Glendalough, with Photos

Posted on September 4, 2007 by Holly Hayes
Part of: Ireland Road Trip


Glendalough was our first stop after Dublin early in the trip and was one of our favorite sights in Ireland. We had such a fun time walking on the nature trails and exploring the old ruins, and we even had some intermittent sunshine for the photos. Here's what I said about it in my brief post from the road:

Tuesday our main stop was in Glendalough ("Valley of the Two Lakes"), which is only about an hour south of Dublin. It's a very scenic area with mountains (well, big hills) rising up on all sides above two lakes and a great national park with walking trails all over it.

All of that would be worthwhile on its own, but it was also the chosen spot of a monk called Kevin who lived there as a hermit in c.600 AD. He attracted a huge following and a monastic settlement grew up there over the centuries. So we got to visit the beautiful stone ruins of churches, cemeteries and another round tower, while also enjoying the pretty landscape (and building up those squishy leg muscles). It was so very cool and highly recommended.

And now, here's some pictures!

View across a stream to St. Kevin's monastic city.

church of st kevin
Church of St. Kevin (10th or 11th century)

the cathedral
Ruins of the Cathedral (10th century)

the cathedral
The Cathedral again

David peeking through the window of the Priests' House (10th or 11th century), so called because local priests were buried there in the 1700s and 1800s.

round tower
The Round Tower - note that the door is several feet from the ground. In times of Viking attack (which was rather frequent), the monks would climb up using a wooden ladder and then pull it inside.

cemetery and round tower
The sprawling cemetery was a mix of ancient and modern tombstones.

path to upper lake
The longish but pleasant walk from the Lower Lake to the Upper Lake.

upper lake
The Upper Lake.

Happy travelers at the Upper Lake.

us @ st kevin's cell
Posing from the site of St. Kevin's monastic cell high above the Upper Lake (taken by a passing Italian tourist). It was quite a hike to get up here, but the view was nice!

After that hike, it was a long walk back to the Visitors' Centre for a bathroom break, but then we decided to head for one last sight - a church 1 km in the other direction that has Romanesque carvings! Yay! David was a trouper and joined me for the trek with enthusiasm, despite not having any particular interest in Romanesque. It's called St. Saviour's Church and dates from the 1100s, and is the newest church at Glendalough! That's really something.

The route took us through a very overgrown field.

david @ st. savior's church
David at St. Saviour's Church.

st. saviour's church (12c) st. saviour's church (12c) st. saviour's church (12c)
Two birds with a human head between their beaks, according to the pamphlet from the Visitor's Centre.

st. saviour's church (12c)
A lion intertwined with a person's hair.

st. saviour's church (12c)
A pretty stone flower.