Glendalough is a real hidden gem and is worth a visit on your tours of Ireland. I have been there several times and the whole area is stunning.
Glendalough is an important early Irish monastery in County Wicklow famed for its picturesque setting in the ‘Valley of the two Lakes’. The settlement was originally eremitical , founded by St Kevin in the 6th century.
A large monastery grew up around the cult of the Saint , and in 1111 Glendalough was made the seat of a Bishopric. Between 1153 and 1162 Glendalough’s second Saint , Lorcan Ua Tuathail (Laurence O’Toole) , presided over the monastery as Abbot.
In 1213 the diocese was united with Dublin , with Glendalough being reduced to the status of an Archdeaconry. Even after the dissolution of the monasteries the site remained popular with the pilgrims until 1862 , when the annual pattern was finally suppressed.
The original hermitage was probably sited on the hillside above the upper lake where a small oratory , Tempall-na-Skellig , now stands. Another church , Reefert , between the two lakes , is associated with the burial of local rulers. The principal monastic remains are located at the far end of the lower lake. These consist of a round tower , the ruined cathedral , and several stone churches , some of which were drastically restored by the Board of Works during the 1870s.
St Kevin’s church retains a steep stone roof with incorporated round belfry. Several of the other churches include fine Romanesque detailing.
Why not organise a tour to Glendalough on your Ireland tours.