Glendalough

Glendalough is a historically important monastery & village in County Wicklow in Ireland. Glendalough lies roughly 90 minutes south of Dublin City by car.

The Glendalough Roundtower

Understand

The English name Glendalough comes from the Irish Gleann Dá Locha which translates to "The valley of the two lakes".

St. Kevin was a descendent of one of the ruling families of Leinster. When he was a boy he learned under three righteous men and as a young boy he went to live at Glendalough. He founded a monastery here in the sixth century which continued to expand for 600 years, but was destroyed in 1398. In its prime, the land included churches and monastic cells and also workshops, guesthouses, a health center, farm buildings and homes. Most of the buildings that survive today date from the 10th through 12th centuries. The most famous is the round tower which is 34m high and 16m in circumference at the base. A cathedral, stone churches and decorated crosses also survived.

Glendalough is a historic site, whose Gaelic name translates to “valley of the two lakes". It consists of the 6th-century monastery founded by St. Kevin and the famous round tower, standing 112 feet high with a base measuring 52 feet in circumference.

Get in

By car

One convenient way of reaching Glendalough is by car. Travellers from Dublin should take the N11 in the direction of Wexford & take the R755 turn-off at Kilmacanogue. From Kilmacanogue follow signposts to Glendalough through Roundwood & Laragh.

Drivers should be aware that in the busy summer period car parking places may be hard to come-by due to the large amount of visitors. This is particularly true on Sunday & the August bank holiday Monday.

By bus

The St.Kevin's Bus Service is a locally owned bus service which has been operating between Glendalough and Dublin for almost a century. The journey takes in some of the best Wicklow scenery, therefore it is a great chance to relax and enjoy the Garden County en-route to Glendalough. Buses leave from Dublin (Dawson Street), check the website for the timetable (there are separate winter and summer timetables). The journey takes roughly 90 minutes to Glendalough and costs €13 for a one-way ticket, a return ticket costs €20.

Get around

The only way to see everything that Glendalough has to offer is on foot. The monastic village, lakes and round tower are all within a short stroll of the bus stops, car parks and hotels. For the more outdoor minded visitors there are several walking routes around the area which can vary from a board walk around the forest to more intense walks in the nearby hills.

See

Do

Glendalough is famous for its spectacular settings: lakes, hills, a very old monastic site.

It's very busy on a Sunday when the weather is good, people come for a walk to enjoy the nature. You can go around the lakes and into Laragh on good paths; if you want more, climb the hills which also have tracks but can be a challenge at times (wearing walking gear is recommended).

Activities

Kids

Clara Lara Funpark

Clara Lara is a unique outdoor adventure Park, a couple of kilometers from Glendalough, dedicated to providing healthy and creative fun for families and groups of children. 30 acres of beautiful countryside in the Avonmore River valley with tree houses, Tarzan swings, rope bridges, rowing boats, water slides, rafts, canoes, junior go-carts, B.B.Q.s, mini golf, picnic areas, a restaurant and lots more. Open weekends in May and everyday from June to September. There are also many water sport activities which are both safe and fun for children. Also, playgrounds and beaches are both beautiful and fun to play on.

Scenic Drives

Sally Gap From Dublin drive via Glencullen, Kilternan and The Scalp into Enniskerry. From here you can visit Powerscourt Estate and Gardens, which include the highest waterfall in Ireland. Continue to Sally Gap, a notable crossroads situated between Kippure Mountain and the Djouce Mountain, where the road leads to Glendalough, by Glenmacnass and Laragh.

Wicklow Gap The Wicklow Gap links East and West Wicklow and it is a wonderful scenic drive which starts from Hollywood and meanders across the mountains to Glendalough with spectacular views en route. Laragh, Glenmalure, Aughrim, Avoca, Rathdrum, Laragh From Laragh on the Rathdrum Road take the Military Road through the scenic Glenmalure. Drive on to the picturesque village of Aughrim and back through Avoca, the home of ‘Ballykissangel’. Stop at the Meetings of the Waters and then head to Rathdrum where you can take in the historic Avondale House, home to Charles Stewart Parnell and head back to Laragh where you can take in Clara Lara Fun Park on the way.

Attractions

Festivals & Events

The Walking Festival takes place annually in October and starts from Laragh.

The Bealtaine Festival takes place in May and is an ‘Arts’ festival to celebrate the older members of the community. The events are varied and include drama, music and dance and are open to everyone.

The Festival of St. Kevin takes place in June and the St. Laurence O’Toole Festival take place in November.

The Wicklow Gardens Festival takes place in the summer from May until August where many unique gardens are open to the public.

Historic & Ecclesiastical Sites

Monastic City Glendalough is home to one of the most important monastic sites in Ireland. This early Christian monastic settlement was founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century and from this developed the ‘Monastic City’. The ‘City’ consists of a number of monastic remains, and the most impressive being the Round Tower which stands 30m high. The main group of monastic buildings lie downstream near the Round Tower.

Museums/ Visitor & Education Centres

Glendalough Visitor Centre

The Visitor Centre is adjacent to ruins of the monastic settlement and has an interesting exhibition and an audio-visual show. Guided tours of the Monastic City are available in multiple languages all year round by advance booking. The Visitor Centre also holds Free Summer Lectures related to Irish heritage and history.

Parks & Gardens

Wicklow is known as the ‘Garden of Ireland’ because of its diverse landscape and beauty but it also boasts a myriad of wonderful gardens both formal and informal as well as a number of parks and woodland walks. You can visit Powerscourt Gardens and Waterfall (the highest in Ireland) in Enniskerry. Mount Usher Gardens in Ashford are also well worth a visit. Avondale House, in Rathdrum, is set in 500 acres of forest with short and long walks.

Services

Cinema

If you fancy a trip to the movies you have to travel to the Bridgewater Centre in Arklow or Bray in Co. Wicklow for the nearest cinema – the journey takes about 30 minutes.

Eat

There are many different choices of restaurants in Glendalough ranging from small cafes to bars.

Bars

There are numerous different bars scattered around Glendalough. They all have special home cooked meals and many provide live enteretainment as well.

Cafe

The cafes are famous for their hospitality. May's Tea Rooms for example is a quite little place if our looking to grab a small bite to eat and a fresh cup or coffee, or tea. It is actually a piece of history being that it is the last remaining tea room in Laragh. The cafes make you feel right at home.

Deli

After hiking, cycling, biking or any other sport or activity a person can find in Glendalough, there has to be time to stop and grab a good lunch. Glendalough Fayre is known for its organic coffee and freshly made delicious sandwiches. These can be ate in the deli or packed up and taken on a picnic.

Drink

Sleep

There are also many B&B's in Laragh and Glendalough, so if you arrived early enough in the day you could decide on the spot where to stay.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, February 19, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.