Monday, November 26, 2007

St. Kevin's Monastery in the Wicklow Mountains

celtic cross, glendalough, wicklow mountainsCeltic Cross at Glendalough
Photo by Connor Cashman

In the Wicklow Mountains, Glendalough is the site of a monastery founded in the 6th century by St. Kevin. The monastery was a center of learning for over 600 years, surviving several raids by the Vikings.

There are two sets of ruins you can visit; one in the lower valley, close to the visitors center, and one near the Upper Lake. In the lower valley, you can see the Gateway, the Cathedral, St. Kevin's Church and the Round Tower, as well as several other buildings and the cemetery. The ruins near the Upper Lake include the Caher, Reefert Church, St. Kevin's Cell, St. Kevin's Bed, and Temple-na-Skellig.

round tower, glendalough, irelandRound Tower

If you have time, consider taking advantage of the many walking paths in Glendalough. From the visitor center, you can take a 20 minute walk to the Upper Lake. When you get there, stop in the Wicklow Mountains National Park Office for information about the different hiking trails in Glendalough. You can also check out the website Walking in Ireland for some great information about walking in Glendalough.

Glendalough is always open and free to the public. The visitor center opens at 9:30 am and does charge a fee that includes a guided tour of the ruins. The site is a popular tourist destination and fills up with bus tours after noon. Plan to arrive early to miss the crowds.

If you are wondering how to pronounce Glendalough, the "lough" sounds like the Scottish "loch".

See more pictures of Glendalough.