Monastery at Glendalough

Why Visit Mythical and beautiful Glendalough

Glendalough, also known as the city of the seven churches, is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Ireland and is both a nature and history lovers dream. Just a short drive from Dublin, it’s one of the most popular destinations to visit on a day trip from Dublin. So, why should you visit?

It is a photographers dream

Glendalough is the Ireland you see in your dreams. It is the Ireland you see in movies, especially if one of those movies is P.S. I Love You. Think of stunning lakes, ancient round towers, and rolling green hills covered in purple heather. Think wild deer, birds chirping, forests full of mossy trees and spectacular waterfalls. Think of a place that dates all the way back to 600 A.D and yet still maintains a top spot in the hearts of many in modern day Ireland. Glendalough is truly a photographers dream.

It Has a Magical Healing Stone

Everyone loves a bit of magic, a bit of natural healing and anything with a great story. The Deer Stone in Glendalough has all three! The Deer Stone is a hollowed out stone whose meaning stretches back into prehistory. It is said that water from the stone has healing properties but to be effective it should be visited, while fasting, before sunrise on a Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, and on each occasion you must crawl around the stone seven times on bare knees while praying. Totally achievable!

You Can Make a Wish At St. Kevin’s Cross

Did you know one of Ireland’s most unusual and largest high crosses can be seen at Glendalough? Well, now you know! The most amazing thing about the cross is that it is entirely carved from one single piece of granite. The cross is also unusual in that it is not pierced through the ring like most Irish High Crosses. A local legend surrounding this cross says that anyone who can wrap their arms around the entire width of the cross body will have all their wishes granted. No harm in trying, eh?

The Lake Looks Like a Pint of Guinness

If you take the time, and you should, to hike to the top of the trails starting from the Glendalough visitor centre, you will be rewarded with the most spectacular views of the surrounding national park. The highlight of these incredible views is looking down at Lough Tay, which happens to like like the world’s biggest pint of Guinness! Fun fact? The Northern part of the coastline of the lake actually forms part of an estate belonging to the Guinness family!

There’s An Incredible 600 Step Wooden Trail

Feeling fit, or just looking to walk off all those delicious pints you have been drinking? The Spinc Trail, one of the most popular in Glendalough, includes more than 600 wooden steps that lead you to a viewing point overlooking the Upper Lake. The name Spinc comes from the Irish ‘An Spinc’ meaning pointed hill. Once you finish the trail, you will understand the name all the more!

It’s Home To A 1000 Year Old Round Tower

The most famous of all the landmarks in Glendalough is the ancient Round Tower which stands 33 meters above the ground and is considered by many to be one of the most finely constructed and beautiful towers in Ireland. Built by the monks of St. Kevin’s monastery almost 1,000 years ago, the tower was used as a place of refuge for monks when the monastery was under attack. It also served as both a lookout post and as beacons for approaching monks and pilgrims making their way to Glendalough from afar.

It’s the ‘Road To Jerusalem’!

Close to the visitor center in Glendalough you will find one of Ireland’s only Labyrinths. Throughout history, Labyrinths like this have had many associations with pilgrimage, particularly in the Christian context. Christians had a religious practice of going on pilgrimages to the world’s holiest sites, and to Jerusalem in particular. However, as that was far too expensive, dangerous, and often impossible for Irish people, a trek to the Labyrinth in Glendalough was used as a worthy substitute and was referred to as the ‘Road to Jerusalem’. If it was good enough for them, it is good enough for us!

You Can Make a Wish At St. Kevin’s Cross

Did you know one of Ireland’s most unusual and largest high crosses can be seen at Glendalough? Well, now you know! The most amazing thing about the cross is that it is entirely carved from one single piece of granite. The cross is also unusual in that it is not pierced through the ring like most Irish High Crosses. A local legend surrounding this cross says that anyone who can wrap their arms around the entire width of the cross body will have all their wishes granted. No harm in trying, eh?

Dip Your Toes in Poulanass Waterfall

Once you have had enough of all the weird and wonderful monuments, crosses, magic stones and high towers in Glendalough, you can take a break from your history lesson and re-discover all the beautiful natural features this natural park has to offer. Make your way to the beautiful Poulanass Waterfall to snap a few photos and maybe dip your toes into the crystal clear, icy waters. This is probably best done in Summer, so you don’t get frostbite!

Ireland’s Last Remaining Monastic Gateway

The gateway into the monastic city of Glendalough is the only surviving example of its kind in Ireland. That should be reason enough for you to visit! Standing at the strance, you can easily imagine the full scale of the gateway into the compound thanks to the impressive remains.

If you’re now convinced of Glendalough’s mythical beauty, why not visit on one of Wild Rover Tour’s day trips to Kilkenny via Glendalough and the surrounding Wicklow Mountains.