Co. Wicklow Ireland


From its founding in the 6thC, Glendalough monastery flourished for 600 years as a major centre of spiritual learning for all Europe. This dedication can still be felt.

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 round tower as seen from St. Kevin’s long distance path, descending into Glendalough.

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.

photo of carved stone cross, glendalough, ireland kept for protection in the visitor centre
Carved stone cross, now kept for safety from weathering in the visitor centre.

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’.

The Cathedral.

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.

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