Newest Review: ... say Guinness is good for you...). The monastery was once the Monastic Capital of Europe. Its site includes two beautiful lakes, 100 ft... more
BEAUTY BEYOND BELIEF
Member Name: deanne
Date: 15/05/01, updated on 15/05/01 (145 review reads)
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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
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.
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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