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Glendalough (Wicklow)

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The picturesque valley of Glendalough is located in the Wicklow Mountains of eastern Ireland. Saint Kevin founded a monastery in Glendalough in the 6th century, and the valley became an important religious center. The ruins of several churches of the 11th

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      15.05.2001 20:29
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      The place: Glendalough or in Irish its 'Gleann Da Loch' which means Valley of the Two Lakes. It is situated in County Wicklow. It is approximately 51 km (32 miles) South West of Dublin. If you are driving, turn off the Dublin-Wexford N11 at Kilmacanogue and take the R755. The country roads are easy to navigate because there are not that many roads! Founded by St. Kevin in 498 (approx). Brief History on St. Kevin: He was born from a Leinster family. He was educated by monks. He later lived a hermits life in a cave (named St. Kevins Bed) located in the monastery he founded at Glendalough. He was said to have loved animals and various stories have you believe a cow licked his feet and this made the cow produce 50 times more milk than any of the other herd. (...maybe this story was made up after a few too many Guinness's.). St. Kevin died in 618...so he would have been 120. (They say Guinness is good for you...). The monastery was once the Monastic Capital of Europe. Its site includes two beautiful lakes, 100 ft high Round Tower (built by the monks of the monastry), waterfalls, well preserved ruins of decorated crosses, stone church's, gravestones and a Cathedral. 'St. Kevins Bed' overlooks the upper lake. (The ruins date from the 11th and 12th century approx.) The monastery lasted about 600 years until being destroyed in 1398. English troops over-run the monastery in the same year, so there could be a link! Glendalough has a visitors centre. This is situated at the entrance. (bang opposite the carpark roundabout). It is an unobtrusive attractive building, it really doesnt affect the beauty of the place. There is an admission charge of 2.00 (punts) and 1.00 (punt) for children and students. It is totally accessible for wheelchairs, and guide dogs are permitted. The centre has leafets, an audio-visual show 'Ireland of the Monasteries' (I cant comment on it because I didnt see it). The centre also provides guided tours of the monastery site. The centre's address etc: Glendalough Visitors Centre Glendalough Bray Country Wicklow Tel: (0404) 45325 (I think from England you dial 01035340445325) Fax: (0404) 45626 That is the formalities out of the way. For me, Glendalough is without a doubt the most beautiful place I have ever visited. I have driven through the picturesque valleys of Wales and the beauty spots of England, but Glendalough definately took my breath away. If you ever visit Ireland and do not see this place of beauty, you have deprived yourself of a pleasure close to paradise. I have been to Glendalough about 4 times now, and it still captures me. The eeriness of the ruins and the warm beauty of the surrounding woodlands, the lakes... it is such a magical place. Tips: Take a packed lunch. There are picnic bench's located in the carpark (dont be put off...its the prettiest carpark I have ever seen). Or, save lunch for the picnic area beside the upper lake. Wear comfortable walking shoes, preferably hiking boots or good trainers. If you are taking a baby/toddler, make sure you have a sturdy buggy. However, its very doubtful you will be able to take the buggy further than the upper lake (to the waterfalls). Bearing in mind the above, I'm afraid it is impossible to gain access to the monastery ruins if you are in a wheelchair. So, sit quietly in the carpark with your sixpack and hip flask and look forward to watching the video your able bodied friends will make. And finally......when visiting Glendalough, prepare yourself for an experience of a lifetime.

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        10.01.2001 20:29
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        Glendalough Glendalough is situated in the Valley of the Wicklow mountains but is less than an hour away from Dublin (if my memory serves me right). Glendalough lies in a valley and is surrounded by woods. It has two lakes (the upper and lower lakes) but also is the setting for one of the earliest and most important Christian sites within Ireland (11th & 12th Century.) According to Irish legends St. Kevin sought refuge in a cave, overlooking the upper lake. A monastery sprung up around him and the remains of this site can still be seen near the lower lake. Visitors to Glendalough can see this site, enjoy a woodland walk with beautiful scenery and use the picnic areas. There is busy through traffic in the area in tourist season, so if possible try to visit in off peak - it is a lot more peaceful. I have visited Glendalough several times now, both on and off peak season - and I LOVE IT. It is beautiful, peaceful (or can be), interesting and not all that far from Dublin. If you are a keen photographer, Glendalough has a multitude of picture opportunities. One of my fondest memories of my time in Ireland includes a visit to Glendalough with a group of friends, on what turned out to be a very wet Spring day. As well as fond memories, that day I got some stunning pictures.

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