much here. It was just pub grub, really, but it was really good...

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  • Glendalough Lakes Hotels

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Glendalough Lakes Nightlife

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    by orlikins Updated Jan 22, 2007

    There is a hotel nearby with a bar, but that is basically it.

    Nobody comes to Glendalough for the nightlife, I can assure you.

    The only alternative is to go to a nearby village like Laragh or Roundwood for a few pints. As Glendalough is a protected nature reserve, there is no actual bar on the grounds. Besides, there are signs up saying you cannot drink alcohol on the grounds anyway.

    Glendalough
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    • National/State Park

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Glendalough Lakes Transportation

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    by js77 Written Jul 26, 2007

    If you have your own car then everything is ok. But if not... Surprisingly there are no buses of state runed company Bus Eireann to Glendalough. It is very weird because the amount of people visitng this place is pretty big. So, the only option to come here by bus from Dublin is to go by bus from private company St. Kevin Bus. For timetables and prices check their website http://www.glendaloughbus.com/. There is no way to get to Glendalough from nearby Wicklow. I suppose you can also go with some tour group, but that was not the case for me.

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Glendalough Lakes Local Customs

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    by pure1942 Written Jun 24, 2009

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    Kevin as a person was somewhat eccentric and reclusive to say the least and there are many legends and myths surrounding the saint. One legend says that St. Kevin lived to the ripe old age of 120!
    The most famous legend surrounding St. Kevin is based around the story that one day , when Kevin was at prayer, a blackbird landed on his hand and laid an egg in the oalm of his outstretched hand. Kevin is said to have remained frozen in position until the egg hatched. There is a stone sculpture inspired by this legend near the location of St. Kevin's Cell close to the Upper Lake.

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    • Historical Travel

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Glendalough Lakes Warnings and Dangers

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    by ciaobellamici Written Jan 5, 2011

    with this place! The pace is slow, the scenery outstanding and you will wish to wander through the Wicklow Mountains and just breath...

    St. Savior's Ruins

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Glendalough Lakes Tourist Traps

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    by orlikins Written Jan 22, 2007

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    There is a disgustingly tacky tourist stall at the entrance of the park down by the hotel, but noone is forcing you to buy anything there after all.

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Glendalough Lakes Off The Beaten Path

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    by ciaobellamici Written Mar 30, 2010

    I love this area, where you can walk out your B and B door and join a centuries-old tradition of walking along the Wicklow Way. Even the name congures up visions of travelers moving from region to region in the only method available. Prior to this trip, when I would teach of the exodus during Great Potatoe Famine, I had no visual aid to use to provide a setting for my students. As I wandered one morning along the paths, I could easily imagine families watching a loved one set out on their journey to America.
    The paths alternately follow roads, cause you to climb steep hills and come upon residental areas near villages. At one point I was walking through a backyard, it seemed! The early morning cleared to allow me to see the hills beyond the village and imagine that I was traveling over those hills to the set of hills on the way to Dublin.

    Looking toward the Lakes Quiet and Serene
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    • Historical Travel
    • National/State Park

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