For such a small country, there sure is a lot to see here. Glendalough means, The Valley of Two Lakes.
The buildings here are from the 8th and 12th Centuries. The most famous is the Round Tower. It is 34m high and 16 m circuference at its base. St. Kevin founded a monastery here in the 6th Century. This site grew to become famous for a center of learning throughout Europe.
There is a custom here to walk around the tower several times. The exact reason I cannot recall - perhaps another VTer can help?
Do you like to walk through graveyards? I do.
You really need a guide to explain the complexities of burials in Ireland and Europe.
Some of the graves are burials from deaths during the potato famine.
The Celtic Crosses have significance also. They are used as the burial stones. In Glendalough the stone was so hard that only the date and names could be recorded but some places have entire Bible stories on them!
To me, Glendalough is a special place, combining the ancient ruins of the early St Kevins monastery with the two lakes (hence the name Glen of the two lakes), the walks around them and all around the surrounding Wicklow Mountains (with lots of good walking though watch out for bog holes and streams that are not marked on the maps;) as always make sure someone knows where you're going, wear good boots and be careful)
Glendalough's charms can be hard to spot on a sunny summers day when the area is swamped with day-trippers from Dublin. So why not stay in one of the local hostels or B&Bs and enjoy it properly! An Oige, the offical Irish Youth Hostelling Association, has one of its best and biggest hostel here (http://www.anoige.ie/hostels). Have stayed here several times and its very good.
Theres much to see in Glendalough away from the main monastic site, including occasional waterfalls, the old miners village and scattered ancient stones and monuments.
Back in Laragh, 2 km from Glendalough, you'll find plenty of food options. This is also where the only public transport option to get here, the private St Kevins bus company (www.glendaloughbus.com), picks up from.
Have seen many ancient places but this is still my favourite.
I went to Glendalough which is some sort of old graveyard.. It's was pretty awesome, to see that.. Surrounding by beautiful landscape.. AND, last but not least.. On the way there I actually drove on the very same road where they shooted the movie "Braveheart".. How cool isn't that?
Try and go here on a nice day. Its really nice in the sun. Bring a picnic! Its usually very busy with lots of tour buses. You can see the round tower, old monastery & ruins and then walk down to the two lakes.
After visiting the Visitor's Center and seeing the audiovisual presentation take time to walk around the area. It's amazing that any of this is still standing considering it was built in the 8th and 12th Centuries.
You will see the ancient graveyards with Celtic Crosses as burial stones.
The Round Tower is part of the monastic sites in Glendalough. It was very interesting. It basically served as a watch tower. Notice how there is an entry door several feet above ground level. There used to be stairs that led up to the door.
When you're in Glendalough, make sure you walk down to the monastic sites and see St. Kevin's Cross. Then when you buy one of the necklaces, you can say you actually saw it :) The walk down to see the sites was very pleasant and easy. It begins at the Glendalough Visitor Center. Don't miss it!
Glendalough was beautiful - nice and green like you think Ireland should be! And it wasn't far from Dublin, but a nice place to go if you want to get out of the city and in to more of Ireland, but don't have a lot of time to see the whole country.
This prehistoric man made cave in the rock face above the lake has deteriorated somewhat since I first visited it in 1982. The ledge in front of the cave is not as solid, and some of the top, near the front seems to have had some damage. I learned about St. Kevin's Bed in a tourist publication about Glendalough that indicated there were boat tours that stopped at the shore and guides to help one up the hewn steps to the cave. This book was very out of date. In 1995, I had to jump over a fence and I found the trail much more difficult than 20 years ago, but the view from the cave, and the opportunity to spend time in such an ancient location, that was used for such important purposes by Irishmen such as St. Kevin and Archbishop O'Toole, made the dangerous climb worth the trouble. There were initials and names carved toward the opening of the cave, with older, I assume original, hewing marks toward the back. I was briefly tempted to make my own mark, but no need, "NMc", already had been carved by someone who shares my initials. I wished I could have spent six weeks there in the spring with monks (or birds, in the case of St. Kevin) to bring my daily food and drink. Just beyond St. Kevin's Bed are supposedly the oldest church ruins on the site. If you visit the Bed, it is certainly worth a little extra effort to visit them as well. In 1982, during my first visit, I vowed to return. 1995 was the last time I went to St. Kevin's Bed. I am now too old and frail to attempt the pilgrimage again. Anyone else who has been there, please let me know about your experiences!
The cemetary holds representations of the progression of celtic artwork through Ireland's history. some of these date back almost 1000 years. and you can follow the different burial traditions dating from the dawn of christianity.
In the cemetary, it was gutted by fire during a viking invasion. To the guide's knowledge, this is the last representative of this type of monastic architecture still standing. Once these were found throughout the celtic isles. Used both to look out for invaders and for defense, it was not proof against seige warfare.
Glendalough is one the earliest Christian monasteries in Ireland. In that regards it is very similar to Clonmacnoise, though I must admit that given a choice I’d pick Glendalough any day: The surrounding area is simply stunning – much more beautiful than Clonmacnoise in my humble opinion -, it is more accessible than Clonmacnoise (which is right in the middle of nowhere) and - most importantly for the budget conscious traveller – the entrance is absolutely free of charge.
Glendalough 'the glen of the two lakes', is a truly spellbinding place - an ancient monastic settlement and two clear water lakes beneath the sheer cliffs of a deep valley which was carved out by glaciers during the Ice Age. The monastic settlement has been a centre for pilgrims and visitors since its foundation by St. Kevin in the 6th century. Kevin is thought to have come from the more fertile lands of county Kildare and like many other men of sanctity in early times, desired solitude for his life of prayer and contemplation. Thus he withdrew into the thinly peopled mountains and set up his hermitage at Glendalough.
The settlement expanded and flourished for many years before being finally destroyed in the 16th century. The present remains, some of the most important of their kind in Ireland, tell only a small part of the monastic story. The buildings which survive - round tower, cathedral, stone churches and decorated crosses - probably date from between the 8th and 12th centuries. The famous Round Tower, about 34m high and 16m in circumference at the base, is still in near perfect condition even though it is almost 1,000 years old.
St Kevin came to this area in the 6th Century. There are remains from an early Christian monastery and one of the surviving buildings is a 110 ft tower. The history of violence by the Vikings and then the English is really fasinating.