Glendalough is an amazing valley located in County Wicklow, Ireland, formed during the last ice age by a glacier. Today it is best known for its spectacular greenery and the renowned Early Medieval monastic settlement founded in the 6th century. This place has magnificent views, fresh air and everything an outdoor enthusiast dreams of! It has many breathtaking views and is used regurarly for commercials.
This place is great for all kinds of outdoor activities, nature lovers and history buffs.
I mean: the monastic site, the old mines and town, nine walking trails maintained by Wicklow Mountains National Park (all from information office, maps available) and rock climbing are only a couple of things that this place has to offer.
This location is also a wonderfull family spot, with a lot of free space for the kids to run around, to play soccer and other outdoor games. Or simply to have a family picnic. Best way to spend quality time with your children! It is an amazing place with fresh water, green trees and beautiful views. If you are in Ireland this is a must - to - do spot!
This was an amazing area in the Wicklow Mountains. Glendalough is a 13th Century Celtic Monastary and has quite a bit of history with it. If anything, it's just old, but such things as the chapels and the giant spire is intriguing, if not the natural surroundings. You can take a mini bus there for an all day trip which costs about 25 Euros and stops for lunch. The name of the service is Over The Top tours.
Not far from Dublin there's a beautiful place in Wicklow Mountains called Glendalough. To get there you can get on the bus from Dublin (St.Kevin Bus Service, Dublin terminal is situated at St.Stevens Green) or if you drive follow the signs from M50 motorway, going south from Dublin. Glendalough has a lot to offer to everyone. You can visit the round tower or some ancient monastic places and churches. St. Kevin founded his monastery here in the 6th century, but the buildings which survive probably date from between 8th and 12th century. If you into hiking you can go for a lovely walk beside the lake up to the upper lake or even further into the mountains. Or just simply relax sitting by the lake, there's a possibility of grilling (special places provided).
Glendalough is a very! busy place at the weekends and public holidays, so try to avoid that.
There's two car parks, one near the visitor centre (free) and charged one by the upper lake.
I really loved this place.
There are tours that go here from Dublin every day and if you're into nature and a bit of history and legends, this is the place for you.
According to our tour guide, because of a broken heart (with St. Kevin being the one who was broke someones heart) Glandalough is the place where birds never sing. And really, you won't hear birds there. We didn't. Well, unless they're from Portugal.
We continued to the remains of a monastic settlement which was founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century. It is said St. Kevin came from more fertile lands to this place due to his desire for solitude, prayer and contemplation. The settlement continued to grow for 600 years until 1598 when it was destroyed. We then saw remain of buildings from the 8th and 12th centuries. We were shown the stone foundation and remains of a building where people gather for mass. There is a place in one of the walls that is said to contain Holy water. It is said the water come to the hole in the wall on it’s own and never dries up. Dave said masses are still held in this area for the locals on some Sundays. It would be a sight to see an ancient mass.
As we continued to travel and then walk around the area, the greenery and lakes were amazing. This is the Ireland I had imagined in dreams so green even in the winter. As we walked Dave asked for a female volunteer so he could demonstrate the kissing gate we saw along the way. As we continued we were shown the location of scenes from Braveheart, Excalibur and King Arthur. When we were there we even saw the van and crew filming for the new Lassie movie.
Lastly we went to the Glencree International Reconciliation centre where we saw an exhibit about the IRA that was very informative. The mission of the center is to “Provide services and facilities, which are expressly devoted to the building of peace within communities in both parts of Ireland, in Britain and beyond.” The exhibits change and it is a worthwhile visit if you are in the Wicklow area.
Bottom Line: If you are in Ireland for a few days especially in the warmer months this is the place to see. Daytours unplugged makes the trip fun and informative.
This is the Ireland I think of!!
Early in the morning we booked a tour for me and my mother with Daytour unplugged. They promise to go to places where larger buses and trains can not take you since they travel ith a smaller van. I have to say they did deliver a great experience.
We met our tour guide who introduced himself s Dave the “younger”. As we pulled out of Trinity square and saw the Molly Malone statue he began singing. We were asked to join in the song of the “tart with a cart”.
We then traveled to the east coast along Dublin Bay. We past Dalkey where Irish celebrities such as Enya are said to live. Unfortunately we could not stop at this area since it was guarded and does not allow for car traffic.
For breakfast we stopped at Avoca hand weavers which started in 1723. Here they have some handcrafts which you may purchase. The guide kept joking how every old Irish girl was his girlfriend. He then told us how every American told him he looks like Jack Nickelson. At first, we did not see it but then he flashed a cheesy smile and I could se how people would think that.
After we headed for Glendalough, “the valley of the 2 lakes” which was to be the highlight of my trip to Ireland. Here, we saw the round tower, which is about 1000 years old. These building once were found throughout Ireland. However, the guide said that the one we saw now may be the only one in existence now to his knowledge. The towers were destroyed by fires started by Viking Invaders. Dave stated the tower was used as a lookout and for defense. You would not want to get caught inside one during a Viking raid. This is because you would be killed by the fires that the Viking would set and throw inside. There were graves with Celtic Crosses surrounding the tower. We were told the Celtic Cross was a compromise by Catholics to get Pagans in Ireland to more readily accept their beliefs. The Celtic Cross incorporates some Pagan elements into it.
...you will believe in your marrow that you are seeing BEYOND forever! It's hard to contemplate such a paradise exists on this same planet Earth, but it does. Just be here in the off-season, say, early autumn, and you will not be bothered by hordes of anything or anyone. You can readily reach Glendalough by private car, but even a good organized daytour by bus wouldn't be the worst thing you could do.
*****I noticed this wacky sign, so I said I must have my photo taken with it. Then I realized the warning came with a handy plastic lifering. No worries again, eh? If one is foolish enough to jump or dance or run into this lake, where there's an apparent swift and deadly drop-off, one's friends back on shore have a solid option to help their dope pal out.*****
not too many places are these days, everything is so connected to everything else, in reality or in cyberspace. But the peaceful Glendalough Abbey ruins are well worth a visit. Make sure you ramble around the stones and crosses themselves but also take note to cross the nearby small bridge and take a hike, will you, about a 20min hike past the two lakes and back around in a circle to your starting point. For city people especially, this is a lovely reminder that this world still exists.
you may well run into these hardy fellows. There could be an entire flock of sheep present for your very amusement and picture-taking pleasure, running back and forth across the road, perilously close to the edge, but hey! they can do that safely, you can't. Just make sure you declare to the customs officer at Heathrow or your US point of arrival that, yes sir, officer sir, I was in a rural area in back-country Ireland, I guess you could rightly call it farming country, yes there were animals and that might be dirt on my boots now...or not. ;-)))
Something I often hear from people who come and visit me, is that Dublin is not a very green city. This may be true for the city centre, but then people already forget beautiful Merrion Square and St. Stephen's Green right there. Phoenix Park is Europe's largest open space of green within a major city - so there!
Moreover, the well-established residential areas directly south of the city centre offer beautiful green sights, as well as many trendy bars and cute shops. Try suburbs as Ballsbridge, Ranelagh and Rathmines and you will be amazed by how green Dublin really is!
If you're looking for green outside, go to the Wicklow Mountains where the old ruins of Glendalough lie amidst a green valley (see picture). You can admire the lush gardens of Powerscourt estate or dream away in the peaceful Vale of Avoca. Alternatively, seaside suburbs like Bray and Howth offer fresh air and good cuisine and are easy to reach by local train. And the pastoral setting of ancient monuments such as Newgrange isn't too far from Dublin either.
St. Kevin founded his monastery in Glendalough in 498, and thus the future fame of this Mid - Eastern County Wicklow valley began. The Round Tower in Glendalough, probably the most famous of all the landmarks in County Wicklow, was built almost 1,000 years ago by the monks of St. Kevin’s monastery. The tower is 110 ft. in height.
In the late 1800s the cone shaped part of the Round Tower was struck by lightening, and had to be replaced, as it was split down the centre. When these repairs were being done a lightening conductor was fitted in the roof to avoid further instances of lightening damage to the tower. It is said of that time when the repairs were being carried out that a local man called Sam Kennedy danced a hornpipe around the rim of the tower.
The Round Tower has remained standing through more recent mishaps also. Approximately 10 or 12 years ago there was a fire inside the tower, which could have destroyed it. The cause of the fire locally is considered to have been the result of hitch-hikers, which were staying inside the tower and may have accidentally ignited a large depth of twigs, branches and other debris, which was accumulated inside the tower by birds nesting there. Fortunately no damage was done to the Tower.