Glendalough – ancient monuments

Glendalough - where holy men once carved in rock, the sacred place of Glendalough. Photo copyright Ireland Calling

Glendalough is a site of outstanding natural beauty and contains numerous monuments from early Irish Christianity.

Walking in Glendalough
Attractions in Ireland

It was once home to St Kevin and is located in the Wicklow Mountains National Park, which is about an hour away from Dublin by car.

It gets its name from the Irish ‘Gleann Dá Loch’ which means ‘Glen of two lakes’.

Glendalough Photo copyright Ireland Calling

As well as having several historical monuments, Glendalough also boasts some beautiful scenery including the two lakes and the surrounding mountains and valleys.

Visitors to Glendalough can take guided tours or go on several designated walks of varying distance and difficulty.

Notable Irish Monuments and Ruins

At Glendalough you can visit the monastic settlement that was founded by St Kevin in the sixth century. Much of the settlement was destroyed by the English in 1398.

One of the most famous monuments is the Gateway to Glendalough. The Gateway is in the lower valley and would have originally been two storeys high.

Gateway to Glendalough

The Round Tower

The Round Tower is a 30 metre tall tower which originally had six floors. The floors were made of timber and connected by ladders. The entrance to the tower is on the first floor which is 3.5 metres from the base.

When the monastery was under attack, the monks would have taken refuge in the tower. In 1876, the roof of was rebuilt using the same stones that had originally been used.

St Kevin’s Church is also known as the ‘kitchen’. It is located at the foot of a wooded hill. It has a steep roof, formed with overlapping stones.
The Priest’s House is a Romanesque building. It is remarkable because it was reconstructed using the original stones and a 1779 sketch by Ireland based Dutch artist, Gabriel Beranger.

The original purpose of the house has been lost in time although some say the relics of St Kevin were placed there. It became known as the priest’s house in the 18th and 19th centuries when it was used for interring priests.

There are several more monuments including the Cathedral, St Kevin’s Cell and the ‘Caher’.


Walking in Glendalough

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