Glendalough is a valley located within the Wicklow Hills and is host to the same-named monastery site. The foundations of Glendalough's Old Monastic Complex are strewn across the valley, but the Round Spire, which rises 30 meters tall and is among Ireland's best-preserved structures, is by far the most impressive. Glendalough means "valley of the two lakes" in Irish, and the Upper and Lower lagoons, and the monastic site, are unquestionably the area's most important features. The valley of Glendalough is a sprawling expanse that blends incredible natural features with complete tranquility. As visitors walk higher into the Wicklow Hills, mists will flood over the valley's rim, and the echo of crystal-clear icy rivers will bubble across the rocks, creating an environment of complete serenity.

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Why The Monastic Sites At Glendalough Are Important?

The location was established in the 6th century by Saint Kevin as being one of the nation's first Christian settlements. The monastery spent the following few centuries disseminating and preaching ecclesiastical principles. The Normans, however, devastated the settlements during their conquest. The majority of the surviving structures from the Glendalough monastery site belong to the 10th to 11th centuries. St. Kevin's Kitchen, the Entrance, St. Kevin's Cross, the Church, and a circular tower are a few of the structures to look out for while visiting the area.

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Let's Take A Tour Of The Site

How About Some Walking?

Visitors can take a brief tour around the remains or go to one of the strenuous mountain walks that wind down into the valley and around the gorgeous lakes in Glendalough.

  • The Spinc Walk: Before approaching the Lugduff Valley, the hike crosses the Poulanass Waterfall. From there, a difficult ascent up steps leads to the Spinc Cliff Promenade, which follows the cliff's edge before passing through the forest and returning to the Information Centre.
  • The Green Road Walk: The Green Road is a beautiful hike along a trail and walkway that winds through oak trees before dipping down to the Lower Lakeside wetland's shore. From the walkway, the sights up the valley are breathtaking.

Tour St. Peter and St. Paul Cathedral

The Cathedral is the biggest of Glendalough's seven chapels. It was constructed in stages from the 10th to the early 13th centuries. Huge mica-schist blocks were re-used from a previous modest church to lay the foundations up to an altitude of the western doorway. The aisle is the oldest portion, with antae holding the timber roof. The nave's northern doorway is likewise from this time period. A wall cabinet, a stone font, numerous burial slabs, and the ruins of a carved arch can also be found inside.

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Let's Explore St. Kevin's Church, Or Is It A Kitchen?

St. Kevin's Church, also known as St. Kevin's Kitchen, is a 1200s nave-and-chancel church. It was given the name St Kevin's Kitchen as locals thought the bell tower was a kitchen flue, but no meal was ever prepared there. This stone-roofed structure originally comprised merely a nave, with a modest round-headed opening in the eastern gable and an entryway at the western end. The belfry, with its conical top and four tiny windows, arises as a little round turret from the western end of the stone ceiling.

Go Swimming In The Upper Lake

Residents and guests use the alpine lakes frequently. During summers, the sandy region near the eastern side of Glendalough's Upper Lake is a famous place for kayaking and swimming. The lake is deep, with abrupt depth changes, as visitors are cautioned. The shallow regions are fairly narrow and abruptly drop down at one place.

Important Things To Know

  • According to the warning, anyone who enters the lake does so at their own risk.
  • There are no lifeguards on the job.
  • Parents, especially, should be conscious of the risks and should never leave their kids unsupervised while swimming or paddling.
  • Along the shoreline, life tubes can be found at set intervals.

Admire The Monastery Gateway

Glendalough was surrounded on all sides by a circular fortification. The arch is made up of roman style pillars, which means the rocks were carved to scale and held themselves together without the use of cement. The entire construction would crumble if even one of the blocks were to be taken. The Gateway, which is quite lovely, is Ireland's sole remaining representation of a medieval gateway to an ancient monastic settlement. It was once a two-story edifice with two magnificent granite columns.

See The St. Kevin's Cross

St. Kevin's Cross is a remarkable example of a simple cross fashioned out of one granite slab. It could have served as a border marker for the graveyard where the priests' home is located. This crucifix is an excellent illustration of St Patrick's efforts to assist Ireland's once-pagan population in their conversion to Christianity. Since the pagans revered the sun and moon, the cross was combined with a circle symbolizing the sun. According to local folklore concerning St. Kevin's Cross anybody who can reach their arms around the full width of the cross body and seal the circle by touching fingers will have their desires answered.

The Valley of Glendalough is a breathtaking sight to see, not just because of its historical value, but also because of its tranquility and beauty. When visitors arrive, they will feel at peace and will have an unforgettable experience.