GLENDALOUGH AND KILKENNY
If you want to find a magical and, at the same time a mysterious place in Ireland you have to go to Glendalough: This is a glacial valley in County Wicklow, renowned for an Early Medieval monastic settlement founded in the 6th century by St. Kevin.
This beautiful place is not really far from Dublin just one hour by car or bus , so you don’t need a long journey to experience beautiful countryside. During the journey on the bus if you look out the window you can see amazing views, which are really breath-taking…In the meanwhile our guide explains something about the history of this place…
Kevin, a descendant of one of the ruling families in Leinster, studied as a boy under the care of three holy men, Eoghan, Lochan and Eanne. During this time he went to Glendalough. He was to return later, with a small group of monks to found a monastery where “the two rivers form a confluence”. Kevin’s writing discuss his fighting “knights” at Glendalough and today scholars believe that this refers to his process of self-examination and his personal temptations.
In this place you will see many monuments like the Gateway to the monastic city of Glendalough, which is one of the most important monuments. It was originally two-storeyed with two fine, granite arches; the paving of the causeway in the monastic city is still preserved in part, but very little remains of the enclosure wall.
The tallest monument is the Round Tower, which is about 30 metres high. The Tower originally had six timber floors, connected by ladders; the top storey has four windows facing the cardinal compass points. It was built as a bell tower, but also served as a refuge from the attacks of the Vikings.
The largest and most imposing of the buildings at Glendalough is the Cathedral, which had several phases of construction: the earliest consisting of its antae; the chancel and sacristy date from the late XII and early XIII century.
St. Kevin Church, or well known as “Kitchen”, is a superb example of the Irish builders desire to integrate a circular bell-tower or belfry with a rectangular church. Perhaps because of its small size, or the tower’s resemblance to a chimney, it is generally known as “St. Kevin Kitchen”.
But let’s go ahead… because I think that the best aspect is properly the natural one: the lakes and the nature trails. You will be immersed in the real nature and the views will leave you jaw-dropped. It’s not a long walk, it is about 15\20 minutes, but it is well worth it, especially the route to the Upper Lake, which is a glacial one, in the Wicklow Mountains National Park.
If you choose to visit here on a day tour you also visit the cosy city of Kilkenny, which especially around Christmas, is really amazing! This is a medieval town and here you can visit the town and enjoy the typical food in a market or in a pub. The most important attractions in the town are Kilkenny Castle, which was seat of the Butler family, and its park just in front of it. Another famous attraction is St. Canice’s Cathedral and it was built in the XIII century and it’s the second longest cathedral in Ireland. If you want to enjoy the amazing landscapes of Ireland you don’t really need to go so far… just one-hour-drive and you will be in one of the most amazing place in Ireland!