Glendalough round tower and monastic site was founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century. The monastery flourished for the next 600 years as a major centre of learning (for all Europe), despite Viking raids. In 1176, the Annals of Tigernach report that Glendalough was ‘plundered by the foreigners’. English forces destroyed the settlement in 1398, but it continued as a place of pilgrimage.
The setting is beautiful, tucked into a valley in the Wicklow mountains, only an hour’s drive south-west of Dublin. There’s plenty to explore, with many trails in the surrounding forest. The visitor centre is informative, giving context with good displays on many aspects of life and learning in those times.
I have been here several times over the years, most recently on a blustery, cold rainy march day. Fresh snow dusted the surrounding hills, while we explored the site in-between rain squalls. The conditions gave us a real appreciation for how hard life must have been in centuries past. My photos though, are somewhat ‘washed-out’.
Glendalough is a Holy place, the confluence of earth energies and Cosmic (spiritual) energies. The saints and monks who created this place anchored the cosmic energies in through the tower. This dedication created a powerful place of peace and light which can still be felt.